A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Sometimes Grenton (xiii–xviii cent.); Grunton (xvii cent.).
The parish is composed of the townships of Grinton, Melbecks, Muker and Reeth, of which Melbecks was formed into a new ecclesiastical parish in 1841. (fn. 1) Melbecks township includes the hamlets of Feetham (Fytun, xiii cent.), Gunnerside, Kearton, Lodge Green, Low Row (Raw) and Pot Ing. Muker township contains the villages of Muker, Angram, Keld and Thwaite and the hamlets of Birkdale, East and West Stonesdale, Oxhop, Ravenseat and Satron. Reeth is composed of the town of Reeth and villages of Fremington and Healaugh.
The 52,081 acres of this vast parish support only 1,878 inhabitants. (fn. 2)
The district of Upper Swaledale was said in 1707 to be bounded by Stollerstone Stile on the east, Hollow Mill Cross on the west, Arkengarthdale on the north and Wensleydale on the south, (fn. 3) and therefore is coterminous with the parish of Grinton, being 'perhaps,' said Whitaker, (fn. 4) 'the largest tract of waste in South Britain.' There are only 4 acres of arable land and 60 acres of woods and plantations, while 12,919 acres are permanent grass (fn. 5) and the rest moorland. Walter de Gant, who died in 1138 or 1139, married Maud daughter of Count Stephen of Britanny, (fn. 6) overlord of all this region, (fn. 7) and received with her in free marriage 'the whole of Swaledale.' (fn. 8)
In 1207–8 Brian son of Alan, probably as heir of Bodin, (fn. 9) claimed half the forest of Swaledale against Gilbert de Gant, who called the successor of Count Stephen to warranty (fn. 10); the Gants continued in possession. (fn. 11) William Edenham, who claimed the keepership in 1302, (fn. 12) stated that the right of removing reeves, mowers and others belonged to his bailiwick. (fn. 13) With Healaugh, which became the head manor of the district, a park and free chase descended. (fn. 14) Gilbert son of Robert de Gant granted to Rievaulx Abbey, with pasture, sheep-folds and lodges, the right of keeping hounds and horns in Swaledale (fn. 15); the grant was confirmed by his descendants, the overlord, by Henry III and Edward III. (fn. 16) The abbey also received permission from Gilbert to catch wolves 'in any way they could.' (fn. 17) Swaledale was the last place of refuge of the wild deer. (fn. 18) The present deer park lies between West Grinton and Healaugh. Park Hall, built in 1700 by Thomas afterwards Marquess of Wharton, (fn. 19) is now used as a farm.
The soil varies; the subsoil chiefly consists of Yoredale Rocks and Millstone Grit. Lead was perhaps worked as early as the reign of Henry II, for in 1219, when the Gant lands were in the hands of the Crown, a mandate was issued to secure to the king's workmen in the manors of Swaledale and Wensleydale the right to work unmolested as they had done under Henry II and his successors. (fn. 20) In 1599 the Crown reserved a lead mine in a grant of the manor (fn. 21) of Grinton, late of Bridlington Priory. The lead mines of Grinton, Whitaside, Harkerside and Fremington were leased to Humphrey Wharton in 1628. (fn. 22) The Crown's annual rent from these mines in 1650 was £60. (fn. 23) The lead used to be carried by 'jagger' horses to the smelting-mills at Gilling or Marrick. (fn. 24) The Crown always leased the Fremington mines, (fn. 25) but the Whartons, the usual lessees, seem to have acquired the royalties of the others in fee. (fn. 26) Lead and a coalmine passed with the manors of Healaugh and Swaledale in 1653. (fn. 27) When the estates of Philip Duke of Wharton were sold in 1738 (fn. 28) the mines of lead, iron and copper were reserved to the use of the duke's sisters Lady Jane Coke and Lady Lucy Morris. (fn. 29) Lady Jane survived her sister and died in 1760, having bequeathed the mines in trust to Anna Maria Draycott, who married in 1764 George Earl of Pontefract. Her children were the third Earl of Pontefract, General Fermor and Lady Charlotte, who married Peter Denys of Hans Place, Chelsea. (fn. 30) George William Denys, son of Lady Charlotte, was created a baronet in 1813 (fn. 31) and died in 1857, leaving a son and heir George William, succeeded in 1881 by the present baronet, Sir Francis Charles Edward Denys-Burton. (fn. 32) Lady Charlotte also left a daughter Anna Maria Draycott Denys, who married Sir Francis Shuckburgh, bart., of Shuckburgh, Warwickshire, and died in 1846. (fn. 33) Sir Francis died in 1876, leaving a son and heir George Thomas Francis, who was succeeded in 1884 by the present baronet, Sir Stewkley Frederick Draycott Shuckburgh. (fn. 34) He and Sir Francis Charles Edward Denys-Burton, who lives at Low Fremington —now called Draycott—Hall, are owners of the mining royalties of Healaugh and Muker. (fn. 35) The workings, long abandoned, have recently been reopened in some of the mines. The family of Swale, who pretended to a manor of West Grinton, made unsuccessful claim to the mineral royalties during the 17th century. (fn. 36) A chert mine on Fremington Edge is worked by the Boulder Flint Company, and there are numerous disused quarries.
