Parishes: Spennithorne

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

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'Parishes: Spennithorne', A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914), pp. 257-264. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "Parishes: Spennithorne", in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914) 257-264. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "Parishes: Spennithorne", A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914). 257-264. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

In this section


Spenyngtorp (xi cent.); Spenigthorne (xiv cent.).

Spennithorne is a parish at the lower end of Wensleydale on the north bank of the Ure. It covers altogether about 5,500 acres, by far the greater part of which is permanently under grass. (fn. 1) The soil is loam on a subsoil of limestone.

Of its three townships, Spennithorne, Harmby and Bellerby, Spennithorne lies farthest south. The village stands a short distance from the Ure, opposite Middleham, with which it is connected by a road crossing at Ulshaw Bridge. Harmby Beck flows into the Ure near the village. Here perhaps was Spennithorne Mill, in existence in 1301, when Robert the Miller paid subsidy. (fn. 2) No trace of it remains, though a lane running from the junction of the streams to the village is known as Mill Flats Lane.

At the south end of the village where a lane turns off to the west are the remains of the old hall of the Fitz Randalls, which has a gabled projection at the rear, and behind it is a cottage with a large rubblebuilt chimney stack, evidently intended for a larger building. The back wall of the rear gable shows the remains of two large square-headed windows, each of four round-headed lights. Each light measures 1 ft. 8 in. by 6½ ft., but they are now filled in, and in the interior are two small rooms with a chimney stack built against the window end. The front of the house has been fitted with modern windows. The walls are of unusual thickness, varying from 3 ft. 8 in. to 4 ft. 8 in.

The present Spennithorne Hall, the residence of Mr. Chaytor, is to the north-west of the older house. Spennithorne House is the residence of Major Stobart, and Thorney Hall of the Hon. Mrs. A. C. Orde-Powlett.

Harmby is about three-quarters of a mile northwest of Spennithorne. A memorandum in the parish register states that John Wells of Harmby, servant of Lord Scrope of Bolton, caused the 'causey' of the lane from Harmby to the church of Spennithorne to be made during his lifetime, ' for the benefit of the inhabitants of that town and others.' (fn. 3) He died in 1663, (fn. 4) so it must have been his father John Wells who died seised in 1641 of the 'capital messuage' in Harmby held of John Scrope. (fn. 5) This was doubtless the old manor-house of Harmby, which stands on the west side of the steep village street, and is now a farm. The street runs parallel with a deep wooded gill, down which flows Harmby Beck. There is a Wesleyan chapel in this street, dating from 1855.

Bellerby is the largest of the three townships in the parish, and includes the large tract known as Bellerby Moor. This is all high ground, and in the extreme north-west rises to a height of 1,300 ft. There is a deer park to the west of the village of Bellerby. Just at the entrance to the village is the old manor-house of Bellerby, once the residence of the Metcalfe family. It is a rectangular stone building standing north and south, apparently dating from the late 16th or early 17th century. There is a modern porch in the centre of the east front, on which side it has been faced with Roman cement; the windows here are all of the Georgian period, with the exception of one of four lights, to the north of the porch, which retains its stone mullions and transom. The most interesting feature, however, is a bay window remaining at the south end. The three sides are all pierced with windows, that in the outer face being of three lights with a transom, and the structure is carried up two stories and finished with a gabled stone roof. The house is two stories high and built of rubble, the stories being formerly divided by moulded string-courses, which remain at the two ends. The windows, where original, have plain chamfered mullions and jambs.

In 1575, (fn. 6) on the death of Thomas Metcalfe, the house had eight rooms, the parlour, buttery, chamber over the parlour, storehouse next the same chamber, chamber over the hall, chamber over the kitchen, kitchen and hall. The furniture of the hall included 'one drawinge table with a clothe of domex, one cownter, one longe forme and one shorter, one chare, one cubberd, one bassinge and an euer, one paier of iron gallowes and fyve crokes, ii paiers of tonges, one old fyer shovell, nyne guisshings, one paier of playinge tables 40s. Item ii saddells with their appurtenances 6s. 8d.'

The church of Bellerby stands further north, and was erected in 1874. A Wesleyan chapel in the village dates from 1839. The manorial mill (fn. 7) stands to the east of the village, on one of the little becks which flow down the village street and are crossed by a great number of bridges.

In the north-east of the township is Skelton Cote Farm, once the property of the abbey of Easby. It was granted to them before 1206 by Thomas de Hellebec, with the following boundaries: 'From Huntergate by the old foss to Wyselapeltre; thence to Siket, and by Siket to the green way of Waleburn, and by the green way of Waleburn to Caldekelde and thence as Caldekeld falls into Ulvedalebec by the green way to Boscstalebec and to Long Boscstalebec as it falls into Huntergathe.' (fn. 8) The Abbots of Rievaulx had meadow land in Bellerby adjoining the 'water of Terwinne,' and 'between Terwinne and Hunteresty.' (fn. 9)

There are old coal-pits on Bellerby Moor and traces of old quarries all over the parish, but the population at the present day is agricultural. Spennithorne station on the Northallerton and Hawes branch of the North Eastern railway is a mile north of the village.

