A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 3, Ouse and Derwent Wapentake, and Part of Harthill Wapentake. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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The village of Wheldrake, an Anglian settlement, lies on the Escrick moraine near the east bank of the river Derwent, some 6 miles south-east of York. (fn. 1) The main street runs along the top of the ridge, and the element 'ric' in the place-name may refer to the moraine; the first element in the name may be an allusion to the wells or springs that occur at the site. (fn. 2) A now deserted hamlet known as Waterhouses was situated on the banks of the Derwent in the Middle Ages. The parish extends for nearly 3 miles across the low ground north of the moraine, where it formerly included the township of Langwith. In 1935, however, Langwith was combined with Heslington civil parish. (fn. 3) The irregularly-shaped parish of Wheldrake formerly covered 5,310 a., of which 793 a. lay in Langwith. (fn. 4)
The boulder clay of the moraine is topped by a narrow strip of sand and gravel, in places exceeding 50 ft. above sea-level. (fn. 5) Elsewhere the outwash sand, gravel, and clay lie mostly at between 25 ft. and 50 ft., occasionally lower still. Except where it crosses the moraine south-west of the village, the parish boundary largely follows some of the numerous streams and dikes that drain these low grounds. The relatively small open fields of Wheldrake lay partly on the moraine, but extended into the lower ground north and south of the village. Beyond the open fields were assarts made from waste and woods, and in the north-west of the parish extensive commons. Open fields and commons were inclosed in 1773 and the resulting regular field pattern contrasts with that of some of the areas of old assarts.
Alluvium beside the Derwent was occupied by common meadows, especially the ings which stretched beyond the present course of the river to its old course further east. The old course forms the parish boundary around the ings and another loop of the older river forms the boundary around Bank island, this time to the west of the present course. The ings are still regularly flooded and provide a winter refuge for swans and other wildfowl; nearly 300 a., together with an adjoining 100 a. in Thorganby, were designated a nature reserve in 1971-2. (fn. 6)
There seems never to have been a village community at Langwith, unless the place-name 'Thorp', recorded there in 1086, testifies to one in early times. (fn. 7) Langwith was a forest hay or clearing in the 13th century, and its assarts and commons later belonged to a handful of isolated farm-houses. A new runway built at Elvington airfield in 1956 extends across the township. (fn. 8)
The main street of Wheldrake is continued to the south-west as a road leading along the moraine to Escrick. Near the parish boundary it appears to have been diverted away from Grange Farm, perhaps soon after inclosure in 1773. (fn. 9) Eastwards from the village the main street continues towards the Derwent as New Lane, before leading southwards to Thorganby. New Lane dates from c. 1300, when it was diverted from a more southerly course (fn. 10) which perhaps lay close to the grange which Fountains abbey established in the 13th century. (fn. 11) Also from the east end of the village Greengales Lane leads northwards to Elvington, and from the Escrick road another minor road leads north-westwards towards Fulford, crossing Bridge dike at the parish boundary by Pool bridge, which was mentioned in 1374-5. (fn. 12) Field roads include Broad Highway and Heeling Lane, to the north of the village, and Leonard Scales Lane, to the south-west. Broad Highway probably led to the common in Langwith, and both it and Leonard Scales Lane have names of 13thcentury origin. (fn. 13)
Almost all the older houses of the village lie along the closely built-up Main Street and its continuation Church Lane. Back lanes run behind the garths to north and south, the latter still only a field road. Dalton Hill links the north back lane with Main Street. The regular layout of the village results from a replanning which may have been carried out in the late Dark Ages or following William I's harrying of 1069-70. The village as then laid out may have consisted of eight tofts on either side of the street. (fn. 14) The growth of the village up to c. 1850 was achieved almost solely by the subdivision of those original tofts, and only more recently has development extended beyond the back lanes.
Westwards of the parish church the main street is almost continuously flanked by houses, which are set back behind a grass verge. No. 53 has exposed timber framing, probably of the 17th century, and fragments of framing have been found inside other houses, notably nos. 3-5 and 51. In addition several houses of brick, including nos. 13, 16, 20, and 23, have a three-roomed plan and axial stack which suggest a 17th-century origin. (fn. 15) Most of the brick houses are, however, of the 18th and 19th centuries, as are the numerous brick barns and outbuildings which occupy much of the ground immediately behind the street frontage. The largest house is no. 52, an 18th-century building with added bays, behind which there is a stable range with central dovecot and a group of farm buildings which include a wheelhouse. No. 71 also has a dovecot.