At Grinton there are earthworks on two hills by the River Swale. (fn. 37) There is now a Castle Farm at Fremington. The capital messuage of Bridlington Priory seems to have been Swale Hall, (fn. 38) that of the succeeding lords of Grinton the Nether Hall, now called Blackburn Hall. (fn. 39)
The village of Grinton lies on the south side of the river where the road descends to the bridge. (fn. 40) Close to the river stands the church, and on the north side of the churchyard is Blackburn Hall, a rectangular house with a central chimney stack. The windows are mullioned, and some have semi-classical triangular labels; one of the fireplaces has a moulded lintel with a classical keystone. The two staircases are of stone. On a chimney is the date 1635. South of the church is a rather smaller house with a doorway having moulded jambs and cambered lintel on which is inscribed 'GH 1663 FH.' The plan is a development of the central chimney type of cottage, there being only one fireplace and a passage connecting the two rooms.
Half a mile west of the church is Swale Hall, a farm-house with a central chimney stack and a gabled projection at the back. The front doorway has a cambered lintel with mouldings extending down the jambs and a triangular label above. There is a moulded string-course inside the doorway and another in the east room which extends across the width of the room above a large fireplace. A stone stair built in a flat projection on the back wall leads to the first floor in one flight.
Facing Grinton on the north bank of the Swale, where Arkengarthdale opens into Swaledale, stand Low and High Fremington on the east bank of the River Arkle. The moiety of a mill pond in Fremington was in 1331 acquired by Bridlington Priory from Henry Fitz Hugh. (fn. 41)
West of Grinton is Healaugh at the junction of
Gang Beck with the Swale. Here the Gants and
afterwards the Bigods had a capital messuage called
Healaugh Park (fn. 42) with a chapel and lead-covered
'touresse' whence they could see the deer coursed
in the park. (fn. 43) Gang Hall, built by Philip Lord
Wharton, was introduced into an anonymous 18thcentury ballad:
'Then stepp'd a gallant squire forth, Of visage lean and pale, Loyd was his name, and of Gang Hall, Fast by the river Swale.' (fn. 44)
There used to be a mill by Gang Beck. (fn. 45) Opposite Healaugh on the heights of Harkerside is the sepulchral circle known as Maiden Castle. (fn. 46) On the west bank of the Arkle is Reeth, a town half-way up the slope of Mount Calvey (1,599 ft.) built round a large oldfashioned market-place. The tolls that passed with Healaugh Manor in 1513 (fn. 47) point to an early market at Reeth. Four yearly fairs are held, including 'Bartle Fair' on St. Bartholomew's Day. These fairs and a weekly market on Friday were in 1694 granted to Philip Lord Wharton in fee simple, (fn. 48) but the market is disused. Further west, remote among hills, is Muker, where a customary market is held. Kisdon Hill towers above it on the north, Staggs Fell on the south. Between Muker and Keld, the last village in the county on the Westmorland border, the Swale, now only a mountain torrent, forms the waterfall of Kisdon Force. Above Keld, a hamlet perched among the mountains, rise Rogan's Seat, High Seat and the Lady's Pillar. (fn. 49) This district, the watershed of the Swale, is also on its western side the watershed of the River Eden.
A tenement called Cogden, late of Bridlington Priory, (fn. 50) was held by the family of Alderson in the 17th century. (fn. 51) John son of Caleb Readshaw built the present Cogden Hall, 'a conspicuous object in the Vale,' in the 18th century. (fn. 52)
Roman remains have been found at Fremington, and about a mile from the valley known as the Bloody Vale iron armour and battle-axes have been discovered. (fn. 53)
Feetham, Blades and Low Row are practically continuous and consist of small stone cottages in a long straggling street. On the lintel of a cottage doorway north of the road to Muker at Low Row is the inscription 'g. r. 1708. m.' Another cottage, also at Low Row, a little further west, is of stone with a central projecting gable, and has been enlarged by a modern addition. The old part is now divided into two, one portion belonging to the modern addition, the other independently occupied. There are two doorways in the projecting gabled portion; on the lintel of the eastern one is inscribed 'gf if 1720.' The church of Melbecks is at Feetham and stands high on the north side of the road to Muker.
The hamlet of Low Row was for generations the seat of the Parke family. Sir James Parke, kt., created Lord Wensleydale in 1856, (fn. 54) was grandson of John Parke of Low Row, who died in 1796. (fn. 55) The poet John Close was born at Gunnerside in 1816, (fn. 56) and the sportsman John Kirton or Kearton lived at Oxnop. (fn. 57)
Partly owing to the influence of the Whartons (fn. 58) Nonconformity flourished very early in Swaledale, and John Wesley visited and preached in this district. Swanton (fn. 59) Hall, which belonged in the 16th century to the Molineux family, (fn. 60) was endowed by Philip Lord Wharton as a Presbyterian meeting-house, (fn. 61) and he transformed part of Smarber Hall, his shooting lodge, into a chapel. (fn. 62) The Congregational chapel at Reeth was founded in 1783 and the Wesleyan in 1796. (fn. 63) Keld chapel was rebuilt in 1789 for Independents. (fn. 64) There are Wesleyan chapels at Gunnerside founded in 1789 (fn. 65) and rebuilt in 1866, Muker (1845) and Low Row (1901). The Roman Catholic chapel formerly standing west of Gunnerside was built by the Duke and Duchess of Leeds when the duke was Crown Ranger of Swaledale. (fn. 66) There are public elementary schools at Fremington and Muker; the latter, which was rebuilt 1849, was endowed in 1678 by Anthony Metcalfe. (fn. 67)
The Agricultural Society of Reeth and district has an annual show, and there is an agricultural show in September at Muker. No railway enters this parish, for which Richmond is the nearest station.