An Inclosure Act for Bellerby township was passed in 1770. (fn. 10)


Before the Conquest SPENNITHORNE was held by the Saxon Ghilpatric; a 'manor' and 8½ carucates were held of Count Alan in 1086 by Ribald. (fn. 11)

Spennithorne followed the descent of Ribald's manor of Middleham (q.v.) until the middle of the 13th century, when it was given to Ranulph, a younger son of the house, who founded here the family of Fitz Randall of Spennithorne. He is generally said to have been the third son of Robert of Middleham, (fn. 12) but was in fact his grandson, brother of the Ralph son of Ranulph (fn. 13) who left two daughters and co-heirs in 1270. (fn. 14) This Ranulph son of Ranulph had a grant in 1270 of free warren in some of his lands, though not in Spennithorne. (fn. 15) He was still in possession in 1286–7, (fn. 16) but had been succeeded before 1294 by his son Ralph, (fn. 17) who married Theophania, one of the four daughters and co-heirs of Roger Lascelles of Kirkby Knowle. (fn. 18) His son Ranulph (fn. 19) (called in one place Reynold) (fn. 20) was lord of Spennithorne in 1316, (fn. 21) and lived till 1342 at least. (fn. 22) He appears to have been succeeded by a son John, whose son Ranulph (called Fitz John) held Spennithorne in 1367 and 1388. (fn. 23) With John, the next heir, the surname Fitz Randall came into use. Sir John Fitz Randall was a leader in the rebellion of 1405, (fn. 24) and was executed for treason. (fn. 25) His lands, however, seem to have been held by him under a settlement, and were inherited by his son Ralph. (fn. 26)

Fitz Randall. Or a chief indented azure.

Ralph Fitz Randall died in 1458. (fn. 27) His heir was John, who died in 1474 seised of eight messuages and 5½ carucates of land in Spennithorne, and was succeeded by his son, another Ralph. (fn. 28) The latter was knighted, (fn. 29) and married Elizabeth daughter and ultimately coheir of Thomas Lord Scrope of Masham. (fn. 30)

He died in 1517, when his heir was his son John. (fn. 31) John only survived his father a short time, and his whole estate was divided among his five sisters, Elizabeth wife of Nicholas Strelley (Styrley), Alice wife of Charles Dransfield, Mary wife of Ralph Batty, Dorothy wife of Lancelot Esshe, and Agnes wife of Marmaduke Wyvill. (fn. 32) Elizabeth Strelley quitclaimed her fifth of the manor in 1537 to Sir William Paulet. (fn. 33) He had a grant of another fifth in the same year from Robert Batty, (fn. 34) clerk, no doubt on behalf of Elizabeth Batty, daughter and heir of Ralph and Mary. (fn. 35) In 1540 Sir William Paulet quitclaimed his two fifths to James Strangways, (fn. 36) who in 1553 joined with Christopher Lascelles in granting them to Henry Scrope, (fn. 37) ancestor of the family of Scrope of Danby (fn. 38) (q.v.), which this moiety followed in descent till at least 1788. (fn. 39)

Of the three remaining shares of the manor one descended from Charles and Alice Dransfield to their son Ralph. (fn. 40) In a will dated 1548 he left half of it to his cousin Christopher Wyvill (son of Agnes) and half to his aunt Dorothy Esshe. (fn. 41) A complicated settlement of the three shares was executed in 1553, by which two parts were to remain to the Wyvill family and one to Dorothy Esshe and her heirs (fn. 42); but this does not seem to have been carried out, for the Wyvill and Esshe families appear subsequently in possession each of one-fifth and the moiety of one-fifth. (fn. 43) The share of the Wyvills followed the descent of their manor of Constable Burton (fn. 44) (q.v.) till the middle of the 17th century, when Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, a recusant, was seised of lands in Spennithorne. (fn. 45) It was perhaps this share which passed into the possession of Matthew Smales of Gilling, and by the marriage of his daughter and heir Jane (fn. 46) with Henry Chaytor in or about 1730 came into the hands of the Chaytor family. (fn. 47) William Chaytor paid the tax for his three male servants at Spennithorne in 1780. (fn. 48) He was still living there in 1792, (fn. 49) and was succeeded by a younger son John Clervaux Chaytor. (fn. 50) The great-grandson of the latter, Mr. Clervaux Alexander Chaytor, (fn. 51) is one of the chief landowners in Spennithorne at the present day, but the manorial rights have lapsed.

