Rokeby Supplementary


In 1822, the following places were in
the Parish of Rokeby:

"EGGLESTON ABBEY, in the parish of Rokeby, wapentake of Gilling West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 1 mile NW. of Rokeby, 2 miles SW. of Barnard Castle.

This Abbey, (which Dugdale and Leland by mistake call a Priory) is situated upon the high cliffs of the Tees, almost opposite to Barnardcastle, said to be founded by Ralph de Multon, in the latter end of the reign of Henry II. or beginning of that of Richard I. for white Canons, and dedicated to St, Mary and St. John Baptist. It had revenues to the yearly value of 66L. 5s. 6d. in the whole, and 37L. 7s. 2d. clear, -Tanner -31L. 8s. 3d. Dugdale; and was granted 2nd Edward VI. to Robert Shelley. The ruins of the Church are in the form of a Cross, and are considerable; a part of the house is entire, and now occupied as a farm-house:-

It is now destitute of monuments, but in the time of Leland, stood "too fair tumbes of gray marble, in the greater was buried, as I learned, one Syre Rafe Bowes; and in the lesser, one of the Rokebys." -Burton. -Tanner. -Grose. (modern= stood) two largish tombs, in the largest was buried, I leaned, one Sir Ralph Bowes....-Note that in the North Riding (only?) the name "Ralph" is still pronounced "Rarf" or "Rafe" -CH 1999)

Parts are now converted into cottages and the walls on the inside of the ruins are covered with fruit trees; it is situated on the banks of the Tees, and greatly adds to the many beauties of Teesdale."

"GRETA BRIDGE, in the townships and parishes of Brignall and Rokeby, wapentake of Gilling West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 1 mile ESE. of Rokeby, 4 miles SE. of Barnard Castle, is a small village, taking its name from a bridge of one arch, over the river Greta, which river soon after runs into the Tees. The place is of modern erection, consisting of two handsome inns, one on each side of the bridge. Here are the remains of a Roman camp, where a number of coins and an altar were dug up some years ago.

Here are two Inns, the George Inn, (Post-Office) on the north side of the river; and the Moritt's Arms on the south, both Posting-houses."

"MORTHAM TOWER, in the township and parish of Rokeby; ¾ mile ENE. of Rokeby, 1 mile from Gretabridge, 3 from Barnardcastle, (Dur.)

It is an embattled house, probably built about the reign of Henry VII.; a true border-mansion, with all the peculiar features of that era; a thorough lobby, kitchens, butteries, a hall on the right up to the roof; and an handsome tower beyond the hall. At one end is a barnekyn inclosure for the nightly protection of the cattle from depredators, strongly walled about. To a field near it has been removed, the immense tomb-stone of Greta or Tees-marble, mentioned by Leland, and removed within memory from Eggleston-Abbey." -Whitaker.

This place and Rokeby were, in very distant ages, in the possession of the Rokebies; Robert de Rokeby lived in the time of the conqueror. By the arms and date on Mortham Tower, it appears that it was built in 1166 by the Rokebies. -Hutchinson's Tour."

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]