Torphin's 'manors' of GRINTON and Reeth and Crin's 'manor' of Fremington passed at the Conquest to Count Alan (fn. 68) and were afterwards members of the honour of Richmond, (fn. 69) as was also Healaugh, (fn. 70) which is not mentioned in 1086.
Bodin in 1086 held the 'manors' of Grinton and Reeth, (fn. 71) and it was probably as a descendant of Bodin (fn. 72) that Brian son of Alan claimed half the forest of Swaledale in 1207–8. (fn. 73) Perhaps some exchange was made with Bodin, for Walter de Gant received a grant of the whole of Swaledale. (fn. 74) Walter, who in about 1094 succeeded to Folkingham in Lincolnshire, the chief seat of the Gants, and all the English lands of his father Gilbert, (fn. 75) founded Bridlington Priory, (fn. 76) and distinguished himself at the battle of the Standard. (fn. 77) His descendants became possessed of four knight's fees in Swaledale free of ward at Richmond Castle, but paying a pair of gilt spurs yearly. (fn. 78) Of these fees Healaugh (fn. 79) was the head.
Grinton, where there was 1 geld carucate of land in 1086, (fn. 80) was probably given by the Gants (fn. 81) with the church to Bridlington Priory, which, despite the claim of the Swales, seems to have been regarded, at any rate by the 15th century, as sole owner of the manor. The priory held the manor of the heirs of the Gants (fn. 82) until the Dissolution. (fn. 83) It was sold in 1599 to Richard Wiseman, citizen and goldsmith of London, and Francis Fitch of London, with rents in Grinton called gresfirms. (fn. 84) Richard Wiseman afterwards sold the royalties to the Rev. Henry Simpson, (fn. 85) who sold them to Roger Hillary. (fn. 86) This was probably the Roger Hillary who died in 1640, leaving a son and heir Roger, (fn. 87) lord in 1697. (fn. 88) In 1705–6 John Hillary (son of John Hillary) made a settlement of the manor, and, no doubt in view of the Swales' claim, called it 'Grinton alias East Grinton alias West Grinton.' (fn. 89) Reginald Marriott had an interest in 1707, (fn. 90) but in 1711 Samuel Hillary conveyed two-thirds to James and Richard Marriott and the heirs of James. (fn. 91) In 1726 Reginald Marriott held the manor, (fn. 92) which afterwards came into the possession of the Blackburnes of Richmond (fn. 93); it was acquired by Matthew Wilson of Eshton in Craven, who conveyed it in 1740 to Caleb Readshaw, nephew of Francis Blackburne (fn. 94); Caleb conveyed it to Matthias Mawson, Bishop of Ely, in 1769–70, (fn. 95) and it was afterwards sold by the Readshaws to James Fenton of Loversall. (fn. 96) It was purchased from Godfrey Wentworth of Wooley Park, Wakefield, in 1855 by the father of the present proprietor, Colonel Albany H. Charlesworth, J.P., of Chapelthorpe Hall near Wakefield. (fn. 97)
In 1275 Gilbert de Gant was charged with taking escapes from the lands of the Prior of Bridlington. (fn. 98)
The Swales, who acquired Swale Hall after the Dissolution, sought to establish their claim to a 'manor of West Grinton.' The tradition is that Alice sister of Walter de Gant married John de Swale and became mother of Alured de Swaledale (living 1157), who was chamberlain to his uncle and received from him a grant of this manor. (fn. 99) Alured is an historical personage; he and his men owed £4 in 1158–60, (fn. 100) and there was a Robert de Suidale in 1170–1. (fn. 101) William Over Swale held 1 carucate of land in Reeth in 1273–4 (fn. 102) and was assessed for the subsidy in Grinton in 1301–2. (fn. 103) In 1316 Robert Swakk (? Swale) was even returned as joint lord of the vill of Grinton. (fn. 104) The Swales continued to live here for some centuries, (fn. 105) apparently without claiming manorial rights; but in 1578 John Swale made a settlement of the 'manor of Swale' and a water-mill and lands in West Grinton. (fn. 106) A deponent in 1697 said he had heard from his father that John Swale was 'the ancientest gentleman in Yorkshire,' and that he or his ancestors built the north aisle of Grinton Church, in a window of which were the arms of Swale. (fn. 107) John Swale, described as of Swale Hall, had an only daughter Katharine, who married a Richard Swale and had a son Solomon. (fn. 108) Solomon, himself childless and desirous of securing the estate to the family, sold or bequeathed