Dorothy Esshe conveyed her share to her younger son Thomas in 1564. (fn. 52) Thomas died in possession in 1583, his heir being his son Henry. (fn. 53) In 1605 Henry Esshe conveyed the 'manor of Spennithorne' to Ralph Atkinson. (fn. 54) He died in possession in 1614, leaving a son and heir Charles. (fn. 55) During the next eighty years the estate passed rapidly through various hands. Charles Atkinson conveyed it in 1634 to Moses James. (fn. 56) John James, presumably the heir of Moses, conveyed it to Wastell Robinson in 1649, (fn. 57) and William Robinson in 1697 conveyed it to William Warwick. (fn. 58) Its subsequent history is obscure, but it seems probable that both this and the Scropes' share of the manor were absorbed by purchases into the estates of families resident in Spennithorne. These included, besides the Chaytors, the family of Van Straubenzee. Their ancestor Philip William Casimir Van Straubenzee, a captain in the Dutch Guards, became a naturalized Englishman, (fn. 59) and married Jane daughter of Cholmley Turner of Kirkleatham. His son Colonel Turner Van Straubenzee was living at Spennithorne at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 60) He was succeeded by his great-nephew Henry, whose third son Turner was owner of the Spennithorne estate in 1906. (fn. 61)

Peter Hammond, who also had an estate in Spennithorne in the late 18th century, left it to his greatnephew Anthony Ewbank, who took the name of Hammond and lived till 1838. (fn. 62)

The Hon. A. C. Orde-Powlett held a considerable amount of land in Spennithorne in 1872. It now belongs to his widow the Hon. Mrs. A. C. OrdePowlett.

The right of free warren was obtained by Ranulph son of Ralph in 1317. (fn. 63)

The priory of St. Martin at Richmond had by grant of Ribald two sheaves of tithe corn grown upon his demesnes at Spennithorne. (fn. 64)

A 'manor' and 6 carucates in BELLERBY (Belgebi, xi cent.; Belgerby, xiii cent.) belonged before the Conquest to the Saxon Tor. In 1086 they were held of Count Alan by Enisan, (fn. 65) and the mesne lordship here (fn. 66) followed the descent of his manor of Constable Burton (q.v.) till the constables sold their estates in the 14th century to the Scropes. (fn. 67)

The tenants in demesne of this fee here as at Bolton-on-Swale were a family bearing the local name of Bellerby. Robert de Bellerby confirmed a grant to St. Agatha of 1 carucate in his fee of Bellerby at the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century. (fn. 68) His son Ellis was lord of the manor in 1236. (fn. 69) He appears to have had several sons, of whom the eldest, Richard, was a lunatic. (fn. 70) Richard gave his whole inheritance to his lord, Roald son of Alan, who gave dower to Olive, the widow of Ellis. (fn. 71) Before 1288 the manor had been recovered by Thomas de Bellerby, another son of Elias, (fn. 72) who granted it to Robert de Hartforth in that year. (fn. 73) Robert was succeeded by his son Thomas de Hartforth, (fn. 74) who was in turn succeeded by his son John. (fn. 75) In 1328–9 John de Hartforth conveyed the manor to Geoffrey le Scrope of Masham and his son Henry. (fn. 76) Denise widow of John released to Geoffrey her claim to dower in 1332. (fn. 77)

Bellerby followed the descent of the manor of Masham (fn. 78) (q.v.) till the forfeiture of Henry Lord Scrope in 1415. It was then granted with Coverham (q.v.) to Henry Fitz Hugh. (fn. 79) After complicated proceedings between the Fitz Hugh family and John Lord Scrope, who succeeded in obtaining a grant of his brother's lands, the manor was quitclaimed to William Fitz Hugh. (fn. 80)

Bellerby now followed the descent of Ravensworth (fn. 81) (q.v.) in the Fitz Hugh family till the division of their lands in the early years of Henry VIII. Half then passed to Sir Thomas Parr (fn. 82) and half to Thomas Fiennes Lord Dacre. (fn. 83) The first half was forfeited with the other lands of William Parr Marquess of Northampton, but was subsequently regranted to him. (fn. 84) He sold it with the manor of Mickleton (q.v.) to Sir George Bowes in 1561. (fn. 85) It does not appear subsequently among the lands of the Bowes family, and must have been the moiety which a few years later was in the hands of John Cholmeley of Spennithorne. He sold it in 1567 to Richard Sheppawe, (fn. 86) who probably conveyed it shortly afterwards to the family of Metcalfe; they certainly acquired the other half of the manor. Thomas Metcalfe 'of Bellerby' died in 1575 (fn. 87) in possession of the manor-house. His brother and heir Nicholas (fn. 88) had a grant of the Dacres' share of the manor from Gregory Fiennes Lord Dacre (fn. 89) some months later. He died in possession of the manor in 1581, when his brother Mark, vicar of Northallerton, was his heir. (fn. 90) His mother Katherine, however, held the manor for life under a settlement, (fn. 91) Mark succeeding after her death. He was followed by his brother Matthew, (fn. 92) who died in 1593, leaving a son and heir Francis. (fn. 93) Francis had a son of the same name, (fn. 94) who seems to have granted some of his estate before his death to his brother and successor Thomas. (fn. 95) In 1643 Thomas Metcalfe conveyed the manor to his son Adrian. (fn. 96) Adrian Metcalfe, who was an M.D., was still in possession in 1649, (fn. 97) and was succeeded by his son, another Adrian. (fn. 98) John, brother of Adrian, (fn. 99) seems to have been his heir. He appointed gamekeepers for the manor of Bellerby in 1725, 1741, and 1743, (fn. 100) and was still in possession in 1746. (fn. 101) Another John Metcalfe was lord of the manor in 1770. (fn. 102) His family continued to present to the chapel, and therefore in all probability to hold the manor till the early years of the 19th century. (fn. 103) Both manor and advowson then came into the hands of the Chaytor family, (fn. 104) and were purchased from them in 1853 by John Osborne. (fn. 105) Mr. John O. Osborne is now lord of the manor.

