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ALDBOROUGH: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

"ALDBOROUGH, a parish in the wapentake of Upper and Lower Claro, in the West Riding, and of Hallikeld in the North Riding of the county of York, 15 miles to the N.W. of York. It comprises the chapelries of Boroughbridge, Dunsforth, and Rocliffe, with the townships of Humberton, Minskip, and Ellenthorpe, and is situated on the south bank of the Ure, and on the Roman road Wading Street. It is a very ancient town having been a station of great importance in the time of the Romans, and probably a chief place among the Brigantes at an earlier period. Its Roman name was Isurium. Its present name was given by the Saxons, and indicates its great age in their time, Aldburgh signifying Old Town. The old city appears to have occupied a square space, each side of which extended about the third of a mile. This is shown by the remains still traceable of the foundations of the ancient walls. In 1783, a mound called Borough Hill, which stood near the middle of the square, was removed, and from the pavements and other Roman remains then brought to light, it is supposed that a temple stood on the spot. The coins were of various dates, from the reign of Trajan to that of Constantine. In recent years, on several occasions, other pavements have been found, one of a very large size, measuring 14 feet in length and 13 feet in breadth, with pieces of urns, signets, &:c. Near the south wall is an outwork 200 feet long, in the form of a half circle, forming a terrace with a slope of 30 feet. Some of the walls and pavements in Aldborough and Boroughbridge have been formed out of the materials of the old Isurium. Near Boroughbridge are three obelisks roughly shapen of ragstone, about whose origin and character antiquarians are not agreed. They are locally named the Devil's Arrows or Bolts, and by different authorities have been assigned to a British, a Roman, and a Celtic origin. Aldborough was made a borough in 1558, receiving the elective franchise from Philip and Mary, and returning two members to parliament from that time till 1832, when it was disfranchised under the Reform Act. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of York, value £380, and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of York. The church, which is old, is dedicated to St. Andrew, and contains a Saxon gravestone and a brass of the 14th century. There are three chapels of ease, one at Boroughbridge, a perpetual curacy, value £115; one at Dunsforth; and the other at Roccliffe; and a parish school with a small endowment at Boroughbridge. Petty sessions are held in the town. Its trade is inconsiderable, and the houses poorly built. A fair is held on the 4th September."

"BOROUGHBRIDGE, a chapelry and market town in the parish of Aldborough, wapentake of Claro, in the West Riding of the county of York, 17 miles to the N.W. of York, and 208 miles from London, or 213 miles by railway. It is connected with the North-Eastern railway by a branch line 6 miles in length from Pelmoor Junction. The town stands on the south bank of the navigable river Ure, and took its origin and its name from a bridge built here not long after the Norman Conquest. The great road to the north, which till that time had passed through Aldborough, was then diverted from its old course, and carried across the Ure at this spot. From that period the town of Aldborough began to decline in importance, and a new town rose up in its place. A battle was fought near Boroughbridge in 1321, between Edward II. and the barons headed by the Earl of Lancaster. The latter were defeated, and on the following day an attack was made on the town by the royal forces, and the great earl and other noblemen were captured and afterwards beheaded. Various relics have been discovered on the battle-field. The town was made a borough and received the elective franchise in the reign of Queen Mary, from which time it returned two members to parliament until 1832, when it was disfranchised by the Reform Act. The town contains some good modern houses, and has a convenient market-place. The principal business is the corn and carrying trade by the river, and the hardware trade: the latter, however, being of less importance than formerly. The ancient bridge was of timber, and its place has been filled by a handsome stone structure. In the market-place formerly stood a column, 12 feet high, sometimes called a cross. It has recently been removed to Aldborough, and is of the Doric order and fluted. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, worth 2115, in the patronage of the Vicar of Aldborough. The church is dedicated to St. James. The Independents and Wesleyans have chapels in the town. There are National and infant schools, and a small library. Near the town are the three massive stones or obelisks called the Devil's Arrows. They are blocks of ragstone ranged in a line north and south, the central one, which is about 24 feet in height from the ground, being distant 200 feet from one end of the line and 360 feet from the other. It is set 6 feet deep beneath the surface. The inquiries of antiquarians have not yet led to more than a probable conjecture that they are of Celtic origin. Some have considered them Roman and others British monuments. The neighbouring town of Aldborough was the Roman station Isurium, and many Roman antiquities have been found here; among them some fine tesselated pavements. The market is held on Saturday. Fairs for the sale of cattle and sheep are held on the 27th and 28th April, and the 23rd and 24th October. The fair for hardware, held on the 22nd June, has much declined."

"BRANTON GREEN, a hamlet in the township of Upper Dunsforth, in the parish of Aldborough, wapentake of Clare, in the West Riding of the county of York, 4 miles to the S.E. of Boroughbridge."

"LOWER DUNSFORTH, a township in the parish of Aldborough, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles S. of Aldborough, and 3 S.E. of Boroughbridge. It is situated on the river Ure. There is a district church. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value £51, in the patronage of the Vicar of Aldborough. The Wesleyans have a chapel, and there is a National school."

"MINSKIP, a township in the parish of Aldborough, lower division of the wapentake of Claro, West Riding county York, 7 miles S.E. of Ripon, and 1½ mile S.W. of Boroughbridge. The village is small and wholly agricultural. There is a National school for infants, and a place of worship for the Wesleyans. A. S. Lawson, Esq., is lord of the manor."

"ROCLIFFE, a township in the parish of Aldborough, lower division of Claro wapentake, West Riding county York, 1½ mile S.W. of Boroughbridge, its post town, and 5 miles S.E. of Ripon. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the S. side of the river Ure, and is chiefly agricultural. There are brick and tile kilns. The soil is of a clayey nature, with a subsoil of clay. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value £101. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, has a tower containing one bell. There is a Church school, and a Sunday-school is held at the Church school-room. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship. A. S. Lawson, Esq., is lord of the manor."

"UPPER DUNSFORTH, a township with the hamlet of Branton Green, in the parish of Aldborough, in the West Riding of the county of York, 1 mile S. of Lower Dunsforth."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013