A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Manfield parish is composed of the townships of Manfield and Cliffe. The Tees forms its northern boundary and is crossed at Cliffe by Pierce Bridge where the great north road from the Roman station at Catterick passed through the station at Magis.
The village is grouped round several roads, and lies on level ground half a mile east of Watling Street. The position is typical of many villages along this route, and appears to have been designedly kept at some distance from the main road, which for many miles has only occasional houses at the roadside. The church is at the east end of the village, and the rectory, now being replaced by a new and a smaller building, is nearly opposite it.
The 'bridge of Tees' is mentioned in a description of lands in Manfield in the 12th century. (fn. 1) An order to view Pierce Bridge was made in 1655–6, (fn. 2), and the North Riding and the County Palatine of Durham were each responsible for a moiety of the repairs. (fn. 3) In 1717 the lord of Cliffe owned a ferry across the Tees at Manfield. (fn. 4)
The park of Cliffe Hall was formed in the 13th century (fn. 7); it is surrounded by plantations and traversed by a little stream, the Glen, that finds its way to the Tees. There are tumuli in the park. A lane from Cliffe crosses Watling Street and runs through Manfield to Cleasby. The parish gradually rises from 150 ft. above ordnance datum in the east to 370 ft. in the west where it joins the heights of Gilling. Its area is 2,920 acres of land, 1,559 acres of which are arable, and 184 woods and plantations. (fn. 8) The subsoil is Magnesian Limestone and recent Alluvium by the Tees; the soil is a strong clay. The chief crops raised are wheat, oats and turnips, the occupation of the people being mainly agricultural. An endowed school of the Church of England was built in 1857 at Manfield.
The following place-names in Manfield are mentioned in the 12th and 13th centuries: Buttrethorn, Staynhoudalesike, Waredhou, Lathegarthmire, Standandestaynecrosse (fn. 9); Pinkney Carr is mentioned in 1717 with places in Cliffe known as Haverfield, Willow Pound, Stonebridge-fields, Scroggy Pasture, Lime Kill-fields, Carlberry, and the Mill-dam. (fn. 10)
The 16 carucates of MANFIELD were soke of Count Alan's manor of Gilling in 1086, (fn. 11) and Manfield afterwards continued to be a member of the honour of Richmond. (fn. 12) One Hermer was enfeoffed as undertenant before the death of Count Stephen in 1137; he was succeeded by his daughter Gutherith; and in about the middle of the 12th century Earl Conan confirmed to Torphin son of Robert (son of Copsi) (fn. 13) and his heirs Manfield with its appurtenances, viz. two knights' fees, as fully as his ancestor (attavus) Hermer or Gutherith daughter of Hermer held it 'in waters, ways, mills, in borough and without . . . with soke and sac, tol and theam and infangentheof.' (fn. 14) Torphin, variously known as Manfield, Brough and Watheby (q.v.), had, like the great officials of the earl, a station at Richmond Castle, his station being between the kitchen and the brewery. (fn. 14a) Although descended from a previous lord of Manfield, his claim to this place must have been through his wife, for the two knights' fees were divided on his death between his daughters (apparently her children) and the descendants of his son Conan. (fn. 15) Torphin, who from 1169 to 1172 was one of the surveyors of the works of Bowes Castle, (fn. 16) paid 2 marks for his lands in Richmondshire in 1210–12. (fn. 17) He had three daughters, Parnel, perhaps a natural daughter, whom he married to Geoffrey de Bretaneby (fn. 18); Agnes wife of Robert Tailbois of Hurworth, (fn. 19) a place a little further down stream, in Durham; and Maud, who had successively four husbands, Robert [? Hubert], Nicholas de Bueles, (fn. 20) Philip de Burgh (son of Thomas de Burgh), (fn. 21) and John. (fn. 22) Agnes and Maud were their father's heirs and are both called 'de Morvill,' possibly after their mother. (fn. 23) They each granted a moiety of the church and a moiety of the mill to St. Agatha's Abbey, (fn. 24) but Agnes and her descendants seem to have no further connexion with Manfield. Maud's son and heir was Jernagan, (fn. 25) who left a daughter and heir Avis, a minor in 1221 and in the custody of Robert Marmion. (fn. 26) Avis subsequently married a Marmion, possibly her guardian. (fn. 27) The Marmions held Manfield for a few generations and were succeeded there as at Tanfield (q.v.) by the Greys of Rotherfield and afterwards by the Fitz Hughs of Ravensworth. Manfield escheated to the Crown with Tanfield, and in 1572 these manors, with others, were granted to Lord Burghley, (fn. 28) and quitclaimed by the Dacres in 1580. (fn. 29) Manfield belonged to the owners of Tanfield in 1751. (fn. 30) Richard Basset Wilson was owner in 1857; Mr. Murrough John Wilson, J.P., of Cliffe is the present lord of the manor.
