A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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This parish is composed of the township of Ebberston and hamlet of Bickley (Biggelea, xii cent.). Its area is 6,095 acres, of which 2,411 acres are arable, 1,426 permanent grass and 336 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is gravel and alluvium, the subsoil Kimmeridge Clay and Corallian Beds; some of the quarries here are now disused. The chief crops raised are wheat, oats and barley. An award for the inclosure of 1,200 acres of land in Ebberston was obtained in 1769 (fn. 2) and a further award was made in 1775. (fn. 3)
The roads from both Pickering and Malton to Scarborough touch the village of Ebberston, which lies at a height of about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum, the ground gradually sloping up from the River Derwent, the southern boundary of the parish, to the north, where bleak moors rise to 800 ft. above the ordnance datum.
The village is disposed on either side of a by-road running south from the main Scarborough and Pickering road and having a water-course along one side of it. On the west side is a farm-house of the 16th century. The entrance door has a stone four-centred arch and at the north end is a very massive chimney stack of the same material, having a large ingle to the ground floor. The house was apparently one story higher than at present, and the old windows have all been replaced by modern sashes. A certain amount of Jacobean oak remains, but not in its original position.
At the southern end of the village street the road makes an angle, the head of the street being blocked by a field in which are the remains of a moat and other earthworks. In this connexion it may be remarked that in 1276 Richard de Pykeham was accused of having built a house with a curtilage blocking the king's way in Ebberston. (fn. 4)
The church stands about half a mile to the west of the village on ground falling fairly steeply from west to east. The slopes behind are tree-covered and a short distance to the north-east stands a charming early 18th-century villa called Ebberston Lodge. It was built from the designs of Colin Campbell in 1718, and is illustrated in Vitruvius Britannicus. It is quite a small building of one story and a basement, having a front entrance of the Doric order approached by a broad flight of steps with round arch, rusticated side columns and a pediment. The entrance is flanked by square-headed keyed windows and the house is finished with a balustraded parapet, with stone vases at the angles. The walls are of rusticated ashlar and the design is of excellent proportions.
Hinderwell wrote in 1798 (fn. 5) that some of the inhabitants remembered 'an inscription on a hill' above the Lodge over what is known as 'Ilfrid's Hole': 'Alfrid, king of Northumberland, was wounded in a battle near this place, and was removed to Little Driffield, where he lies buried.' (fn. 6) Bloody Beck and Close lie immediately west of the village. Young, the historian of Whitby, thought that if the tradition had any foundation the slaughtered hero must have been Alchfrid, rebellious son of Oswy (the victor at Winwaed, 655), and remarks, 'the entrenchments at Scamridge near Ebberston have from time immemorial been known by the name of Oswy's Dikes, probably because Oswy's army encamped there, before engaging with the forces of his rebellious son.' (fn. 7) Sir Charles Hotham-Thompson about 1790 erected a grotto and intended to put up an inscription to Alfrid. (fn. 8)
Ebberston was a thriving township in 1301–2, having two smiths, two skinners, a tanner, weaver, fuller, carpenter and carrier, and paying a subsidy considerably larger than that of neighbouring villages. (fn. 9)
Bickley lies to the north. Here Thomas de Ebberston (fn. 10) before 1313–14 built a house and inclosed 40 acres of land; at that date the land was waste, but it had previously been sown with oats. (fn. 11) Bickley Wood was said in 1334 to be land inclosed from the waste; it belonged to the vill of Ebberston. (fn. 12)
The priory of St. Mary, Yedingham, stood in the flat meadows on the north bank of the River Derwent. The site is now occupied by a small farm-house of 18thcentury date, but on the north side of it is a considerable length of walling forming one side of a shed, which was originally the south wall of the church. It is faced with ashlar, and near the western end is a doorway in good preservation with a moulded semicircular arch of early 13th-century date. A string-course is carried along the wall at the height of the springing of the arch, and immediately within the door is an elegant carved stoup with a projecting trefoil head and a foliated bracket to the bowl. The priory church was an aisleless rectangular building 80 ft. long by 20 ft. wide and is thus described in a survey taken at the Dissolution (fn. 13) : 'The church conteynith in length xxiiij ffote longe and in bredith xx foote alle one story wt a lowe roofe coveryd wt leade, xxi windowes . . . ., the hygh alter and one alter in the quere and ij in the churche. Item the quere conteyneth in length xlvj ffoote wt olde stalles of timber and bourdes paynted.' The remainder of the buildings are here described with equal detail. The cloister on the south was 60 ft. square with alleys 10 ft. wide. On the east side was the dorter with the chapter-house under and on the south the frater with four little chambers over the cloister. The other buildings included a kitchen, 'gyle-house, hostry,' cow and ox houses, a swinehouse, barns, stables and a kiln-house with a malting floor and garner.
