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 was composed in 1866 (fn. 1) of the townships of Thornton Dale and Farmanby. In earlier times Ellerburn (q.v.) and Farmanby formed a joint township and in 1824 the township of Thornton was in Thornton parish and the township of Thorntoncum-Farmanby in Ellerburn parish. (fn. 2) Thornton Dale, Ellerburn and Farmanby now form one township. (fn. 3) Roxby, the site of which is in the present parish, was in the 15th (fn. 4) and 17th centuries in the parish of Ellerburn. (fn. 5) Dalby (Dalbi, xi cent.), (fn. 6) Cleufield and Haverberge were places in Thornton parish in the 14th century. (fn. 7) 'Chetelestorp' is mentioned next to Dalby in 1086. (fn. 8)
The area of Thornton Dale, including Ellerburn, is 9,689 acres, (fn. 9) of which 2,680 acres are arable, 2,620 acres permanent grass and 233 acres woodland. The subsoil is Kimmeridge Clay and Corallian Beds, the soil gravel and limestone; alluvium is also found. Stone, sand and gravel are worked and lime burned. The chief crops raised are wheat, barley and oats. An inclosure award for Thornton was made in 1781. (fn. 10)
The parish lies immediately east of Pickering, the old 'King's Waste below Pickering' ending with the Thornton boundary. The height varies from 500 ft. to 800 ft. on the moors in the north, which stretch up as far as Staindale, and gradually sinks down to the Derwent in the south.
The village is one of the most picturesque in the district, and is built at the crossing of the Malton and Whitby and the Pickering and Scarborough roads. The streets are lined with trees; the Thornton Beck, which runs along beside the main street, divides near the centre of the village, one branch running beside the Malton road. It is crossed here by numerous small bridges of wood and stone, the houses on the far side having a narrow pathway between them and the stream. In the middle of a small green stands the village cross, a slender octagonal stone shaft, now capped by a knob or ball. The base is raised on six stone steps, at the foot of which stands a modern copy of the old stocks. Lady Lumley's almshouses, on the north side of the main street, consist of a long rectangular block of twelve tenements, one story high, built in 1656 and each having a door and a two-light Jacobean Gothic window with cusped heads. At the east end, but detached from the almshouses, is a schoolhouse of the same date, three bays long and measuring internally 40 ft. 3 in. by 20 ft. 6 in. The walls are of rubble with rusticated angles, a stone cornice, and a small bell in the end gable. The end window is pointed and of three lights of 'Perpendicular' character. The windows on the east side are of two lights and transomed, and there are two, similar, in the north end and one on the west. The door is in the east wall, and at the north end is a modern fireplace. The building has a flat plaster ceiling coved at the sides.
The church stands on a rise at the east end of the village and opposite it is the rectory. A short distance to the west on the south of the main road is Thornton Hall, the property of Capt. Hill, who possesses some valuable local manuscripts. A capital messuage, water-mill and fulling-mill belonged to the Latimers' manor of Thornton in 1335–6, (fn. 11) but the capital messuage was in ruins in 1380. (fn. 12) The present house was originally an H-shaped Elizabethan or Jacobean building, and portions of the old work with a chamfered plinth and mullioned windows remain in the basement. Much of the existing walling above is probably ancient, but the external features are all of the 18th century, at which date a large wing was built out to the north-east of the main block. The present hall is stone paved and has a good 18th-century stone fireplace. The park and its fish-ponds lie to the south and by the side of the beck. Eastmead described the Hall in 1824 as 'a large and commodious modern mansion.' (fn. 13)
High Hall is at the west of the village, by Outgang Lane. On rising ground to the west of Thornton Dale is the site of Roxby Hall, once the seat of the Cholmleys. Sir Richard Cholmley, who succeeded to the estate in 1538, (fn. 14) built his gallery here of fourteen loads of stone and two loads of slate from Pickering Castle, especially using the material from the King's Hall and the stairs in the chief tower; he also helped himself to the forest oaks. (fn. 15) No masonry now remains above ground, but the foundation mounds indicate a building of considerable extent. The earthwork defences were, however, unimportant. There was a capital messuage at Farmanby in 1436 and 1650. (fn. 16) Newstead Grange stands by Thornton Beck, near the south-east of the parish, Low Newstead Grange by the Derwent; they belonged to Rievaulx Abbey and after the Dissolution were granted to the Archbishop of York in fee, (fn. 17) but were subsequently alienated. (fn. 18)