The family called in the 13th century Fitz Conan, and afterwards Fitz Henry of Kelfield, held half the manor, their moiety, like that of the Marmions, being held directly of the Earls of Richmond. (fn. 31) Henry son of Conan son of Torphin (fn. 32) held lands in Manfield in 1202, (fn. 33) and his grandson Henry (fn. 34) divided the mill with Avis Marmion and the Abbot of Easby in 1274–5, (fn. 35) and was joint tenant with Avis Marmion in 1282 of the two knights' fees once held by Torphin. (fn. 36) The heirs male of Henry son of Conan (fn. 37) held this moiety, perhaps as mesne tenants, until 1496, (fn. 38) when John Fitz Henry died seised of half the manor, leaving daughters and heirs Elizabeth and Grace. (fn. 39) Grace was married to William Rokeby of Marske in Cleveland. (fn. 40) The Fitz Henrys made a sub-enfeoffment of this half-manor before the passing of Quia Emptores in 1290, for in 1419 Margaret grandmother of William Ingleby of Ripley died seised of it, (fn. 41) and the Inglebys held Manfield of the Fitz Henrys (fn. 42) from this time until 1564, when William Ingleby conveyed the manor to Ralph son of William and Grace Rokeby, (fn. 43) who died seised in 1564, leaving a son and heir Robert. (fn. 44) Ralph eldest son of Robert (fn. 45) made a settlement of the manor in 1596, (fn. 46) evidently for a conveyance to Anthony Witham of Cliffe, who died seised in 1604. (fn. 47) This part of Manfield seems from this time to have been absorbed in the adjoining manor of Cliffe.
Lands in Manfield were held, probably of the fee of Maud de Morvill, (fn. 48) by the family of Hipswell. Robert de Hipswell was impleaded for land here in 1227, (fn. 49) and was succeeded before 1241 by Gerard de Hipswell, who in that year granted the reversion of half the mill of Manfield to the Abbot of Easby. (fn. 50) He was succeeded by his son Robert de Hipswell, who died childless (fn. 51); his lands appear to have been divided. (fn. 52) Some of the lands passed to Meliora, sister of Gerard de Hipswell, and descended in turn to her son Brian Pigot (Pygot) and grandson Henry; Henry's son Brian Pigot failed to establish a claim for land against the Abbot of Easby in 1316. (fn. 53) It seems probable, however, that the most important part of the fee passed to the family of Cleasby, for in 1285–6 (fn. 54) Harsculf son of William de Cleasby was among those whom Denise widow of Robert de Hipswell sued for dower. (fn. 55) Harsculf de Cleasby claimed the advowson in 1307, (fn. 56) and in 1316 Amabel de Cleasby was holding Manfield jointly with John Marmion and the Fitz Henrys. (fn. 57) These lands were, however, in 1340 settled on Brian Pigot 'of Manfield' with successive remainders to his son John and his heirs and to Henry son of Sir Geoffrey le Scrope in fee; they are afterwards found in the hands of the Scrope family. (fn. 57a)
One-third of a knight's fee appears to have been held of the Hipswell lordship by Thomas Greathead in 1282. (fn. 58) He left four daughters: Joan wife of William de Levington, Elizabeth wife of Henry de Cranswick, Alice wife of Richard Herbert, and Maud, who married first Adam de Kirkby Fleetham, (fn. 59) and as her second husband John de Bellerby. (fn. 60) In 1349 Henry son of Maud and Adam recovered land here from his half-brother Henry de Bellerby, (fn. 61) and in the reign of Richard II both Thomas de Kirkby and the heir of John de Bellerby were in possession. (fn. 62)
The vill of CLIFFE (Ileclif, Ueclif, vii cent.; Clive, xi cent.; Clif, xiii–xiv cent.), (fn. 65) like Wycliffe (q.v.), was built it is said by Ecgred successor of St. Cuthbert and given to the saint for the support of those serving him, but was afterwards taken away by King Ella. (fn. 66) Like Wycliffe, also, it had become part of the fee of Mercia by the time of the Norman Conquest, and passed with other lands of Earl Edwin to Count Alan, of whose manor of Gilling it was soke in 1086. (fn. 67) There is no record of the enfeoffment of the family of Rye of Gosberton in Lincolnshire; but Ranulf son of Robert de Gosberton (Gosberkirk) became seised of one knight's fee in Brignall (q.v.), Cliffe, Cowton and Layton, and Cliffe descended with Brignall to the Charles family, (fn. 68) who held both manors in 1380. In 1264 William Charles obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands of Brignall and Cliffe, (fn. 69) and in 1265 a grant of a weekly market on Tuesday and a yearly fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of St. Edmund's Day at his manor of Cliffe. (fn. 70) The