Ebberston has a Wesleyan chapel built in 1872 to replace a chapel built in 1810. A public elementary school was erected in 1874, and there is a school at Bickley. The nearest railway station is that of Snainton, 1½ miles away.
EBBERSTON was in 1086 soke of the king's 'manor' of Pickering (fn. 14) and belonged to the king in 1166–7. (fn. 15) Lands in Ebberston were granted by Henry III in 1267 to his son Edmund with the honours of Lancaster and Pickering (fn. 16); Ebberston remained dependent on Pickering (fn. 17) and did not develop into a separate manor.
The Ebberstons perhaps had a manor here in early times, although it is not mentioned until 1334. A Thomas de Ebberston was living in 1158–64 (fn. 18); William son of Norman de Ebberston is also mentioned. (fn. 19) Simon son of William de Ebberston and Henry son of William de Ebberston made grants in Ebberston to Wykeham Priory. (fn. 20) Hugh son of Simon owed 20 marks in 1212 for having seisin of 4 carucates of land in Ebberston which had descended to him (fn. 21); a Thomas de Ebberston was bailiff of Hugh Bigod. (fn. 22) Another Thomas paid 6s. 2d. subsidy in 1301–2, (fn. 23) and before 1313–14 made the inclosure in Bickley (fn. 24) which afterwards descended with the manor (fn. 25); he was probably the bailiff of Pickering who was seised of this manor. (fn. 26) Thomas de Ebberston the bailiff was succeeded by his son Thomas, who sold the manor to William Thurnef of Snainton and Amery Gegge (Grygge) of Scarborough. William enfeoffed Thomas Thurnef of his part and Amery enfeoffed Robert Wyerne. Robert left a son William, father of Robert Wyerne. (fn. 27) In 1334 the joint owners, Robert Wyerne and Thomas Thurnef, successfully established their rights in the woods and a long dispute with the commoners ensued. (fn. 28)
The land of Thomas Thurnef seems to have descended to William Thurnef, who left a son Thomas. (fn. 29) Thomas son of Thomas died childless and was succeeded by his uncle William Thurnef. William also died without issue and was succeeded by 1428 by his younger brother Robert. (fn. 30) Margaret daughter and heir of Robert married a member of the family of Selowe and left a son Richard Selowe; from him his right descended through his son Richard to a grandson Robert Selowe who was living in 1518–29. (fn. 31)
In 1442 Roger Selowe had held 20 oxgangs, while 24 oxgangs were in the hands of Anthony St. Quintin (fn. 32) of Cayton, probably son (fn. 33) of the Thomas St. Quintin who with Alice his wife had land here in 1365. (fn. 34) The St. Quintin holding followed the descent of their manor of Cayton, and at some time between 1504 and 1509 John St. Quintin sued Alyson Selowe for the restitution of deeds relating to a mill here. (fn. 35) This may point to a connexion between the families, for John's successors held 'Seloes' lands in the 17th century. (fn. 36)
In 1566 Gabriel St. Quintin conveyed the manor to Thomas Etherington, (fn. 37) who died in 1589 seised of the 'manor or capital messuage of Ebberston Netherby' (fn. 38) (evidently the St. Quintin part) and by right of his wife Margery or Margaret, only daughter and heir of William Middlewood, of 'the manor or capital messuage of Ebberston Upperby,' leaving a son and heir Richard, (fn. 39) knighted in 1603. (fn. 40) Richard had a conveyance of the manor from Francis Pinkney and Eleanor his wife (fn. 41) in 1600, (fn. 42) and in a list of manors in the honour in 1619–21 is the item 'Ebberston, Sir Richard Etherington claims it.' (fn. 43) He also paid rents in Ebberston at this time for 'lands late St. Quintins,' 'Middlewood's land,' Bickley, (fn. 44) &c. Appointed in 1606 to all the great offices in the liberty of Pickering (q.v.), he