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SHERIFF HUTTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake of Bulmer - Petty Sessional Division of Bulmer East - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Malton - Rural Deanery of Easingwold - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish comprises an area of 8,952 acres, and includes the townships of Sheriff Hutton-with-Cornbrough, Lillings Ambo, and Stittenham. The population in 1881, including the chapelry of Farlington, was 1,294, a decrease of 236 since 1851. Sheriff Hutton gives a name to a division for the election of a member to the County Council, The soil of the parish varies in different places from strong clay to rich peat, loam, and light sand. The area of the township, including Cornbrough, is 5,486 acres, the rateable value £6,160, and the population 819. The land belongs to several owners, of whom the principal are the Hon. Mrs. Meynell-Ingram (lady of the manor), Temple Newsam, near Leeds; John Coates, Esq., Sheriff Hutton Park; William Abel Wood, Esq., Sutton Forest; Thomas Hebron, Flaxton; William E. Lee, Heworth Road, York; the trustees of Richard Jackson (102 acres); Henry Burton, Newton-on-Ouse; David Armitage, Sheriff Hutton; Thomas Brough, Hovingham; the trustees of Admiral Duncombe, Kilwick Percy; Joseph Hillyard, Esq., Beechwood, Malton Road, York; Hebden Burton (102 acres); the trustees of Robert Rounthwaite (168 acres); Thomas Rocliffe, Esq., Sowerby, Thirsk (134 acres); Hy. Rogerson (134 acres); Wm. W. Wilberforne (249 acres); and George Dennison, Scampston Bridge, near Malton (107 acres).

The manor is co-extensive with the township, but at the time of the Domesday Survey it appears to have been held in smaller portions by several persons. Wm. Mallet had seven carucates which he had bought of Sprot for ten marks of silver; Sprot himself still retained seven carucates. Nigel Fossard held three small manors of four carucates, from which he had ousted the rightful owners Turulf, Turchil, and Turstan; but these lands he gave up to King William. Soon after the Conquest, the manor came into the possession of the Bulmers, an old Saxon family of repute in Yorkshire and Durham long before the advent of the Conqueror. Bertram de Bulmer built a castle here in the reign of Stephen. He held the important and onerous office of sheriff for several years, and this place thenceforth became known as Sheriff Hutton.* In the civil war between Stephen and the Empress Matilda, this castle was seized for the king by Alan, Earl of Brittany and Richmond. Subsequently the castle and manor of Sheriff Hutton, with Branspeth Castle and lordship in Durham, came into the possession of Geoffrey de Neville, by his marriage with Emma, daughter and heiress of another Bertram de Bulmer, the last male representative of this line of the family. It appears from the Testa de Nevill that the manor was held under the fee of Malolacu or Manley, who held it of the king in capite. Ralph de Neville, the great Earl of Westmoreland, rebuilt, enlarged, and strongly fortified the castle; and it remained in the possession of his descendants until the death of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, surnamed the King Maker, at the battle of Barnet (A.D. 1471), when all his estates were seized by the victor. This castle and manor were granted by Edward IV. to his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester (afterward Richard III.), who had married Anne Neville, daughter of the King Maker. Having cleared his way to the throne by the murder of his two nephews, Edward V. and his brother, Richard III. imprisoned in this castle Edward Plantagenet, the youthful Earl of Warwick, his brother Clarence's son, and also his niece, the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV., because she refused to marry him. They were detained here until the death of Richard at the battle of Bosworth Field, A.D. 1483. Elizabeth shortly afterwards became the wife of Henry VII., but the young Earl only exchanged this place of confinement for the Tower of London; and after four years imprisonment in that fortress he was executed, his only crime being that he was the sole surviving legitimate descendant of the Plantagenets, whose pretentions might endanger the house of Tudor.

* This name is written in Domesday Book, Hoton or Hotune, which is evidently compounded of the Norse word Hoot a hill, and tun a place "tined" or enclosed by a hedge, afterwards expanded into town. The name, therefore, signifies the enclosure or village on the hill. The old form is still retained in Hooton Levitt, near Tickhill; Hooton Pagneil, near Doncaster; Hooton Roberts, near Rotherham; and Hooton in Cheshire.

The king retained the castle in his own hands until 1490, when it was granted for life to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, and afterwards Duke of Norfolk, on his appointment to quell the northern insurrections. He resided here between the years 1490 and 1500, and it is probable, occasionally afterwards. On his death in 1524, the castle reverted to the Crown. The following year, Henry VIII. assigned it as the residence of Henry Fitzroy, his illegitimate son, by Elizabeth, widow of Sir Gilbert Tailbois, whom he created Earl of Nottingham and Duke of Richmond and Somerset, and though but a mere child was appointed by his father Lieutenant-General of the North and Warden of the Scottish Marches, with a council to assist him in the administration of public affairs. He resided here in princely state for about five years.

