Bretteby (xi cent.).
The parish of Birkby consists of 1,203 acres, of
which 556 are pasture and 491 arable land. (fn. 1) The
township of Little Smeaton joins it on the north and
Hutton Bonville on the south, the three forming one
parish. The River Wiske separates Birkby from
Cowton on the west, and Deighton lies to the east.
Birkby Lane branches off from the road from Northallerton to Darlington, and passes close to Birkby
Grange and Hill Top Farm and so on to the village
which stands on the river bank.
The village consists of the church, rectory and a
few cottages, all lying together within an angle of
the road, where it turns sharply down-hill to the
Wiske. It differs in character from the neighbouring
villages, which are usually built along a broad street.
On the south of the churchyard, in which there is a
fine yew tree, is the field called Hall Garth, and at
the river is a ford, which has been superseded by the
present bridge. In the field on the east side of the
road above the church are many ridges that are said
to represent the site of an earlier village, (fn. 2) which, with
the exception of one or two farms along the road, has
The low-lying ground on the borders of Birkby
and Little Smeaton is often flooded. The soil is
clay and the subsoil Keuper marls.
The scattered population is mainly engaged in
agriculture, the chief crops being wheat, barley and
oats. Turnips and beans are also cultivated.
The township of Little Smeaton, 3 miles from
Cowton station, consisting of 1,001 acres, lies north
of Birkby, and is divided from Great Smeaton by the
Wiske, which takes a great curve from south to east,
and is crossed by the Darlington road at Smeaton
Bridge. Westthorpe, the residence of Mr. M. H.
Horsfall, J.P., is in the north of the township, and
stands in a park, in which is a well-known clump of
trees forming a landmark in the neighbourhood.
The meadows near are often flooded. More than
half the township is pasture land, which covers 556
acres, there being also 30½ acres of plantations. (fn. 3)
Hutton Bonville lies south of Birkby, the River
Wiske forming the western boundary. The North
Eastern railway runs close to the Hall, which stands
in a park of 90 acres leading down to the river; it
is almost surrounded by coverts, which generally
provide sport in the hunting season. Close to the
Hall is the little church of St. Lawrence. A footpath
from the main Darlington road leads to Hutton
Bonville Farm, not far from some disused tile-works.
The population is chiefly engaged in agriculture.
In 1086 BIRKBY was a berewick of
the royal manor of Northallerton (fn. 4) (q.v.),
which the overlordship followed in
descent. (fn. 5) In the 11th century it was assessed at
6 carucates. (fn. 6)
Scrope of Masham. Azure a bend or with a label argent.
Fitzwilliam. Lozengy argent and gules.
A mesne lordship over one knight's fee here was
held by Henry de Farlington early in the 13th
century, (fn. 7) and afterwards by his daughter Joan de
Wivelsthorp. (fn. 8) She, as a widow, granted 4 oxgangs
and the service from half a carucate to Stephen de
Wautham, who granted both to the priory of Healaugh
Park. (fn. 9) Joan was followed by Henry de Farlington
and he by John de Farlington, the tenant of 6 carucates in 1285, 4½ of which he held in demesne, the
remainder, divided into half-carucates, being held by
sub-tenants, the Prior of Healaugh Park, the heirs
of Robert de Crepping, and Simon de Clervaux,
who again subenfeoffed Nicholas de Todehowe. (fn. 10)
In 1316 the fee was held by John de Lisle. (fn. 11) Soon
after this it appears to have passed to the Scrope
family, as Geoffrey le Scrope of Masham (q.v.) died
seised of the manor in 1340. (fn. 12) Birkby was settled on
Elizabeth wife of Sir John Scrope, who died in 1405,
leaving two daughters, Elizabeth and Joan, (fn. 13) on whom
the manor was evidently settled. Joan married Thomas
Clarell, who was holding the manor of Birkby in
her right (fn. 14) in 1427. Elizabeth, the only daughter
of Thomas, married Sir Richard Fitz William. (fn. 15) Sir
Thomas Fitz William, son of Sir Richard, died in
1513, (fn. 16) having made a settlement on his wife Agnes.