it to Sir Solomon Swale of South Stainley, (fn. 109) son of Francis Swale. (fn. 110) In a suit in 1697 a witness for the Swales, who were then claiming a manor of West Grinton, said that Swale Hall was the chief manor-house in Swaledale, and old Solomon Swale lord of the moors and wastes. Roger Hillary, the father of the acknowledged lord of Grinton, had once, it was said, pulled down a cottage built by a poor man on Grinton Moor; and Solomon Swale, saying 'hee would finde the said Hillary worke enough if he wanted worke,' thereupon with an iron bar broke down part of the wall of an inclosure belonging to Hillary, and owing to his protection the poor man's cottage was built. (fn. 111) Old Solomon's grantee, Solomon Swale, the first person to suggest in Parliament the proclamation of Charles II as king, (fn. 112) was created a baronet in 1660, (fn. 113) died in 1678, and was succeeded by his son Sir Henry, who died in January 1682–3, leaving a son and heir Solomon. (fn. 114) The new owner of Swale Hall made another effort to obtain recognition of the Swale manorial rights. He started the story of Alured's grant, and one day when Roger Hillary's workmen were digging for coals on Grinton Moor took their tools from them. (fn. 115) He died in poverty, (fn. 116) unmarried, in 1733 and was succeeded by his brother Henry's son, Sir Sebastian Fabian Enrique Swale, on whose death leaving three daughters the baronetcy became extinct, although the title has since been assumed by other Swales. (fn. 117) Swale Hall, sold by auction in 1786, (fn. 118) is now only a farm-house; near it there is still a water-mill.
FREMINGTON, included in the grant of Swaledale to the Gants, was granted by Robert de Gant to Hervey or Henry, ancestors of the Fitz Hughs, (fn. 119) and confirmed to Henry by King John in February 1200–1. (fn. 120) Under the mesne lordship of the Gants (fn. 121) the manor descended with that of Kirkby Ravensworth until 1570, (fn. 122) when, William Marquess of Northampton dying childless, his estates escheated to the Crown. (fn. 123) Fremington was quitclaimed by the Dacres to the Crown in 1583 with Romaldkirk (fn. 124) (q.v.). It was sold by Charles I in February 1636–7 to Francis Braddock and Christopher Kingscote of London, their heirs and assigns, (fn. 125) and conveyed by them to the freeholders, (fn. 126) who have ever since held it.
The manor was leased to Sir Timothy Hutton, who kept courts here in 1606. (fn. 127) William Wharton of Gilling was evidently lessee in 1725–8 (fn. 128) when he appointed gamekeepers, (fn. 129) and John Wharton of Gilling in 1796. (fn. 130)
The lord of the manor and his heirs had a grant of free warren in 1251. (fn. 131)
For the manor of HEALAUGH (Helage, xiii cent.; Helach, xiii–xiv cent.; Helawe, xiii–xv cent.; Helagh, xiii–xvi cent.; Helehawgh, xv cent.; Hellowe, Heloo, Heyloo, xvi cent.; Heley, Heley, xvi–xvii cent.; Healy, Helaugh, Healaugh, xvii–xviii cent.) the tenant rendered a pair of gilt spurs yearly to the lord of Richmond for all service. (fn. 132)
Walter de Gant, the first of his line enfeoffed in Swaledale, was succeeded in 1138–9 by his son Gilbert, who, created Earl of Lincoln by Stephen, died in 1156, and left an only daughter Alice married to Simon de St. Liz Earl of Huntingdon. (fn. 133) Alice made grants in Swaledale to Bridlington Priory, (fn. 134) died without male issue, (fn. 135) and was succeeded by her uncle Robert de Gant, whose son and heir Gilbert took the side of the barons against John, was made prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, 1217, and remained a captive until his death in 1241–2. (fn. 136) Gilbert's son Gilbert (fn. 137) died in January 1273–4 holding the manor of Healaugh in demesne and leaving a son and heir Gilbert. (fn. 138) Gilbert IV was summoned to Parliament as a baron in 1295 and died in 1298, (fn. 139) when his heirs were his sister Julia, Peter son of Peter de Mauley, who had married his sister Nicholaa, and Roger son of William de Kerdeston (Gertheston, Kircheston), who had married his sister Margaret. (fn. 140) These three heirs held Healaugh and Reeth jointly in 1316. (fn. 141) Julia, aged forty in 1298, must have died childless, and the manor subsequently descended in two moieties.