Leland, who visited the castle shortly after this, and while it was still entire, gives the following description of it:- "The castle of Shirhutton, as I learned there, was builded by Rafe Nevil of Raby, the first Earl of Westmoreland of the Neviles; and I heard that in hys time he buildid or greatly augmented, or repayr'd three castells byside. Ther is a base court with houses of offices beside the entering. The castell itself in front is not ditched, but it standeth in loco utcunque edito. I marked in the fore part of the first area of the castell three greate and high Towres, of the which the Gatehouse was the middle. In the second area be five or six towres, and the statelie stair up to the Haul is very magnificient, and so is the Haul itselfe, and all the residue of the House, insomuch that I saw no house in the north so like a princely lodging. * * * * There is a park by it."

The manor and castle continued in the possession of the Crown, but the latter does not appear to have been assigned as a residence to any one; and in the reign of James I. it was in a very ruinous state. That monarch granted the park lands to Sir Arthur Ingram, Knt., for a yearly rent of £8. This Arthur built the Hall, and Charles I. confirmed the grant of the park with "its appurtenances, franchise, and privileges" to Sir Thomas Ingram, his heirs, and assigns for ever, In the reign of Charles II. the park estate was purchased by Edward Thompson, Esq., M.P. for York, from whom it descended to the late Leonard Thompson, Esq., of Sheriff Hutton. In 1880 it was sold by the trustees to John Coates, Esq., the present owner.

Sheriff Hutton Park, the residence of Mr. Coates, is an ancient Jacobean mansion built by Sir Arthur Ingram. It stands in a park of 212 acres, well studded with fine oak trees. At the back of the hall is an ancient stone coffin with a rudely coped lid, which was discovered during some draining operations in the park about forty years ago.

The ruins of the castle and the farm attached are the property of the Hon. Mrs. Meynell-Ingram, of Temple Newsam, daughter of Viscount Halifax, and widow of the late Hugo Francis Meynell-Ingram, Esq., whose grandfather, Hugo Meynell, Esq., married the Hon. Elizabeth Ingram, the heiress of Sheriff Hutton.

The ruins stand on a hill a little south of the village. The original structure appears to have been of quadrangular form, with a large open court in the centre, the remains of the four corner towers forming the principal portion of the ruins. The walls of the south-west tower are nearly 100 feet high, and show by the cavities for the reception of the joists that there were five distinct stories, but the three upper ones are open to the sky. The lowest apartment is a vault or dungeon, 40 feet by 20 feet, with an arched stone roof. Above this is another room, similarly arched, and in good preservation. The circular stair which led to the top, and gave access to each story, is gone. The north-east tower is more massive than the others, and, like the one just mentioned, retains its two lowest vaulted chambers. The north-west tower is similar to these, but has suffered more from the depredations of man, and is open from the basement. The remaining tower in the south-east corner differs in appearance from the others, probably a later restoration, in having strong buttresses on its outward angles. The principal entrance has been on the east side, and above it are the remains of the warder's tower. Over the arched gateway are four shields of arms carved in stone. The walls are the prey of the elements, and little appears to be done for their preservation. A portion of the north end fell about 12 years ago, and the inner part of the ruins is used for the storage of hay, straw, &c.

On the south side of the castle are the remains of a double fosse, about 200 yards in length and 16 yards apart. The sloping sides of the agger are planted with trees and shrubs. On the north side is an ancient well of excellent water, which was once, doubtless, within the compass of the castle walls. The old manor mill stood on the Stittenham road, where a few traces of it still mark the site. A considerable portion of the moat remains.

The village lies about 10 miles N.N.E. of York, and 2½ miles from Flaxton station, on the York and Scarborough branch of the North Eastern railway. Ralph Neville, in 1337, obtained a charter for a weekly market, on the Monday, at his manor of Sheriff Hutton, and a fair yearly, on the eve, the day, and two days following the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, but they have long been obsolete. A hiring, for servants, is held on the second Wednesday before Martinmas.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Helen, consists of a clerestoried nave, with north and south aisles, chancel, and tower. It appears to have been built about the middle of the 13th century, and was soon afterwards given by Peter de Manley, lord of Mulgrave, to the priory of Marton, to which it was appropriated and a vicarage ordained therein, A.D. 1332 There was a chantry on the south side of the church, founded and endowed by Ralph de Neville or Dame Alice, his wife, in 1349, that mass might be for ever celebrated at the altar of St. Mary for the soul of the said Alice. There were two other chantries in connection with the church, one in the castle and the other at Cornbrough, endowed with rents and farms and a pension. The church was repaired in 1837, and re-pewed in 1838, chiefly at the cost of Lady Gordon, the then owner of the Ingram property in this parish. A handsome reredos, of Caen stone, was added in 1881 by Marcus Flowers, Esq., H.M. Consul in Japan, as a memorial to his brother, the late Rev. Octavius Henry Flowers, B.A., vicar of this parish from 1857 to 1880. In the centre panel is a representation of the Last Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci, and in canopied niches on either side, are the four Evangelists. The church was restored in 1886-7, when the whitewash was removed, the pillars and arches repaired and pointed with cement, and the stone mouldings renewed.

