A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
West Rounton is an agricultural parish of about 1,458 acres lying in the valley of the Wiske. The river flows through the centre of the parish from east to west and has the village of West Rounton on the slope of its north bank. The village consists mainly of a street running north and south, with the church of St. Oswald and the rectory at its southern end. Grouped round this street and a few lanes the houses, for the most part built of brick, stand on irregular ground. The Wiske is crossed by a bridge, over which the road, a continuation of the village street, runs southward to East Harlsey. In the 12th century Ralph Surtees granted to the church of St. Oswald a messuage between the graveyard and the road leading to the mill and a garden on the river near the same mill. (fn. 1) This mill is not again mentioned, but a windmill in West Rounton was an appurtenance of the manor of Irby in the 17th century. (fn. 2)
Irby manor-house is reached by a footpath running south-west from the bridge; another footpath runs eastward to Stamfrey Farm, all that remains of what appears to have been a small hamlet in the 17th century. (fn. 3) Anthony Dodson and Robert Nicholson each died seised of a capital messuage in Stamfrey in the reign of Charles I. (fn. 4)
About a quarter of a mile to the west of the village runs the railway, which crosses the river at the Wiske railway bridge. North of the bridge is West Rounton Gates station, used on Wednesdays only for conveying passengers to Stockton market. A brook or 'stell' which runs parallel with the railway and flows into the Wiske near the village is crossed near the station by Carr Bridge. A place called 'the Carre Gutt' is mentioned in the 17th century. (fn. 5)
West Rounton has a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, which was built in 1907 and replaced an older building. The children of the parish attend the public elementary school at East Rounton, a short distance down the river.
The only industry of the parish is agriculture. Most of the land is devoted to pasture; 482 acres are under cultivation. (fn. 6) The soil is clay on a subsoil of Keuper Marls, and wheat, oats, barley and beans are grown.
WEST ROUNTON in 1086 was soke of Northallerton. (fn. 7) Six carucates here which had previously been held by Leot followed the manor of Northallerton (q.v.) into the hands of the Bishops of Durham, (fn. 8) of whom they were held till the overlordship fell into abeyance. (fn. 9)
At the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th century West Rounton was granted by Bishop Ralph Flambard to Roger Conyers, (fn. 10) ancestor of the Conyers of Sockburn. The manor followed the descent of Sockburn (fn. 11) (q.v.) until 1330, when Sir John Conyers empowered the rector of Sockburn to deliver seisin of West Rounton to Robert Colvill, who had married his daughter Elizabeth Conyers. (fn. 12) Robert Colvill was lord of the manors of Ingleby Arncliffe and Thimbleby, and West Rounton followed the descent of the latter place (fn. 13) (q.v.), coming with Thimbleby into the possession of the family of Wandesford of Kirklington in 1439–40. (fn. 14)
West Rounton is said to have been sold by the Wandesfords before 1500. (fn. 15) There is no evidence as to the purchaser, and as only yeomen tenants are afterwards mentioned it seems probable that the manor was sold in small parcels. In 1524 Thomas Dukkett and John Strangways paid subsidy for their lands in 'West Rungton cum Ireby and Standfray.' (fn. 16) The families of Fox, (fn. 17) Hopes, (fn. 18) Warcop (fn. 19) and Lascelles (fn. 20) all dealt by fine with messuages and lands here in the 16th century. James and Henry Conyers, who were parties to a fine concerning a messuage in West Rounton in 1583, (fn. 21) may have represented a local branch of the family which first held the manor.
In 1620 Francis Hopes died seised of a messuage with appurtenances in West Rounton, and, among other lands, a 'parcel called the Varghe Close.' (fn. 22) He held these lands of the manor of Northallerton by knight service and suit of court. Estates bordering on his were held by John Hirdman and Gregory Mothersall. (fn. 23) John Hirdman, who died a week later, held one messuage and an oxgang by a similar tenure, (fn. 24) while a member of the Mothersall family died in 1623 seised of a messuage and 2 oxgangs. (fn. 25)
Apparently West Rounton was held in small portions throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and until it was acquired early in the 19th century by the family of Wailes of East Rounton Grange. (fn. 26) The estate was purchased from them in 1903 by Sir Lowthian Bell, bart. (fn. 27) His son Sir Hugh Bell, bart., is the present owner.