A little infilling of houses has occurred in the main street, but the 20th-century expansion of Wheldrake as a dormitory for York has been taking place mainly around the north side of the village, beyond the back lane, where there are estates of new houses and bungalows. Beyond the east end of the old village street there are about 30 council houses. At the west end the former railway station remained in 1972 but the lines had been lifted. The Derwent Valley Light Railway was opened through the parish in 1912; it was closed for passengers in 1926 (fn. 16) and for goods in 1965 southwards from Wheldrake and in 1968 northwards. (fn. 17) There were two inns in the village in 1972, the Wenlock Arms and the Alice Hawthorn, the latter named after a racehorse of the 1840s. (fn. 18) There were five licensed alehouses in the 1750s and 1760s, later in the century only three, (fn. 19) which by 1823 were known as the Red Lion, the Blacksmith's Arms, and the County Hospital; (fn. 20) the last was presumably named after the hospital in York. All three were replaced by the large Wenlock Arms, built in 1856, (fn. 21) but beer retailers were also mentioned in the late 19th and earlier 20th centuries. (fn. 22) There was a clothing club in the village in the later 19th century and a branch of the Order of Foresters in the early 20th. (fn. 23)
The hamlet of Waterhouses, first mentioned in the 13th century, (fn. 24) lay between the Thorganby road and the Derwent where there are still fields known as Waterhouse Garths. Its inhabitants may have been largely concerned with fishing and other activities along the river. (fn. 25) It apparently declined after the Black Death and there was certainly one waste tenement there in 1361. It has been suggested that the hamlet belonged to the Darels and that it was not repopulated after their estate was acquired by Fountains abbey in 1383. (fn. 26) There was at least one house there in the 16th century (fn. 27) and the Water House remained until the 20th century. (fn. 28) In 1972, after part of Waterhouse Garths had been ploughed, pottery of c. 1500 to c. 1700 was picked up from the surface. (fn. 29)
Alongside Waterhouse Garths, Ings Lane leads down to a bridge over the Derwent giving access to the ings. The 'hay bridge' was mentioned in the 14th century, (fn. 30) and in 1606 its role in the harvesting of hay was mentioned to justify its recent rebuilding with timber from Crown woods in Wheldrake. (fn. 31) A drawbridge there was in 1966 replaced by a fixed bridge. (fn. 32)
Most of the numerous scattered farms in the parish were no doubt built after the inclosure of Wheldrake in 1773. Wiggenholme Farm (now Wigman Hall), however, certainly existed by 1696 (fn. 33) and probably by 1609. (fn. 34) Grange Farm is also preinclosure in date. (fn. 35) The farm-houses at Langwith, where inclosure was earlier, also had an older origin. (fn. 36) There is the remnant of a moat at Langwith Lodge.
There were about 69 households at Wheldrake in 1316, 84 in 1348, 73 in 1361, and 56 in 1394. (fn. 37) There were 216 poll-tax payers in 1377. (fn. 38) The village was given no tax relief in 1354, but its quota was reduced by a quarter in 1452. (fn. 39) There were at least 65 houses in 1609. (fn. 40) In 1672 115 households were included in the hearth-tax return, 15 of them exempt. Of those chargeable 81 had only one hearth each, 17 had 2 to 4, one had 6, and one had nine. (fn. 41) There were about 84 families in 1743 (fn. 42) and 100 in 1764. (fn. 43) The population of Wheldrake township in 1801 was 493; it increased to a maximum of 689 in 1851 but fell to 518 in 1901. It had dropped below 500 by 1921 and stood at 451 in 1961. With the development of housing estates in the village numbers rose to 936 in 1971. There is no indication of the population of Langwith township until 1801, when it was 29; it reached a maximum of 57 in 1901 and was 45 in 1931. (fn. 44)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1066 Wheldrake comprised 6 carucates and 6 bovates, and was held by Norman. After the Conquest it passed to William Malet, but by 1086 it belonged to William de Percy and was held from him by William Colevile. (fn. 45)
In 1166 Thomas Darel held Wheldrake under the Percys and at the division of William de Percy's estates in 1175 it was assigned to the share of the earl of Warwick. Maud de Percy, countess of Warwick, between c. 1180 and c. 1200 gave her nephew Richard Malbis the service of Thomas Darel's heirs, and the Malbis family thus became immediate lords of WHELDRAKE with the Darels as under-tenants. (fn. 46) After the death of Thomas Darel's son Geoffrey before 1185, Wheldrake was held from Richard Malbis by Geoffrey's daughters Beatrice of Fitling and Cecily of Bolton. Beatrice's son Geoffrey took the name Darel. (fn. 47)
In the late 12th century several gifts of land at Wheldrake were made to Holy Trinity priory, York, and Richard Malbis confirmed gifts totalling 7 bovates. (fn. 48) All this was subsequently granted by the priory to Fountains abbey, and Fountains got 2 more bovates from Kirkham priory. (fn. 49) Richard Malbis (d. 1210) moreover granted all his property at Wheldrake to the abbey. (fn. 50) Fountains held 30¼ bovates in 1316 (fn. 51) and the manor was worth £104 16s. 6d. in 1535. (fn. 52)
After the Dissolution various Crown leases were made of former Fountains property in Wheldrake, including those of the manor to Humphrey Boland in 1543, Thomas Powle in 1558, (fn. 53) and Thomas Knyvett, later Baron Knyvett of Escrick, in 1597. (fn. 54) In 1612 Lord Knyvett conveyed his interest in the manor to Thomas Howard, earl of Suffolk, and his son Theophilus (fn. 55) and in 1625 the manor was granted in fee by the Crown to Sir Edward Howard, (fn. 56) later Baron Howard of Escrick.
