NORTON CONYERS, in the parish of Wath, wapentake and liberty of Allertonshire; ¾ mile SSW. of Wath, 3 miles N. of Ripon. This was once the seat of the family of the Nortons; of whom Richard Norton was Chief Justice of England, about the year 1400: from him descended Richard Norton, who, with his sons, in 1569, engaged in the religious rebellion of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland, against Queen Elizabeth, which was soon suppressed. Mr. Norton, and his sons, with many others, were executed, and the estate given to the Musgraves.
"Thee, Norton! with thine eight good sons,
"They doom'd to dye, alas! for ruth,
"Thy reverend locks thee could not save,
"Nor them their faire and blooming youth 1"
From the Musgraves, this estate passed to the family of Graham. Sir Richard Graham, was a very active officer, on the side of royalty; who, after having received twenty-six wounds, in the battle of Marston Moor, fled, when all was lost, towards his own house here, which he reached that night; and expired, about an hour after his arrival. The estate still remains in the family, and is now the seat of Sir Bellingham Graham, Bart. Pop. 87.
Complete extract from Langdale's Topopgraphical Yorkshire Dictionary:
This place had been the property of the venerable Richard Norton, who with three sons, engaged in 1569, in the religious, rebellion of the earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, against Queen Elizabeth. To inspire their followers with fit enthusiasm, they put into the hands of Norton, a flag, painted with the five wounds of our Saviour. It seems to have been a second Pilgrimages of Grace like the insurrection under Aske. This was soon suppressed. Mr. Norton and his sons were executed among multitudes of others, and his estate granted to a Musgrave, who disposed of it to an ancestor of the present owner. From one of the younger Nortons, Sir Fletcher is said to derive his descent. -Pennant.
The founder of this family was Sir Richard Graham, a borderer of the east Marches, near the banks of the Esk. He was made master of the horse, under the favourite duke of Buckingham. When Charles I., then Prince of Wales, took his romantic journey to visit the Infanta, Sir Richard was one of his slender train. At the battle of Marston-moor he distinguished himself by acts of determined bravery; and closed his life in a faithful attachment to his master. When the day was irretrievably lost, and nothing remained but for every man to seek the best means of security, Sir Richard fled with 26 bleeding wounds upon him to his own house at Norton Conyers, about 15 miles from the field. Here he arrived in the evening, and being spent with loss of blood and fatigue, he was carried into his chamber, where, taking a last farewell of his disconsolate lady, he expired.
Cromwell, who had ever expressed a peculiar inveteracy against this, gentleman, and thought victory only half obtained, if he escaped, pursued him in person with at troop of horse. When he arrived at Norton, his gallant enemy was dead; having scarce lived an hour after be was carried into his chamber; and Cromwell found his wretched lady weeping over the mangled corpse of her husband, yet scarce cold. Such a sight, one would have imagined, might have given him -not indeed in emotion of pity, but at least a satiety of revenge; on the contrary, he still felt the vengeance of his soul unsatisfied; and turning around to his troopers, who had stalked after him into the sacred recesses of sorrow, he gave the sign of havoc, and in a few moments the whole house was torn to pieces; not even the bed was spared on which the mangled body was extended, and every thing was destroyed which the hand of rapine could not carry off.
Sir R.B. Graham, the present bart. was born l789, married in 1810, Henrietta, the third daughter of the late George Hatch, of West-Hatch. -Addison's Anecdotes.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]