Parishes: Bolton-upon-Swale

A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1914.

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, 'Parishes: Bolton-upon-Swale', in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914) pp. 155-157. British History Online [accessed 25 May 2024].

. "Parishes: Bolton-upon-Swale", in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914) 155-157. British History Online, accessed May 25, 2024,

. "Parishes: Bolton-upon-Swale", A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914). 155-157. British History Online. Web. 25 May 2024,

In this section


Boletone (xi cent.); Bochelton (xiii cent.); Boulton (xiii-xiv cent.).

This parish in 1831 (fn. 1) contained only the township of Bolton-upon-Swale, but the townships of Scorton, (fn. 2) Ellerton, Uckerby and Whitwell, formerly in the parish of Catterick, were added in 1885. The height of the old parish (the area of which is 861 acres) gradually rises from about 170 ft., where the small village of Bolton lies between Bolton Beck and the Swale, to 200 ft. further east. The tracts by the Swale are liable to floods. The soil is recent alluvium; gravel and limestone also occur. In the present parish there are 3,182 acres of arable land, 3,998 acres of permanent grass and 251 acres of woods and plantations, (fn. 3) the chief crops being wheat and barley. The road from Scorton south through Bolton to Ellerton and Back Lane, which intersects it at Bolton Cross, are bordered by avenues of trees. At Bolton, adjoining the hall, is a nursery garden. A moiety of a water-mill at Bolton was held in the 13th century by the Helbecks of Helbeck Hall, Westmorland. In 1251–2 Thomas de Helbeck, son of Robert de Helbeck (fn. 4) and nephew and heir of Guy de Helbeck, was sued by the Abbot of Byland for arrears of rent from the mill of Bolton, (fn. 5) and in 1284 John de Helbeck and John de Bellerby (fn. 6) complained that the Abbot of St. Agatha had disseised them of the mill. The abbot, however, said that he claimed nothing but 2s yearly rent given him by Robert de Helbeck. (fn. 7) The mill is again mentioned in 1342 and in 1560–1. (fn. 8) Bolton-upon-Swale was the burial-place of Henry Jenkins, born at Ellerton-on-Swale, who died in 1670, aged, according to his own account and to that on his obelisk, 169 years. The tale is very much discredited, (fn. 9) but this 'very old and poor man,' who pretended that he remembered the battle of Flodden and the carousals of his master Lord Conyers with the Abbot of Fountains in the days before the dissolution of the monasteries, gives a picturesque interest to the two quiet villages of Ellerton and Bolton.


BOLTON-UPON-SWALE was in the fee of Count Alan in 1086, (fn. 10) and continued to be a member of the honour of Richmond. (fn. 11) Tor had a 'manor' there before the Conquest, and this passed, with the rest of his fee, to Enisan, who held it in 1086. (fn. 12) From Enisan this manor passed with Constable Burton (q.v.) to Roald the Constable and his descendants, and possibly to the Rollos, (fn. 13) and then to the Scropes of Masham, who held it until the close of the 15th century, when by the marriage of Alice Baroness Scrope of Masham with Henry le Scrope of Bolton the mesne lordship seems to have been lost. (fn. 14)

The fee was divided between two tenants. The first of these was in 1286–7 Thomas de Bellerby, who received services from the whole vill and held 1 carucate in demesne. (fn. 15) Thomas de Bellerby enfeoffed his brother John, whose son Thomas was a minor in the custody of Roald's successor in 1292–3. (fn. 16) John de Spennithorne, possibly a member of this family of Bellerby, paid 7s. 1¾d. subsidy in Bolton in 1301–2. (fn. 17)

In 1286–7 the remainder of the fee of Thomas de Bellerby was held by four tenants in fee: John de Bellerby with 1 carucate 1 oxgang, the Prior of Newburgh with half a carucate, Ralph de Bolton with 2 carucates 1 oxgang, and John de Helbeck with half a carucate. (fn. 18)