In 1706 the manor was sold by Charles, Lord Howard, to Sir William Sea wen, (fn. 57) and in 1761 the latter's great-nephew Thomas sold it to Sarah Thompson. (fn. 58) It subsequently descended like Escrick. (fn. 59) Additional land was acquired by the Thompsons until they held most of the township. Sales by the Forbes Adam family from the 1920s onwards included nearly 1,000 a. in 1949, (fn. 60) but 720 a. still formed part of the Escrick Park estate in 1972. (fn. 61)
The lord of Wheldrake built a small castle there before 1149, when the king authorized the citizens of York to destroy it. (fn. 62) In 1200 Richard Malbis was licensed to fortify a castle that he was building, but its completion was prevented, again at the instance of York. (fn. 63) The castle probably stood on a spur of higher ground near the flood-plain of the Derwent, in a position to command the river. (fn. 64) It is possible that a manor-house stood at this site after 1200 and it may have belonged to the Darels, who as undertenants of Fountains abbey had a manor-house in 1361. (fn. 65) The manor-house of the capital manor probably lay at the east end of the village and it seems likely that it became the site of the abbey's grange. Little is known of the house that was built on the site after the Dissolution. A bed of tulips there attracted visitors from York in 1738. (fn. 66) Christopher Sykes, of the Sledmere family, lived at the hall in the 1770s, when he also leased part of the glebe and established a nursery. (fn. 67) The house is said to have been demolished c. 1820. (fn. 68) It probably lay a few yards to the south-east of the present farm-house, which is entirely of the 19th century, close to the centre of walled enclosures totalling nearly 8 a. and approached from the road through a formal gateway. Some of the surviving farm buildings, including a dovecot above a tall entrance arch, are of the 18th century. There may at some time have been a park south of the house, where the names 'the Parks' and 'Lawn closes' occur. (fn. 69)
After the capital manor was granted to Fountains abbey by Richard Malbis the Darels remained undertenants of one carucate, and their estate was sometimes referred to as the manor of WHELDRAKE. William Darel conveyed it to feoffees in 1368 and their successors conveyed it to Fountains in 1383. (fn. 70) These transactions also involved the acquisition by St. Leonard's hospital, York, of a rent-charge upon Fountains abbey's estate in Wheldrake. The hospital was apparently enjoying the profits of William Darel's manor in 1364, in return for giving hospitality to Darel and his wife, (fn. 71) and in 1383 it was assigned 16 marks to be paid by the abbey. (fn. 72) The hospital's estate there was worth £10 in 1535 (fn. 73) but no more is known of it.
At Langwith 1½ carucate belonged to Morcar in 1066 and to Count Alan of Brittany in 1086, when it was soke of Clifton (Yorks. N.R.). Half a carucate at Thorp, in Langwith, belonged to Hugh son of Baldric in 1086. (fn. 74) Count Alan subsequently acquired the smaller estate also. The gift by Count Stephen (d. 1135-6) of the 2 carucates to St. Peter's (later St. Leonard's) hospital, York, was confirmed by his son between 1136 and 1145. (fn. 75) Langwith later passed to the Crown and was used as a forest hay; in the 13th century it was in the keepership of the Cawood family. (fn. 76)
The hay was given by the Crown in 1270 as part of the foundation endowment of Darnhall abbey (Ches.). (fn. 77) The abbey granted it in 1276 to Warter priory, and Warter in 1279 to the chapter of York. (fn. 78) In the late 13th and early 14th centuries it was let to the archbishop. (fn. 79) About 430 a. there were sold by the parliamentary commissioners in 1652 (fn. 80) but were recovered at the Restoration. In 1852 the chapter's property was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 81) and they sold 267 a. to Jane Baillie in 1854 (fn. 82) and 516 a. to G. J. Yarburgh in 1859. (fn. 83) The Yarburghs, later lords Deramore, subsequently enlarged their estate there and retained it until 147 a. were sold to the Air Ministry in 1956 and 511 a. to S. A. Spofforth and E. C. Bousfield in 1964. (fn. 84)
Several small estates in Wheldrake were held by religious houses. Thicket priory had 5 bovates, given by Geoffrey of Fitling and others. (fn. 85) A house, two closes, and 8 a. of land formerly belonging to the priory were granted to Sir Edward Howard in 1625, along with the capital manor. (fn. 86) Other land descended with the site of the priory to the Askes, Robinsons, and Jeffersons. (fn. 87) In 1888 J. J. Dunnington-Jefferson exchanged 50 a. with Lord Wenlock for other land in Wheldrake. (fn. 88)
Warter priory obtained a carucate in Wheldrake, (fn. 89) worth nearly £10 after the Dissolution. (fn. 90) It was granted to Thomas, earl of Rutland, in tail in 1536 and in fee in 1541. (fn. 91) Henry, earl of Rutland, conveyed it to Thomas Hussey and William Sygrave in 1562-3. (fn. 92) Its descent has not been traced further.