The priory of Wilberfoss formerly held lands here. (fn. 19)
Torbrand, Gospatrick and Tor held 3 carucates of land in THORNTON as three 'manors' before the Conquest. These were in 1086 in the king's hands, together with other lands soke of his manor of Pickering, making altogether 5½ carucates. Another carucate belonged to Berenger de Toni. (fn. 20)
The Earl of Norfolk was mesne lord of the 28 carucates 8 oxgangs of land and various services that the Earl of Albemarle held in Thornton, Newton, Preston, Burniston, Ayton, Cayton, Lebberston and Osgodby until the earldom of Albemarle came to the Crown. (fn. 21)
The first mention found of the Albemarle fee in Thornton is in 1180–9, when William de Mandeville Earl of Essex (who in 1180 married Hawise daughter of William le Gros, Countess of Albemarle in her own right) (fn. 22) approved the boundaries made between his land of Thornton and the King's Waste below Pickering. (fn. 23) Whether William le Gros, the founder of the abbeys of Meaux and Thornton, had a younger daughter Avis or Amice is uncertain. (fn. 24) Hawise's husbands and descendants for some time held the earldom and estates of Albemarle and the honour of Shipton in Craven which William le Gros had obtained by his marriage with Cecily, heiress of the Romillys. (fn. 25) The second and third husbands of Hawise were William de Forz, who died in 1195, and Baldwin de Betun, who died in 1212. (fn. 26) By William de Forz she had a son William, one of the twenty-five barons appointed to enforce the observance of Magna Carta. He died of starvation in the Levant in 1241, leaving a son and heir William, Sheriff of Cumberland, who died in 1256. (fn. 27) His son Thomas died unmarried before 1269, when his sister and heir Aveline married Edmund, the king's son. Aveline died childless in 1274, (fn. 28) and all her lands were seized by her brother-in-law Edward I.
In 1275 Philip de Wivelsby or Wivelby petitioned for various manors in Holderness and the manor of Thornton in Pickering Lythe, saying that the title passed to Alice daughter of Hawise, and, she having left no issue, to Ingram brother of William le Gros, who had died childless, then to Simon his brother, then to his daughter Amy, from Amy to her son John, from John to his brother William, then to William's son Reginald, who died childless, and then to himself as brother and heir. (fn. 29) Philip's case came up again in the following year, (fn. 30) but the result is not recorded. The second claimant was John de Eston (Ashton, Eshton), who claimed descent from the putative Amice, said to be mother of Constance, mother of Ranulph, father of John his father. (fn. 31) The four sisters and co-heirs of Peter de Brus and one John de Sunningham were also claimants, (fn. 32) and in 1304, 1307 and 1315 the families of Multon and Lucy petitioned for the lands of the Romillys, pleading their descents. (fn. 33) To John de Eston the king in 1278 gave the manor of Thornton and the homage and services of the four knights' fees belonging to the manor (worth £67) (fn. 34) and other lands in Craven to make up £100 in lands which the king granted him for a quitclaim of his right in the earldom of Albemarle and all Aveline's lands in England and Normandy. (fn. 35) This grant seems to have been made merely for the purpose of excluding Wivelby and other claimants. (fn. 36)
As for John de Eston, his ancestor Avis, through whom he claimed, was daughter of William le Gros by a nun and therefore illegitimate. (fn. 37) The manor was still held of the honour of Albemarle in 1608. (fn. 38)