One messuage, 1 carucate of land, 4½ acres of meadow and 10 of pasture were conveyed by Thomas de Aislaby to John de Camden (fn. 28) before 1272. (fn. 29) The heir of John, after Stephen de Camden who was in possession of land here in that year, (fn. 30) seems to have been Alice wife of William de Mundeville. (fn. 31) Her possession of the estate was disputed in 1300 by William son and heir of Thomas de Aislaby (fn. 32) on the ground that his father was of unsound mind when he made the conveyance. He finally recovered seisin against Nicholas son and heir of Alice. (fn. 33) The estate is not again mentioned, but, as the manor of Irby (q.v.) is always stated to have had appurtenances in West Rounton, (fn. 34) it seems likely that some arrangement was made by which the Mundeville family retained their hold upon it. (fn. 34a)
IRBY (Irebi, xi cent.; Earby, xvii cent.) was also soke of Northallerton (q.v.) in 1086. (fn. 35) Three carucates here, previously held by Askil, came with that manor into the hands of the Bishop of Durham. (fn. 36)
A later bishop granted Irby to Gilbert Hansard, whose son Gilbert was holding 8 carucates here and in Hornby in the 13th century. (fn. 37) Before 1285, however, the manor was in the possession of Alice wife of William de Mundeville (fn. 38) and probably by birth a Camden. (fn. 39) Her husband was returned in that year as lord of 3 carucates in West Rounton, (fn. 40) probably to be identified with the manor of Irby. In 1303 Alice settled her land in Irby on her son Nicholas and his issue. (fn. 41) Nicholas was in possession in 1307–8, (fn. 42) and died before 1336, when his widow Cecily claimed dower. (fn. 43) He was succeeded by his son Roger, who died without issue, leaving as his heir his brother John de Mundeville (fn. 44) or 'Irby.' (fn. 45) In 1377 John claimed the manor against Philip Colvill and Margaret his wife, (fn. 45a) holding in right of Margaret, (fn. 46) and recovered seisin by default. He had leased the manor for a few years to John Laysingby in 1376, (fn. 47) but was again in possession in 1381, when the widow of John Laysingby unsuccessfully claimed dower. (fn. 48)
In 1399–1400 the manor was granted by John Mundeville to John Colvill of the Dale, lord of West Rounton. (fn. 49) In 1427 it was sold by John Colvill to John Presfen, who transferred his interest in the same year to John Carr. (fn. 50)
The Carr family remained in possession, (fn. 51) and Ralph Carr died seised in 1536 of 'the grange or hamlet of Irby,' which he held of the Bishop of Durham as of his manor of Northallerton by service unknown. (fn. 52) In 1539 the king granted Robert Bowes an annuity of 20 marks from the lands of Ralph Carr in Irby and elsewhere during the minority of William son and heir of Ralph. (fn. 53) In 1583–4 another Ralph Carr, perhaps the son of William, leased the manor for forty-two years following the death of his mother Joan to William Hebburne. (fn. 54) He was succeeded by William Carr, who in 1632 conveyed the manor to Sir William Russell, bart., of Chippenham. (fn. 55)
William Russell was succeeded by his son Sir Francis, (fn. 56) who in 1657 sold Irby with Deighton (q.v.) to Hugh Frankland and George Smalwood. (fn. 57) The manor came subsequently with Deighton into the possession of Sir Charles Turner of Kirkleatham. (fn. 58) It must have been sold by his family before 1821, when it was in the hands of John Wailes of East Rounton Grange. (fn. 59) His family held it throughout the 19th century, (fn. 60) and was resident here at least from 1872. It was sold with West Rounton to Sir Lowthian Bell, bart., in 1903. (fn. 61) His son Sir Hugh Bell, bart., is the present lord.
The earliest part of the present church dates from about 1150, and though the walls have been much rebuilt they follow the original lines. The only parts of the 12th-century church are the chancel arch and part of the south doorway. The rest is modern restoration of 1860; the windows replaced by the present ones were square-headed.
The chancel is lighted by two modern roundheaded lights in the east and south walls. There is a modern vestry doorway in the north wall. The chancel arch has jambs of two square orders with attached shafts in the rebates on the nave side. The bells of the capitals are modern; the abaci, which are moulded, appear to be original. The soffits and faces of the two orders of the round arch are enriched with zigzag roll and hollow moulding.
All the windows of the nave are modern. Below the middle window on the north side are signs of a blocked doorway. The south doorway retains its cheveron-moulded semicircular 12th-century head, but the jambs are modern. The porch and roofs are modern.
The font is of 12th-century date, and is an unusually interesting one. Until the time of the restoration of the church it served as a base for the pulpit, being reversed so that the bowl rested on the floor. It was so covered with plaster that there was no external indication of its original form. When it was cleaned, the bowl, which is circular in plan, was found to be carved with some of the signs of the Zodiac, the Ram and the Bull and the Centaur with his bow and arrow shooting at a human figure with a radiant face, evidently representing the sun; below the top edge is a round mould with a zigzag ornament. It has been reset for use on a modern base and stem near the south doorway. The other furniture is modern.
The church of St. Oswald at Rounton is first mentioned in the 12th century, (fn. 62) when Ralph Surtees of Dinsdale granted to it a messuage and garden. The advowson came into the possession of Roger Conyers with the manor. (fn. 63) It was held of his son Roger by Ralph Surtees, who with his wife Beatrice and son Richard granted this church and that of Dinsdale to the church of St. Cuthbert at Durham (fn. 64); the gift was confirmed by the younger Roger de Conyers and his son Robert.
The Prior and convent of Durham retained the patronage till the Dissolution, but no vicarage was ordained. (fn. 65) After the Dissolution the patronage was vested in the Crown (fn. 66) till 1898, when it was granted to the Archbishop of York in exchange. (fn. 67)
Two acres of land of the value of 2s. 8d. were in the 16th century attached to the church for the provision of an annual obit. (fn. 68)