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[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"TOPCLIFFE, a parish in the wapentake of Birdforth, a part in the liberty of St. Peter's; 4 miles SSW. of Thirsk. In the time of Leland, this was " a pretty uplandish town," and here stood one of the seats of the Percy family. It is now only a village, and the few vestiges of the baronial mansion that remain are called the " Maiden Bower." Here Henry, the fourth Earl of Northumberland, then lord lieutenant of the county. was, on St. Vitalis's day, in 1489, seized by the populace, and murdered, for enforcing a ten per cent tax, imposed in the time of Henry VII. by the advice of Empson and Dudley. Here Thomas Percy, the succeeding Earl, conspired against Queen Elizabeth, and was beheaded at York, on the 22d of August, 1572. In this house Charles I. was a prisoner; and here the £200,000. was paid by the Parliament to the Scotch, for quitting the country, and delivering up the King. The church, which bears evident marks of antiquity (see Churches for photograph), is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of York, and is dedicated to St. Colomb; the incumbent is the Rev. R. D. Waddilove, D. D. There is here also a Free Grammar school, founded and liberally endowed in 1549, of which Mr. William Bell is the master. Amongst the modern buildings, which are not very numerous, may be mentioned a Methodist chapel. The population amounts to 659." (There is further information for Topcliffe).

Information on the following places in this Parish is contained on a supplementary page.

  • Asenby
  • Baldersby St James
  • Busby Stoop
  • Catton
  • Crakehill
  • Dalton
  • Dishforth
  • Eldmire
  • Gristhwaite
  • Haram Grange
  • Marton Le Moor
  • Newby Park
  • Rainton
  • Skipton On Swale
  • Thorpe Field Houses
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]



Church History


Church Records





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  • In 1842 the townships of Skipton on Swale and Catton, (in this parish), were constituted an ecclesiastical parish. See Skipton on Swale Parish.

Memorial Inscriptions