was outlawed for debt in 1621, when this manor was seized by the Crown, (fn. 45) but in 1629 he joined with his son Thomas in conveying it to Thomas Reeve and Thomas Swinfield, (fn. 46) apparently trustees for the Earl of Danby, (fn. 47) whose family (fn. 48) held it until early in 1673–4, (fn. 49) when Richard and Elizabeth Derham conveyed it to William Thompson, (fn. 50) son of Stephen Thompson of Humbleton. (fn. 51) William died in 1691, his son Francis in 1693. William son of Francis, (fn. 52) who made a settlement of onethird of the manor in the spring of 1706–7, (fn. 53) appointed gamekeepers for the manor in 1716–17 and 1739 (fn. 54); he was Master of the Mint, and died childless in 1744. (fn. 55) His uncle the Rev. Stephen Thompson died in or before 1744 and was succeeded by his son William, who in 1746–7 appointed a gamekeeper (fn. 56) and died in 1756, leaving a son Lillingston. (fn. 57) Lillingston died childless in 1771 and was succeeded by his father's sister Frances wife of Sir Beaumont Hotham, bart., (fn. 58) of Scarborough. Frances died in 1771, and her son Sir Charles Hotham, who assumed the name of Thompson, (fn. 59) made Ebberston his residence. (fn. 60) The manor then descended with Wilton in Ellerburn parish (q.v.) until 1817. (fn. 61) By 1857 it had come into the possession of the Cayleys of Brompton, and Sir George E. A. Cayley, bart., is the present lord of the manor.
The Hastings, lords of the adjoining manor of Allerston (q.v.), had rights in the mill and other tenements here in the 12th and 13th centuries, (fn. 62) and were holding 9 oxgangs of land in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 63) This from 1513 is called a manor; it has descended with the manor of Allerston. (fn. 64)
In 1202 William son of Rabell granted Alan Bushell, lord of Hutton Bushel, 10s. rent from the mill. (fn. 68) The latter at some time gave all his lands in Ebberston to Roger son of Ughtred, reserving a rent to himself and heirs, (fn. 69) and in 1291 the Prioress of Wykeham as guardian of Simon Ughtred's daughter and heiress Margaret and Adam de Pickering and Maud his wife were called on to warrant a third of two mills in Ebberston to Philip le Gunneys and Alice his wife. (fn. 70) In 1335 Alan Malcake held the lands formerly belonging to Philip Gunneys. (fn. 71)
Yedingham Priory had various grants here, (fn. 72) and was said in 1276 to possess half a carucate of land. (fn. 73) Thomas Barry of Kirkby Misperton gave the mill called Godive to Yedingham Priory, a grant confirmed by Peter de Gaola and Sybil his wife. Baldwin de Allerston made the same grant, confirmed by his son John and Alan son of Reynold de Thornton. (fn. 74) Early in 1218–19 Mary widow of Andrew, clerk of Ebberston, quitclaimed to the nuns of Yedingham her dower in half the mill. (fn. 75) In January 1539–40 the Crown leased the site of the priory with tenements in Ebberston to William Thwaites of Lund, (fn. 76) and in 1543 the reversion was granted to Robert Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff, in fee. (fn. 77) Thomas Holgate made a conveyance of these tenements in the spring of 1575–6. (fn. 78)
Land here was also held by Malton Priory, (fn. 79) and an annual rent of £8 9s. 4d. from lands in Stainton and Ebberston was part of the endowment of the Hospital of Jesus of Guisborough provided in 1566 by Robert Pursglove, clerk, (fn. 80) here described as of Hutton near Guisborough.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel 34 ft. 4 in. by 14 ft., nave 63 ft. by 19 ft. 3 in. with north aisle 38 ft. 3 in. long, making a total width of 27 ft. 6 in., west tower and south porch. The total length is 108 ft., all the measurements being internal.
