Parishes: Gilling

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

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, 'Parishes: Gilling', in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914) pp. 478-485. British History Online [accessed 19 May 2024].

. "Parishes: Gilling", in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914) 478-485. British History Online, accessed May 19, 2024,

. "Parishes: Gilling", A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1, (London, 1914). 478-485. British History Online. Web. 19 May 2024,

In this section


Ghellinge, Gellinge (xi cent.).

This parish is composed of the townships of Gilling, Grimston and Cawton. The total area is 4,125 acres, 1,762 acres being arable land, 1,261 permanent grass and 707 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The chief crops raised are turnips, potatoes, seeds, wheat, oats and barley. The soil is sandstone and limestone, with a tract of alluvium north of the village. There are quarries at Gilling, old quarries at Cawton and Grimston, and a disused gravel-pit at Grimston. The altitude of the parish varies from 200 ft. to 475 ft. above the ordnance datum. Gilling village lies in the wooded ravine formed by the Holbeck (a tributary of the Rye) on the road from York to Helmsley. To the south of the station there are a few cottages scattered along the road from Cawton which crosses the main road at right angles. Running along the west side of the road is a small brook, which rises in the well-wooded hills that lie to the south of the village. The village is modern, the cottages being built of stone and roofed with slates or tiles.

Opposite the church, which stands in a churchyard inclosed by a brick wall at the south end of the village on the east side of the roadway, is the entrance drive to Gilling Castle. (fn. 2) The castle occupies an elevated position a short distance to the west of the village. The site is approached from the west side, the ground falling away steeply on the north, east and south and forming a projecting tongue of land. Though the site was previously occupied, the earliest building now standing is the tower-house erected by the last Thomas de Etton or by his father. This structure forms the central block on the east side of the present house, and the upper stories were largely reconstructed by Sir William Fairfax in 1585, when the bay window and stair-turret on the east side were added. The west front of the same block was remodelled early in the 18th century, and the two projecting wings added on this side by the architect, William Wakefield, though the design is attributed to Sir John Vanbrugh. These wings are said to occupy the site of earlier buildings of uncertain date.

The original block was an unusually large specimen of the 'tower-house' so common in the border counties. It is externally 79½ ft. north to south by 72½ ft. east to west, but only the basement floor, with a portion of the south wall above, belongs to the original building. The basement is divided into two portions by a corridor, which traverses the building from east to west. At either end are doors, both of which were blocked and have been recently opened out. The eastern door was external and has a fourcentred arch with a deep hollow moulding, containing on each side three shields of the Etton arms. Immediately outside this is a portcullis groove, with an outer arch, the head of which is still concealed. The western door has a two-centred head. Opening into the central corridor are three apartments on each side; those on the north are each 21¾ ft. by 15 ft. and lighted by a window with a stepped sill in the north wall. That in the western chamber has, however, been altered, and near it is a blocked stair leading to the floor above. A small bay projects from the west side of this apartment, communicating by a modern door with the north wing and lighted by a small window on the west side. The eastern chamber has a second window in the east wall with a wall staircase, now blocked, opening from its northern jamb. The three rooms to the south of the central corridor are 28½ ft. by 15 ft. and are lighted by windows in the south wall. Each is provided with a garderobe in the thickness of the wall and opening from the window jambs, but the central one is now converted into a passage to the south wing. This room has also a fireplace, as had the other two, but both of the latter are now blocked up. An eastern window in the east chamber is blocked by the base of the Elizabethan bay. The doors to all these rooms have four-centred heads, and they, with the corridor, are barrel vaulted in stone, the vaults being segmental-pointed in section.

