A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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THE WAPENTAKE OF BIRDFORTH
containing the parishes of Old Byland; Cowesby; Coxwold; East Harlsey; Hawnby; Husthwaite; South Kilvington; Cold Kirby; Kirkby Knowle; South Otterington; Over Silton; Thirkleby; Thirsk; Topcliffe; Welbury
At the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) all the parishes now in this wapentake were taken under 'Gerlestre' Wapentake except Hawnby and East Harlsey with their townships, which are entered under Allerton Wapentake. In the middle of the 12th century the wapentake is mentioned as Brideford, taking the name from the little hamlet of Birdforth in Coxwold parish, where probably the hundred court was held. (fn. 1) At the end of the 13th century it comprised the same parishes as it does at the present day, Hawnby having been transferred from Allerton. (fn. 2) Then, as in 1831, it contained the townships of Boltby, Sutton under Whitestone Cliffe and Thirlby, all part of the West Riding parish of Feliskirk; but Kilburn, divided between Birdforth and the West Riding in 1831, was said to be in Allertonshire in the 13th century. The wapentakes of Birdforth and Allerton were in early times closely associated. In 1276 it was stated that the men of Allertonshire were accustomed to answer with the wapentake of Birdforth until the time of J. de Oketon. (fn. 3)
The fee of Birdforth Wapentake appears to have been in the hands of the Crown throughout. Roger Lascelles did suit to the king's bailiff at the wapentake of Birdforth in the reign of Edward I. (fn. 4) In 1316 the king is described as the lord of the wapentake. (fn. 5) In 1334 Edward III made a grant of the bailiwick of the wapentake to John de Dishforth to hold for life. (fn. 6)