An estate here called in the 16th century a manor belonged to the family of Scrope of Bolton (fn. 106) (q.v.) and followed the descent of the manor of Castle Bolton till 1609 at least. (fn. 107)

In 1300 Thomas de Hartforth, lord of Bellerby, sued John de Spennithorne for trespass on his free warren at Bellerby. (fn. 108) Subsequent lords of the manor also enjoyed free warren, which was granted to Geoffrey le Scrope in 1328. (fn. 109)

Several religious houses had lands in Bellerby. Certain lands which had belonged to Coverham were leased to Ralph Rokeby in 1539, (fn. 110) and granted to John Dorbye and John Scudamore in 1545. (fn. 111) Easby Abbey had 1 carucate in Bellerby, called Skelton, of the grant of Thomas de Hellebec. (fn. 112) Ellis de Bellerby granted meadow and pasture here to Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 113) which exchanged a messuage and 20 acres here for land in Newsham-upon-Tees with Henry le Scrope in 1315. (fn. 114) The priory of St. Martin at Richmond had the third part of the tithes of the demesne of Enisan in Bellerby. (fn. 115)

HARMBY (Hernebi, xi-xvi cent.) was in the hands of Tor before the Conquest. The 'manor' and 9 carucates were held of Count Alan in 1086 by Wymar, (fn. 116) tenant of Leyburn. A mesne lordship followed the descent of the manor of Thornton Steward (q.v.).

Harmby seems to have been held in demesne by the lords of Leyburn (q.v.) down to the late 13th century. In 1286 William de Leyburn held more than half the vill under the mesne lord Robert de Furneaux. (fn. 117) The remainder was held by Walter Gill with various mesne lordships intervening.

Plan of Spennithorne Church

In 1316 Harmby was returned with Spennithorne as the possession of 'Reynold son of Ralph.' (fn. 118) This may have been due to some confusion. In reality the manor belonged at about this time to Master Michael de Harcla, brother of the Earl of Carlisle, who forfeited his estates for treason. (fn. 119) Michael was also condemned, his lands in Harmby being granted in 1323 to Henry le Scrope for life. (fn. 120) The grant was afterwards extended to apply to Henry and his heirs. (fn. 121) The manor followed (fn. 122) the descent of Bolton (q.v.), Lord Bolton being now lord of the manor. Some land in Harmby was held by the Nevill family in 1368. (fn. 123) It was regarded as part of the lordship of Middleham and followed the same descent. (fn. 124)


The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of a chancel 32 ft. by 15 ft. 9 in., small north vestry, north chapel extending eastward from the north aisle 16 ft. by 13 ft., nave 36 ft. by 15 ft. 3 in., north aisle 36 ft. by 13 ft., south aisle 35 ft. by 15 ft., west tower 12 ft. square, and south porch. These measurements are all internal.

The church still possesses in the north arcade of the nave part of the building which stood there in the 12th century, when it consisted of a nave about the same length as the present one, with a north aisle of three bays extending eastward as far as the chancel arch, but only so far westward as to allow a doorway to open directly on to the north of the nave from the exterior, and a chancel about twothirds the length of the present one. In the 13th century an aisle was added on the south of the nave, running its full length, and that opposite was lengthened as far as the west wall of the nave by adding another bay to the arcade; of this extension the south windows and probably the west wall of the south aisle and the westernmost bay of the north aisle—with its semicircular arch made to match the others—still remain. In the 14th century great alterations and additions were made by adding a west tower, widening the aisles to their present width, rebuilding the chancel and lengthening it eastwards and adding a north vestry. The tower, the south aisle with earlier windows re-used, the porch and the sedilia, piscina and south windows of the chancel still remain with little alteration. Late in the 14th century a new window was inserted in the east wall of the chancel, and the north wall of the north aisle was apparently rebuilt c. 1480 and again c. 1620, as in the parish register under the year 1716 is a note: 'Wm. Appleby of Harmby about 100 years ago (as an ancient inhabitant there relates) did at his own proper cost build the north aisle of the church.' When this was done one of the late 15th-century windows, the doorway and two windows of the 14th century at the north-west were retained and the aisle extended eastward to join the vestry, in which also was placed a new window.

