WILTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Langbaurgh (East Division) - Petty Sessional Division of Langbaurgh East - Electoral Division of Marske-by-the-Sea - Poor Law Union of Guisborough - County Court District and Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish extends southwards from the Tees estuary, and comprises an area of 4,050 acres, exclusive of the strand. Ironstone is plentiful, and is extensively wrought by Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan, & Co., Limited, owners of the adjoining Eston royalties. The coast line of railway from Middlesbrough to Redcar and Marske passes through the northern part of the parish. The gross estimated rental, £25,457; rateable value, £23,458; population (in 1881), 1,293, an increase of 775 since 1851. The chief land owners are Sir C. H. Lowther, Bart. (lord of the manor), the Trustees of H. H. Newcomen, Miss Jackson, and Mr. Thomas Parington and wife.

Wilton was anciently the property of the Bulmers, a family of great reputation and large possessions in Yorkshire and Durham, long before the "base-born Norman" set his foot upon English ground. Sir Ralph de Bulmer was lord of Wilton in 1310, and in that year obtained a charter of his demesne lands here. In 1327 he was summoned to Parliament among the barons, and three years later, he received the royal license to convert his manor house at Wilton into a castle, The manor remained in the possession of this baron's descendants for about 200 years, when it was forfeited to the Crown by the attainder and execution of Sir John Bulmer, for his participation in the Pilgrimage of grace. Lady Bulmer too, Sir John's wife, appears to have been an open and avowed supporter of the rebellion, and for her complicity in this armed attempt to re-instate the religious orders in the monasteries, from which they had been ruthlessly expelled, she was inhumanly burnt at the stake in Smithfield. This estate, with others belonging to the family, were restored to their son Ralph. In the reign of Philip and Mary, Wilton was granted to Sir Thomas Cornwallis, whose descendant, Lord Cornwallis, sold the estate to Mr. Fox, afterwards Lord Holland. It was subsequently purchased by the Lowther family, and is the property of Sir C. H. Lowther, Bart., who succeeded his brother, Sir John Henry, as third baronet, in 1868. Sir John Lowther, the first baronet (created 1824), was the second son of the Rev. Sir William Lowther, Bart., of Swillington, and brother of the first Earl of Lonsdale. He married, in 1790, Elizabeth, second daughter of the ninth Earl of Westmoreland. The Lowthers* are an ancient family, who take their name from the parish of Lowther, in Westmoreland, where they were settled soon after the Conquest, or, as some think, before that event.

* However, contrary to this, Marko Paajanen quotes (in 2003) from the Mannix & Co., History, Topography and Directory of Westmorland, 1851 the following:
"The Lowther name is derived from the river Lauder, a British word, signifying clear water, while another writer asserts that it is a corruption, of Gled-dwr, a limpid stream. But whether they gave name to the river, or took the name of the river, would now be difficult to determine, and the only argument in favour of their Saxon origin is the analogy of names. Other writers again say that there is reason to believe that the parties bearing this British appellation were located here even before the Norman conquest."

Wilton Castle, the seat of Sir C. H. Lowther, Bart., and the Hon. James Lowther, M.P. for Thanet, his second son, was erected about the beginning of the present century, by Sir John Lowther, Bart., on the site and in the style of the ancient castle of the Bulmers. It is now being improved and enlarged by the addition of an east wing.

The village of Wilton (Wiltune in Domesday Book) is pleasantly situated about 3½ miles N.W. of Guisborough. The church, which adjoins the castle, is an ancient structure, once Norman, but in recent years frequently altered and spoiled, the only trace of the original style now left in the architectural muddle is the chancel arch. The original dedication appears to have been All Saints', but it was subsequently changed to St. Cuthbert, probably when the church was rebuilt in 1349. In the interior are two mutilated effigies, supposed to represent two members of the Bulmer family. This was one of the church livings given to the Priory of Guisborough, and the clerical duties were doubtlessly discharged by a monk of that house. At the Dissolution it was made a perpetual curacy, and endowed with small tithes, and also the hay tithe. There are about 74 acres of glebe land. The living is now a vicarage (annual value £420, with residence) in the gift of the lord of the manor, and held by the Rev. John MacCartie, M.A., Trinity College, Dublin.

Sir William Bulmer, in 1523, founded a chantry, and endowed it with lands in Kirkleatham, for the support of two priests to say masses for the souls of himself and wife. This little chapel, which was dedicated to St. Helen, stood near the mill, and was taken down in 1811.

Lazenby is a village in this parish, containing a Wesleyan Chapel (erected in 1855 and restored in 1882), a disused Independent Chapel, a Primitive Methodist Chapel, built in 1861, at a cost of £176, and a neat Infant School, built in 1869, in the Gothic style. Whilst constructing a main sewer in 1879 a number of silver coins was found in an archway in Fidler street, some of which bore the legend Rex Carolus.

Old Lackenby is a small hamlet, consisting of two farms and about twenty cottages. The Pattons formerly owned lands here, and resided on the farm now occupied by the Codlings. The house, now somewhat modernised, still retains a small portion of its old oak panelling. New Lackenby contains forty-eight cottages, inhabited by the workmen at Messrs. Downey & Co.'s ironworks. These furnaces, three in number, were erected in 1871, and are situated at Low Lackenby, where an iron school-church has also been erected by the proprietors for the benefit of their employees.

CHARITIES. - A rent-charge of 20s. a year was left by one Stubbs, to be distributed to the "poor over his gravestone." John Jackson, Esq., a native of Lackenby, who died in Essequibo, in 1806, bequeathed to the poor of the parish, £635 consols, the interest thereof to be distributed by his heir-at-law. The trustees of this charity are Mr. John Jackson, Lackenby, nephew and heir-at-law; Mr. Thomas Curry, Morton Carr, Ormesby; and William Richardson, Esq., solicitor, Guisborough.

ANTIQITITIES. - On Wilton Moor are several tumuli or sepulchral mounds. One of these was opened in 1848, and there were discovered a human skeleton, some rudely fashioned urns containing calcined bones, and a horseshoe of singular construction, In the spring of 1856, a silver vessel, unfortunately shattered, was turned up by the plough near the ice house at Wilton, and on further search, 80 Roman coins of silver, of the reigns of Valerius, Gratianus, Honorius, and Theodosius, and also one perfect gold one, of the last named emperor, were found.

[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.