A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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Crec (fn. 1) (vii cent.); Creic (xi cent.); Crech (xii cent.); Creyk, Craike (xiii cent.); Crake, Crayk (xiv cent.).
The most elevated point in this parish is the hill on which Crayke Castle stands, which is 379 ft. above ordnance datum. Thence the land slopes downwards especially to the plain of York, which lies to the south. Near Manton Bridge the elevation is only 123 ft.
The parish lies on Upper, Middle and Lower Lias. It covers an area of 2,876 acres, of which 1,426 acres are arable land and 1,155 acres are laid down to grass, while 51 acres are woodland. (fn. 2)
The parish was until the 19th century part of the county of Durham. In 1832 it was united to Yorkshire for Parliamentary purposes, (fn. 3) and in 1844 it became for all purposes part of that county. (fn. 4) In 1837 it was transferred by Order in Council from the diocese of Durham to that of York and to the archdeaconry of Cleveland. (fn. 5)
Crayke village is picturesquely situated on the southern slopes of the steep Castle Hill. The cottages, of varied form and diversified outline, are scattered irregularly along either side of the main street, which forks some distance below the church. Several cottages present features of some antiquity and two are half-timbered. One of these fronts on to the village green and bears the inscription 'May 14. 1613 Tho (fn. 3) Johnson' cut on the lintel of the door. The second example stands on the Easingwold road and is of similar character and date. The new Wesleyan chapel has an ancient crowned shield, bearing the sacred monogram, built into the front wall. It was probably brought from Marton Priory. Half a mile below the village, on the Brandsby road, stands Wyndham Hall, now known as Crayke Manor. The original house has been largely added to by the present owner, Mr. Stephen Cliff, but the old building is still standing intact. It is rectangular with a projecting porch on the south side, a common type amongst the small manor-houses of this part of the country. The house is two stories high and lighted by three-light mullioned windows with stone labels over them on the first floor and similar windows with pediments on the ground floor. The porch has a semicircular keyed arch flanked by flat pilasters much weathered, and above it is a small room retaining its original oak panelling. The gable of the porch projection has a circular panel in the centre. The interior of the house has been largely remodelled and the present owner has inserted a considerable quantity of ancient panelling of excellent design brought from Howley Hall, near Morley. Some of the original panelling, however, remains in the dining room, and the staircase to the attics retains its original flat pilaster balusters. On a boarded partition in the roof are some remains of a painted design. The house apparently dates from the early years of the 17th century.
It is probable that there was a castle of Crayke in the time of Hugh Pudsey. That bishop supped at Crayke in 1195, as he was travelling from Durham. He was afterwards taken ill, and with difficulty was able to ride on to Howden, where he died. (fn. 6) King John was at Crayke in 1209, (fn. 7) 1210–11, (fn. 8) and 1211, (fn. 9) Henry III in December 1227, (fn. 10) Edward I in August 1292, (fn. 11) Edward II in October 1316, (fn. 12) and Edward III in April 1333. (fn. 13) Bishop Kellaw in 1314 held a council there. (fn. 14) Leland found at Crayke 'smaul shew of any old castel that hath beene there.' (fn. 15) In April 1646 (fn. 16) and in February 1647 (fn. 17) the House of Commons ordered that Crayke Castle should be rendered untenable and no garrison maintained in it. It was probably suffered to fall into ruins after the consequent dismantling. The property sold by the trustees in 1648 included the capital messuage, manor or mansion-house called Crayke Castle. (fn. 18)
The remains now existing of Crayke Castle occupy the summit of a hill of some height: as the site is the most southerly outpost of the hill country it commands magnificent views in every direction. The castle was one of those slightly fortified houses constructed by the mediaeval bishops which present few of the features of the ordinary castle. It consists of two distinct and self-contained buildings lying some 70 ft. apart. Of these the more southerly has been restored within recent years and made habitable and is now, with some additions, used as a shooting box, while the other is a complete ruin. The valuable documentary evidence bearing on the buildings of the castle has been collected by Canon Raine and is printed in the report of the Associated Architectural Societies, (fn. 19) and from this a fair idea may be formed of the extent of the structure in its completeness. Its most unusual feature is the former existence side by side of two complete blocks, each consisting of hall, great chamber and offices. There is little doubt that the summit of the hill was surrounded by a wall entered by a gate-house situated on the south side near the site of the present gate into