In the north aisle are two interesting altar tombs. One bears the full-length effigy of a knight, in armour, cross-legged, his hands clasped over his breast, and a lion couchant at his feet. On his left arm is a shield, displaying the following bearings:- On a fess beween three eaglets close, as many escalop shells. On the face of the tomb are five shields, the first and fifth bearing a fess between three martlets; second, quarterly a bend; third, on a fess between three martlets, as many mullets; fourth, on a bend, three . . . . On a flat stone, beside the monument, is an inscription on a scroll, from which it appears that Thomas Whytham had built a porch, and Agnes, his wife, had founded a chapel and endowed a chantry in the church. The inscribed brasses have been torn from the slab by some vandal hand, and in their absence the only guide to identity is the shield of arms on the stone, which is the same as that on the left arm of the effigy. The monument belongs to the middle of the fourteenth century, and most probably respresents Thomas Whytham, mentioned in the inscription. On the other tomb, is the alabaster figure of a young person, evidently of high rank, his head resting on cushions and encircled by a coronet*, and clad in the loose fur red robes of the 15th century. The monument is much defaced, and, unfortunately, bears no inscription; but one of the shields, which angels are holding on the sides of the tomb, is charged with the arms of Neville. The central ornament on the face of the monument is a very remarkable piece of sculpture. It represents a venerable figure, crowned and seated on a throne, which was probably intended to symbolize God the Father, having immediately before him the Cross, on which hangs His crucified Son; and on the right is a knight, in armour, kneeling. From his lips and uplifted hands proceeds a scroll, which enters the ear of the central figure, intending, evidently, to typify the supplications he is pouring into the ear of the Father.

*A note from the Richard III Foundation:
The effigy head covering is a cap of maintenance rather than a coronet. There are no points on it to symbolize the coronet used in the 15th century. The robing is out of date to the late fifteenth century and is more in style with the early 15 century. During Edward IV's reign, the design was of shorter rather than the long houppelane style.

In the chancel is a small monumental brass, dated 1491, on which are two effigies, male and female, swathed in grave clothes, and an inscription in Latin verse, commemorative of Dorothy Ffenys or Fiens, daughter of Thomas Dacre, and his "most dear consort, Ann;" but we have been unable to trace this Dorothy in any of the published pedigrees of the Dacre or Fienes families. Another brass in the chancel commemorates Mary, wife of Henry Hall, of East Lilling, who died in 1657.

The east window is a five-light memorial to the Rowlay family, of Thirkleby; in another window of the chancel is a fragment of ancient stained glass, bearing a head within a nimbus and part of a crozier. Some fragments of mediæval art, displaying heraldic devices, are also preserved in the windows of the north aisle. In two of them are the arms of the Nevilles, former owners of the castle, and in another is a portion of a shield, exhibiting gules, three escallop shells argent. The east end of the south aisle was the private chapel of the Gowers, of Stittenham, from whom it has descended to the Duke of Sutherland. On the wall hang some funereal trophies - a helmet, gauntlet, spur, and a tattered pennon displaying the arms of Sir Thomas Gower, of Stittenham, 1630.

The tower is large, massive, and embattled, and appears to have been originally much lower than at present. The upper part is of a later style of architecture, and built of a different kind of stone to that employed in the lower portion. It is probably an addition made by one of the Nevilles. The lower story forms a porch for the west or principal entrance to the church. The belfry contains three bells, bearing the dates 1643, 1663, and 1642. A clock was added,. by subscription, in 1887, in commemoration of Her Majesty's jubilee. There are indications in the walls of the nave that the clerestory was a subsequent addition to the original structure, probably made at the same time that the upper part of the tower was built, The south chapel, also, is of later date. The registers commence in 1600. The living is a vicarage, gross value £318, held by the Rev. John Lascelles, M.A., who is also patron alternately with the Archbishop of York.

The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have chapels in the village. Attached to the former is a day school, erected in 1855, for 120 children.

A new National school was erected in 1873, by the Hon. Mrs. Meynell-Ingram, for 140 children. It is endowed with about £50 a year.

NORTH INGS is a hamlet in Sheriff Hutton township, containing 477 acres, the property of the Earl of Carlisle, The Hick family resided here for upwards of 300 years.