The east window of the chancel has four wide trefoiled lights under a two-centred arch. In the north wall is a pointed arch of two chamfered orders leading into the chapel, which has been rebuilt. The vestry doorway is of the 14th century, with a continuous wave mould running round a pointed arch, and to the east of it is a recess with a trefoiled ogee head. It is a modern copy of the piscina opposite, and contains a stone sill with a cross potent on the upper surface, tending to show that it was once part of a 14thcentury altar stone. Near the east end is a singlelight 14th-century window, trefoiled, under a pointed arch. The south wall of the chancel contains two two-light 14th-century trefoiled windows, with a quatrefoil over, underneath a pointed arch. To the west of these is a single-light window like that in the north wall, and to the east is a piscina of the 14th century similar to the recess opposite. Below the sill of the window are the sedilia, in the form of a projecting stone seat with shaped ends of the same material. The contemporary chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, pointed and springing out of the abutments; on each side is a hood moulding supported by heads, and at the springing of the arch are two large moulded head corbels once used for carrying the rood screen.

Spennithorne Church: Piscina and Sedilia in the Chancel

The nave has an arcade on the north side of four bays; the three to the east are of two semicircular square-edged orders surmounted by a chamfered hood and date from about 1150. They rest on circular columns and semicircular responds with scalloped capitals and moulded bases on deep square plinths with stops at the angles. The western arch is evidently a later extension and has two similar orders, but the respond is similar to those of the opposite arcade and has an early English base. The 13thcentury south arcade is of three bays, with arches of two chamfered orders carried by circular columns and semicircular responds having octagonal moulded abaci, circular bells and necking and ordinary early English bases.

Over the outside of the north doorway is the monogram I.H.S., internally the doorway has a simple stone lintel. To the east of this is a three-light chamfered square-headed trefoiled window, the spandrels of which are also trefoiled. The next window has three lights under a pointed arch, the cusping of which is cut away. In the west wall is a two-light trefoiled window with a quatrefoil above under a pointed arch; the jambs and head are old, but the tracery is modern. To the east of the aisle is a modern semicircular arch leading into the Lady chapel, which has a north window like the easternmost one in the aisle, but retaining its cusping. As mentioned previously, this chapel appears to have been part of the building erected in the 17th century, and though a will is in existence dated 1457, in which Ralph Fitz Randall directs that his body be interred 'in the church of St. Michael the Archangel of Spennithorn in the chapel of St. Mary,' (fn. 125) and his tombstone is in this chapel, it seems to have been removed from the east end of the north aisle, which would probably be dedicated to St. Mary at that period.

The south aisle has a large 14th-century window of three trefoiled lights at the east end under a square head, the spandrels being also trefoiled. To the north of it is a broken image bracket with two heads reworked, and underneath is a rounded string which goes round the whole aisle, stopped where necessary by grotesque heads. In the south wall are two 13th-century windows belonging to the earlier aisle. The first has two trefoiled lights with a trefoil above under a pointed external and a shouldered internal arch. The other is a little earlier in character; it has two trefoiled lancet lights with a trefoil above. To the west of these is a richly-moulded 14th-century pointed doorway with a segmental rear arch, and externally the jambs are a series of rounds and hollows forming three slender shafts, the middle one of which is detached. These continue round the arch, but are interrupted by foliated capitals, and round the arch is a moulded label terminating in grotesque heads. Inside the doorway a quirked bowtel is worked on the angle and runs round the arch.

Externally the church with its 14th-century tower, built with the idea of defence, presents an interesting and imposing appearance. This tower is three stories in height; the uppermost is emphasized by a moulded string, and has a projecting embattled parapet on which are stumps of pinnacles, underneath which are masks and heads; at each angle are two fourstage buttresses, the third offsets having trefoiled gablets and the fourth dying away a few feet above the string-course at the base of the top stage. There is a stair turret running the full height at the south-east and all round the base is a plinth in two chamfered stages, the top one of which has also a small bowtel. The bell-chamber is lighted by twolight trefoiled windows, each with an unpierced quatrefoil in a pointed head of two chamfered orders having a label with grotesque heads. The middle story has a pointed trefoiled light with a square label on the north and south sides. The west window in the lowest story is similar to those in the belfry, but the quatrefoil in the head is pierced. The tower arch is of the same date and is of two chamfered orders, the inner one resting on corbels carved with grotesque human heads.

The south aisle has a projecting parapet supported by grotesque heads; there is a chamfered plinth, while between the windows and at the angles are two-stage 14th-century buttresses; under the windows runs a moulded string. The porch is later than the aisle and has a pointed door with a continuous large hollow chamfer and a label with small head stops; above this is a canopied niche with a modern panel containing a monogram. At each angle is a diagonal buttress.

The chancel has a chamfered plinth but no parapet, and there is a moulded string beneath the windows. The angle buttresses are in three stages, dying away a little below the eaves, and a similar buttress divides the south side into two bays. The upper part of the east gable has been rebuilt, but in the old walling is a much-decayed carved Saxon stone. The north wall of the aisle has a projecting parapet but no plinth; there is a twostage diagonal buttress at each angle and a modern one between the chapel and aisle.