His son and heir William was only three years old at
the death of his father, (fn. 17) and died two years later,
his heirs being his two sisters, Alice and Margaret. (fn. 18)
They married respectively James and Godfrey Foljambe. In 1544 (fn. 19) Margaret and Godfrey Foljambe
sold a moiety of messuages, lands and a fishery here
to Marmaduke Thwaites of Little Smeaton, whose
daughter Dorothy married Thomas Grimston, (fn. 20) and
bought the other moiety of the manor from Godfrey
Foljambe, the son of Alice, (fn. 21) in 1562. (fn. 22) Dorothy
Grimston, who survived her husband, died in 1590, (fn. 23)
leaving at least three sons; Marmaduke, her eldest
son and heir, succeeded, but died without issue in
1604, after having settled the manors of Birkby and
Little Smeaton on Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 24) Thomas,
his brother and heir, dealt with them in 1605, and
made a settlement in 1613 (fn. 25) on his wife Jane
daughter of Tristram Carliell of Sowerby, and died
seised of the manor in 1618. (fn. 26) He left no children,
and his nephew Marmaduke, son of John, inherited
his estates. Marmaduke Grimston died in 1623
seised of the reversion of the manors of Birkby and
Little Smeaton after the death of Elizabeth, then wife
of Sir Henry Browne. (fn. 27) This Marmaduke had made
a settlement in 1618 on his wife Anne Dalton.
He left one son William, three years old at the
death of his father. (fn. 28) William held the manor in
1656 (fn. 29) and died in 1664, (fn. 30) leaving a son William,
who held Birkby in 1687 and 1690 (fn. 31) and died in
1711. (fn. 32) His son Thomas married Dorothy daughter
of Sir Thomas Legard, and died in 1737, leaving a
son Thomas, who married
Jane the daughter of John
Close. (fn. 33) When Thomas Grimston died in 1751 he was
succeeded by a son John, who
married Jane Legard and died
in 1780. His son Thomas
was holding Birkby in 1783 (fn. 34)
and died in 1821. (fn. 35)
Foljambe. Sable a bend between six scallops or.
Grimston. Argent a fesse sable with three spur-rowels or thereon.
Hildyard. Azure a cheveron between three molets or.
In 1872 Mr. Henry Peirse
was lord of the manor, which
by 1879 had passed into the
hands of Mr. John R. W.
Hildyard of Hutton Bonville
Hall; it is now held by Mr. J. Arundell Hildyard.
The land held by the priory of Healaugh Park (fn. 36) was
valued at the Dissolution (fn. 37) at 24s. The monks of
Kirkstall Abbey had a rent-charge of 1s. from a tenement and 3 oxgangs of land in Birkby. (fn. 38)
The descent of the overlordship of LITTLE
SMEATON followed that of the main manor of
Birkby (q.v.), being in 1086 a berewick of Northallerton. (fn. 39)
Thorkil son of Thorald held 5 carucates here at
the end of the 11th century (fn. 40) ; the fee was afterwards in the hands of a family bearing the local
name. Robert de Smeaton acted as a juror in
1259–60, and in 1271 a Robert de Smeaton was
enfeoffed by William de Cestrunte and Elizabeth his
wife, in right of Elizabeth, in a messuage and 2½ oxgangs here. (fn. 41) William de Smeaton was tenant of
1½ carucates and John son of Thomas de Smeaton
tenant of half a carucate in 1285. (fn. 42) William de
Smeaton, while, as it was afterwards alleged, of unsound mind, exchanged two parts of the manor with
John Morgan for land in Deighton. (fn. 43) John died
before 1301, leaving co-heirs, but another John Morgan
held 26 oxgangs here and forfeited them for his part
in the rising of 1322; in 1360 this land was granted
to William de la Pole and Katherine his wife. (fn. 44)
The heir of John Morgan seems to have been Walter
de Lisle, whose right was disputed by Robert son of
William de Smeaton in 1330. (fn. 45) The court decided
in favour of Walter de Lisle, (fn. 46) who was still living in
1333, (fn. 47) and was again summoned to answer a plea of
trespass by John son of William de Smeaton.
De la Pole. Azure a fesse between three leopards' heads or.
William de la Pole was probably in possession of
the Morgan lands before 1360, for in 1334 he
received a grant of protection
in Little Smeaton, (fn. 48) and in
1339 Thomas de Kellaw and
Emma his wife, in right of
Emma, quitclaimed to him
26 oxgangs. (fn. 49) William died
in 1366 (fn. 50) seised of lands and
a close called 'le Park' here;
these on the death of Katherine in 1381 (fn. 51) passed to their
son Michael Earl of Suffolk.