In 1294 John de Eston had licence to grant the manor of Thornton to Roger le Bigod Earl of Norfolk, (fn. 39) who, having obtained leave in 1302 to alienate it at will, (fn. 40) enfeoffed William de Ormsby. (fn. 41) William de Ormsby in 1304 conveyed it to John de Drokensford, clerk, (fn. 42) evidently as trustee for the Latimers. William le Latimer, junior, bought a messuage and 6 oxgangs of land here in 1318, (fn. 43) and in 1325 entailed the manor (fn. 44) with that of his chief seat of Danby. It descended with Danby (q.v.) until 1577, (fn. 45) when Sir John Nevill Lord Latimer died seised, leaving daughters and co-heirs, (fn. 46) of whom Lucy wife of Sir William Cornwallis had Thornton. (fn. 47) She died in 1608, leaving four daughters, Frances wife of Sir Edmund Withipole, Elizabeth wife of Sir William Sandes, Cornelia wife of Sir Richard Fermer, and Ann wife of Archibald Earl of Argyll. (fn. 48) They all made a settlement in 1610, (fn. 49) and in 1619–21 the manor belonged to Sir William Sandes, (fn. 50) who with Elizabeth (fn. 51) conveyed it in 1625 to Henry Lord Danvers, Sir John Danvers and Sir Anthony Mayne. (fn. 52) In 1669 Henry Marquess of Dorchester, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, bart., AttorneyGeneral, Sir John Mayne and John Penrice, evidently trustees, conveyed the manor to John Hill, (fn. 53) in whose family it has ever since remained. John Hill in 1739–40 and 1744 appointed a gamekeeper for his manor or manors of Thornton and Farmanby. (fn. 54) Richard Johnson Hill of Thornton Hall died in 1793, his son Richard in 1855. Richard's son, the Rev. John Richard Hill, was in 1897 succeeded by his son Richard, who was in 1906 followed in his turn by his son Capt. Richard Hill, J.P., (fn. 55) the present owner.
John de Eston in 1284–5 held his three weeks court, formerly held by the Earls of Albemarle, and took amendment of the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 56) In 1281 he was granted a weekly market on Tuesday and two yearly fairs on the vigil, feast and morrow of Holy Trinity and All Saints. (fn. 57)
Robert de Brus, after the drawing up of Domesday Book, was enfeoffed of Danby (q.v.), Skelton and other lands, among which were 11 oxgangs in Thornton. (fn. 58) The heirs of Peter de Brus III and last (fn. 59) were, however, mesne lords in 1284–5 of 3 carucates of land (fn. 60) here forming the fourth part of a knight's fee that was held directly of the king in 1428. (fn. 61) Under the Brus heiresses in 1284–5 William Percy of Kildale was enfeoffed, and under him 'the heir of Robert Mangevilein' (fn. 62); in 1428 'the heir of Thomas Wandesford' held these 3 carucates. (fn. 63)
These lands seem to have escheated to the lord of Pickering, for Richard Eglesfield was distrained by the king to do homage for 3 carucates of land in Thornton in 1441–2. (fn. 64) There were still Eglesfields of Farmanby in 1612, (fn. 65) but Sir Henry Thwayts, kt., died seised of a manor of Thornton in 1520, leaving two infant daughters Frances and Katharine. (fn. 66) John Gresham and Frances his wife were seised by right of Frances in 1546, (fn. 67) and with their receiver Stephen Holford (fn. 68) in 1555 conveyed the manor to Wilfrid Brand and John Wharffe. (fn. 69) In 1564 Sir Henry Nevill, kt., and Elizabeth his wife and Frances Gresham, widow, conveyed it to Roger Hunter, (fn. 70) who died seised of a capital messuage and tenements in Thornton in 1583, leaving a son and heir Robert and grandson of the same name. (fn. 71) A Robert Hunter held 540 acres here of the honour of Pickering at a rent in 1619–21. (fn. 72) He or another of his name died in about 1652 and was succeeded by his son Bethell Hunter, who died some three years later. (fn. 73) His son and heir Christopher Hunter of Thornton was aged nineteen in 1665. (fn. 74)
Roger Mowbray was mesne lord of another 3 carucates in 1284–5 and 1302–3. (fn. 75) This mesne lordship is confused with the Percy lands in 1428 (fn. 76) and is not again mentioned. William de Wyvill held the 3 carucates under Roger in 1284–5 and 1301–2. In 1278–9 he had claimed two messuages and 40 oxgangs of land against the Abbot of Rievaulx, stating that William his ancestor was seised in the reign of Henry II, and left a son and heir Richard who left daughters Amphyllis and Eustacia. Amphyllis died childless, Eustacia left sons Nicholas, Richard, Thomas and himself, then heir. (fn. 77) The abbot, however, proved that these tenements belonged to the Waste given to his house by Henry II. (fn. 78) Under William de Wyvill in 1284–5 was 'the heir of Roger Moraunt,' perhaps Acilia Moraunt of whom the Kingthorpes held 8 oxgangs here in 1275. (fn. 79) Maud Lamberd held these lands in 1428. (fn. 80) Nicholas son of Robert Lambert died seised of five messuages and 100 acres of land in February 1543–4. (fn. 81) He left a son Roger, aged three, but no further history of this holding has been found.
