A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
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Arkillesgarth (early xiii cent.); Alkergarth (xiii cent.); Arkelgarth (late xiii–xv cent.); Arkelgarthdale (xiv–xvi cent.); Archgarthdale, Arkingarthdale (xvii–xviii cent); Arkilgarthdale, Arkindale, Arkingarth (xviii–xix cent.).
Arkengarthdale is the valley of the River Arkle, an early tributary of the River Swale, both streams descending from the eastern spurs of the Pennine Range, and forming part of the district known as the Yorkshire dales. Chiefly composed of ling-covered moorland, with here and there scattered sheep farms, Gordon Home has characterized its scenery in this description: 'The dales are entirely innocent of red tiles and haystacks. The roofs of churches, cottages, barns and mansions are always of the local stone that weathers to beautiful shades of green and grey and prevents the works of man from jarring with the great sweeping hillsides.' (fn. 2) This is a very striking distinction of western Yorkshire: the red-tiled roof is almost inevitable on the Yorkshire moors that slope down to the North Sea.
The parish is about 8 miles in length, and is traversed throughout by the little River Arkle, formed by William Gill and Annaside Beck, which gave its name to the dale. The average height is 1,000 ft. in the dale and 2,000 ft. on the moors. There are in the parish 14,556 acres and 21 acres covered with water, 2,238 acres being permanent grass and 100 acres wood and plantations. (fn. 3) No return of land in cultivation has been made. The subsoil is Yoredale Rocks (with the two exceptions of Hurst Moor and a tract bordering on Dam Rig, which are composed of Millstone Grit), the soil loam. Lead was formerly worked in large quantities. The 'lord's mine' in New Forest and Arkengarthdale (both held in demesne by the Earl of Richmond) is mentioned in 1285, when its profit was estimated at £4. (fn. 4) A coal mine 'not occupied' was parcel of the manor in 1435, (fn. 5) and the lord's coal mine of New Forest is mentioned in the year following. (fn. 6) The farm of the owner of Richmond's lead mines in the Forest of Arkengarthdale was £20 in 1527–9. (fn. 7) When Middleham, Arkengarthdale, New Forest and other lordships were sold to the citizens of London in 1628, (fn. 8) all lead and coal mines in Arkengarthdale and New Forest passed with them. Dr. Bathurst obtained a lease of the mines at £3 10s. in 1655, the year previous to his purchase of the manor. (fn. 9) Later, in 1672, he leased them for £150 a year, and this led to disputes between his son Theodore and the lessee in 1682, when the owner complained that the mines were worth much more. Depositions were taken, and the agent employed by the lessee for the mines said that at the beginning the work seemed hazardous, but at the end of two years' time they were worth twice as much as the lessee's rent for them. During those two years he opened the mines of Wind Egg, Moulds, Hasle Temple, West Moulderside, and another little place on the west of West Moulderside, and was not aware of any mines having been opened since. Another deponent said that when they were leased to the defendant they were 'in a very meane condicion of profitt,' and he 'ran a very great hazard when he farmed the same,' and had to spend a great deal of money in draining them; another said he would not have ventured 6d. for them. The profits according to deponents on the other side varied from £63 to £480 from September 1658 until the lease, and one deponent said that during the lease the profits of Moulds mines amounted to £1,000, since the vein of lead ore was sometimes 7 fathoms high and a yard broad. The factor who received the lead, however, said he did not believe the profits of the mines amounted to £1,000 in any year. Clints smelting mill was chiefly used, but some of the lead was smelted at Gilling Mill. Tithe was paid of all the lead that would not pass through a riddle of which the loops were an inch wide. (fn. 10) Lead, coal and slate are still found, but little worked.
The road from Brough to Reeth, which becomes in places a mere track, runs through the parish parallel with the Arkle, and towards the lower part of Arkengarthdale a road crosses the Arkle and proceeds over Hope Moor to Barnard Castle.
The parish now comprises the villages of Arkle Town (Arkilton, 1473), Booze (Bowehous, 1473), Langthwaite and Whaw (Kiwawe, 1282; le Kuawe, 1285; Quaghe, 1342), and the hamlets of High Green, Seal Houses (Westselehous, Estselehous, 1473) and Eskeleth (Exherlede, 1282; Eskerlythe, 1342). (fn. 11) In 1282 the lord had pastures at Helwathe, Hallegate, Kexthwaite, which were hamlets of Arkengarth dale in 1604, at Stirkthwaite (now Storthwaite) and at Fagardegile (Fawgargill, 1473; now Faggergill), as well as inclosures at Speccholmes and Hope. (fn. 12) Other interesting names are those of Kidelhowe and Smytheshagh (an ancient Intake) mentioned in 1342, Puncherfote (fn. 13) (1473), Horrock's Cross, Scollit, Scabba Wath on Mud Beck, Hagg's House and Bouldershawe. The tenants of Bowes were said in 1604 to have made unauthorized inclosures on Arkengarthdale Moor. (fn. 14)
Neither New Forest nor Arkengarthdale is mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but before 1171 Conan Earl of Richmond granted the forestry of these places to Hervey, (fn. 15) ancestor of the Fitz Hughs. (fn. 16) Hervey's descendant Henry son of Ranulf was summoned in 1241 to show by what warrant he claimed to hold the forestership of New Forest and Hope in the 'Forest of Richmond' and to have herbage and dead wood. He made default, (fn. 17) and seems to have lost his right. From this time the lords of Richmond appointed their own officers in both forests (fn. 18) until the forest passed, like the manor, to the Middleham fee.