Sir William de Kerdeston, kt., son of Sir Roger de Kerdeston, kt., (fn. 142) confirmed possessions in Swaledale to Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 143) and died seised of half the manor in 1361, when Sir John de Burghersh, kt., a minor, son of his daughter Maud, was his heir. (fn. 144) In 1381–2 John de Burghersh sold the manor of Healaugh and half the manor of Swaledale (i.e. Reeth) and the free chase in Swaledale to Sir Robert de Plessington, kt. (fn. 145) Sir Robert died in 1393; his son Robert, having taken the part of the Lords Appellant in 1398, was declared impeached and attainted, (fn. 146) and his lands were given in 1399 to William le Scrope Earl of Wiltshire, (fn. 147) in his turn attainted on the accession of Henry IV, (fn. 148) when these lands were restored to Sir Robert's guardians, he not being of sound mind. (fn. 149) Sir Robert died seised in or before 1405–6, leaving a son and heir Robert, a minor in 1409, (fn. 150) who died young, and another son Henry, (fn. 151) afterwards knighted. Sir Henry was succeeded in 1452 by his son William, (fn. 152) who died in 1457, when his heir was his cousin Isabel wife of John Francis (Fraunceys) and daughter of John brother of Sir Henry Plessington. (fn. 153) Sir John Francis and Isabel (who afterwards married a Sapcotes and died in or before 1494) had three daughters, Joan wife of William Nevill, Alice wife of William Staveley of Bignell, Oxfordshire, and a second Joan wife of Thomas Sapcotes. (fn. 154) By agreement in 1501 the Sapcotes had the Rutlandshire lands of this inheritance, the trees and mines of Healaugh were equally shared, and the other two sisters shared the Swaledale manorial rights. (fn. 155) The elder Joan afterwards married Roger Flower of Whitwell, Rutland, (fn. 156) who died seised of a quarter of the manor and a quarter of the Gant mesne lordship over the other Swaledale manors in February 1526–7, leaving a son and heir Richard, (fn. 157) whose son John (fn. 158) in 1561 conveyed this share to John Molyneux (fn. 159) of Thorpe near Newark, Notts. George son of William and Alice Staveley died in 1525. His son John, who inherited the third part of the manor, (fn. 160) conveyed his share in 1548 to Sir Edward or Edmund Molyneux, serjeant-at-law (fn. 161) and afterwards justice of the Common Pleas, (fn. 162) son of the grantee John. John Molyneux, who died in 1588 seised of the several moieties of half the manors, joined with the owner of the other half of the lordship in inclosing commons. (fn. 163) His son Edward or Edmund (fn. 164) succeeded and had a dispute with his mother as to these moieties in 1591–2. (fn. 165) Edward's son and successor John, (fn. 166) knighted in 1608, (fn. 167) had frequent disputes with the tenants, (fn. 168) who were in 1602 granted leave by the Crown to pay their rents to Timothy Hutton of Marske until further orders. (fn. 169) Sir John made various settlements and mortgages of this estate, (fn. 170) granting it in fee in 1618 and 1621 to Thomas Meade, (fn. 171) who conveyed a quarter part in 1628 to Sir Thomas Vachell. (fn. 172) In 1635 Vivian Molyneux, Sir Thomas Vachell and Tanfield Vachell granted two mills, free chase and half the manors to Philip Lord Wharton in fee. (fn. 173)
The Whartons were already in possession of the other moiety of the manor. The Mauley share had descended with Mulgrave Castle, (fn. 174) and came to the Bigods, (fn. 175) who held it (fn. 176) until the attainder of Sir Francis Bigod for his share in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537. (fn. 177) It was granted in 1556 in fee to Thomas Lord Wharton, (fn. 178) created a baron in 1544 for his services at Solway Moss. (fn. 179) His family estates lying at Wharton in Westmorland adjoined those he received from the Crown in Grinton parish. In 1568 he was succeeded at Healaugh and in the manor of Muker, which he had acquired in 1544, (fn. 180) by his eldest son Thomas. (fn. 181) Thomas died seised in 1572, leaving a son and heir Philip, (fn. 182) succeeded in 1625 by his grandson Philip son and heir of Sir Thomas Wharton of Easby. (fn. 183) Philip fourth Lord Wharton took an active part on the Parliamentary side in the Civil War, and died in February 1695–6, leaving a son and heir Thomas, (fn. 184) who had drafted the invitation to the Prince of Orange, and been one of the first to join him at his landing. (fn. 185) After other honours he was created Marquess of Wharton and Marquess of Malmesbury in February 1714–15. (fn. 186) Dying a few weeks later he was succeeded by his son Philip, immortalized by Pope as
'Clodio! the scorn and wonder of our days.'
He squandered his estates, took the part of the Pretender and aided the Spaniards in the siege of Gibraltar in 1727, being subsequently outlawed. (fn. 187) The manors of Healaugh and Muker were in 1733 granted to trustees for payment of his debts and in 1738 sold to Thomas Smith of Easby. (fn. 188) Frances only daughter and heir of Thomas Smith married in 1796 Charles Lyell of Kinnordy and had a son Charles, (fn. 189) knighted in 1848, (fn. 190) from whom the manor has descended to the present owner, Captain Francis Horner Lyell.