Nunburnholme priory had land in Wheldrake worth 7s. in 1535. (fn. 93) In the early 16th century Roland Herbert claimed to hold a house and 82 a. on lease from the priory, (fn. 94) and a cottage formerly Nunburnholme's was granted to Sir Edward Howard in 1625. (fn. 95) Kirkham priory was granted 2 bovates there by William Darel but they were released to Fountains abbey in 1246. (fn. 96) Property in Wheldrake belonging to Wilberfoss priory was sold by Francis Gayle to Christopher Allanson in 1606. (fn. 97)
The Domesday estate at Wheldrake had land for four ploughs, but in 1086 William Colevile had one plough and three villeins and three bordars had another. There was woodland a league and a half long and a league broad, 20 a. of meadow, and three fisheries rendering 2,000 eels. Both before and after the Conquest the estate was worth 20s. (fn. 98)
It has been suggested (fn. 99) that a nucleus of some 350 a. of arable land lying around the 11th-century village was surrounded by a turf bank, continued by a stream called Wilgesic flowing towards the river Derwent. This nucleus included land called the Flats and Toft Acres. Assarting of new land beyond the bank and stream may not have begun until the mid 12th century, but during the following 100 years more than twenty such clearings were made. Several bore names with the suffix 'ridding', or clearing, and all were apparently made and enjoyed by individual villagers. The only larger assarts at this period were those which Richard Malbis had royal licence to make c. 1200. (fn. 100) After Fountains abbey had acquired a large part of Wheldrake, and established a grange there, (fn. 101) it took the lead in the extensive assarting that was carried on in the mid and later 13th century. Arrangements were made between the abbey and other landowners about their share of reclaimed land. Some assarts were divided between all freeholders in proportion to their share of older arable land in the township, (fn. 102) and on other occasions assarting by one landowner or his tenants gave other freeholders the right to make corresponding assarts in proportion to their holdings. (fn. 103) Most of the 13th-century assarts lay north and south of the village, with some in the west of the parish beyond the unreclaimed wastes. They were divided into closes in which tenants held strips and over which they enjoyed limited rights of grazing. (fn. 104)
By the end of the 13th century the older arable land within the ring of new assarts consisted of fragmented holdings, sometimes described as bovates, sometimes as lying in culture. Some of the culture, however, were in single ownership. (fn. 105) There is no evidence how the older arable was farmed, but it was later to become the open fields of the township. Beside the Derwent there were large areas of meadow, especially within the great loop of the river beyond its modern course. Part of the ings was divided between the villagers, but by 1218 Fountains abbey had secured sole rights over the easternmost part, known as Alemar. (fn. 106) The common pastures consisted of sandy stretches known as North and Roxhall moors, and wetter areas called Moze or Moss and Horse marsh. Moze was intercommoned by Wheldrake and Escrick, together with the adjacent common of Escrick. (fn. 107) The woodland c. 1300 included North and South woods, lying within the area of 13th-century assarts.