The two stories above the basement are finished with a plain parapet and are of Elizabethan date, a portion of the 15th-century walling being retained on the south side. In the south-east angle of the first floor is the lofty 'Great Chamber' (39 ft. by 22 ft.), lighted by a five-light window in the south wall and by the bay window already mentioned and a second four-light window on the east. All these have two transoms. The decorations of this apartment are unusually rich, and the whole forms a remarkably perfect example of the period. The walls, 17 ft. 4 in. high, are panelled for 11½ ft., with a finishing of strapwork along the top. Each panel, there being three in the height, is cut up by moulded bars and surrounded by a carved enrichment. Above the panelling is a painted frieze, 3 ft. 8 in. high, representing trees regularly disposed, with figures amongst them. Each tree bears the name of one of the Yorkshire wapentakes, and hanging from the branches are 450 shields of arms (fn. 3) of the resident gentry. The fireplace on the west has a rich overmantel, supported on fluted Doric pilasters at the sides and divided up into three bays by Corinthian columns. The arched niches in the side bays contain female figures; the centre is occupied by the armorial achievement of Sir William Fairfax, d. 1597, consisting of a shield of six quarters (Fairfax, Malebiche, Etton, Carthorpe, Ergham and Folyfayt), with a helm crested with a black lion's head, and supported by two silver goats. Below are four impaled shields denoting the marriages of Sir William Fairfax's sisters to Bellasis of Newburgh, Curwen of Wokington, Vavasour of Hazlewood and Roos of Ingmanthorpe. This bay is carried up and finished with a pediment and bears also the royal arms and supporters of Queen Elizabeth. A rich band of strapwork divides the whole composition into two stages. The ceiling of the Great Chamber is an elaborate piece of plaster work, with a small cove against the walls and numerous large and small pendants, with moulded drops, the spaces between being cut up by ribs. The room is lighted on the east side by a window of four lights and by a bay window of nine lights to the south of it, and by a third window of five lights in the south wall, all filled with heraldic glass, the work of Baernard Dinickhoff, 1585, whose name appears on a glass sundial ornamented with putti, &c., in the south window. The bay window is occupied by eighteen shields, some with crested helms, of the Fairfaxes and houses allied with them; the other window in the eastern wall with twelve shields of Constable (fn. 4) heraldry. The south window has ten heraldic achievements of the Stapletons in memory of Sir William's second wife Jane daughter and heir of Brian Stapleton of Burton Joyce, co. Notts. The bay, which is semi-octagonal in form, is carried up to the floor above this, and the room over is lighted also by a four-light window to the north of it, both having one transom only. A former window in the south wall is now blocked. This apartment has a ribbed ceiling. The staircase turret is semi-octagonal and lighted by six two-light windows with a door at the foot. The 18th-century west front of the house has a plain and severe appearance. It is executed in ashlar with rusticated window openings to the main floor and square windows to the upper story. The central entrance is flanked by Ionic columns supporting a pediment, and is approached by a double flight of stone steps. The wings, projecting to the west, are of similar character, that at the south containing the long gallery with the drawing room at the west end, and that on the north including the kitchen and offices in the basement with the library over. The internal fittings of the 18th-century portions are of considerable interest for their date, and the house contains numerous family portraits.

Basement Plan of the Tower-house, Gilling Castle

There was a forester for Gilling in 1278–9, (fn. 5) and in 1374 Thomas de Etton obtained licence to impark 1,000 acres of wood at Gilling. (fn. 6) This park, still existing, was in 1720 full of deer. There were then a bowling-green, fish-ponds and curtilage, a warren stocked with coneys, an 'overfall water-cornmilne with a horsegate and a cowgate,' and numerous tenants who paid for the commuted services of hens and boon days. (fn. 7)

Leyrepitts was a place-name here in 1290, (fn. 8) Engthorn and Spitelgarth in 1322, (fn. 9) Suckerplatt, Gatehouse Leaze, and Frescome in 1717 (fn. 10) and Sugler or Upper Ing in 1720 (fn. 11); the names Nelesgate, Hengandegate and the wood of Blakedale in Cawton occur in the 13th century. (fn. 12)

Grimston lies to the south of Gilling among woods and moors from which the small stream called Burnt Gill descends to join the Holbeck. Cawton, also well wooded, is to the east of Gilling. There is a station at Gilling on the Thirsk and Malton branch of the North Eastern railway, which is a junction for the line from Pickering to Helmsley. A school now used as a reading room was built in 1837; the present National school at Gilling was erected in 1896.