Gilbert de Gant in 1278– 81 established his right to free chase in Swaledale from time immemorial, and therefore to free warren at Healaugh (fn. 191); an inquiry was ordered to be made as to his taking undue escapes and his claim to infangentheof in all his demesne lands in Swaledale, gallows and amends of the assize of bread and ale in Reeth. (fn. 192)
The tenure of copyhold lands in Healaugh, West Grinton and Harkerside was in gavelkind. (fn. 193)
The manor of MUKER (Meuhaker, xiii cent.; Mewacre, xvi–xviii cent.; Meucarr, Mukar, xviii cent.) was formed from the pasture in Swaledale granted to Rievaulx Abbey by Gilbert de Gant, (fn. 194) and held by that abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 195) The manor, with its members the hamlets of Oxhope, Keld, Angram, Thwaite, Birkdale and Kisdon, was granted to Thomas Lord Wharton in fee in 1544, (fn. 196) and has since descended with the manor of Healaugh. (fn. 197)
Despite the grant of all Swaledale by the lord of Richmond to Walter de Gant, Brian son of Alan, probably tenant by inheritance from Bodin, (fn. 198) sold half the manor of REETH (Rie, xi cent.; Rith, Rythe, xiii–xvi cent.; Reathe, Reeth, xvii cent.) to Gilbert de Gant in 1239 for £100. (fn. 199) This sale and that of half the forest probably meant a quitclaim of the right of the lords of Bedale in Swaledale, and seems to point to Reeth having been head of the lordship of Swaledale before Healaugh became so; moreover, a statement was made in 1303 that Healaugh was 'neither village, borough nor hamlet, but a certain site of the manor of Reeth.' (fn. 200) Peter de Mauley, coheir of the lordship of Swaledale, was said in 1355 to have died seised of the manor of Reeth, (fn. 201) not of Healaugh, as was Maud widow of Peter de Mauley in 1438. (fn. 202) It was generally, however, known as the manor of Swaledale, and as such descended with Healaugh, (fn. 203) in which it has now merged.
The church of ST. ANDREW consists of chancel 37 ft. 9 in. by 18 ft. 6 in., north chapel continuous with the north aisle 19 ft. 8 in. wide, south chapel 29 ft. by 16 ft., nave 51 ft. 6 in. by 23 ft. 6 in., north aisle 17 ft. 8 in. wide and measuring with the north chapel 85 ft. in length, south aisle 12 ft. 9 in. wide, west tower 14 ft. 6 in. square, a small vestry at the northeast of the chancel and a south porch. The building dates from Norman times, having consisted in the early part of the 12th century of chancel and nave only, but of this early building the only remaining details are the window over the tower arch and the north jamb of the chancel arch. At the end of the same century a tower was built at the west end— the arch communicating with the nave being still in situ—and in the early years of the 14th century a south aisle extending the full length of the nave was added, the east end of which was possibly used as a Lady chapel, while the chancel was widened on the south side, necessitating a new chancel arch, and perhaps lengthened. In the 15th century a north aisle was built, extending two bays beyond the chancel arch, and little more was done afterwards until the end of the 16th century; at this time great alterations were made by widening the north aisle, adding a vestry at the east end with a second door into the chancel, building a chapel on the south of the chancel, and entirely rebuilding the tower.
The east window of the chancel is of five cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery above under a four centred arch. The 15th-century north arcade is of two bays with arches of two chamfered orders and a central octagonal pier with broach stops at the base; on the responds the arches spring from corbels moulded like the capital of the pier. The opposite arcade is a debased copy of the north arcade. The mouldings are poor and the broaches at the base of the shaft do not form a square. On the north of the sanctuary is a small chamfered four-centred arched doorway leading into the vestry, and above it is a late three-light chamfered square-headed window; opposite this in the south wall is a modern square-headed two-light cinquefoiled window, and between this and the arcade is the eastern part of sedilia, the western seat or seats having been cut away when the south chapel was added. The chancel arch, built at the same time as the arcade in the south of the nave (the respond corbels of which are similarly moulded to that on the south of the chancel arch), is of three pointed chamfered orders on the west side, and two on the east, and rests on a 12th-century north pier with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. At the north-west of the chancel, to the north of the chancel arch, is a doorway to the rood stairs, which opened on to the loft by the squareheaded doorway on the nave face of the dividing wall between chancel and nave.
The north arcade of the nave is of four bays with octagonal columns and corbelled responds, moulded similarly to those on the north side of the chancel. The south arcade, also of four bays, has octagonal columns and corbels of the early 14th century; the bases of the shafts are formed by octagonal plinths chamfered on the upper side and having broached stops. Above this arcade are plain mullioned clearstory windows, the eastern pair of three lights and the western pair a single light and a window of two lights. The tower arch is of three chamfered orders and rests on late 12th-century capitals, two each side, the shafts of which are gone; above it is an earlier window deeply splayed on the inside and having a semicircular head.
The north aisle has a late pointed doorway and a square-headed five-light mullioned window of the 16th century in the west wall. On the north side are six three-light square-headed windows, four being cusped in the style of the 15th century and two being later. Under the second from the west are the jambs of a former doorway and to the east of it is a holy water stoup. In the east wall is a five-light square-headed 16th-century window with no cusping, and to the south of it is the entrance to the vestry under a rough arch, which is covered by a 17th-century screen and door.
The chapel on the south side of the chancel has a late five-light square-headed mullioned window at the east end; in the south wall are a very small piscina, a two-centred window of three trefoiled pointed lights (both probably reset work of the early 14th century, the latter much restored, if not entirely renewed) and a doorway with a plain stone lintel on the inside; to the west in a projecting angle is a squint.