The open timber chancel and nave roofs are modern, but of old work there is a finely carved fragment in the vestry with two bosses, one having on it the Paschal Lamb, the other rich foliage, and there is a rude traceried screen under the tower arch. On the west wall of the south aisle is a painting of 'Father Time' as a bearded and winged old man with an hour glass and scythe, and in the vestry is an altar slab with five crosses, and a stone carved with a doubleheaded cross and runic work. There are few old monuments; a tablet on the south wall of the chancel inscribed to F. R. Wyvill, rector, is dated 1649, and in the porch is a slab with the matrix of a brass inscription.

There are three bells, the first with the inscription 'Jesus be our speed 1681,' the second recast in 1890, the third with the inscription 'Fili dei miserere mei 1664.'

The plate consists of a small cup of 1617, a highly ornate secular tazza of 1572, which was given in 1759, and is embellished by a female bust in high relief surrounded by repoussé work, and a modern flagon and paten.

The registers begin in 1573.

The church of ST. JOHN (fn. 126) of Bellerby was rebuilt in 1801 and again in 1874 and consists of chancel, large north vestry, nave and porch to the southwest, built in the style of the 13th and 14th centuries. On the west side of the porch is an octagonal bellturret with a pinnacled top containing one modern bell.

The plate consists of a modern paten, an electroplated communion cup and flagon, and a two-handled chalice presented in 1802 and bearing the Newcastle date mark of 1770.

Spennithorne Church from the South-east

The registers are modern, the parish formerly being part of Spennithorne.


A church existed here in 1086 (fn. 127); its dedication to St. Michael is mentioned in 1457. (fn. 128) There is no mention of the advowson of the rectory till the 16th century, but it clearly belonged to the lord of the manor, for it was divided up with the manor among the five daughters of Sir Ralph Fitz Randall. (fn. 129)

The Scropes of Danby obtained two parts of the advowson, (fn. 130) the other three-fifths were in the possession of Christopher Wyvill in 1578. (fn. 131) Most of the subsequent presentations were made by the Wyvill family, and in 1764 Simon Scrope finally sold his interest to Sir Marmaduke Wyvill. (fn. 132) The patronage has followed (fn. 133) the descent of the manor of Constable Burton (q.v.) to the present day.

In 1457 Ralph Fitz Randall directed by his will that his body should be buried in the chapel of St. Mary in the parish church. (fn. 134)

Sir John Fitz Randall is said to have founded a 'service or stipend' in 1520 (fn. 135) for the support of a priest to minister sacraments and pray for his soul. (fn. 136) The advowson of this chantry, which is sometimes described as the chantry in the parish church, (fn. 137) or 'at the altar of St. Michael the Archangel,' (fn. 138) and sometimes as the chantry in the church of St. Mary, (fn. 139) appears among the possessions of the Fitz Randall heirs.

In 1236 Ellis de Bellerby claimed a tenement and land in Bellerby against the parson of Spennithorne, alleging that these had been granted to Thomas, the parson, by Ellis in return for the right of maintaining a private chaplain at his own cost. He accused Thomas of refusing to admit his chaplains, (fn. 140) and Thomas was fined. 'John the clerk' of Bellerby is mentioned in 1306. (fn. 141) Queen Elizabeth granted Bellerby chapel to John Awbrey and others, (fn. 142) and it was presumably then disused. It was in the tenure of Charles Lonsdale, (fn. 143) whose family remained in possession of the tithes of Bellerby as late as 1772. (fn. 144) They must have been sold shortly afterwards to John Metcalfe. He presented in 1786 to the chapel. (fn. 145) The patrons and impropriators in the early 19th century were the Chaytor family. (fn. 146) The advowson was acquired with the manor by Mr. J. Osborne, and at the present day belongs to the Rev. G. Osborne.

Tradition says that there was a domestic chapel at Harmby also, which was demolished during the first half of the 19th century (fn. 147); no evidence for this has been found.


Township of Bellerby: charities created by will of Francis Walker, proved at York 1 November 1873.— This testator bequeathed to his executors the sums of £300, £300 and £300, making together the sum of £900, free of duty, upon trust to invest the same upon government securities, and to pay onethird part of the income (a) to the resident vicar of the church of Bellerby, (b) to the vicar and overseers at Bellerby for the purchase of coals for the poor, and (c) to the Wesleyan ministers of the Middleham circuit.

As the result of proceedings instituted in 1897 by the Charity Commissioners a sum of £582 9s. 5d. consols was transferred to the official trustees, and £300 on mortgage at 4 per cent. of property at Leeming was secured for the charities, producing a total income of £26 11s. a year.

The administration of the charities is regulated by a scheme dated 27 November 1900, whereby the vicar of Bellerby was appointed an ex officio trustee, in conjunction with two representative trustees to be appointed by the parish council of Bellerby and one by the Wesleyan ministers of the Middleham circuit, and one co-optative trustee residing or carrying on business in or near Bellerby.

The said testator likewise by his will bequeathed a legacy for a school charity, represented by £1,299 6s. 5d. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £32 9s. 8d., are applied towards the support of the school founded in 1832.

