Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - Petty Sessional Division of Langbaurgh West - Electoral Division, Poor Law Union, and County Court District of Stokesley - Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish covers 2,623 acres comprised in one township, and is chiefly the property of Lord Leconfield, who is lord of the manor, and Archdeacon Yeoman, Marske Hall, The gross rental is estimated at £3,016; rateable value, £2,780; and the population, (1881) 308.
The name of this place is of doubtful signification; by some it is supposed to be a contraction of Sea-mere, indicating the presence of a mere or lake at some former time, a supposition which appears to receive corroboration from the name of Seaton Carrs (Danish kœr, marshy land), still given to the low lying part of the parish. This is the most general opinion, and probably the correct one. Another hypothesis is that Seamer has been contracted from St. Martin, as Sidney is of St. Denys, Sinclair of St. Clair, Seymour of St. Maur, &c. The advocates of this derivation adduce in proof thereof the dedication to St. Martin of the churches in each of the two parishes bearing the name of Seamer.
The village stands on rising ground two miles N.W. of Stokesley. The church, which is dedicated to St. Martin, was, with the exception of the tower, rebuilt in 1822 in the Gothic style. It comprises, besides the tower, in which there are two bells, nave and chancel. The edifice possesses no architectural merit, and will shortly be replaced by a more ornate structure. The marble font, supported on a pillar of the same material, was taken from the ruins of a church in Alexandria, in Egypt, after the battle of the Nile in 1798, by Sir Cuthbert Heron, Bart., and presented to this church in 1822. The register dates from 1638. Lawton, in his Religious Houses of Yorkshire, states that Seamer was one of the churches given by Robert de Brus to the Priory of Guisborough; it is not, however, mentioned by name in the founder's charter, nor in the confirmation of Henry I; but may have been included in the appendages of one or other of the churches named in the original grant. The living is a new Vicarage, worth £109 a year, including 23 acres of glebe, in the gift of Lord Leconfield, and held by the Rev. C. S. Wright, M.A., rector of Stokesley.
The school was built in 1840, by the late Colonel Wyndham, lord of the manor. John Coulson in 1679 left a rent-charge of £8 per annum to a goodly minister who should teach in Seamer chapel, and in case that could not be done, he left £20 for the erection of a school at Newby. The latter having become dilapidated, was closed about 1846, and the rent-charge was paid to Seamer school, but it has now been withheld for several years. He also left £6 10s. per annum for a sermon to be preached once a month in the church, but this has not been paid since 1828.
Half-way between this village and Newby is a remarkable tumulus or sepulchral mound called How Hill. It was partially examined some years ago, but except fragments of bones, there was found nothing to indicate the people by whom it was raised. Near this tumulus are, or were a few years ago, the evident traces of a military entrenchment; and a tradition still lingers in the neighbourhood that a battle between the Saxons and Danes was fought on Seamer Carrs.
LOCAL WORTHIES. - Seamer was the birthplace of Brian Walton, a learned prelate, who was born here in 1600. He was educated at Oxford, and about 1639 was appointed prebendary of St. Paul's and chaplain to the King. In the struggle between Charles I. and his parliament Walton espoused the royal cause, and was deprived of his ecclesiastical offices by the Cromwellians. He retired to Oxford, and there projected the publication of a Polyglot Bible, of which he was the principal editor. This valuable work was printed in 1655-57. After the restoration he was rewarded for his loyalty by a royal chaplaincy, and in 1661 was preferred to the Bishopric of Chester, but died the same year in London.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.