Land in FARMANBY (Farmanesbi, xi cent.) was soke of the manor of Pickering in 1086 (fn. 82) and remained a member of the honour of Pickering. (fn. 83) In 1272 it was in the fee of Nicholas de Hastings, lord of Allerston, (fn. 84) with which it descended till 1504, (fn. 85) when it was granted by Edward Lord Hastings to the chapel of St. George in Windsor Castle to satisfy a bequest in his father's will. (fn. 86) Except for a break during the Commonwealth (fn. 87) it remained appurtenant to the chapel until at least 1650. (fn. 88) It was in the hands of the Hills, the present owners, in 1739, (fn. 89) and is now a member of Captain Richard Hill's manor of Ellerburn (q.v.).
The Hastings appointed a woodward in Allerston and Farmanby. (fn. 90)
In 1086 ROXBY (Rozebi, xi cent.; Rouceby, xii–xiv cent.; Rauceby, xiii cent.; Ruksby, xv cent.; Rokysby, xvi cent.) was soke of the manor of Pickering, (fn. 91) and continued to be a member of that honour. (fn. 92)
The Earl of Norfolk was mesne lord in 1284–5, (fn. 93) but the mesne tenancy seems to be no further mentioned.
Nicholas de Hastings, lord of Allerston (q.v.) in 1247, granted to his younger son Henry a capital messuage 'in Hundegate in Thornton in the vill of Pickering' and 2 oxgangs of land in Roxby in fee with successive remainders to Edmund and Nicholas, other younger sons. (fn. 94) By 1284–5 Edmund had succeeded and held 4 oxgangs here in demesne. (fn. 95) His house at Roxby is mentioned in 1316, and he was living in 1334. (fn. 96) There was a succession of Edmunds in this family until late in the 15th century. (fn. 97) The Edmund who was lord in 1483 received in this year from Richard III the offices of steward and master forester of the honour, and in 1485 those of bailiff and riding forester for life, (fn. 98) these offices having been generally held by members of his family almost time out of mind. (fn. 99) On his death, however, Henry VII did not bestow them on his son Roger. (fn. 100) In 1489 Brian Sandford was made steward during pleasure, in 1490 Ranulph Sandford was made bailiff during pleasure, in 1493 Ralph Eure was appointed riding forester, and in 1499 Richard Cholmley received all the great offices of the honour. (fn. 101) Sir Roger made accusations of assault and breach of the forest laws against Eure and Cholmley; they replied with a long list of the misdoings of Hastings, alleging that he claimed as forester in fee (fn. 102) to pay no taxes in Pickering Forest, and with his household servants was 'daily riding through the country more like men of war than men of peace . . . through the King's markets and towns . . . with bows bent and arrows in their hands.' (fn. 103) He died in 1513, leaving a son and heir Francis, (fn. 104) who in 1520 conveyed the manors of Roxby and Kingthorpe to Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough (father-in-law of Roger Cholmley), (fn. 105) and others, (fn. 106) probably trustees for Roger Cholmley. Roger was described as 'of Roxby' in 1522. (fn. 107) He was knighted at Flodden (fn. 108) and died in 1538. (fn. 109) He was succeeded by his son Richard, who purchased the Whitby Abbey estates. Richard Cholmley, 'the great black Knight of the North,' was knighted in 1551 at Musselburgh Field. (fn. 110) He lived chiefly at Roxby 'in great port' (fn. 111) until his death in 1583. (fn. 112) This manor followed the descent of the family lands at Whitby, coming in 1616 into the hands of Sir Richard Cholmley, who with his eldest son Hugh sold Roxby towards the payment of his debts. (fn. 113) Sir John Danvers, heir of the Latimers, (fn. 114) held the lands in 1651, (fn. 115) and they are now in the possession of Captain Richard Hill. (fn. 116)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 41 ft. 3 in. by 21 ft. 6 in., with north vestry, nave 42 ft. by 18 ft. 4 in., with north and south aisles making a total width of 37 ft., south porch and west tower. The total length of the church is 95 ft. 6 in., all the measurements being internal.