The 8 carucates of land in GILLING were equally divided before the Conquest between Orm and Barch, who each held a 'manor' here. By 1086 the land of Orm had come into the possession of Ralph de Mortimer, that of Barch was among the lands of Hugh son of Baldric. (fn. 13)

Here as at Thirsk (q.v.) the land of Hugh son of Baldric afterwards became part of the fee of Mowbray; it was assessed at 2½ carucates in 1284–5. (fn. 14)

The overlord of the second 4 carucates, Ralph de Mortimer, is said to have died in 1100, when he left two sons, of whom one died childless, and the other, Hugh, was ancestor of the Mortimers, Earls of March (fn. 15); but this family seems to be no further mentioned in connexion with Gilling, and its lands here, probably coming under the overlordship of the Stutevills (fn. 16) and Mowbrays, were alienated by undertenants to the abbey of St. Mary, York.

The Vescys, tenants elsewhere under the Mowbrays, (fn. 17) held what was probably a mesne lordship in the 12th century. Ivo de Vescy granted 2 carucates to St. Mary's Abbey, York, and his son-in-law and heir Eustace son of John, who died in 1157, gave or confirmed to the abbey 4 carucates and the church with its dower of half a carucate. (fn. 18) No further mention is made of the Vescys here. St. Mary's Abbey held 3½ carucates in 1284–5 (fn. 19) (no overlord or under-tenant being mentioned) and was joint lord of the vill in 1316, (fn. 20) but probably only had services from lands here. This mesne tenancy is no further recorded; the manor, of which the first mention found is in 1314, was held directly of the Mowbrays, nor did the abbey possess the advowson. (fn. 21)

In 1166–7 the vill belonged to Ralph son of Ralph and Adam Lovel. (fn. 22)

William de Surdeval granted to St. Mary's Abbey, York, 3½ carucates here, (fn. 23) in which he was probably their under-tenant, and these Abbot Clement between 1170 and 1175 conveyed to Geoffrey de Stutevill. (fn. 24) In 1221 Thomas de Etton owed the king a mark for leave to summon Ingram de Cornbrough (fn. 25) and John de Surdeval (fn. 26) concerning land in Gilling, (fn. 27) and in 1251–2 Osbert de Cornbrough quitclaimed to William de Etton his common of pasture in William's land in Gilling with certain exceptions. (fn. 28) William granted Osbert the services of his men of Gilling, for which Osbert was to pay a pair of white gloves yearly. (fn. 29)

Etton of Gilling. Barry argent and gules a quarter sable with a cross paty or therein.