The south aisle contains two debased two-light windows with square heads; the heads of the lights are similar, but the easternmost window has a deeper reveal externally having two chamfered orders, whereas the mullion of the other is almost flush with the external surface, the former probably having been built in earlier jambs, while the latter was entirely renewed. The south doorway is of two continuous orders, the outer chamfered, the inner deeply moulded; there is a moulded hood with head-stops round the head, which is pointed. The whole is early 14th-century work. To the west of this doorway is a triple lancet window, apparently of 13th-century date renewed, and perhaps reset from the south wall of the nave.
The exterior of the church is simple in character; the tower, which is in four stages, is of late date and has an embattled parapet but no buttresses. The windows in the bell-chamber are of two transomed trefoiled lights under a square head, those in the other stages being mere slits with square stone lintels; there is a doorway into it on the south side, which has also a square head. The south aisle and nave are built of random rubble with an embattled parapet and there are no buttresses. The porch is very plain and has a pointed arched doorway with a small hollow chamfer. The roofs of both nave and aisles are low pitched; they are open inside and show their old timbers. The windows at the east end and those each side of the sacristy have moulded labels. The wall of the north aisle, built also of rubble, is divided by twostage buttresses into six bays, and its parapet and that of the nave project and are not embattled. All the windows have labels. The west window is also labelled and the doorway has square jambs.
The font has a Norman cylindrical bowl worked with diagonal lines on a modern base.
The chancel is separated from both the north and south chapels by screens pierced in the upper portion and panelled below, that on the north being of the 15th century and the other of later date. The latter also extends across the aisle, forming the Lady chapel. The pulpit is late Jacobean work and has a soundingboard dated 1718. In the east end of the north aisle is an old reading desk holding a chained New Testament, and over the font is a carved tabernacle-work canopy of the late 15th century.
In the floor of the Lady chapel is a slab to Elizabeth Blackburne dated 1688.
There are six bells: the first inscribed 'Gloria in altissimis Deo 1750,' by Dalton; the second by Mears, 1825; the third with the same text as the treble and dated 1763; the fourth by Dalton, dated 1779; the fifth inscribed 'Jesus be our speed 1623'; the tenor, which has been recently recast, bears the inscription 'Sancta Catarena ora pro nobis +.' The frame, which has since been repaired, is inscribed 'ja . . . . st harrison of barrow in lincolnshire bellhanger 1751,' and the churchwardens' names.
The communion plate includes a cup and cover paten of 1623, a large standing paten of 1718, inscribed 1720, and a large flagon of 1873. The church also possesses an old brass almsdish, which is stamped with a representation of the Fall, showing the figures of Adam and Eve and the serpent.
The registers begin in 1640. Mention of what must have been a select vestry occurs in the register under the year 1661, where it is stated that on Tuesday of Easter week following the restoration of King Charles II, 'after the unnaturall civil wars (by the blessing of God ended),' the four and twenty were elected, besides the four churchwardens. The entry of their election appears again in 1752. Other entries are those concerning the casting of two new bells and the repairing of the loft in 1661, and of three others by Dalton of York in 1751.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, Muker, is built of stone, and consists of a continuous nave and chancel 68 ft. by 22 ft., a west tower 7 ft. 9 in. by 7 ft. 3 in. and a south porch. Its date is uncertain, any distinguishing detail that remained prior to 1890 having then been destroyed in a drastic restoration which practically amounted to a rebuilding. All the windows to the body of the building are modern, but in the east wall on the south side of the altar are two moulded image brackets, apparently of 14th-century date, while built into the east end of the north wall is a long shelf of uncertain section. The south doorway has chamfered jambs and segmental head, and is inscribed 'lw 1714.' The doorway into the tower is also modern.
The tower, which is divided internally into three stories, the lower one now being used as a coal cellar, is crowned by an embattled parapet, having small pinnacles at the angles. The ground stage is lighted by a small rectangular window in the south wall, while the bell-chamber has two-light square-headed windows with hollow-chamfered jambs. On the head of the rain-water pipes to the tower are the date 1793 and the churchwardens' names. The porch is small, and has a plain square outer doorway of rough workmanship. The roofs are modern.
In the east window is a fragment of old glass; it represents the head of a woman.
There is a sepulchral slab to James Hassic of Redruth, Cornwall, who died 1746.
There are two bells; they have no inscriptions, but the long, narrow shape suggests a mediaeval date.
There is a silver cup (1583), modern paten, and a pewter flagon and plate.
The registers begin in 1638.
The church of HOLY TRINITY, Melbecks, built in 1841, when the parish was separated from Grinton, consists of a small chancel with an east window of three lights, a nave with three two-light windows and a square-headed window in either wall. There is a gallery at the west end, the space below being used as a vestry. On the west gable is a small bellturret with two bells. The octagonal font and pulpit are of stone.
