A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The small parish of Carlton lies between the townships of Busby on the east and Faceby on the west, and is closely associated with them in its history. The total area is only 1,359 acres. Of these 558 are under cultivation, (fn. 1) and wheat, beans, and oats are grown. At the present day the industry of the parish is purely agricultural. A local historian records that in 1808 a few persons were employed in the manufacture of linen. (fn. 2)
The parish lies on the northern slopes of the Cleveland hills, and Carlton Bank in the southern part of it is a steep descent from a high projecting rock. Here there are old alum works, disused before the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 3) Alum House Lane leads down from the top of the hill, which is known as Carlton Moor, to the village. The houses are built irregularly along a single street, which has a north-westerly direction. It slopes gradually to the north, and a small mountain stream flows through it to join the Leven.
At the south end of the street is Darnton Hill, on which the village bull-ring is still to be seen. Opposite is the vicarage; it is not, however, at the present day the residence of the vicar, who lives in the manor-house, higher up the street on the west side. (fn. 4) This house was formerly the home of the Prissick family, and was described in 1808 as a 'neat and desirable country residence for a genteel family.' (fn. 5)
Carlton House, in the west of the parish, is the residence of Mr. John William Stephenson. Mr. William Scarth, who resides at the Grove, is one of the principal landowners. His family has been represented here at least since the reign of Charles I, when a John Scarth paid subsidy in Carlton. (fn. 6)
Eight carucates in CARLTON were in the soke of the 'manor' of Seamer in 1086, and were in the hands of the Count of Mortain. (fn. 7) They subsequently became part of the fee which the Meynell family held of the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 8)
A certain amount of land here seems to have been held by the Meynells in demesne. (fn. 9) This, which was known as their manor of Carlton, followed the descent of Whorlton Manor (q.v.), to which it was appurtenant.
From an early date land was held in Carlton under the Meynells by a family named Bret. Geoffrey Bret granted 3 oxgangs here to the Abbot of Rievaulx, probably at the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 10) His son Simon (fn. 11) made a similar grant, which was confirmed by Henry III in 1252. (fn. 12) The 3 oxgangs lay between the land of Robert Bret and the land which had belonged to William Ingram, and the appurtenant tofts and crofts were on the north side of the road leading from Carlton to Faceby. (fn. 13) The Robert Bret here mentioned is perhaps identical with the Robert son of Robert Bret who granted to the monks of Byland his right to common of pasture on the moor between Whorlton and Snilesworth. (fn. 14) There is nothing to show which was the more important branch of the family.
In 1285 it was recorded that Nicholas de Meynell ought to render 2s. to the king's bailiff for the land of Simon Bret of Carlton, but had not done so for twelve years. (fn. 15) Fourteen years later Robert Bret was holding 1 carucate of Nicholas de Meynell for the twelfth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 16) At the same time Robert Gower (fn. 17) was holding 2 carucates, (fn. 18) which had been held by his ancestors since before 1252 (fn. 19) and may have been acquired from the Brets by purchase.
The Bret family remained at Carlton for another generation. Robert Bret paid subsidy for his land here in 1301–2 (fn. 20) and an Adam Bort (probably a variation of the same name) in 1327. (fn. 21) The line apparently ended in co-heirs, for in 1341 John Wirfauk and Margery his wife, with Thomas Wirfauk and Joan his wife, quitclaimed to Nicholas Gower 6 tofts, 6 crofts and 8 oxgangs in Carlton in Cleveland, with 2 tofts, 2 crofts and 2 oxgangs which Cecily Bret held in dower of the inheritance of Margery and Joan. (fn. 22) Nicholas Gower was a member of the same family as the Robert Gower who held 2 carucates in Carlton in 1299–1300. (fn. 23) In or about 1349 he enfeoffed John son of John Gower, his brother, William Gower of Ingleby and others of land in Carlton and elsewhere. (fn. 24) He obtained a grant of free warren in Skutterskelfe, Sexhow, Carlton, Thoralby and Brawith in 1356. (fn. 25)
Carlton was released in 1364 with Faceby (q.v.) by Richard Gower of Marton to Gilbert de Wauton, Christiana his wife and Elizabeth her sister, (fn. 26) and followed the descent of that manor till it came into the hands of Henry Jenkins in 1596. (fn. 27) He was in possession of Carlton for some years. (fn. 28) In 1608, however, he conveyed to William Marwood various messuages and lands there, (fn. 29) a conveyance which was probably accompanied by a grant of the manor. Henry Marwood, brother and heir of William, (fn. 30) with George Marwood his son quitclaimed the estate to Thomas Lord Bruce in 1623. (fn. 31) The manor remained in the Bruce family till 1695–6, when Robert Bruce and James Bruce conveyed it to Christopher Prissick. (fn. 32)
The Prissicks were lords of Carlton for several generations, but there is very little evidence as to their pedigree. Codrington John Prissick, who was in possession in 1738, (fn. 33) was the successor of Christopher. He conveyed the manor to George Prissick and Thomas Allaby in 1743. (fn. 34) Edmund Prissick, son and heir of George, died here in 1766. (fn. 35) The line ended in an heiress, who carried the manor to John Healey late in the 18th century. (fn. 36)
The 'heirs of Mr. Prissick' were still patrons of the church, and probably lords of the manor, in 1808, (fn. 37) but before 1829 it seems that both had been purchased by Joseph Reeve, who was patron in that year. (fn. 38) Charles Reeve was lord of the manor in 1846, and Mrs. Reeve, widow of his son Joshua, (fn. 39) is the lady of the manor at the present day.