The date at which the family of Etton first acquired land in Gilling is uncertain. Hugelin de Etton, lord of Skerne, forfeited his possessions early in the reign of Henry I, and his lands were given by the king to the French knight Odard de or le Maunsel. Odard had sons Geoffrey, father of Thomas de Etton, senior, and Odard. Thomas (probably the Thomas son of Geoffrey de Etton who made a grant of land in Gilling) had sons Thomas, Geoffrey, Odard, William, Robert and Henry, (fn. 30) and in 1223 Thomas de Etton, junior, released to John Surdeval 9½ oxgangs in Gilling. He was dead in 1226, and his son Robert was the ancestor of the Ettons of Etton. (fn. 31) Geoffrey de Etton, presumably brother of Thomas de Etton, junior, in 1218–19 granted the mill of Gilling to Simon son of William de Clifford and his heirs, to hold by the service of 1 lb. of pepper. (fn. 32) Ivo de Etton, constable of Tickhill, who about 1235 to 1245 held one knight's fee of Roger de Mowbray in Yorkshire, (fn. 33) in 1255–6 held 20 librates of land in the wapentake of Ryedale. (fn. 34) His son William de Etton in 1251–2 received grants here from the Cornbroughs, (fn. 35) and Ivo de Etton, tenant in 1284–5, (fn. 36) granted this manor to his son Thomas in 1314. (fn. 37) Thomas was lord in 1316. (fn. 38) His sister Elizabeth married Thomas Fairfax of Walton, and his son and successor Thomas, marrying his cousin Elizabeth Fairfax, in 1349 settled the manor of Gilling on members of the Fairfax family should the direct male line of the Ettons fail. (fn. 39) Thomas de Etton, son of the last Thomas, may have constructed the basement of Gilling Castle, which is of this period. (fn. 40) His son and heir John was Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1406 and 1412, warden of Roxburgh Castle in 1415 and died in 1433, his eldest son Miles having predeceased him. Miles left four daughters, (fn. 41) but Gilling went under the entail to his brother Ivo, on whom it was settled in tail-male in 1438, with remainder to his father's right heirs. (fn. 42) Ivo died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother Alexander, a clerk, the last of the Ettons of Gilling. In 1451, in spite of the agreement of 1349, the manor was settled on Alexander for life, with remainder to Sir Thomas Nevill, kt., and others and the heirs of Nevill. (fn. 43) Sir Thomas Nevill, younger brother of Ralph second Earl of Westmorland, was as a Lancastrian attainted with his son Humphrey in 1461. Sir Thomas was already dead, (fn. 44) but his son escaped from the Tower, again took arms against the king, was pardoned, but rose once more in 1464, and when his kinsman the Earl of Warwick besieged Bamborough Castle Edward IV offered a pardon to the whole garrison with the exception of their leaders, Sir Ralph Grey and Sir Humphrey Nevill. Sir Ralph was captured and beheaded, but Sir Humphrey again escaped, and after lying in hiding for five years rebelled again in 1469. He was captured and beheaded in the king's presence at York. (fn. 45)

Fairfax of Walton. Argent three gimel bars gules with a lion sable over all.

Meanwhile the king had in 1461 granted the manor of Gilling to Sir Edmund Hastings, kt., (fn. 46) but on his pardon in 1463 the reversion was granted to Sir Humphrey. (fn. 47) In 1467, however, possession was confirmed to Sir Edmund, (fn. 48) who held it until the accession of Henry VII, after which Sir Charles Somerset had it until 1489. The manor was then successfully claimed, under the settlement of 1349, by Sir Thomas Fairfax of Walton, fifth in descent from Elizabeth Etton. (fn. 49) Sir Thomas died seised in 1505. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was knighted at Tournai in 1513 and died in 1520. Sir Nicholas, son of Sir Thomas, took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, but was pardoned. Sir Nicholas sat on the Council of the North in 1539, 1561 and 1564, but he attended the Queen of Scots on her flight into England, thereby incurring Elizabeth's rebuke. He died in 1571, and was succeeded by his son William, knighted at Berwick in 1560, to whom is due the 'great Chamber' in the castle. He died in 1597, and was succeeded by his son Thomas, who was Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1627 and 1628, (fn. 50) was created Viscount Fairfax of Emley in Ireland in February 1628–9, and died in 1636. (fn. 51) His son Thomas died in 1641, leaving four sons, his heir William (fn. 52) (the third viscount, who died in 1648, and was succeeded by his son Thomas), Charles, who succeeded his nephew and died (leaving only a daughter, whose son was attainted) in 1711, Nicholas, father of Charles, the sixth Lord Fairfax, who died in 1715 without children, and Charles, the seventh viscount, who died unmarried at Gilling in 1719. On the failure of issue of these four sons of Thomas the manor and title came to William son of his brother William Fairfax of Lythe, who died in 1738, and was succeeded by his son Charles Gregory of Gilling Castle, ninth and last Lord Fairfax of Emley. Charles Gregory died in 1772, and left an only surviving daughter Anne, who died in 1793. His sister Alethea had married Ralph Pigott of Whitton, and the estates at Gilling now came to their son Charles Gregory Pigott, who assumed the name of Fairfax. (fn. 53) His son Charles Gregory died childless in 1871, and was succeeded by his sister Lavinia, who had married the Rev. Alexander Barnes, rector of Gilling. On the death of Mrs. Barnes in 1885 Gilling passed to Captain Thomas Charles Cholmley, R.N., of Brandsby, younger brother of Francis Cholmley, who had married Harriet younger sister of Mrs. Barnes. On succeeding to the property he took the additional name of Fairfax. His son Hugh Charles FairfaxCholmley succeeded in 1889, and in 1895 sold the Gilling estate to Mr. George Wilson, who in 1904 sold it to its present owner, Mr. W. S. Hunter. (fn. 54)

