A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The parish of Warthill, formerly in the forest of Galtres, (fn. 1) covers an area of nearly 1,004 acres, of which a considerable proportion is freehold of the manor of Holtby and the rest freehold and copyhold of Warthill Manor. There are 656 acres of arable land, where wheat, barley, oats and potatoes are grown, 273 of permanent grass, and 28 of woods and plantations. (fn. 2) The soil is sandy on a subsoil of Keuper marls and bunter sandstone. In the greater part of Warthill the land lies at a height of 75 ft. above ordnance datum, rising to 100 ft. on the borders of Gate Helmsley on the east.
The village lies in the south of the parish on a road known as 'Common Lane'; this enters it from Stockton on the north-west and is crossed at Warthill Gates by the line of the York and Scarborough branch of the North Eastern railway. Warthill station stands within the borders of Stockton. The village, which is small but picturesque, is placed in a hollow and surrounds a green and its pond. None of the cottages are of any great age. At the north end is the manor-house, now a farm-house, which with the manor farm is now the property of Mr. Henry Hillyard; at the south are the church and Wesleyan Methodist chapel, the latter dating from 1841, with a few cottages beyond.
A moat which surrounds the site of the ancient manor-house is still to be seen in a garth near the vicarage, which stands on the borders of Gate Helmsley. In the opposite direction, a mile west of the village, in a large park, is Brockfield House, now the residence of Mr. Charles Talbot Agar.
Among the lands belonging to the manor in the 17th century were Peasland, Hungry Carbutt, Cattingbutt, Chappellbutt, Bull Ynge, Wybutt, Farrlonglands, Shortbrock, Brockrood, Redcarr lands, Stovelands, Keerells, Borrowbrigg and Long Harams. (fn. 3) An Act for the inclosure of 500 acres of common, a tract of 50 acres known as 'Sandy Lands,' with various ancient messuages and other tenements called 'Frontsteads,' was passed in 1812. (fn. 4)
Three geld carucates in WARTHILL, in the possession of the see of York in 1086, (fn. 5) were afterwards assigned to the prebend which took the name of the parish. (fn. 6) Though the benefice was of comparatively small value, (fn. 7) more than one Roman cardinal held it. It was held in 1272 by Ancherus, Cardinal of St. Praxed, for whom Pope Urban intervened to secure a pension until his provision to a wealthier prebend, (fn. 8) and in 1345 by Aymer, Cardinal of St. Anastasia, who was then promoted to benefices in the province of Canterbury. (fn. 9) John de Markenfield, a royal clerk, obtained the prebend from Edward II in 1307 during the voidance of the see of York. (fn. 10) Several instances of papal interference with the archbishop's right to the patronage of this prebend occur in the 14th century. In 1351 Edward III granted it to Thomas de Oldington, (fn. 11) who, at the king's death, was ejected by John Thorne, provided by the pope; at his death John was succeeded by John de Akun. (fn. 12) Another papal nominee, Richard Carlton, who was 'litigating in the apostolic palace' in 1391 concerning the canonry and prebend of Warthill, (fn. 13) does not seem to have actually entered into possession. On his death in or before 1395 the pope, after a series of provisions, provided Walter Cooke, prebendary from the resignation of Nicholas Slake in 1397 until 1423. (fn. 14) John le Romayn, afterwards Archbishop of York, was collated to this prebend in 1279. (fn. 15) A later prebendary, Adam Moleyns, afterwards in 1445 (fn. 16) Bishop of Chichester, was a pluralist. Towards the close of the 16th century the prebend was granted to George Coryate, (fn. 17) in reward, presumably, of many years devoted to the adulation, in Latin verse, of Queen Elizabeth and her nobility. (fn. 18) A worthier tenant, prebendary from 1688 to 1713, was Francis Drake, (fn. 19) whose son and grandson of the same name, both antiquaries and the elder of considerable renown, (fn. 20) were lessees of the manor in 1746 and 1775 respectively. (fn. 21)
In 1649 the manor of Warthill was sold for £157 10s. by the commissioners of the Long Parliament to John Pickersgill of London. (fn. 22) After the Restoration it remained in the possession of the prebendary until the statute of 1840 transferred the estates of non-residentiary prebends to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 23) who were empowered to sell it in 1852. (fn. 24) The manorial rights which were enjoyed by the lessee of the prebendary until 1840, and afterwards of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 25) now belong to Mr. Henry Hillyard as owner of the Manor Farm, which is a small property of about 200 acres. The largest landowner in Warthill is Mr. Charles Agar of Brockfield House. (fn. 26) There was a manor-house here belonging to the prebendary in the 14th century. (fn. 27)
A 'manor' of 2 geld carucates held by Sorthoued in the time of Edward the Confessor belonged to the Count of Mortain in 1086, when it was said to be waste. (fn. 28) This seems to be the land which lies within the parish of Holtby, and was described in 1812 as freehold held of the manor of Holtby (fn. 29) (q.v.).
The Prior of St. Andrew, York, had a grange and other tenements in Warthill from the 14th to the 16th century, having obtained a messuage and 2 oxgangs from Walter Richman in or about 1303. (fn. 30)
The church of ST. MARY is a small modern building consisting of a chancel, nave and tower on the south side, forming a porch. The ancient church was pulled down in 1787 and a brick building substituted by Robert Bowes. The present structure was begun in 1873 and is of red brick with stone dressings. The tower is surmounted by a small slate spire and contains three bells cast by J. Warner & Co. in 1876.
The plate consists of a cup (York, 1779) with the maker's initials H.P., a paten of 1874 and a silvermounted glass flagon. There are also a good pewter flagon and two pewter plates inscribed 'Warthill Church.'
The church was always associated with the metropolitan church of York. It was appropriated to the prebend of Warthill and in the gift of the prebendary, who was bound as rector 'to find at his own expense one chaplain to celebrate in the chapel of Warthill.' (fn. 31) At what date the vicarage was ordained is not known, (fn. 32) but it was valued at 60s. 8d. in 1535, (fn. 33) when the archbishop wrote to Cromwell that he had 'now sent the King the advowson of Warthill.' (fn. 34) The patronage remained vested in the prebendary until the Act of 1840 transferred it to the archbishop, who still presents. (fn. 35)
By deed dated 26 May 1906 Samuel Girton gave a sum of £53 6s. 6d. India 3 per cent. stock (with the official trustees), the dividends to be applied for encouraging the members of the choir of the parish church. (See Stockton-on-the-Forest.)