Besides the grant of 3 oxgangs of land in Carlton from Geoffrey Bret the abbey of Rievaulx had from the same donor all his land in 'Lange flat.' (fn. 40) They also had half a carucate from John de Langbaurgh (fn. 41) and a toft and croft from John de Seamer. (fn. 42) At the Dissolution the abbey had one tenement and 3 oxgangs in the tenure of Robert Gowland and another tenement with 4 oxgangs in the tenure of John Baxter. (fn. 43) In the spring of 1280–1 Robert de Skutterskelfe obtained 150 acres in Carlton from Nicholas de Meynell. (fn. 44) He was probably a member of the same family as Roger de Skutterskelfe, who is said to have sold 2 oxgangs in Carlton to the monks of Fountains. (fn. 45)
The church of ST. BOTOLPH stands on high ground on the west side of the village and is a modern structure consisting of chancel, clearstoried nave with north and south aisles, south porch and west tower. The building, which was erected in 1896–7, (fn. 46) is an excellent example of modern Gothic work with chancel and nave under one continuous red-tiled roof, the tower, which is of massive design with embattled parapet and pointed roof, being partially engaged. The roofs are eaved, those over the aisles being covered with stone slates.
There is a stone singing gallery below the tower from which the bells are rung, and the whole of the interior is faced with ashlar. The only relic of antiquity inside the church is a 17th-century oak chest, but in the churchyard on the south side is the base with part of the shaft of a cross.
Graves, writing about 1808, describes the old church, which stood on the same site, as 'a small modern-built structure,' (fn. 47) and Ord forty years later calls it a 'singular and extraordinary' building, 'the steeple like a Norman tower, the nave and chancel little better than a shepherd's hut.' (fn. 48) An illustration of the building previous to 1879 (fn. 49) shows the church to have been a plain rectangular structure with south porch and bell-turret over the west gable, the roof covered with red pantiles and the windows plain barred wooden sashes. In 1878–9 this building was renovated and north and south transepts added, but it was destroyed by fire in October 1881. From that date till 1896 the building lay in ruins, though occasional services were held within the walls.
The new church has a ring of eight bells cast in 1908. (fn. 50)
The plate consists of a chalice, paten and flagon of 1878, Sheffield make, of mediaeval design. There are also a pewter flagon and two pewter plates. An old chalice, said to have been dated 1617, was sold when the new plate was presented. (fn. 51)
Very little information is forthcoming with regard to the church of Carlton in Cleveland. It is first mentioned in 1483, when Christopher Conyers, rector of Rudby, made a legacy of 13s. 4d. to the 'Chapel of Carlton.' (fn. 52) It is natural to suppose that Carlton was a chapel in the parish of Rudby. There is no evidence to support the statement that it was appropriated before the Dissolution to Whitby Abbey. (fn. 53) Probably the original patron was the rector of Rudby, and the right of presentation subsequently belonged to the possessor of the tithes. In 1611 the tithes of Carlton were excepted from those 'rights and members of the rectory and church of Rudby' which were in the hands of John Ingleby. (fn. 54) The Carlton tithes had come some years before, with the advowson, into the possession of Henry Jenkins, (fn. 55) and have followed the descent of the manor ever since. (fn. 56) The living is a vicarage, formerly a perpetual curacy.
The table of benefactions mentions that Christopher Prissick gave £2 10s. a year for the poor to issue out of an estate in Carlton and Faceby, now in the possession of different owners. In 1906 the distribution was made at Christmas in sums of 4s. 6d. and 9s. to seven recipients.
In 1818 Medd Scarth, by will proved in London, bequeathed £1,000 to be invested and the income applied in equal portions for the benefit of the poor of the several townships of Carlton, Moorsholm, Stanghow and Skelton. The trust fund is represented by £1,065 1s. 9d. consols with the official trustees. The dividends on £266 5s. 6d. ('one-fourth of the stock'), amounting to £6 15s., were in 1906 divided among seven recipients in sums of 10s. and £1 5s. 6d.