the grounds, and referred to in a survey of 1560– 70 as being even then ruinous. The ground falls away rapidly on the western side of the castle site, and on this side the earliest buildings were erected. At the western end stood a hall referred to in 1441 as 'the old hall' and adjoining it on the west were the buildings forming the restored portion of the castle. Of the old hall itself only a fragment of the south wall of uncertain date remains. The restored building consists of two structures with the remains of a third and may be identified from the documents quoted by Canon Raine as the great chamber, the kitchen and the great tower. The great chamber is a massive rectangular building externally 70 ft. 9 in. by 28 ft. 4 in., and apparently dating from the early years of the 15th century. It is four stories high, the walls being set back slightly at each stage. An embattled parapet is carried round the whole building, and at either end rise small square turrets also embattled. The building is now divided up by modern partitions, so that little trace of the original arrangement is left. The chief entrance, however, was by a pointed arch at the north end of the west face, on the first floor level and now blocked up, and a second smaller door gave entrance to the ground floor in the centre of the north wall. The ground floor was originally one apartment and still retains its oak ceiling divided up by plain ribs with the angles hollow chamfered. Portions of the floors and roofs of the stages above are also ancient. The walls, some 5 ft. thick at the base, are pierced by numerous single-light square-headed windows irregularly placed and considerably restored. Adjoining the great chamber on the west was the kitchen erected by Bishop Nevill in 1441, of which the building accounts are still extant. It is there described as lying between the great chamber and the old hall, thus fixing the position of the latter structure. The kitchen with its two large ranges and larder has now entirely gone, and only the vaulted undercroft remains standing. It is a large apartment 45 ft. 10 in. by 19 ft. 6 in., entered by the original doorway in the centre of the north wall. The roof is a massive pointed barrel vault of stone supported on parallel ribs square in section, 18 in. wide and 21 in. apart. In the south-west angle a vice led up to the kitchen and probably to the upper stories of the adjoining tower. It has now been cut through to form an entrance. Of the tower nothing now remains but the base of the walls (internally 19 ft. 5 in. by 12 ft.), much cut about and altered. The Elizabethan survey quoted by Raine records that it was five stories high, and it is probably the 'great tower' referred to by Leland as having been built by Robert Nevill, Bishop of Durham from 1438 to 1457. (fn. 19a)
The second block of buildings lies a short distance to the north-east of that just described. It must be assigned to the second half of the 15th century, and is described in the Elizabethan survey as 'The New Tower—the castle of Crake is buylded of harde stone, the walles wherof v fote thicke; the same is all vaughted underneth throughout and is thre storie height above the vaught. This house is all covered over wt leade and in reasonable good reparacion. The grounde worke of the house or story wherin the hall is, is about xl fote longe and xxvij fote wyde on the owtesyde, and the house or story wherin the parler is, is xlij fote longe and xxxiij fote wyde on the owtesyde. Ther is at the entrye into the castle a high porche of xv fote one way and ix fote another waie wt lodginges over it covered wt leade, and a newe strong grate dore of iron at the entryng in at it.' The survey is accompanied by a line plan giving dimensions, which is of great value as showing the parlour, which has now completely vanished. Of the hall itself little save the south-east angle remains standing. It was, however, approximately 38 ft. or 39 ft. long by 21 ft. wide with screens at the south end entered by a porch on the west side. This latter still remains standing, the hall door having a large pointed arch still intact. Each side was pierced with a single window opening and the porch was covered with a ribbed vault of stone, of which the springers remain. To the north of this is a small projection inclosing a stone stair leading down to the substructures. Those under the hall were three in number; the largest beneath its southern end retains its rough barrel vault intact with an open arch at the east end formerly communicating with the cellar beneath the parlour. Remains of a door and staircase exist in the south wall. Three doors open from it into as many smaller vaults which are under the porch and two under the northern end of the hall. In both the latter the roof has partially collapsed, and in the more westerly a small garderobe is built in the thickness of the north wall. A small window in the west side of the same apartment has a shouldered head. A flat meadow lying between the castle and the church was apparently the site of the great barn, of the existence of which there is documentary evidence.