The 12th-century church consisted of an aisleless nave about 39 ft. long and a chancel, and of this building the south nave wall and part of the north wall of the chancel are still standing. About the year 1200 the north nave wall was pulled down and an aisle built out on that side and during the 13th century the chancel was largely rebuilt, the whole of the east and south walls being of that period. In the following century the west wall was removed and the nave extended some 24 ft. to the west and a western tower added. At the same time a chapel was constructed adjoining the south side of the lengthened nave and windows were inserted in the Norman wall further east. The chapel was probably pulled down at the Reformation and the arch filled in. The church has been extensively restored in modern times, the north aisle being largely rebuilt with the chancel arch and the south chancel wall. A south porch has also been added.
The chancel has a small two-light late 13th-century east window, and the east wall of the same date has two flat dwarf buttresses against it and a deep plinth. In the south wall are three single-light windows with trefoiled heads of the 13th century and in the north wall is a lancet with a semicircular internal head. The western part of the north wall is of 12th-century date and contains a small round-headed Norman window. The corresponding portion of the south wall has been largely rebuilt. The chancel arch is modern and has been fitted with an oak screen.
The nave has a north arcade of three bays built about 1200 and having circular columns and arches of two chamfered orders. The capital of the second column from the east has conventional foliage and all have octagonal abaci. The bases are of the 'hold-water' type with foliage spur ornaments and rest on square plinths. This aisle extends only as far west as the original Norman nave and beyond it the wall is of 14th-century date. The south wall opposite the arcade is of the 12th century and contains three inserted windows with modern tracery. One of these is a large square-headed three-light opening of 14th-century character. The south door is semicircular-headed and recessed in two orders, the outer order of the arch having a roll moulding and resting on modern side shafts. The door retains some ancient ironwork. In the 14th-century wall further west is a very wide segmental pointed arch formerly opening into a chapel. It is now blocked up with a two-light window inserted in the filling. The north aisle has been practically rebuilt, and inserted in the wall are a small slab bearing a sword, the head of a floreated cross, and two grotesque heads from a Norman corbel table. The gabled south porch is a modern addition. The west tower is small and plain, the bell-chamber stage being set back slightly and having a two-light pointed 14th-century window in each face, except the north, which has a single light. The tower is unsupported by buttresses and is finished with a simple embattled parapet.
The font is circular, the bowl being moulded at the upper and lower edge and dating from the 14th century. The roofs are modern and slated. On the south side of the building is a churchyard cross with a circular base and the lower part of a 15th-century octagonal shaft. It is now finished with a modern head. Near it is a massive 13th-century slab bearing a floreated cross, pincers, horseshoe and a hammer.
The bells were recast in 1913, before which they were three in number, the tenor cast by Lester & Pack of London in 1765, the second inscribed, 'Soli deo gloria S.S. 1663,' and the third, 'Gloria in altissimis deo 1675 S.S.'
The living is a vicarage united with Allerston (fn. 81) (q.v.), both being originally dependent on the Dean of York and peculiar of Pickering. (fn. 82) Thomas, priest of Ebberston, is mentioned in 1166–7, (fn. 83) and the vicar paid 1s. subsidy in 1301–2. (fn. 84) Lands for sustaining a light in the church of Ebberston were granted to Edward Downing and Roger Rant in 1590. (fn. 85)
The National school in that part of Snainton which is in this parish was founded by Hugh Cayley, and is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 10 November 1893, whereby the superintendence of the religious instruction of the scholars is reserved to the officiating minister of Snainton, and the buildings are used for the Sunday school.