Of the lordship of the Prior of Newburgh no further mention has been found. The fourth and last tenancy in fee was that held by John de Helbeck in 1286–7. (fn. 19) A tenement in Bolton was given to Byland Abbey by Guy de Helbeck, (fn. 20) whose nephew and heir Thomas son of Robert de Helbeck agreed in the spring of 1251–2 to pay the abbot for 15s. arrears of rent from the mill here. (fn. 21) Robert, father of Thomas, gave a further rent of 2s. from the mill to Easby Abbey, the grant being later confirmed by Thomas. (fn. 22) John de Helbeck had succeeded by 1284, when he and John de Bellerby recovered the mill from the abbot, (fn. 23) who had disseised them. In 1342 John de Langley and Mary his wife and her heirs conveyed a tenement and half the mill of Bolton to Thomas de Thwait. (fn. 24)

Church Tower, Bolton-upon-Swale

Of the history of the fee of John de Bellerby nothing further is known (fn. 25); nor is it easy to distinguish the members of the family of Bolton. Hugh de Bolton had been succeeded by William his son in 1222, (fn. 26) and Richard de Bolton obtained half the advowson of the church of Bolton in 1246, (fn. 27) but there is no record of their relationship to the Ralph de Bolton of 1286–7. Alice widow of John son of Ralph de Bolton appears to have parted with lands to Harsculph de Cleasby in 1292. (fn. 28) Probably this took place during the minority of John son of John de Bolton, who in or about 1311 had various dealings with John son of William de Cleasby. (fn. 28a) Tenements in Bolton were among those lands granted by John de Cleasby to Henry le Scrope of Bolton in 1314, (fn. 29) and the manor (fn. 30) of Bolton was among those settled in tail-male by Henry le Scrope in 1331. (fn. 31) The Scropes of Bolton held the manor (fn. 32) until the death in 1630 of Emanuel Lord Scrope without legitimate issue. (fn. 33) Bolton fell to the share of his third natural daughter Annabella, who married John Grubham Howe (fn. 34); their son Scrope Howe (fn. 35) conveyed it in 1700 to Bartholomew Burton. (fn. 36) In 1733 William Burton conveyed it to Mary Dennye, widow. (fn. 37) Edward Garthwaite owned the property in 1780, when he made his will. He left an only child John Druce Garthwaite, who married Fanny daughter of William Hancock and had by her five children. To meet his heavy liabilities the estate was settled on trustees for sale, and in February 1794–5 the 'manor or reputed manor' was bought by Robert and George Crowe. (fn. 38) By 1820 the manor was in the possession of John Delavel (Carpenter), Earl of Tyrconnel, and Sarah his wife. (fn. 39) The present lady of the manor of Bolton is Mrs. Turnor, daughter and heir of the late Admiral the Hon. W. C. Carpenter of Kiplin Hall.

The second fee held under the Fitz Roalds was that of 2½ carucates in the possession of St. Mary's Abbey, York. (fn. 40) Certain lands in Bolton were given to the abbey by one Acharis and Berner his uncle. (fn. 41) The abbot was said to be joint lord of the vills of Ellerton, Bolton and Whitwell in 1316, (fn. 42) and the abbey received 20s. rent from Bolton at the Dissolution. (fn. 43) The 'manor' now known as WOLLAS was granted by the Crown to Leonard Beckwith and Elizabeth his wife, (fn. 44) and on Leonard's death in 1557 was inherited by his son Roger, then a minor. (fn. 45) It was probably this land that in 1596 was conveyed by Christopher Duffield and Barbara his wife to Henry Ward and Henry Sparrow. (fn. 46) Thomas Duffield died in 1626 seised of a capital messuage and lands here, which descended to Thomas Duffield. (fn. 47) The later history of this estate has not been traced.


The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel 30 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 9 in. with north vestries, nave 58 ft. by 18 ft., north aisle 15 ft. 4 in. wide with a small north-east chapel, south aisle 13 ft. wide with south porch, and west tower 12 ft. square.

The church has been much repaired and altered in recent years. A drawing in the vestry shows the interior in 1857, the chancel having a low-pitched roof and a very flat four-centred wooden arch at the west, the east window being of three trefoiled lights under a four-centred arch. The nave roof was also flat-pitched, and in place of a north arcade there were large wooden posts. The roofs of the chancel and nave are now raised, a stone arcade takes the place of the wooden posts, and the east window of the chancel has been taken out and a new one inserted.