The township of Langwith was mostly woodland and pasture. In the early 12th century it was described as a dairy farm belonging to the count of Brittany (fn. 108) and later in the century it was a hay or forest inclosure, which was retained for hunting after the forest of Ouse and Derwent was disafforested in 1234. In 1270 the hay was estimated to contain 400 a. 'in covert' and 100 a. 'in plain', but exact measurement was impossible because of flooding; there were thought to be 4,000 oaks in the covert. (fn. 109)
The greater part of Wheldrake lay within Fountains abbey's estate. Apart from the Darels and Waiter priory there were only 6 freeholders in 1316, with a total of 7 bovates. The abbey had 9 tenants at will, 27 tenants in bondage, and 25 cottagers. By 1361 the grange was farmed out. (fn. 110)
During the 14th century the older arable land in Wheldrake, the bovates and culture, was reorganized as four open fields. They were named in the early 15th century as West, North-west, North, and East fields. Most of the first three contained normal open-field holdings, measured in bovates. But much of East field, together with the Flats and most of the area of 13th-century assarts, was now called forland, measured in acres. The fields were doubtless subject to a fixed rotation, while the forland or 'extra land' was not. (fn. 111) In the 15th and 16th centuries much of the forland was converted to pasture. The former assarts in the west of the township, beyond the common, became pasture closes; they included Wiggenholmes close, which was the subject of several leases after the dissolution of Fountains abbey. (fn. 112) Extensive commons remained in the 16th century, and in 1546 the inhabitants of Wheldrake and Escrick agreed to continue to intercommon on Wheldrake moor and Escrick Moss. (fn. 113)
The abbot supplied oaks from Wheldrake in 1527-8, (fn. 114) and after the Dissolution woods called Wiggenholme Spring, Darel Hagg, and the Park were let by the Crown. (fn. 115) Large quantities of timber were removed in the 16th and early 17th centuries. (fn. 116)
By 1609 the forland in East field and the Flats had been added to the open fields, which otherwise remained much as before. The rest of the forland had been divided into pasture closes, some held in severalty and others shared by several inhabitants holding beast-gates. There were then 13 freeholders and 58 leaseholders on the manor, holding 65 houses. Fifty of those holdings included open-field land, but 25 of them had only 10 a. or less; 12 contained 11-20 a. and 13 21-44 a. each. Meadow land was included in 36 holdings, all but one having only 1-3 a., and 27 holdings had beast-gates, varying from 3 to 34 in number. One man had 120 a. of several pasture. Fifteen tenants, including a weaver and a miller, held only their houses. (fn. 117)
By the later 17th century North field had become known as Dovecot field and North-west as Well field, and by the early 18th century West field was called Mill field. (fn. 118) Probably in the 1720s some consolidation of the scattered strips of the openfield holdings was carried out. (fn. 119) In 1769 the open fields, commons, and ings amounted to nearly 2,000 a., compared with over 2,400 a. of ancient inclosures. About 2,000 a. of the latter belonged to Beilby Thompson, lord of the manor, and included about 1,120 a. of pasture, 330 a. of meadow, 440 a. of arable, and 60 a. of wood. (fn. 120) The remaining commonable lands were inclosed in 1773 (fn. 121) under an Act of 1769. (fn. 122) Allotments totalling 221 a. were made from Mill field, 157 a. from Well field, 109 a. from Dovecot field, and 104 a. from East field, the last perhaps including the Flats. The ings comprised 210 a. and allotments from the commons totalled 1,175 a., of which 84 a. lay in Horse Course, the former Horse marsh. A few small closes were allotted as part of exchanges. Beilby Thompson received 1,484 a., the rector 210 a. for glebe and tithes, and there were 2 allotments of over 30 a. each, 10 of 10-29 a., and 11 of under 10 a.
The woods and pastures of Langwith were inclosed at an early date. About 360 a. in Langwith closes were let by the chapter of York as two or three farms from the early 16th century onwards. (fn. 123) The woods were in the charge of a keeper in the 16th century, (fn. 124) but later they too were let. (fn. 125) Timber was frequently sent to York during the 14th to 16th centuries. (fn. 126) In 1769 the inhabitants of Wheldrake still enjoyed a right of stray on a narrow strip of land, in the nature of a droveway, running around Langwith. By the award of 1773 that right was extinguished and the occupiers of Langwith paid a total of £15 to be distributed in compensation. (fn. 127)
In the earlier 19th century there were 30-40 farmers in Wheldrake and 2-3 in Langwith, though only about 10 of them had 150 a. or more. (fn. 128) There have since usually been 20-30, about 10 of them having 150 a. or more in the 1920s. (fn. 129) There were 20 farms in Wheldrake in 1971 with an average size of 157 a. (fn. 130) In 1801 only 638 a. were returned as under crops, chiefly oats (245 a.), peas, and turnips or rape. (fn. 131) At Langwith in 1841 there were 327 a. of arable, 200 a. of grass, 23 a. of wood, and 168 a. of waste. (fn. 132) By 1905 Wheldrake contained 2,835 a. of arable, 1,642 a. of pasture, and 269 a. of wood. (fn. 133) The arable land lay mostly on the moraine and in the north of the parish in the 1930s and later, and there was much meadow and pasture along the sides of the moraine and near the Derwent. (fn. 134) In 1971 there were 2,221 a. of arable in Wheldrake township, including 1,245 a. of barley, and 912 a. were in permanent pasture or leys; there were over 800 cattle and about 440 sheep. (fn. 135) About 370 a. of woodland have been managed by the Forestry Commission since 1949. (fn. 136)
In the 13th century and later, Fountains abbey enjoyed fisheries in both the Derwent and in Alemar, the 'eel pond', which lay in the ings. A ditch was made separating Alemar from the rest of the ings. Fishermen were occasionally mentioned and weirs were built in the river. (fn. 137) In the 14th century the abbot's weirs were alleged to obstruct the passage of boats. (fn. 138) Wheldrake may also have made some use of river traffic in later times. In 1722 an inhabitant left money for the lord of the manor to make a roadway to the river 'for a watering place to the old staith', (fn. 139) and there was a landingplace beside the hay bridge. (fn. 140)
Weavers were recorded at Wheldrake in 1609 (fn. 141) and in the earlier 18th century, (fn. 142) and a brick-maker in 1782 ; (fn. 143) there was an old brick field in the 1850s. (fn. 144) In the 19th and 20th centuries the large number of shopkeepers and tradesmen at Wheldrake mark it as one of the leading villages of the district. (fn. 145) There was a water-mill in the 13th century, (fn. 146) perhaps situated on Wilgesic near ground still called Mill hill, and two windmills and a water-mill in the early 14th century. (fn. 147) A windmill and a horse-mill existed in 1609. (fn. 148) The 17th-century windmill may have stood west of the village, where West field later became known as Mill field. (fn. 149) The mill there was first explicitly mentioned in 1719. (fn. 150) It was repaired in 1835 (fn. 151) but no longer existed in 1850. (fn. 152)
A manor court for the recovery of small debts was said to be held in 1823 and Lord Wenlock held a court twice a year in 1840. (fn. 153)
There are surviving accounts of the churchwardens for 1740-1881, constables for 1745-1837, surveyors for 1791-1811, and overseers for 1765- 1820, as well as overseers' assessments for 1717- 1807. Another book contains a summary of the officers' accounts for 1760-1882. (fn. 154) There were always two of each of the officers, and bylawmen were mentioned by the constables in 1747. The surveyors recorded an annual list of the inhabitants and their quota of day-work or compositions.