In 1308 the house of the Earl of Richmond at Arkengarth was burned and his forester Adam Arkelgarth killed by marauders (fn. 19); in 1310 his free chase was entered, (fn. 20) and in 1343 the Askes, Cleasbys and others trespassed on the chase, then in the custody of Queen Philippa. (fn. 21) William Newsham, constable of Richmond Castle, was appointed in 1399 master forester of New Forest, (fn. 22) which seems at this time to have included Arkengarthdale, with the nomination under him of two foresters at the foot of Swintonhowe, one at Hope, two at Bowes and two at Arkengarthdale. (fn. 23) A bow-bearer was appointed in 1535, (fn. 24) and the office was still or lately in existence in 1608. (fn. 25)
The forest came to the Crown with the manor (q.v.), and it, together with the chases and parks, was reserved by Charles I when he sold the manor in 1628, though the right of hawking and hunting was conveyed to the grantee. The steward of the lord of the manor in 1670 incited the customary tenants to kill the deer, as these did damage to their holdings, saying that 'the king had no forest or deer, but the deer were landlord Bathurst's, for if he, the said steward, were a tenant he should kill them.' (fn. 26) The Crown granted a lease of this forest in 1688 (fn. 27) and again in 1697–8 as 'the forest or chace disafforested of Arkengarthdale alias New Forest in Arkengarthdale.' (fn. 28)
ARKENGARTHDALE in 1285 was held by the earl in demesne, (fn. 29) and remained in the possession of the lords of Richmond until 1444, when two-thirds of the manors of Bowes, New Forest, Arkengarthdale, and East and West Hope, the tolls and all other appurtenances and the reversion of the third part held by the Duchess of Bedford for life, (fn. 30) were granted in tail-male to Richard Earl of Salisbury, with successive remainders to his brothers in tail-male. (fn. 31) From this time (fn. 32) Arkengarthdale descended with Middleham (fn. 33) (q.v.) until 1628, when, with Middleham, the lordship of Arkengarthdale, New Forest and East and West Hope (Hoppes) was sold by Charles I to the citizens of London. (fn. 34) The citizens sold Arkengarthdale in 1656 to Dr. John Bathurst, (fn. 35) physician to Oliver Cromwell. (fn. 36) The customary tenants had agreed in about 1590 to relinquish to the queen their claim to tenantright estates and to receive in lieu thereof leases for forty years, to be renewed every forty years. (fn. 37) Dr. Bathurst, however, wished to make new arrangements with the tenants, and was heard to say on one occasion, with Cromwellian autocracy, that if they did not yield to his demands he would send them all to Ireland (fn. 38); and either on another occasion or in a garbled version of this speech, that not only would he turn the customary tenants out of their farms, but send them to Barbadoes or Virginia to plant. (fn. 39) In 1658 he granted leases of 2,000 years, or other long terms, of all the inclosed lands of the manor, together with certain defined rights for the leaseholders over the common and waste, subject to the payment of fixed annual rents and fines for renewal of leases every twenty-one years, and on the death of the lord or tenant. Most of these leases have been purchased by the present owner and his predecessors, and the reversion in remainder is now vested in him.
From John Bathurst the manor descended to his son Charles Bathurst the elder, and from him (fn. 40) to his son Charles Bathurst, who was succeeded by his three daughters. The representatives of these co-heirs, (fn. 41) Sir Charles Turner, William Sleigh and Charles Francis Forster, who held as tenants in common, sold one undivided third share in 1808 to George Brown, the maternal great-uncle of the present owner; he bought a second third in 1811 from William Sleigh and Charles Turner; the third was purchased in 1821 from Charles Francis Forster by the Rev. John Gilpin of Sedbury Park (of the same family as the Rev. Bernard Gilpin, 'the apostle of the North,' who died in 1583). His son was George Gilpin, who took the additional surname of Brown on coming into possession of the settled estates passing under the will of George Brown. George Gilpin Brown died 28 November 1889, and the estates, including the manors of Arkengarthdale, New Forest and Hope, devolved on his eldest son, the present owner, Mr. George Thomas Gilpin Brown.
The lord of Richmond's court at Arkengarthdale is first mentioned at the end of the 13th century. (fn. 42) James I held courts here in 1610 and 1611. (fn. 43) By 1829 a united court was held for the manors of Arkengarthdale, New Forest and Hope at Scarr House, Arkengarthdale. (fn. 44) The court is now held once a year at the schoolhouse, and the jury still exercise the ancient right to fine petty offenders in a sum not exceeding 40s. Probate jurisdiction used to belong to the court baron, and there is a register of wills dating from 1724 to 1800 in the custody of the steward. The last will proved was in 1812, after which the court baron was supplanted in this respect by the court of the archdeaconry.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is a plain modern building, erected in 1818 at the cost of the estate of George Brown; the old church was pulled down owing to the foundations becoming undermined by the Arkle Beck. It consists of a chancel with a north vestry, a nave and a west tower. The nave and chancel are of equal width, with a flat plaster ceiling and five two-light windows on each side. At the east end is a three-light window and at the west is a wooden gallery entered from a staircase in the tower. The tower is in three stages with diagonal buttresses, and the bells, three in number, are modern.
The church was appropriated to Egglestone Abbey before 1292, (fn. 45) and was held by this abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries, (fn. 46) after which the rectory and church, with the other possessions of the abbey, were granted by Edward VI to Robert Strelley and Frideswide his wife. (fn. 47) They have since followed the descent of Startforth advowson. (fn. 48)
The grammar school was founded by will of John Bathurst, M.D., dated 23 April 1659. (fn. 49) By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 12 June 1906 the net income is applicable as to £26 a year in the maintenance of scholarships, to be awarded to boys and girls resident in either of the manors of Arkengarthdale and New Forest, and the residue of the income in providing prizes of £2 or under to boys and girls, in assisting the children to continue their education, or in contributing to the cost of their outfit.