latter grant shows that Cliffe, no doubt owing to its vicinity to Piercebridge, was of much greater importance formerly than now. (fn. 71) In 1379–80 Robert Charles conveyed the manors of Cliffe and Brignall to Richard le Scrope (fn. 72) of Bolton, who in 1420 conveyed Cliffe to John Walton (Wauton). (fn. 73) The two sons of John Witham of Grantham in Lincolnshire married the two daughters and co-heirs of John Walton, Janetta and Margaret. Thomas Witham, who married Janetta, had Bretaneby. (fn. 74) Margaret, according to the Visitations, married firstly William Tocketts (Towcott) and afterwards George Witham, who moved from Lincolnshire to Cliffe on his marriage. (fn. 75) A survey of the honour of Richmond of 1508, however, states that William Tocketts and Alice his wife held one messuage and 3 carucates of land in Cliffe for the life of Alice with reversion to John Witham, son of Margaret. (fn. 76) Margaret Tocketts died seised in 1524–5, Thomas Witham, son of the above John, (fn. 77) being her kinsman and heir. (fn. 78) The manor descended in the Witham family and was their residence from father to son until 1802, (fn. 79) when William Witham died without issue, having devised Cliffe to Eliza daughter of his brother Thomas and wife of Henry Thomas Maire Silvertop, who assumed the name of Witham, (fn. 80) and with his wife and son Henry in 1824 conveyed the manor of Cliffe to Tinmouth Dixon, (fn. 81) evidently a trustee. In 1826 Isaac George Manley and Frances his wife conveyed the manor to John Wilson, (fn. 82) ancestor of the present owner, Mr. Murrough John Wilson, J.P.
CLOUBECK is sometimes called a manor, but generally a grange. Robert de Cleasby held it in 1243 (fn. 83); it was coupled with Cleasby in the return of 1286–7, (fn. 84) and followed the descent of the manor of Cleasby (fn. 85) (q.v.), whose lords received a grant of free warren at Cloubeck among other places in 1314. (fn. 86) It was afterwards granted to Lord Burghley with Manfield (fn. 87) and subsequently descended with that manor. (fn. 88)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 33 ft. by 19 ft. with a modern north vestry, nave 51 ft. by 19 ft., north aisle 8 ft. 9 in. wide, south aisle 10 ft. 6 in. wide, western tower 10 ft. 6 in. by 12 ft. 6 in. and a south porch.
In the 12th century there was evidently a church here which consisted of an aisleless nave and chancel. North and south aisles were added about 1240, when the 12th-century doorway was removed to the south wall, only the head being retained and new jambs being added in the later style. About 1330 the church appears to have been enlarged again, with a new north arcade, new chancel and chancel arch. The nave was also apparently extended one bay further west. This necessitated a new south entrance; the older doorway with the 13th-century jambs and 12th-century door was built into the south wall of the chancel, where it now forms a rather large priest's doorway. The tower was built in the 16th century.
In recent times a new porch and a new vestry have been added, and every window in the church, except the west window of the tower and the small lancet at the west end of the south aisle, has been renewed or replaced by another of different design. Some parts of the walling and the upper part of the tower have also been rebuilt and the clearstory raised. In fact, so much rebuilding and restoration has the church undergone that it is difficult to trace its history from the present stones.
The pillar piscina with scalloped bowl on the south wall seems to be ancient. It has been retooled. Its recess has a moulded arch of 14thcentury style; the two lower stones of the jambs are old, the rest are modern. The sedilia have three bays with two-centred trefoiled heads, and between them there are thin partitions with three-quarter rolls or shafts on their faces. They appear to be modern, but may be the old ones scraped.
The south doorway is, as mentioned above, rather larger than the usual priest's doorway. It has two orders; the inner one of the jambs has a pointed bowtel with a hollow on either side of it, the outer order is square, having a round detached shaft in the angle with a moulded capital of simple section, and a base of rounds and hollows. The arch is semicircular and of two orders; the inner order almost follows the jamb, but the outer one is a fine specimen of the work of about 1170, having a carved lozenge moulding with nail-head decoration on the inner splays. All but this arch appears to date from about 1240.