The overseers of the poor maintained poorhouses which were first mentioned in 1743; in 1764 there were eight of them. (fn. 155) Wheldrake joined York poorlaw union in 1837, (fn. 156) and the poorhouses were sold by the union in 1867. (fn. 157) The parish became part of Escrick rural district in 1894, Derwent rural district in 1935, (fn. 158) and the Selby district of North Yorkshire in 1974.
There was a church at Wheldrake in 1086. (fn. 159) The archbishop's servants at Langwith were ordered in 1294-5 to attend church at Wheldrake and pay tithes to the rector, (fn. 160) and there is no evidence of a chapel at Langwith at any time. In 1971 Langwith was transferred to Heslington parish. (fn. 161)
The gift of the church by the Darel family to Warter priory was confirmed between c. 1170 and 1181; (fn. 162) it presumably involved only the advowson, and that was surrendered by the priory to the archbishop in 1268. (fn. 163) The patronage has since belonged to the archbishop, though the Crown has presented on several occasions. Thus Crown presentations were recorded in 1304, (fn. 164) 1397, when the see was apparently vacant, and 1398, (fn. 165) and in 1568 the Crown empowered the dean of Westminster to present for one turn. (fn. 166) The Crown also presented in 1576, (fn. 167) 1628, (fn. 168) and 1641. (fn. 169)
The church was valued at £20 in 1291 and £25 18s. 2d. net in 1535. (fn. 170) In 1650 it was worth £140, (fn. 171) and the tithes and glebe were let for between £125 and £150 a year in the 18th century. (fn. 172) The average net income in 1829-31 was £474, (fn. 173) but although the gross income remained over £400 the net value was only £221 in 1884 and £338 in 1914. (fn. 174) Tithes had earlier provided most of the income. There were disputes over their payment in 1407, 1613, and 1691. (fn. 175) At the inclosure of Wheldrake in 1773 the rector was awarded 210 a. for tithes and glebe, besides rents of £135 6s. 6d. for the tithes of ancient inclosures and meadows. There was then also a modus of 5s. from the 8-acre Far closes. (fn. 176) The tithes of Langwith township were commuted for about £53 in 1840. (fn. 177) Glebe at Wheldrake was mentioned as early as 1245-6, (fn. 178) and in the 17th and 18th centuries it consisted of about 17 a. (fn. 179) Ninety-one acres of glebe were sold in 1903 (fn. 180) and 133 a. in 1920. (fn. 181)
A parsonage house was mentioned in 1535 (fn. 182) and it had nine hearths in 1672. (fn. 183) In the 18th century the south front was said to be wholly of brick, the rest partly of timber and plaster; two gabled bays projected from the south front. In 1764 the house had four main ground-floor rooms, besides service rooms, and there were nine rooms upstairs ; (fn. 184) it was enlarged soon after 1825. (fn. 185) The older part was demolished in the 1930s. (fn. 186) A new Rectory was built in 1969 (fn. 187) and the earlier house was in 1972 known as Woodlands.