Early in the 14th century the church appears to have been entirely rebuilt, beginning with the chancel, and working westwards, the nave aisles and the tower being the latest in point of date. The church has suffered much from modern restoration, the chancel being largely rebuilt and the nave windows renewed. The north vestry and south porch are also modern.
The chancel is mostly modern 14th-century Gothic with a three-light east window and one three-light and two double-light windows in the south wall. On this side is an ancient piscina, but the triple sedilia, with the exception of the heads to the hood, are modern restorations. Further west is a much repaired low-side window. The chancel arch, also much restored, is apparently of early 15th-century date. The quire is more lofty than the nave, the roof being finished at either end with a stone gable. Adjoining on the north side is a modern vestry.
The nave is separated from the aisles by arcades of four bays dating from the 14th century. The arches are pointed and spring from clustered piers, each pier consisting of four large shafts filleted on the outer edge and four smaller circular shafts between them and dying into the moulded bell capitals of the main shafts. The capitals have octagonal top members and the bases are moulded. The north aisle has two windows on the north, each of two lights, with modern tracery, and a north door. The south aisle has a piscina at the east end of the south wall and three square-headed two-light windows, all with modern tracery, on the same side. Between the second and third is the south door covered by a gabled modern porch with a pointed outer arch.
The square west tower dates from the end of the 14th century and is entered by a pointed tower arch of the same date. It is three stages high with diagonal buttresses of four offsets at the western angles, rising only to the top of the first stage. The bell-chamber is lighted by a tall pointed window of two lights in each face, with transoms cusped below and traceried heads. The moulded external label is carried round as a string-course. The tower is finished with an embattled parapet with crocketed pinnacles rising at the angles and in the centre of each side. Within are the squinches for a stone spire which was never proceeded with. It contains three bells, the tenor cast by E. Seller and inscribed 'Gloria in excelsis deo 1710,' the second by T. Seller of York, inscribed 'Soli deo gloria 1758,' and the third 'S.S. Ebor 1663 Jesus be our speed.'
The church is finished externally in ashlar and has slate roofs. The font under the tower has a circular bowl of the 12th or 13th century, but scraped and on a modern base. In the nave is a 17th-century almsbox.
In the north wall of the quire is a moulded arched tomb recess with cinquefoil cusping to the soffit and beneath it the effigy of a lady of circa 1300. Over the head is a gabled canopy with crockets and pinnacles and on the slab are six carved shields alternately of St. Quintin and Conyers with a label. On the north quire wall is a brass inscription with coat of arms to John Porter of London (d. 1686).
The plate consists of a cup (York, 1660), the gift of Roger Hunter of Newstead Grange, who died in 1659, with cover, a paten (York, 1673), the gift of John Hill, sen., dated 1685, with the maker's initials IT, a flagon silver plated on copper given by J. Gilby, LL.D., in 1804, and two patens, both with the London mark for 1732.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and burials 1538 to 1605, marriages 1559 to 1605; (ii) mixed entries 1622 to 1653; (iii) mixed entries 1653 to 1674; (iv) mixed entries 1675 to 1707; (v) baptisms 1708 to 1768 and marriages 1708 to 1753; (vi) burials 1708 to 1767; (vii) marriages 1754 to 1810; (viii) baptisms and burials 1768 to 1812; (ix) marriages 1810 to 1812.