Edward Churton, theologian and Spanish scholar, was rector of Crayke from 1835 to his death in 1874. (fn. 20) Hannah Diana, daughter and heiress of Thomas Bowman, rector, married the missionary and poet Thomas Whytehead, who lived from 1815 to 1848. (fn. 21) She inherited a house a little to the east of the church, built in the 18th century by John Bowman, who died in 1799. In 1852 it was the property of Henry Yates Whytehead, M.D., and the land appurtenant to it then constituted the chief estate in the parish next to the manor. (fn. 22)
It is said that there were a considerable number of Quakers in Crayke in the time of the Commonwealth and subsequently, but most of the community conformed between 1690 (fn. 22a) and 1767, and the last of them died as a member of the Church of England shortly before 1852. An old Roman Catholic chapel had at that date been converted to other purposes, after several years of disuse. There was a small Wesleyan chapel in the village. (fn. 23) It has now Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels.
There is mention of Crayke Park from the early 13th century. In 1229 the king granted the bishop a deer-leap in it 140 ft. long. (fn. 23a) It was well stocked with timber and with deer, and there are frequent references to the grant of trees, to poaching and the appointment of keepers of the park throughout the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. (fn. 24) In 1619 the tenants declared there was in the manor a large piece of woody ground or pasture called Crayke Park, although the same had never been used as a park but had always been used by the tenants for depasturing their cattle and sheep. (fn. 24a)
Among names of places which occur in grants of land in Crayke held of the bishop are Langthwayt and Ketelsgat in 1313, (fn. 25) Dowcot Place, evidently the site of a dovecote, in 1379–80, (fn. 26) and Scawtwayte in 1545. (fn. 27) Place-names within the manor in 1648 were Castle Garth, Hall Field, Nyne Penny Piece, Fower Megge Flatte, Heather Intacke, Low Inge, Crooke Inge, Fosse Flatt, Newe Close, Two Sam Peeces, Slee Close, Great and Little Hagg Inge, Weight Land, Bulpitt, Mart Gate Inge, Oxeclose, Sir Richard Close, Overfossette, Claude, Fetherstons and Cow Close. (fn. 28)
The vill of CRAYKE, according to the evidence of Symeon of Durham (fn. 29) and of a charter not perfectly authenticated, (fn. 30) was granted to St. Cuthbert and his successors, Bishops of Lindisfarne, in 685, together with the country around it within 3 miles, by Ecgfrith of Northumberland, advised by Archbishop Theodore, as the site of a house in which to rest on journeys to and from York. There was a tradition that Cuthbert founded a monastery at Crayke, (fn. 31) which still existed in 883, (fn. 32) but the story possibly originated only in the application of the word 'monasterium' to the episcopal household. In any case, however, Crayke was probably regarded as holy, for it was the place of settlement of an anchorite, Etha, who died there 'happily' in 767. (fn. 33) In 867 Ella, King of Northumberland, took Crayke from St. Cuthbert's Church and himself dwelt there in the bishop's stead. Thence he went to fight the Danes in the battle in which he was killed. (fn. 34) Symeon of Durham relates that in 883 the bishop and his people, who had been expelled from Lindisfarne, came with the body of St. Cuthbert to Crayke Monastery, were kindly received by the Abbot Geve, and remained for four months. (fn. 35) This story presupposes not only the doubtful existence of the monastery, but also that such had not been interrupted by Ella's spoliation or had since its occurrence been resumed. Of these facts a tale so legendary in form is not sufficient evidence. Between 966 and 992 Earl Thured, according to a charter of which a 12th-century copy is extant, regranted 2 hides of land in Crayke to the church of St. Cuthbert in Durham, (fn. 36) and probably thus restored possessions lost since 867. In the Domesday Survey it is said that there were 6 carucates of land in Crayke for geld, and that four ploughs could be there. Bishop Alwin or Aldhun, who died in 1018, had held all the land as one 'manor.' In 1086 Bishop William had one plough on the demesne and his nine villeins had three ploughs. (fn. 37)