CORNBROUGH, containing 1,082 acres, the property of Henry Burton, William E. Lee, George Dennison, and others, was formerly a separate township, but is now included in Sheriff-Hutton. The hamlet which consists of a few scattered farm houses, is situated a mile N.W. of Sheriff Hutton. The Domesday Book records that at the Conquest, Ligulf held the manor of Corlebrog, for so the Norman Scribes wrote the name, but that it was afterwards transferred to Earl Morton, under whom it was held by Nigel. It afterwards belonged to the Bulmers, from whom it passed with Sheriff Hutton to the Nevilles, and was held by them of the Mauleys. Subsequently some lands were given to the Priory of Marton, and the Priors appear to haye had a country house here.

CHARITIES. - The poor parishioners have a house and 12 acres of land at Flaxton, let for £20 a year, which was purchased in 1745 with £100 left by - Robinson, and £20 given by Leonard Thompson, Esq. Two-thirds of the rent are applied for the education of children. The poor have also £28 2s. 9d. three per cent. annuities, purchased in 1811 with money arising from the sale of timber on the poor's land, and £40 left by E. Philliskirk. Rd. Winter, in 1711, left nine acres of land at Cornbrough to pay yearly 20s. for two sermons, 52s. to the poor, and the remainder of the rents for the education of poor children. In 1670 Chr. Richardson left the rent of four acres of land to be given in bread to the poor of Sheriff Hutton and West Lilling. The poor of Sheriff Hutton have likewise the interest of £20 left by J. Cordukes, in 1808, and those of Lillings Ambo have the interest of £54 left by various donors. The income from these charities is thus distributed:- Flour is given to fourteen poor persons quarterly, at Christmas, Lady Day, Midsummer, and Michaelmas; sums of money are given on Ash Wednesday, and also at other times when the funds permit. The vicar and churchwardens for the time being are the trustees.

LILLINGS AMBO is a township in this parish comprising 1,530 acres, of which 1,244 are under assessment. Its rateable value is £1,769, and the number of inhabitants 217. It is in York Union, and Flaxton Electoral Division. The principal proprietors are the Hon. Mrs. Meynell-Ingram, Temple Newsam, near Leeds; Robert Saunderson, Harrogate; John Carlton, Escrick, York; John Henry Burton, Barton-le-Street; and William Abel Wood, Sutton-on-the-Forest. The township is divided into East and West Lilling. The latter is a small village, standing a little east of the river Foss, one mile S. of Sheriff Hutton, and nine miles N.E. of York. East Lilling consists of the hall, the seat and property of R. Holtby, Esq., and four scattered farmsteads.

STITTENHAM is a township containing an estimated area of 1,526 acres, and valued for rating purposes at £1,712. It lies 7 miles S.W. of Malton, and consists of nine scattered farmsteads and five cottages. The Duke of Sutherland is lord of the manor and sole owner of the land.

Stittenham was formerly the principal seat of the ancient illustrious family of Gower. They belonged to the old Anglo-Saxon stock, and were seated here before the Conquest. Sir Alan Gower was lord of Stittenham and sheriff of Yorkshire in the time of William I., and there was a William Fitz-Guyer, who, in A.D. 1167, paid one mark for his lands at Stittenham. Later, in the 13th century, there was a Sir John Gower, who was summoned to meet the King at Carlisle with horse and arms to march against the Scots. Sir Nicholas Gower was returned to the parliament, held at Northampton in 1339, as knight of the shire for the County of York, and for his fourteen days attendance was paid the sum of £5 12s. Here was born in 1325, John Gower, the poet, whom Chaucer calls "Moral Gower," from the grave and serious character of his verse. He was a professor of the law in the Inner Temple, and is also supposed to have been chief justice of the Common Pleas. His chief work is the "Confessio Amantis," which is said to have been written by command of Richard II. He died in 1402, and was buried in St. Saviour's church, Southwark.

In the next century Sir John Gower, Knight, of Stittenham, was standard bearer to Prince Edward, Son of Henry VI., and was beheaded in 1471 after the battle of Tewkesbury. Sir Thomas Gower, Knight, was created a baronet in 1620. His son Sir Thomas, the second baronet, married Frances, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Leveson, Knight, and the family name subsequently became Leveson-Gower. In 1703 Sir John Leveson-Gower was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Gower of Stittenham. The family had abandoned their Stittenham residence for the superior attractions of Trentham, in Staffordshire, and John, the 2nd baron was, for his distinguished services, created in 1746, Viscount Trentham, of Trentham, and Earl Gower. The second earl was lord privy-seal, lord chamberlain, and president of the council, and in 1786 was created Marquis of Stafford. George Granville his eldest son was summoned to parliament as Baron Gower during the lifetime of his father, and in 1833 was created Duke of Sutherland. The present Duke of Sutherland and owner of Stitteuham is his grandson.

Whilst some workmen were employed in draining a field called Cross Closed Farm, in 1856, they discovered five bronze vessels of Roman workmanship, three feet below the surface. They are now in the museum at Castle Howard.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.