The new chancel arch is of two chamfered orders springing from moulded corbels. On the north side of the chancel is an organ with a modern vestry behind, and at the north-east a 15th-century vestry, stone vaulted, the ribs springing from the north wall in a quadrant and butting against the chancel. The chancel itself does not appear to be older than the 15th century, and has on the south two three-light windows of that date and a square-headed doorway. The east window of the vestry is a single squareheaded light, partly old.

The nave has a north arcade of four bays, entirely modern, and there are no old details in the north aisle. The north-east chapel has a dado of glazed tiles and panels of modelled plaster-work above. The south arcade of three bays is of poor detail, and evidently of no great age, but the moulded corbels on its responds look like 14th-century work, and the south aisle is probably an addition of this date. Its windows are in 14th-century style, though their tracery is entirely modern, and there is a trefoiled piscina at the south-east.

The south doorway has a chamfered arch with a moulded label of 14th-century detail; it is nearly all new, but probably a copy of the old. The tower is of the 16th century, perhaps c. 1550, of three stages, with an embattled parapet and eight crocketed pinnacles, all modern, square-headed belfry windows, each of two tall cinquefoiled lights with a transom, the window heads being enriched with ornament and shields in low relief. At the south-east angle is a projecting stair turret, which dies out below the parapet, and the second stage of the tower is lighted by square-headed loops. The ground stage has a stone vault with a central bell-way, and a three-light west window with clumsy trefoiled tracery under a three-centred arch, and opens to the church by a pointed arch of two chamfered orders, the inner of which springs from corbels. On the south face of the tower parapet are carved three inverted shields, the heraldry on which is so badly drawn that it can only be conjectured that on one shield is Scrope quartering a lion rampant, while the other two do not admit of being read according to the rules of heraldry. All the carved detail of the tower, here and on the gabled weatherings of the buttresses and the heads of the belfry windows, is very rough and unskilful, but the tower itself is saved from insignificance by the beautiful colours of the stone in which it is built.

In the north aisle is the monument to John Wastell of Scorton, master in Chancery, 1659, his wife Anne, 1665, and his son Leonard, 1664. The most interesting monument, however, is the tablet on the south wall of the nave, set up in 1743 in memory of Henry Jenkins, who died in 1670, reputed to be aged 169, and is buried under a large pyramidal monument in the churchyard.

The font and all the fittings of the church are modern, and of the six bells only one, of 1790, is older than the 19th century.

The plate consists of a silver Elizabethan cup without any date mark, a cup presented by John Eden, churchwarden in 1783, a modern paten and plated flagon, and two plated salvers.

The registers begin in 1656.


Stephen Count of Britanny, who died in 1137, (fn. 48) confirmed the churches of Catterick and Bolton to St. Mary's Abbey, York. (fn. 49) One Budes before 1132 granted the abbey the chapel of Bolton, (fn. 50) and in the latter half of the 12th century Richard de Rollos granted the church with the assent of Emma his wife. Roald son of Roald in 1257 quitclaimed to the abbot the advowson claimed by John son of Elias de Bellerby, to whom the abbey was to pay 10 marks. (fn. 51) In the same year John himself quitclaimed the advowson to the abbot. (fn. 52) Bolton Church was, however, a dependent chapel of Catterick, and as such was confirmed to St. Mary's Abbey in 1396. (fn. 53) The vicars of Catterick continued to present until 1891, (fn. 54) when the patronage was transferred to the Bishop of Ripon, (fn. 55) the present patron.

The living is a vicarage.

In 1547 a 'chantry or service' of our Lady in this chapel was maintained by the parishioners and endowed with lands taken out of the common by the sufferance of the Lord Scrope. (fn. 56)


Bolton - upon - Swale.—Duffield's dole of £2 a year and Bruce's dole of £2 a year, paid by the lord of the manor, and the charity of William Browne (deed dated 1696) consisting of £1 4s. a year, issuing out of a close called the Holme in the township of Brompton, paid by Mr. B. I. Stapleton, are distributed by the parish council, in accordance with a scheme of the Charity Commissioners in 1887, in meat and groceries amongst the poor of the several townships, the number of the recipients averaging twenty.