From this date until modern times Crayke was an episcopal possession save for a few years under the Commonwealth. When the see was vacant in 1197 the vill rendered £4 3s. 4d. (fn. 38) It was confirmed to the bishop by King John in 1200. (fn. 39) In the reign of Edward I the bishop pleaded that he held his manor of Crayke in virtue of Ecgfrith's grant, so freely that neither the king nor his ministers had ever exercised any rights within it. This is a statement of the position of Crayke as part of the county palatine of Durham, having all the peculiar liberties of that territory. The bishop further asserted that the manor of Crayke was surrounded by ditches and other certain metes and bounds. (fn. 40) From a perambulation made in 1316 it appears, however, that a part of Crayke Park was included in the royal forest of Galtres, and was therefore outside the bishop's jurisdiction. The boundary of the forest was said to be the hedge of the park as far as the place where the latter was entered by the River Foss, and thence down that stream through the midst of the park. (fn. 41) There is no other evidence of an excepted territory in Crayke. In 1346 the king ordered the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer to inspect the rolls and memoranda in their charge and to supersede a demand for a ninth made on the men and tenants of Crayke in Yorkshire, if they found that that town and its inhabitants were of the liberty of the Bishop of Durham and had always been quit of all aids granted by the commonalty of the realm. The bishop had shown the king that they enjoyed such quittance as being within his liberty and bishopric, but the Sheriff of York was none the less distraining them for the ninth. (fn. 42) At the Dissolution the see of Durham derived annually £47 2s. 0½d. from the site of Crayke Castle and various rents and farms. (fn. 43) Leland states that the lordship was 7 miles in circumference. (fn. 44) Queen Mary regranted it with the manor to the bishop in the January of the first year of her reign. (fn. 45) In 1648 Crayke was sold by the Parliamentary trustees for the sale of the possessions of archbishops and bishops to Sir Thomas Widderington, kt., serjeant-at-law, of York, and Thomas Coghill, citizen and draper, of London. (fn. 46) It reverted to the see of Durham at the Restoration. In 1827 an Act of Parliament enabled Bishop Van Mildert, who wished to buy an estate adjacent to his domain at Auckland, (fn. 47) to sell it to Richard John Thompson of Kirby Hall, who a few years later sold it to William Waite of Holdgate, near York. (fn. 48) In 1827 it contained more than 878 acres of land. (fn. 49) In 1890 it was in the possession of his son Captain William Waite, but it has again been sold, and Mr. Stephen Cliff is the present lord of the manor.
In 1448–9 the bishop granted a lease of forty years in Crayke Manor, for a yearly rent of £40 and certain fees due to the steward and parkers, to Robert Kelsey. (fn. 50) In 1586 a lease of the manor and all its appurtenances for eighty years, at a rent of £51 1s. 11½d., was acquired by Queen Elizabeth, (fn. 51) and she in March 1587–8 granted a lease of it for twenty-one years to Sir Francis Walsingham, who in the same year sold his interest to John Theker. (fn. 52) From this time there was a succession of lessees and sub-lessees of the manor. Sir Edmund Duncombe and Hester his wife, lessees, (fn. 53) granted a lease of nineteen years, at a rent of one grain of pepper, to Sir William Allenson, kt., clerk of the hanaper, in 1648, (fn. 54) but such conveyance may have been formal only. Richard John Thompson, afterwards purchaser of the manor, held it on a lease of three lives from May 1820. (fn. 55)
A water corn-mill was part of the property in Crayke sold by the trustees in 1648. (fn. 56) The mill was sold with the manor under the Act of 1827. (fn. 57) At the former date a common bake-house in the parish was appurtenant to the manor. (fn. 58)
The church of ST. CUTHBERT at Crayke is a small building consisting of chancel, nave with north aisle, tower and south porch, standing at the head of the village, just below the summit of the hill. The church seems to have been rebuilt in the 15th century. (fn. 59)
The chancel (25 ft. 8 in. by 19 ft.) is a 15th-century building lighted by a three-light east window with cusped heads under a depressed arch, and in the side walls three two-light windows of similar character, one in the north and two in the south wall. Between the latter is a small doorway. Running up one of the mullions of the east window on the outside is an inscription in Lombardic characters still legible, reading—'[pie mem]orie nicolai recto[r] ecc[lesi]e de crec.' The chancel is covered with a 15th-century tie-beam roof in three bays with curved supports against the walls, springing from moulded wood corbels. The chancel arch of the same date is formed of two chamfered orders dying into plain square responds. Across the arch is a poor 15th-century rood screen of oak having a doorway with cusped and carved head and the sides divided by mullions into five compartments with traceried heads. The beam has a plain hollow on each side, but the screen generally is more enriched on the eastern face. Within the sacrarium are two good chairs dating from the middle of the 17th century, with winged angels at the back.