In 1381 Adam of Thorp gave property in Wheldrake and elsewhere for a chaplain to celebrate at St. Mary's altar. (fn. 188) James Butler, citizen of London, by will proved in 1527, provided for a priest to celebrate at Wheldrake, his birth-place. (fn. 189)
On several occasions the archbishop used the living to reward Church officials, and Lamplugh and Harcourt both presented their sons. (fn. 190) Non-resident and pluralist incumbents included the rector in 1362, who was a canon at York. In 1435 the rector was a canon at Wells and rector of Heversham (Westmld.), in 1514-34 he was vicar of Middleham (Yorks. N.R.), in 1628-c. 1641 he was rector of Bolton Percy (Yorks. W.R.), in 1743 he was vicar of Wakefield (Yorks. W.R.), in 1750-80 he was dean of Ely, and in 1835 he was a canon at York and rector of both Etton and Kirby in Cleveland (Yorks. N.R.). An assistant curate was employed at Wheldrake in 1743, 1835, and 1865. (fn. 191)
Peter du Moulin, rector in 1641, was ejected in 1645 (fn. 192) and Henry Byard, rector in 1650, in 1662. (fn. 193) Later rectors included William Palmer, divine (1577-1605), and Charles Blake, divine and poet (1719-30). (fn. 194) W. V. Harcourt, rector 1824-34, amateur scientist, played a leading part in organizing the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at York in 1831. (fn. 195)
In 1580 many parishioners were cited for not attending church. (fn. 196) Two services were held each Sunday in 1743 and Holy Communion was administered four times a year to 45-50 people. (fn. 197) By 1764 communion was celebrated six times a year, by 1868 once a month, by 1884 twice a month, and by 1914 every week; there were 20-25 communicants in the 1860s, about 12 in the 1870s. In 1871 a room at Langwith was used for worship in summer, and farm-house services were occasionally held there in 1914. (fn. 198) Two services were held each Sunday at Wheldrake in 1972.
The church of ST. HELEN consisted of sanctuary, nave, west tower, and vestry. Only the ashlar tower survives from the medieval building. The lower stage is of the early 14th century, but the upper stage is a hundred or more years later and at about the same time a west doorway was inserted. Dilapidations were reported in 1578, 1628-30, and 1745, (fn. 199) and repair work was done in 1741-2. (fn. 200) Apart from the tower the building dates from a rebuilding of 1778-9. (fn. 201)
The big rectangular nave and the five-sided sanctuary are built of pale red brick with darker brick and stone dressings. The stonework includes eaves cornice, stringcourse, and plinth. The windows and doorways are round-headed, except for circular windows over the doorways. Only the vestry window retains the original glazing bars, and inside only the cornice survives of the original plaster ceiling, as the result of an extensive restoration of 1873. The plaster decorations were replaced by a square design of wooden slats, but these were removed when the roof timbers and ceiling were renovated in 1972. Other changes in 1873 included the removal of a west gallery and the provision of new seating, floors, and font. (fn. 202) The redecoration of the church in 1972 marked the beginning of a process of restoring its 18th-century character, and in 1973 the sanctuary windows were reglazed. (fn. 203)
Two large marble tablets in the sanctuary commemorate Charles Blake, rector 1719-30, one bearing his own modest words and the other the praises of his friends. (fn. 204) There is a Royal Arms of 1779 and a charity board of 1780. An octagonal font of c. 1300 was restored to the church in 1974. (fn. 205) A stone pedestal for a sun-dial stands in the churchyard.
The three bells from the old church were retained in 1778: (i) 1640; (ii) 1676; (iii) 1677, the last two by Samuel Smith the younger of York. (fn. 206) Three more bells were added in 1920. (fn. 207) The plate comprises silver cup and paten and plated flagon; the cup was made in York in 1642 by Thomas Harrington. (fn. 208) The registers of baptisms and marriages begin in 1603 and of burials in 1653; they are complete except for baptisms in 1658-69 and marriages in 1648-53. (fn. 209)
In 1569 the assistant curate of Wheldrake was found to be distributing seditious and papist literature, and one or two recusants were discovered in 1586 and in the early 17th century. (fn. 212) One family of Roman Catholics was reported in 1764. (fn. 213) There were four protestant dissenters in the parish in 1676. (fn. 214) Houses and other buildings were licensed for dissenting worship in 1762, 1801, 1808, 1809, 1813, and 1815, (fn. 215) that in 1801 for Methodists. (fn. 216) The Wesleyans built a chapel in 1816, (fn. 217) and in 1823 there was said to be also a meeting-place of the 'new connexion'. (fn. 218) The latter may refer to the Primitive Methodists, who held two meetings at Wheldrake in 1819. (fn. 219) The Wesleyan chapel was rebuilt in 1863, (fn. 220) enlarged by a schoolroom in 1894, and used until 1970. (fn. 221) It was subsequently converted into a private house. In 1865 the Wesleyans were said to have twelve members and many other attenders, and in 1894 the rector reported a 'strong tendency to dissent'. (fn. 222)