Elizabeth Jocelyn, by will proved at York 17 June 1895, left a legacy, now represented by £242 11s. 4d. Midland Railway 2½ per cent. stock, with the official trustees. The annual dividends, amounting to £6 1s. 3d., are applied under the provisions of a scheme dated 16 February 1906, as to one moiety in the encouragement of bell-ringers either by payment to the ringers or in augmenting the bell-ringers' fund, any surplus towards the cost of maintenance of the bell-tower; and as to the other moiety in subscribing for or purchasing tickets of admission to the Convalescent Home at Coatham, to be awarded to deserving and necessitous persons.


  • 1. Pop. Ret. (1831).
  • 2. For these townships see Catterick.
  • 3. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 4. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 143.
  • 5. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 36 Hen. III, no. 96.
  • 6. See below.
  • 7. Notes on the Religious and Secular Houses of Yorks. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 47.
  • 8. Feet of F. Yorks. 16 Edw. III, no. 51; Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 245.
  • 9. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 10. Dom. Bk. Fac. 24b.
  • 11. Rentals and Surv. (Gen. Ser.), R. 754.
  • 12. Dom. Bk. Fac. 24b, 85b.
  • 13. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 174; cf. Advowson, below.
  • 14. Chan. Inq. p.m. 10 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47; Rentals and Surv. (Gen. Ser.), R. 754; G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 91. See Constable Burton.
  • 15. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 174. John son of Elias de Bellerby claimed the church in 1257 (see below).
  • 16. Assize R. 1090, m. 16.
  • 17. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 211, no. 2.
  • 18. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 174.
  • 19. Ibid.
  • 20. Harl. MS. 236, fol. 11 d. In 1292 the abbey granted it to St. Mary's, York, for forty years (ibid.).
  • 21. Feet of F. Yorks. 36 Hen. III, no. 96.
  • 22. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 143.
  • 23. Notes on the Relig. Ho. of Yorks. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 47.
  • 24. Feet of F. Yorks. 16 Edw. III, no. 51.
  • 25. Possibly it passed into the hands of John de Cleasby (see below).
  • 26. Curia Regis R. Trin. 6 Hen. III, m. 10 d.
  • 27. Feet of F. Yorks. 30 Hen. III, no. 3.
  • 28. De Banco R. 20 & 21 Edw. I, m. 157 d.
  • 28a. Ibid. R. 189, m. 162.
  • 29. Feet of F. Yorks. 8 Edw. II, no. 12.
  • 30. Now so called for the first time.
  • 31. Feet of F. Yorks. 5 Edw. III, no. 19.
  • 32. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxxviii, 95; cccxx, 70. See Castle Bolton, parish of Wensley.
  • 33. G.E.C. Peerage, vii, 88.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. Ibid. iv, 268.
  • 36. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 12 Will. III.
  • 37. Ibid. 6 Geo. II.
  • 38. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Hil. 35 Geo. III, m. 51.
  • 39. Recov. R. Mich. 1 Geo. IV, rot. 152.
  • 40. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 174. Later it was said to consist of 1 carucate held of the Scropes (Rentals and Surv. [Gen. Ser.], R. 754).
  • 41. Harl. MS. 236, fol. 39.
  • 42. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 335.
  • 43. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 5.
  • 44. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cix, 55.
  • 45. Ibid.
  • 46. Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), iv, 42.
  • 47. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dccvi, 3.
  • 48. See Richmond.
  • 49. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. iii, 548.
  • 50. Cal. Bodl. Chart. 694.
  • 51. Whitaker, Richmondshire, ii, 39. Deed quoted.
  • 52. Harl. MS. 236, fol. 41 d.
  • 53. Cal. of Papal Letters, v, 3.
  • 54. Bacon, Liber Regis, 1247; Clergy Lists.
  • 55. Lond. Gaz. 2 Oct. 1891, p. 5149.
  • 56. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), 114; cf. Rentals and Surv. (Gen. Ser.), R. 731.