The poor of Bellerby are also entitled to 5s. a year devised by will of Christopher Dixon in 1711.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Lay Subs. R. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), 100.
  • 3. Barker, Three Days of Wensleydale, 150.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dxcvii, 45.
  • 6. Wills and Invent. in Archd. Richmond (Surt. Soc.), 256.
  • 7. Assize R. 1194, m. 15 d.; Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 18 Eliz.
  • 8. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 94 d.
  • 9. Rievaulx Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 399.
  • 10. Lawton, Coll. Rer. Eccl. 570.
  • 11. Dom. Bk. Fac. 28.
  • 12. Whitaker, Richmond, 361.
  • 13. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 87–8. Sir Ralph son of Ranulph and Sir Ranulph his brother witnessed a deed in the possession of Lord Bolton (communicated by the Hon. H. R. Orde-Powlett).
  • 14. See Middleham.
  • 15. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 218.
  • 16. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 159.
  • 17. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 218.
  • 18. Cal. Inq. p.m. 10–20 Edw. II, 251.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 76.
  • 20. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 338.
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 702. In Feb. 1331 he was going to the Holy Land (Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 76).
  • 23. Chan. Inq. p.m. 41 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47; 12 Ric. II, no. 40.
  • 24. Parl. R. iii, 604.
  • 25. Cal. Rot. Chart. et Inq. a.q.d. (Rec. Com.), 355.
  • 26. Harl. MSS. 793, fol. 61 d.
  • 27. Wills and Invent. in Archd. Richmond (Surt. Soc.), 4.
  • 28. Rentals and Surv. (P.R.O.), R. 754, m. 24.
  • 29. Reg. of Corpus Christi Guild (Surt. Soc.), 147.
  • 30. Fisher, Masham, 506.
  • 31. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxviii, 112.
  • 32. Fisher, op. cit. 506.
  • 33. Com. Pleas D. Enr. East. 29 Hen. VIII, m. 577 d.
  • 34. Ibid. m. 578 d.
  • 35. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xlix, 12.
  • 36. Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 32 Hen. VIII.
  • 37. Ibid. Yorks. Mich. 1 Mary. For Christopher Lascelles's interest see Com. Pleas D. Enr. Hil. 5 & 6 Edw. VI, m. 120.
  • 38. See Thornton Steward parish.
  • 39. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxxviii, 8; Recov. R. East. 14 Jas. I, rot. I; Feet of F. Div. Co. Trin. 15 Chas. II; Recov. R. Mich. 10 Will. III, rot. 264; East. 28 Geo. III, rot. 30.
  • 40. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xc, 99.
  • 41. Ibid.
  • 42. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 7 Edw. VI.
  • 43. Ibid. East. 2 Eliz.; Trin. 4 & 5 Phil. and Mary.
  • 44. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxx, 34; Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 11 Jas. I; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccclxi, 153.
  • 45. Royalist Comp. P. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 164.
  • 46. Foster, Yorks. Pedigrees.
  • 47. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. Chaytor.
  • 48. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xiv, 65 et seq.
  • 49. Index Villarum Ebor. (1792). He was the father of William Chaytor, created baronet 1831 (G.E.C. Baronetage, iv, 50).
  • 50. Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 51. Ibid.
  • 52. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 6 Eliz.
  • 53. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cc, 10; Lay Subs. R. (P.R.O.), bdle. 261, no. 16.
  • 54. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 3 Jas. I.
  • 55. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), dclxx, 98.
  • 56. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 9 Chas. I.
  • 57. Ibid. Mich. 1649.
  • 58. Ibid. Mich. 9 Will. III.
  • 59. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 60. Index Villarum Ebor. (1792).
  • 61. Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 62. Nichols, Topog. and Gen. i, 512; ii, 541.
  • 63. Chart R. 11 Edw. II, m. 13.
  • 64. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 274.
  • 65. Dom. Bk. Fac. 28.
  • 66. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 157; Assize R. 1194, m. 15 d.
  • 67. Gale, op. cit. App. 229; see Constable Burton.
  • 68. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 95 d.
  • 69. Rievaulx Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 399; Maitland, Bracton's Note Bk. iii, 214–15.
  • 70. Assize R. 1194, m. 15 d.
  • 71. Ibid. The remaining two parts he gave to Sarah widow of his grandfather Roald (Feet of F. Yorks. 36 Hen. III, no. 164) in satisfaction of a claim for dower (Assize R. 1194, m. 15 d.).