He was attainted in 1386,
when his lands were forfeited
to the Crown. After his death
in 1389 (fn. 52) his son Michael
petitioned for a restoration of his father's lands. (fn. 53) In
the 15th century this fee was part of the inheritance of
Alice daughter of Thomas de la Hay, who married
Thomas Thwaites. (fn. 54) She was a widow in 1484, (fn. 55)
when a messuage and 100 acres were settled on her
with remainders to her sons John, Henry and
Thomas (fn. 56) among others. The manor was demised
to Henry for life and in 1490
Isabel Thwaites obtained a
decree against her younger
brother Henry in the Court
of York for the payment of
£40 out of Little Smeaton
promised by her mother. (fn. 57)
John Thwaites, son and heir
of Alice, had a son Thomas
who had three children,
Thomas, John, and Isabel
the wife of Sir William Fairfax. (fn. 58) In 1525 (fn. 59) Marmaduke
Thwaites was in possession of
Little Smeaton; he was still
living in 1539. (fn. 60) His daughter
Dorothy married Thomas Grimston, (fn. 61) and Little
Smeaton from this time followed the descent of
Birkby (fn. 62) (q.v.) until 1684, (fn. 63) when William Grimston
divided the manor of Little Smeaton among his four
daughters, Margaret, who married Robert Mascall,
Dorothy wife of Robert Medley, Elizabeth wife of
Philip Langdale, and Mary, who married Thomas
Moseley. (fn. 64) In 1708 (fn. 65) Thomas and Mary Moseley
sold their part of the manor to Henry Howgill, and
in the following year Margaret Mascall, a widow,
and Robert her son sold their quarter to Nathaniel
Giles, (fn. 66) who in 1715 (fn. 67) sold it to Henry Howgill of
Great Smeaton. (fn. 68) In 1879 it was in the hands of
Mr. M. H. Horsfall, the present lord of the manor.
Thwaites of Denton. Argent a fesse sable between three fleurs de lis gules with three bezants on the fesse.
HUTTON BONVILLE (Hoton Benevill, Hotonsuper-Wiske, xiv cent.) is not mentioned in Domesday Book. The overlordship was, with Birkby, in
the hands of the Bishop of Durham. (fn. 69) In the reign
of Henry III Robert de Bonville was holding it
with West Harlsey for one knight's fee, (fn. 70) and was
followed by Margaret Bonville, perhaps a daughter. (fn. 71)
After this the fee appears to have been divided. (fn. 72) It
was held by tenants as half a knight's fee in 1285. (fn. 73)
A quarter of a knight's fee went to the Bessingby
family. In 1310 William de Bessingby and Clarice
his wife quitclaimed land here to their son William (fn. 74) ;
John de Bessingby and John Yewholme held it for
a quarter of a knight's fee in 1427. (fn. 75)
The other quarter of a fee was held by John de
Speton in 1316. (fn. 76) In 1397 Thomas Culpepper and
Joyce his wife quitclaimed their right to the manor
in favour of John Conyers of Hornby and others. (fn. 77)
John was followed by a son Christopher, who held a
quarter of a knight's fee in
1427 (fn. 78) and was still living in
1459, (fn. 79) and had a son John.
He was made a Knight of
the Garter by Richard III in
return for his support. (fn. 80) He
was several times Sheriff of
Yorkshire, and took a prominent part in state affairs. (fn. 81)
He married Margery, one of
the daughters and co-heirs of
Philip Lord Darcy and Meynell, and died in 1490. (fn. 82)
Conyers of Hornby. Azure a sleeve or with the difference of a crescent upon a crescent.
His son John was killed
during the lifetime of his
father, and Hutton Bonville evidently went to a
younger brother Robert, who is mentioned in the will
of Christopher Conyers dated 1483. (fn. 83) He married
Margaret daughter and co-heiress of Rowland Darcy
of Hinton, (fn. 84) Leicestershire, and was the founder of a
family long settled at Hutton Bonville. In 1523–4 (fn. 85)
John Conyers paid subsidy at Hutton Bonville, as
Roger Conyers did in 1525–6 and again in 1539. (fn. 86)
In 1542 (fn. 87) Robert Conyers held lands there, and was
mentioned in the will of his 'cousin' Lady Anne
Conyers in 1547. (fn. 88) He died in 1560 (fn. 89) and was
succeeded by his son and heir John, who died in
1578, (fn. 90) having in 1565 made settlements of five
messuages in Hutton Bonville on his son and heir
Christopher and Isabel his wife. (fn. 91) Christopher died
in 1613, (fn. 92) leaving a son Robert, aged sixteen. He
was in possession of the manor in 1622–3 and also
in 1626, (fn. 93) and being brought under the Recusancy Act
he conveyed the manor in 1636 (fn. 94) to Richard Neile,
Archbishop of York, and his son Sir Paul Neile. In
1637–8 a Crown lease of forty-one years of the
manor as the property of a recusant was granted to
Edward Lively. (fn. 95) On the death of the archbishop in
1640 (fn. 96) Hutton Bonville descended to his son Sir
Paul Neile, who in 1646 paid £802 as composition
for his estate. (fn. 97) After the Restoration he was an usher
of the Privy Chamber and one of the original members of the Royal Society. (fn. 98) He was holding Hutton
Bonville in 1667, (fn. 99) and died before 1685. (fn. 100) His
eldest son William died during the lifetime of his
father, and Richard, the second son, after being entangled in various discreditable escapades, was disinherited by Sir Paul. (fn. 101)
Neile. Ermine a lion between three right hands gules cut off at the wrist.
