A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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The ecclesiastical parish of Welbury lies on the south bank of the River Wiske; it is co-extensive with the civil parish and consists of a single township. Locally it is situated in Allertonshire, but is nevertheless included in the wapentake of Birdforth. The elevation of Welbury parish is generally 200 ft. to 225 ft. above the ordnance datum, rising west of the village to 250 ft. The soil is clay on a subsoil of Keuper Marls. The area is a little over 2,399 acres, of which 1,227 are arable land, 1,077 permanent grass and 78 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The inhabitants are mainly engaged in agriculture, the chief crops being wheat, oats and beans.
Welbury village is built on a curve of Tofts—or, as it is called further west, Mankin—Lane, which leads to Appleton Wiske. The Manor House stands at the southern end of the village street, and across the road is St. Leonard's Church. Further down is the school, built in 1858, and round the curve of the road is the Congregational chapel. Hill House, lying among fields to the north of the village, is the residence of Mr. Harry Merryweather. The houses in the village are small and built of brick, those on the east side having gardens in front. The hedgerows are usually well-wooded. North of this the land slopes gradually downward to the Wiske, which is crossed by Wiske Bridge, probably a successor of the 13th-century bridge of Ingram. (fn. 2) It was probably across this bridge that the Scots came in 1319, when they wholly destroyed the goods of Welbury Manor and stole the beasts. Ingram Grange, once a farm of Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 3) lies close to the river, while Ingram High and Low Granges stand higher up the hill-side and further south.
In 1086 the two 'manors' of 6 carucates at WELBURY were in the hands of the king, having been forfeited by Fredgist and Melmidoc, the tenants under the Confessor. (fn. 4) It formed part of the fee given to Robert de Brus, (fn. 5) and the overlordship followed the descent of his manor of Skelton (q.v.).
Here, as in Ingleby Arncliffe, the tenant under the Brus lords was in 1131 Walter de Ingram or Angram, and, like Ingleby Arncliffe, Welbury passed by the marriage of Ingelisa, heiress of John Ingram, to Sir Philip Colvill. Before 1279–81, however, Welbury had been subinfeudated, and at that date the lordship in demesne was held by Ralph son of William. (fn. 6) From this time until the early 18th century Welbury followed the descent of the manor of Henderskelfe (q.v.). In 1800 it was in the possession of Edward Lascelles, (fn. 7) first Earl of Harewood. He died in 1820, and was succeeded by his son Henry, who died in 1841. His son Henry third Earl of Harewood died in 1857, when the title and estates passed to his eldest son and heir Henry Thynne, the fourth earl, who died in 1892, and was succeeded by his son Henry Ulick, present earl and lord of the manor.
In 1199 King John confirmed to Gilbert son of Gilbert Hansard lands which his father had acquired from William Ingram in Welbury. (fn. 8) These lands were probably situated at INGRAM (Angerum, Angram, xiii-xvii cent.), where Gilbert Hansard had 2 carucates or the vill. (fn. 9) One of these carucates he gave to Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 10) apparently following this by a grant of the whole vill at a later date. (fn. 11) Possibly the second carucate was held by tenants, for Gilbert son of John Hansard remitted to the monks the 27d. rent they were wont to pay for 1½ carucates in Angram and 3d. from half a carucate which Master Ralph de Uckerby had held. (fn. 12) Probably the whole of the Uckerby holding came to the abbey, for Hugh son of Ralph de Uckerby gave to the abbey in all 4 oxgangs, 2 of which had once been held by Gilbert Hansard, (fn. 13) and Thomas de Uckerby in 1224 granted half a carucate to the abbot, (fn. 14) this being quitclaimed in 1267 by Gundreda, evidently heir of Thomas and wife of Robert de Teasdale. (fn. 15)
The grange which the abbey established here was granted by the abbot in 1534 on a lease for fortyseven years to Christopher Bowes, (fn. 16) yeoman, who was still holding it when in August 1543 Richard Vincent obtained a grant of it in fee from the Crown. (fn. 17) A month later Richard Vincent received licence to alienate it to Christopher Bowes. (fn. 18) Possibly Christopher was father of Marmaduke Bowes, who in 1585 was hanged for concealing Roman Catholic priests, one of whom he was said to have maintained as schoolmaster for his children. (fn. 19) Perhaps his sons were the Robert and Thomas Bowes who in 1607 sold half the grange to Edward Raper. (fn. 20) Marmaduke Bowes with others made a settlement of half the manor in 1608. (fn. 21) John Bowes died in 1624, leaving a son John, then aged twenty and more. (fn. 22)
Edward Raper, who had bought half the grange in 1607, (fn. 23) died in 1620–1, when his son George succeeded him. (fn. 24) He died in 1624, his heirs being his sisters Julia wife of William Todd and Elizabeth. (fn. 25)
The priory of Guisborough obtained a grant of 2 oxgangs of land with an adjacent 'manse,' together with the church of Welbury, from Walter Ingram. (fn. 26) At the Dissolution the priory still held property here. (fn. 27)
The master of the hospital of St. Nicholas of Yarm was party to a fine as to 2 oxgangs of land in Welbury in 1227. (fn. 28) This hospital was afterwards granted to the priory of Healaugh Park, which had temporalities in Welbury worth 10s. at the Dissolution, (fn. 29) when the priory of Mount Grace also had possessions here valued at 22s. (fn. 30)
The church probably dates from the 12th century, but the chancel has been entirely rebuilt and the nave has been so much modernized that there is no detail to give its date beyond a piece of 12th-century carved stone now preserved in the north wall.
The chancel is lighted by windows in the east and south walls. In the north wall is a small doorway into the vestry and an archway into the organ chamber. The nave has two windows in each side wall and a window in the west wall, all modern. The south doorway, between the two windows, has single chamfered jambs and square head and is of old stonework. The porch has an outer pointed archway of two chamfered orders.
The plate consists of a silver cup and paten and a pewter flagon. The cup bears the inscription 'Calix Sacer. Ecclesiae de Welbury,' and the paten is inscribed 'Patina Sacra Ecclesiae de Welbury'; both have the London mark for 1725. The flagon bears no date.
Walter de Ingram gave the church of Welbury, with its 2 oxgangs of land and dwelling-house, to Guisborough Priory (fn. 31) probably at or soon after its foundation by Robert de Brus in 1129. (fn. 32) At its surrender in 1539 (fn. 33) the priory apparently still held the advowson and it received a yearly pension from the rectory of £1 6s. 8d. (fn. 34) The advowson of the rectory still remains in the hands of the Crown. (fn. 35)
At the suppression of chantries in 1546 it was found that there was half an acre of land in Welbury given by the inhabitants for the finding of a lamp (fn. 36) in the church.