Maud daughter of Count Stephen of Britanny, with the consent of Walter de Gant her husband, its founder, granted to Bridlington Priory the church of St. Andrew of Swaledale, (fn. 204) a grant confirmed by Walter's descendants (fn. 205) and by Henry I. (fn. 206) It was already called Grinton Church by 1292. (fn. 207) The priory held it appropriated, (fn. 208) a vicarage being ordained in 1272. (fn. 209)
Bridlington Priory held the church of East Cowton besides that of Grinton in the Archdeaconry of Richmond, and a bull of Pope Innocent III was issued against their abuses of hospitality when making visitations of these churches, sweeping through the country as they did with a train of nearly a hundred horses and dogs and falcons. (fn. 212)
Sir Ralph and Sir Francis Bigod built a chapel in their manor-house of Healaugh Park. (fn. 213)
An old chapel at Keld was, says Whitaker, (fn. 214) demolished in a riot of the inhabitants 'from a very inadequate but not wholly improbable cause which I shall not record.' There is an entry in the churchwardens' accounts of 1695: 'For walling up Keld chapel door 1s.' (fn. 215) Partly restored, it was used by Calvinists until 1789, and then rebuilt as an Independent chapel. (fn. 216)
It is practically certain, from traces of early work found in the present building, that there was a mediaeval chapel at Muker. An entry in the earliest register at Grinton records that ' William Chatterton Bishop of Chester did visit the Chappel of Muker third day of August 1580 and did allow the inhabitants to baptise, marry, and bury and to minister the sacraments, the said inhabitants to pay all the ecclesiastical duties to the vicar of Grinton.' This is followed by a note that the 'license of the Bishop was granted without consent of her Majestie who is the Patroness and without consent of the vicar of Grinton and but during the Bishop's pleasure.' In 1707 Muker Chapel was said to be the only chapel of ease in the parish. (fn. 217) An Order in Council was issued for the separation of the parish of Muker from Grinton in 1843, but this was not carried out till 1890. The living is a new vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Grinton.
The living of Holy Trinity, Melbecks, is a vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Grinton.
In 1696 Ann Colville by will demised a rent-charge of £2 10s. for the poor of the townships of Grinton and Reeth, issuing out of land at Riddings, which is paid by the owner, Mrs. Robinson, together with an ancient payment of 10s. a year for the poor of Reeth charged on the same property. A sum of 2s. 6d. a year is also paid by Mr. Barker out of land at Reeth.
The Rev. — Joy, a former rector, left £105 stock, now consols, the dividends, amounting to £2 12s. 6d., being distributable in bread, one moiety for the townships of Grinton and Reeth, and the other moiety for the chapelry of Muker and township of Melbecks. In 1904 these charities, amounting to £5 15s., were applied as follows: for poor of Grinton £1 14s., Muker 16s., Melbecks 15s., Reeth £2 10s.
This parish is entitled to benefits under the charity of Matton Hutton at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Infirmary and at the Reeth Dispensary mentioned below, and in the discretion of the trustees to a grant for the school, and to share in the portion of the charity which is applicable in apprenticing. (See General Charities under Richmond.)
The Reeth Dispensary receives £30 yearly from the charity of Matton Hutton to be applied for medical aid to the poor of Reeth, Grinton and Marrick.
The chapel at Low Row in the township of Melbecks is endowed with 196 a. 2 r. 22 p., known as Birkett Pasture in the parish of Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland, let at £70 a year, and with about 16 acres known as Waller Field, in Ravenstonedale, let at £18 a year. The net rents are paid to the minister.
Educational Charities.—The school at Fremington, founded by will of James Hutchinson, 1643, is regulated by a scheme of the High Court of Chancery of 9 July 1860, as varied by a scheme of the Board of Education of 17 July 1905. The school is endowed with 7½ acres, producing £10 a year, also with a fixed annual payment of £10, and about £50 a year, being a moiety of estate at Wakefield, Mary Hutchinson's charity.
A school at Feetham in Melbecks was founded in 1806 by public subscription and will of Rev. David Simpson, Nonconformist minister. The old school and site were sold in 1903 with the sanction of the Board of Education, and the net proceeds invested in £25 12s. 10d. consols with the official trustees, regulated by schemes of 7 May 1903 and 10 August 1906. The income is applicable in providing prizes of from 5s. to 10s. for boys and girls whose parents are bona fide resident in the township of Melbecks.
In 1765 Ruth Garth by will devised a schoolhouse and left a sum of £70, now charged on land at Crackpot, to be used for the education of children of the township of Crackpot or Whitaside. The official trustees also hold a sum of £26 5s. 9d. consols arising from accumulations. The income is applicable under a scheme of 1899 for prizes and evening classes or lectures, with preference to those resident in either of these townships.
A school at Reeth was erected in 1809 by two brothers, George Raw and John Raw, members of the Society of Friends, who by their wills, dated respectively 2 February 1814 and 2 June 1815, endowed the same. The official trustees hold a sum of £4,000 consols in trust for the school, which is regulated by a Chancery scheme of 18 March 1859, as varied by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 9 January 1866.
Township of Muker.—The Free school, founded in 1678 by will of Anthony Metcalfe, is endowed with 14 acres of land, producing about £20 a year.