Peirse of Bedale. Azure a crown between three crosslets fitchy or.
In 1699 (fn. 102) the manor was in the hands of Richard
Peirse, the second son of John Peirse of Bedale and
London. The eldest line of Richard's descendants
obtained the Bedale estates, but Hutton Bonville with
Thimbleby became the property of his second son
Thomas and his posterity, who remained seated here
till about 1780, when they moved to Easby Hall,
though the chapel at Hutton Bonville continued to
be their burial place. (fn. 103) From Thomas Peirse the
manor passed to his eldest son William, (fn. 104) who was
holding it in 1737 (fn. 105) and died in 1753. (fn. 106) It thus
became the property of his brother Richard Peirse,
who died in 1759, (fn. 107) leaving it to his eldest son
Richard William Peirse. (fn. 108) He was holding the
manor in 1774 and in 1780, (fn. 109) but sold it about
1785 to Anthony Hammond of Richmond, (fn. 110) who in
1820 (fn. 111) resold the estate to Henry Peirse of Bedale.
Henry Peirse was M.P. for Northallerton and died
in 1824. (fn. 112) He settled Hutton Bonville Manor on
his youngest daughter Harriet, who married Sir John
Poo Beresford, bart., Vice-Admiral of the White and
a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty. (fn. 113)
In 1872 Mr. Henry Peirse was lord of the manor,
Hutton Bonville Hall being the seat of Mr. John
R. W. Hildyard. Before 1879 Mr. Hildyard became
lord of the manor, which with Birkby has remained
in his family to the present day, Mr. J. Arundell
Hildyard being the present owner.
The church of ST. PETER is a
rectangular building, measuring internally 51 ft. 6 in. by 20 ft. 8 in.,
with an apse 5 ft. deep at the east end. It was built
in 1776 on the site of a church which was probably
of the 12th century. The original windows have
been replaced by modern Gothic windows.
Two very interesting stones have survived the
general destruction or loss of the old work. One,
which measures 14 in. by 8 in., is evidently a piece
of a cross shaft of 11th-century date and is carved
with an interlacing pattern; it is now set in the
west wall. The other, which was found under the
floor, is a carved capital of about 1160; it fitted a
13-in. column, and its presence implies that there
was an arcade in the former church. Its top is
hollowed out and pierced with a drain, showing that
it was afterwards used as a font.
The present font is a modern one; the 18thcentury baluster font formerly in use now stands in
Two modern bells are hung in the bell-turret above
the west gable.
The plate consists of a London-made communion
cup of 1570, for which a cover paten has been provided by the present rector, and a paten or salver
bearing the London date letter for 1715 and the
maker's mark S P for William Spackman.
The registers begin in 1721.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE, Hutton Bonville, consists of a chancel measuring internally 15 ft.
6 in. by 17 ft. 3 in., nave of equal width and 37 ft.
5 in. long and north aisle 10 ft. 6 in. wide.
Although the building is doubtless mediaeval, it
was so much modernized during the restoration of
1896, in memory of Mr. J. R. W. Hildyard, that
nothing is left beyond some old walling to give a
clue as to its age. The aisle and arcade are modern
A single bell hangs in a modern turret above the
west gable. There is a disused bell at the hall dated
The plate includes a cup and paten with the
London date letter for 1711 and maker's mark S L
(for Gabriel Sleath). The paten has the same plate
marks, and also those for 1874 when it was altered.
There is also a modern flagon.
The registers begin in 1727.
The church of St. Peter is first
mentioned in 1291 (fn. 114) ; it was then
in the hands of the Bishop of
Durham, who held (fn. 115) the advowson till 1848, (fn. 116) when
it was transferred to the newly-appointed see of Ripon.
In 1865 Mr. W. R. Holmes bought the advowson
under Lord Westbury's Act, it being then a Chancellor's living. It is now held by his son the Rev.
Henry C. Holmes. (fn. 117)
The church of St. Lawrence at Hutton Bonville
was at one time a chapelry in Birkby, (fn. 118) and later a
perpetual curacy. It is now by courtesy called a
vicarage (fn. 119) and is held with Birkby. The patronage
has always gone with the estate.
This parish is entitled to participate
in the funds of the charity of Dame