  • 72. MSS. of F. Bacon Frank, xxiii, K 3, fol. 62.
  • 73. Feet of F. Yorks. 16 Edw. I, no. 33.
  • 74. Cal. Close, 1327–30, p. 359; Lay Subs. R. 30 Edw. I (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), 103.
  • 75. Cal. Close, 1327–30, p. 360. He acknowledged that he owed Thomas son of John de Hartforth 200 marks (ibid. 359).
  • 76. Ibid. 360; Feet of F. Yorks. 3 Edw. III, no. 9.
  • 77. Cal. Close, 1330–3, p. 614.
  • 78. Chan. Inq. p.m. 16 Ric. II, pt. i, no. 28; Chart. R. 15–17 Ric. II, m. 22.
  • 79. Cal. Pat. 1436–41, pp. 271–2.
  • 80. Feet of F. Div. Co. 21 Hen. VI, no. 4. With reversion to the Scropes should William die without male heirs.
  • 81. Rentals and Surv. (P.R.O.), R. 754, m. 6.
  • 82. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxxiii, 107.
  • 83. Ibid.
  • 84. Pat. 5 & 6 Phil. and Mary, pt. i, m. 30.
  • 85. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Mich. 3 & 4 Eliz. m. 13; cf. above, p. 123.
  • 86. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdles. 37, no. 25; 170, no. 4.
  • 87. Wills and Invent. in Archd. Richmond (Surt. Soc.), 256.
  • 88. Ibid.
  • 89. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 18 Eliz.
  • 90. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxcvi, 8.
  • 91. Ibid.
  • 92. Ibid. ccxlv, 58.
  • 93. Ibid.
  • 94. Foster, Yorks. Pedigrees.
  • 95. Ibid.; Royalist Comp. P. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 114.
  • 96. Feet of F. Yorks. Mich. 19 Chas. I; Foster, Yorks. Pedigrees.
  • 97. Feet of F. Yorks. Mich. 1649.
  • 98. Foster, Yorks. Pedigrees; Recov. R. Mich. 31 Chas. II, rot. 203.
  • 99. Foster, Yorks. Pedigrees.
  • 100. Quarter Sess. Rec. (N. R. Rec. Soc.), viii, 173, 238, 246.
  • 101. Recov. R. East. 19 Geo. II, rot. 290.
  • 102. Private Act, 10 Geo. III, cap. 34.
  • 103. Bacon, Liber Regis, 1247; Carlisle, Topog. Dict.
  • 104. Gorton, Topog. Dict.; Lewis, Topog. Dict.; Bulmer, North Yorks. i, 370.
  • 105. Bulmer, loc. cit.; Speight, Romantic Richmondshire, 372.
  • 106. See Wensley. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 337; Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47; 37 Hen. VI, no. 31; Feet of F. Yorks. East 42 Eliz.
  • 107. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccxx, 70.
  • 108. De Banco R. 136, m. 87 d.
  • 109. Chart. R. 2 Edw. III, m. 9.
  • 110. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiv, 610.
  • 111. Ibid. xx (1), g. 1081 (36).
  • 112. Egerton MS. 2827, fol. 94–5, 157.
  • 113. Rievaulx Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 399.
  • 114. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 260.
  • 115. Harl. MS. 793, fol. 223.
  • 116. Dom. Bk. Fac. 28.
  • 117. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 158. For the Furneaux lordship see Ainderby Steeple, Gilling East.
  • 118. Ibid. 338.
  • 119. Cal. Pat. 1321–4, p. 334.
  • 120. Ibid. p. 248.
  • 121. Ibid. p. 305.
  • 122. Lay Subs. R. (P.R.O.), bdle. 211, no. 6; Chan. Inq. p.m. 10 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47; (Ser. 2), xiii, 116; cccxx, 70; cccclxiii, 135; Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 1653; Hil. 1654.
  • 123. Chan. Inq. p.m. 41 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 47.
  • 124. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vi, 348; Exch. Dep. Spec. Com. Hil. 30 Geo. II, no. 6.
  • 125. See under advowson.
  • 126. The earlier invocation was St. Andrew.
  • 127. Dom. Bk. Fac. 28.
  • 128. Wills and Invent. in Archd. Richmond (Surt. Soc.), 4.
  • 129. Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 24 Hen. VIII; Yorks. Mich. 26 Hen. VIII; East. 27 Hen. VIII; Div. Co. East. 29 Hen. VIII.
  • 130. Feet of F. Yorks. Mich. 1 Mary.
  • 131. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxx, 34.
  • 132. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Mich. 5 Geo. III, m. 39.
  • 133. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.). The recusancy of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill led in 1720 to the university of Cambridge disputing the right of presentation (Cat. Bodl. Chart. 633). The university presented in 1723 (Whitaker, Richmond, i, 364).
  • 134. Wills and Invent. in Archd. Richmond, 4.
  • 135. Yorks. Chant. Surv. (Surt. Soc.), 116.
  • 136. Ibid. 116, 503.
  • 137. Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 31 Hen. VIII.
  • 138. Ibid.
  • 139. Ibid.
  • 140. Maitland, op. cit. iii, 214–15.
  • 141. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), iv, 143.
  • 142. Pat. 28 Eliz. pt. xiv, m. 25.
  • 143. Ibid.
  • 144. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 12 Geo. III.
  • 145. Bacon, Liber Regis, 1247.
  • 146. cf. manor.
  • 147. Barker, op. cit. 158; Bulmer, N. Yorks. i, 599.