A schoolmaster was mentioned in 1623. (fn. 223) A master received a salary of £5 a year to teach 10 children in 1743, (fn. 224) and the school-house was repaired that year. (fn. 225) The mud-walled and thatched structure may have been rebuilt in the 1750s, (fn. 226) and in 1768 it was enlarged. (fn. 227) By the 1820s the master's salary was.£12 8s. Of this sum £5 was received from the lord of the manor, under a benefaction made by Thomas and James Scawen in 1761 for the education of 10 children; £2 8s., to provide for 4 children, was received from Silvester Walker's charity; and £5 interest derived from Thomas Clingand's bequest of £100, by will dated 1820, to provide for 5 boys. (fn. 228)
The school was united with the National Society in 1828. By 1835 it was attended by 62 boys and 27 girls, and in addition to the endowments it was supported by subscriptions and school pence. A lending library was then attached to it. An infants' school was also started in 1828, with 10 boys and 17 girls attending in 1835, when school pence and a subscription by the rector's wife provided the mistress's salary. At another school, started in 1826, 15 girls were taught at their parents' expense. (fn. 229)
Both the main and the infants' schools were extensively repaired in 1867 and 1869, (fn. 230) and the main school rebuilt in 1871. The average attendance in 1873 was 61, including 21 infants. (fn. 231) Under a Scheme of 1869 the educational charities were administered with those for the poor and two-thirds of the income went to the school. (fn. 232) In 1871 the endowment income amounted to £39; subscriptions included those of Lord Wenlock and the rector, and 8s. was received under the will of John Raimes (d. 1858), who left £100 for the school. (fn. 233) An annual government grant was received by 1874. (fn. 234) The infants' department was rebuilt in 1892, and the school was enlarged in 1914. (fn. 235) From 1908 until 1914 the attendance was about 90-110; after the First World War it varied between 88 in 1927 and 53 in 1938. (fn. 236) The number on the roll in April 1972 was 124. (fn. 237) A new school, in the back lane, was opened in 1973. (fn. 238) In addition to income from the poor's charities, over £2 was received from Raimes's charity in 1973. (fn. 239)
An evening school was held in the 1860s and 1880s. (fn. 240)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
George Haxby, by will dated 1625, devised a stable in York to the poor of Wheldrake. (fn. 241) In the later 18th century a rent of 16s. a year was received from it. (fn. 242) The premises were subsequently surrendered for the sum of £50, which produced £5 a year interest in 1784 and £2 10s. in 1824. (fn. 243)
George Parish, rector, by will dated 1681, gave £100, the interest to be used to put out a boy or two girls as apprentices. (fn. 244) Samuel Terrick, rector, by will dated 1718, left £30 for the poor. (fn. 245) Richard Morris, by will dated 1720, similarly left £20. (fn. 246) Charles Blake, rector, by will dated 1728, left £50 to be used with the three previous endowments to buy land. (fn. 247) Another £33 was borrowed and about 35 a. were bought at Brackenholme (in Hemingbrough) in 1731. (fn. 248) In 1764 the rent of the estate produced £10 (fn. 249) and in 1824 £18 a year, of which £8 16s. was used for apprenticing and the rest was distributed to the poor. (fn. 250) The land was usually known as the Hemingbrough or Woodhall charity estate.
Frances, dowager Lady Howard, by will proved in 1716, bequeathed money to provide coal in Escrick and other villages, including Wheldrake. (fn. 251) After 1862 Wheldrake received 1/7 of the income.
Silvester Walker gave £200, which was used in 1775 to buy an annuity of £7 charged upon 16 a. in Wheldrake then belonging to Beilby Thompson. It was provided in a deed of that year that £2 12s. should be distributed in bread to widows, £2 given in clothes to three men, and £2 8s. given to the schoolmaster. (fn. 252)
All the above-mentioned charities were regulated by a charity commissioners' Scheme of 1869. It was provided that a third of the total income should be distributed to the poor in money or goods and that two-thirds should go to Wheldrake school. (fn. 253) The charities' assets in 1896 comprised £481 stock, producing £13 interest, the Hemingbrough estate, producing £20 rent, rent-charges of £12 from land in Wheldrake, and the school site and buildings. (fn. 254) The Hemingbrough estate was sold in 1911. (fn. 255) A Scheme of 1923 allowed a wide range of uses for the educational part of the income, including grants for education other than elementary. (fn. 256) In 1924 and 1931 the income from stock was £37 and from rents £12. (fn. 257)
In 1972 the combined charities, including Howard's, had an income of £61 from £1,047 stock, and the proceeds were divided in accordance with the 1869 Scheme except that the whole income of Howard's charity went to the poor. By a Scheme of 1973 the charities were to be administered together as the Wheldrake Relief in Need charity to provide gifts of money and goods. (fn. 258)
George Davison (d. 1888) left £400 for orphan boys of Wheldrake. (fn. 259) The income was £9 in 1890 and £13 in 1917, and it was used for orphans' clothes and school fees. (fn. 260) The income was £12 in 1965-6, when there was an accumulated balance of £200, and a grant of £20 was made. (fn. 261) In 1973 nearly £17 was received and no disbursements were made. (fn. 262)