The chancel arch has been re-worked in modern times. Both nave arcades are of four bays; the four responds have a small half-round shaft with capitals which have all been recut. The first two piers in the south arcade have bell-capitals with abaci formed of a small sunk bead surmounted by a chamfered roll. The arches are acutely pointed and of two chamfered orders.
The south aisle has a three-light east window of two chamfered orders, the outer of which is old, the rest restored. The lights have plain pointed heads, above which are three plain circles. The south doorway is modern, all but the two lowest stones in the jambs. This south wall is of the unusual thickness of 3 ft. 9 in. The west window of this aisle is a 13th-century lancet. The clearstory is modern, and is lighted by four traceried circular lights on each side.
The west window, into the tower, is of three round-headed lights with a double-chamfered, threecentred arch, having a label rising from a shield on each side, and with another shield in its centre. On the middle the arms are a maunch ermine impaling a cross moline; the north one appears to be party bendwise with a lion rampant, the southern is partly obscured by ivy, but is apparently a bend between two scallops.
The tower, which is of three stages, has diagonal buttresses at its west angles and a wide square one against the north aisle; the stair turret is in its southeast corner. The belfry windows are of two uncusped lights with elliptical heads inside a square outer order. The parapet is embattled. The walling generally of the church is of rough ashlar or rubble.
The church is mentioned in Domesday Book. (fn. 89) Maud de Morvill and Agnes her sister each granted half the advowson to St. Agatha's Abbey, (fn. 90) and the abbot during the course of the 13th century appointed a perpetual vicar. (fn. 91) Avis Marmion in 1250 claimed half the advowson, and the abbot granted her the next presentation with remainder to himself and his successors. (fn. 92) The other landowners in Manfield put in claims to this advowson, (fn. 93) but St. Agatha's Abbey continued to hold it until the Dissolution. (fn. 94) The Crown subsequently retained the patronage until 1874, (fn. 95) when it was transferred to the Bishops of Ripon, (fn. 96) now patrons.
John Marmion, son of Avis, (fn. 97) gave the abbey of St. Agatha leave to appropriate the church, (fn. 98) which they did before 1292. (fn. 99) Perhaps this grant was made without royal licence, for in 1347 the abbey, 'impoverished by the Scots,' had again licence for impropriation, but this time from the Crown. (fn. 100) In 1400 the pope gave the abbot and convent permission, on the death or resignation of the perpetual vicar, to serve Manfield Church by one of their own canons or by a secular priest. (fn. 101) The church was dowered with 1 carucate of land. (fn. 102) The abbey held the rectory until the Dissolution, (fn. 103) and it was granted in 1612–13 to Francis Morrice and Francis Phillips, their heirs and assigns, (fn. 104) after having been leased with other possessions of the late abbey to the Scropes. Morrice and Phillips conveyed it in the same month to Francis Townley of Littleton, Thomas Greenwood, and Richard Kelling, their heirs and assigns. (fn. 105) In 1633 Thomas Greenwood settled it on his son Thomas and others. (fn. 106) On the registration of Papists' estates in 1717 Charles Greenwood of Brize Norton, Oxford, 'not being a Papist but professing to believe the Holy Catholic Church as the same is expressed in the Apostles' Creed,' stated that he was seised to himself and his heirs male of the rectories and churches of Manfield and Easby and all other possessions of John Greenwood, his late father. (fn. 107) The living, a vicarage, is endowed with the rectorial glebe. (fn. 108) In 1252 the Abbot of St. Agatha granted to Avis Marmion that two of his canons should celebrate mass in the church of Manfield at the altar of St. Nicholas for Avis, her ancestors and heirs. (fn. 109) There is no further mention of this chantry. In 1294 Robert 'Dean' of Manfield is mentioned. (fn. 110)
The Charity Estate consists of about 6 a. 3 r. 8 p. in the parish of Melsonby, let at £14 a year. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 12 September 1902 a yearly sum of £10 is applied in the advancement of education by scholarships, payment of fees for classes and lectures, &c., and the residue for the general benefit of the poor.
Louisa Fearn, by will of 17 June 1848, bequeathed £1,000 consols, the dividends to be applied for the benefit of the village school. The stock is held by the official trustees. The vicar of Manfield and the incumbents of the three next parishes of Barton, Melsonby, and Cleasby are the administering trustees.