The nave (47 ft. 5 in. by 26 ft. 6 in. or with the aisle 43 ft. 9 in.) is similar in character and date to the chancel and is lighted by two-light windows with depressed heads. The north aisle of three bays is a modern addition, but a considerable quantity of the old materials, including some of the windows, were apparently reinserted in the new wall. The nave roof of five bays is contemporary with the building. Like that of the chancel it is of the low pitched tie-beam type with curved supports. The font is also 15th-century work and has an octagonal bowl and stem with a moulded base and a wooden cover of the 17th century. The other fittings of the nave are of considerable interest. The oak pewing probably dates from the period of the Restoration. The pews are plainly panelled with moulded knobs to the bench ends. Of the same character is the clerk's desk on the south side near the rood screen and the churchwardens' pews at the west end. By the south door is a small iron-bound alms-box with a rose carved on each face. The heptagonal Jacobean pulpit has each face ornamented with an arcaded panel of the usual type with a conventional design of foliage above. Similar carving ornaments the support to the sounding-board, the angles of which have moulded pendants with radiating panels to the soffit. The cornice bears the inscription 'shew me thy waes o lord and teach me thy paths ano 1637.' At the east end of the nave against the south wall are two mutilated recumbent stone figures, male and female, dating from the later part of the 16th century. The man is in armour; his bare head rests on a cushion and his feet on a dog. On his left arm is a shield bearing the arms of Gibson of Welburn: Barry ermine and sable a lion or. The lady wears a ruff and Mary Queen of Scots cap. Sir John Gibson of Welburn (fn. 60) was twice married, and it seems probable that this monument was put up to commemorate his first wife Margaret Woodhall, who died between 1584 and 1590; Sir John himself was buried at Kirkdale. (fn. 61) In 1794 the monument was on the north side of the nave, and in a niche in the wall was a kneeling female figure. (fn. 62) This figure, lacking its head and hands, is now lying beside the other effigies, and with it is a carved wooden coat of arms bearing Gibson of Welburn with a label impaling Or a pale between two roundels sable with a demi-lion or on the pale and a crescent for difference, for Allett. It is probable that both fragments belong to the monu ment of Anne daughter of Sir John Allett, Lord Mayor of London, and wife of Sir John Gibson of Welburn. She was buried at Crayke in 1621. (fn. 63)
The 15th-century tower standing at the west end is three stages high, with diagonal buttresses and an embattled parapet with pinnacles at the angles. The lowest stage is pierced by a three-light traceried west window. The belfry is lighted by a two-light squareheaded window in each face, and is approached by a vice in the north-east angle.
Beneath the tower are three old chests, the largest, some 6 ft. long, cut from a solid block of oak, a second, similar but much smaller, and a third, of the 17th century with a carved and panelled front. The south porch has a depressed arch to the outer doorway, dating from the late 15th century, with an impost moulding carried along on either side as a string. The porch roof is original and the embattled parapet has a sundial dated 1732 inserted in the centre. The exterior of the church is faced in ashlar and is finished throughout with embattled parapets and pinnacles at the angles of the building.