Thorpe Bassett was said in 1647 to have been the mother church of Thornton. (fn. 117) The rector of Thorpe Bassett had a pension of £1 from this church in 1291, (fn. 118) and in 1647 old men said that the parson of Thornton had paid the parson of Thorpe Bassett 26s. (4 nobles) annually time out of mind, although they did not know whether the present incumbent had done so, as he 'was never good paymaster.' (fn. 119)
One part of the advowson was held by the Everleys and Wandesfords in the 14th century, and may have descended to them from Stephen Mangevilein, who quitclaimed to Rievaulx Abbey his right in the adjoining 'Waste' (fn. 120) in the reign of Henry II. Stephen's great-grandson Robert left daughters and heirs, of whom the eldest, Alice, married Alan de Everley and had a son William, (fn. 121) lord of Ugglebarnby. (fn. 122) Robert de Everley was instituted to the rectory in 1267. (fn. 123) William held tenements in Roxby and Thornton in 1284–5 (fn. 124) and paid 5s. 9¾d. subsidy in Thornton in 1301–2, (fn. 125) John de Everley was rector in 1335, (fn. 126) and in 1361 land, rent and a mill in Thornton and the advowson of the church were settled with the manor of Ugglebarnby by John Wandesford, Joan his wife and her heirs, so that the Thornton premises, which Robert de Mewerose and Margery his wife held for the life of Margery of the inheritance of Joan, should remain to Robert Rotherham of Whitby and his heirs. (fn. 127)
Another part of the advowson was in 1225 conveyed by Nicholas de Yeland and Eustacia his wife, (fn. 128) by right of Eustacia, to John son of Alan (de Kingthorpe) (fn. 129) the forester in fee. (fn. 130) The Archbishop of York presented in 1226, on the ground that the advowson was disputed and came to him by lapse, (fn. 131) and in 1286 John de Deveningham (or Reveningham) (fn. 132) and Emma his wife, by right of Emma, conveyed half to William de la Chimyneye for the consideration of one pound of cummin yearly. (fn. 133) In 1461 the king granted to Sir William Hastings and John Huddleston or either of them the next presentation to the church. (fn. 134) By the beginning of 1548–9 the advowson was in the hands of the Hastings of Allerston. They conveyed it with their manor of Allerston to Stephen Holford, (fn. 135) who made a settlement in 1551. (fn. 136) In 1560–1 Henry Earl of Westmorland conveyed the remainder on his own decease to Sir Richard Cholmley and others. (fn. 137) The Cholmleys were in possession till 1679. (fn. 138) John Hacker presented in 1700, John Hill in 1745 and 1768, (fn. 139) and his descendant Capt. Richard Hill is now patron. The living is a rectory. (fn. 140) One carucate of land of the Albemarle fee was glebe of the rectory. (fn. 141)
The almshouses founded by Viscountess Lumley, by deed 1657, consist of chapel and offices belonging thereto, and almshouses for twelve inmates, four to be selected from Thornton, one from Farmanby or Ellerburn, six from Sinnington, and one from Marton and Little Edston alternately.
By an order dated 19 August 1904, made by the Charity Commissioners under the Board of Education Act, 1899, the annual sum of £270 is required to be paid from the income of Lady Lumley's Grammar School Foundation at Thornton Dale and Pickering for the purposes of the almshouses, including repairs, stipends and allowances of coal to almspeople and allowances in respect of the chapel and services. (fn. 142)
In 1895 Robert Champley, by will proved at York 15 June, bequeathed £100, the income to be applied by the incumbent and churchwardens in the distribution of money and coal. The legacy was invested in £92 14s. consols with the official trustees.
The Hill Memorial Institute was founded by deed, dated 16 November 1897, in memory of the late Rev. John Richard Hill. In 1900 the Rev. Edward William Heslop, by will proved at York 14 March, bequeathed £100, the income to be applied for the benefit of the objects of the institute. The legacy was invested in £80 19s. 11d. India 3½ per cent. stock with the official trustees.
Township of Farmanby.—The poor of this township receive at Christmas the yearly sum of 10s. under the name of Anthony Denham's, or Dinom's dole, out of a farm in Thornton Marshes; also a yearly sum of 6s. 8d. under the name of Samuel Skelton's dole out of Carr Field and an adjoining field called the Ings.