The three bells bear the following inscriptions: (1) '1759 Deo Gloria,' with the names of the rector, curate and three churchwardens (cast by E. Seller of York); (2) '1669 Gloria in altissimis deo'; (3) 'Sonabo tibi Dñe in Jucunditate soni' in black letter, with a shield bearing a bell and the initials W.O.
The church plate consists of the following pieces: a cup and cover (York, 1631), the former with a chased straight-sided bowl, a large flagon (London, 1686) inscribed 'The gift of Thomas Gresham to the parish of Craike 1687,' a paten (London, 1717) inscribed 'Donum Ecclesiae Cathedralis Christi et Beatae Virginis Dunelmensis,' an urn-shaped flagon (York, 1787), the gift of Ann (daughter of Thomas Richardson) widow of William Orfeur, 1787, engraved with the coat of arms of Orfeur impaling Richardson quartering Daniell, and a paten (London, 1839) inscribed 'Crayke Church 1840.' There is in addition a 17th-century pewter chalice.
A church was probably founded at Crayke by the bishops in AngloSaxon times, and it is unlikely that it did not exist in the days of Etha, the anchorite of the 8th century. (fn. 64) In 1086 Crayke had a church and a priest. (fn. 65) In 1291 the church was of the annual value of £10. (fn. 66) From the earliest times on record it belonged to the collation of the Bishop of Durham. (fn. 67) In 1309 papal provision of the rectory, then said to be worth 30 marks a year, was made to Robert de Donebrugge, a pluralist. (fn. 68)
At the time of the Dissolution the rectory, consisting of a house, the glebe, and the tithes and oblations, was, as in 1291, worth £10 a year. (fn. 69) The advowson was included in the property leased by the bishop to Queen Elizabeth and by her to Sir Francis Walsingham and sold to Thomas Widderington and Thomas Coghill in 1648. (fn. 70) After the Restoration it was held not by the lessees of the manor but by the bishop, (fn. 71) to whom it was reserved in the Act of 1827 authorizing the sale of the manor. (fn. 72) In 1837 the patronage was transferred by Order in Council to the Bishop of Ripon, (fn. 73) and from him in 1860 to the First Lord of the Treasury. (fn. 74)
In 1837, when the parish was transferred to the diocese of York and the archdeaconry of Cleveland, it was freed from the peculiar jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of Durham. (fn. 74a)
At the dissolution of gilds and chantries an annual rent of 8d. endowed a lamp in Crayke Church. (fn. 75)
It appears from the table of benefactions that 'Thomas Grason' alias Grayson 'left 40s. a year to be distributed every St. Thomas's day out of his freehold estate, London'; also that Samuel Coates left 10s. a year to be paid at Easter out of his freehold estate at Crayke. The annuity of 40s. is paid out of a house, now 172 High Street, Southwark, and the 10s. is received in respect of certain farm land at Crayke.
The Poor's Land consists of two fields in Stillington containing 8 a. or thereabouts purchased with certain benefactions for the poor, and 5 a. 2 r. in Farlington devised, as appeared from the benefaction table, by the Rev. Mr. Owram. The land produces £20 14s. yearly.
The official trustees hold a sum of £210 consols, representing a legacy of £250, by will of a Mrs. Orfeur, for bread for the poor; also a sum of £13 15s. 1d. consols; this represents legacies of £17 each by the wills of the Rev. M. Turner and the Rev. A. Jepson, former rectors, for providing bread for the poor. The money had been expended towards building houses for the poor. The property was sold in 1896. The net income of the charities, amounting to about £28 a year, is applied as to onethird in the distribution of bread and two-thirds in coal.
John Bowman, will 1799 (?), gave £150 consols, the annual dividends, amounting to £3 15s., to be applied in the payment of 1s. a week towards the support of the Sunday school and the residue in putting poor children to school. The stock is standing in the names of the rector and another stockholder, the dividends being paid to the school account.