Three carucates at CAWTON (Calveton, xi–xv cent.; Calveton alias Cawton, xv–xviii cent.), held as one 'manor' by Waltheof before the Conquest, were land of the Count of Mortain in 1086. Four carucates were held by Hugh son of Baldric. (fn. 55) The Surdevals were possibly enfeoffed under the count, (fn. 56) for 3 carucates here were in 1284–5 in the fee of Paynel. (fn. 57)

One Gernagen was under-tenant in 1163 (fn. 58) and 1167, (fn. 59) and was followed by the family of Blancmusters (Blaundmusters, Blankmouster, Baundmisters) of Wighill. Roger de Blancmusters held these 3 carucates in 1284–5 (fn. 60); in 1304 Ranulph de Blancmusters obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands here, (fn. 61) and in 1316 Reginald de Blancmusters was returned as joint tenant of the vill. (fn. 62) Guy Blancmusters, clerk, in 1376 conveyed the reversion of the manors of Wighill and Cawton, held for life by Margaret widow of Sir John Blancmusters, kt., to Brian de Stapleton in fee, (fn. 63) and in the same year Brian settled the manor on himself and Alice his wife for life, with remainder to Sir John Nevill of Raby. (fn. 64) The manor seems, however, to have been shortly afterwards purchased by the Ettons. In 1428 Sir John de Etton was returned as only joint holder of 2½ carucates of land here 'which Alice Wallis formerly held,' (fn. 65) but the descendants of his granddaughters and heirs (fn. 66) held the manor. A Roger Norwood, probably descendant of the John Northwood who married Elizabeth Etton, died seised in 1512 of over 400 acres of land here, leaving a son and heir Richard, (fn. 67) and in 1583 William Norwood conveyed the 'manor' (that is, probably, part of it) to William Barton, (fn. 68) who died seised in 1597–8, leaving a son and heir Thomas. (fn. 69) Thomas in 1618 died seised of 'the manor and half the manor,' leaving a brother and heir Robert, (fn. 70) who died in 1630–1, leaving as heir his grandson Thomas, son of his son William. (fn. 71) Thomas died a minor in 1632 seised of 'the manor and half of half the manor,' leaving a sister and heir Frances, aged five, (fn. 72) but in 1660 George Barton conveyed the manor to George Montague and his heirs and Francis Lascelles. (fn. 73)

Meanwhile George Roos, probably a descendant of the John Roos who married Isabel Etton, made a conveyance of the manor in 1593–4, (fn. 74) as did William Roos in 1626–7 (fn. 75) and 1628–9. (fn. 76)

In the second half of the 17th century the manor became divided into five parts. John Hagley and Maria his wife, John Wildman and Jane his wife, Bartholomew Cade and Helen his wife, Richard Eyston and Dorothy his wife, William Simpson and Barbara his wife made a settlement in 1662 with a warranty against the heirs of the wives. (fn. 77) William Simpson and Barbara in 1665 conveyed one-fifth to William Liptrot and his heirs (fn. 78); Bartholomew Cade and Helen in 1667 conveyed another fifth part to William Liptrot and his heirs, (fn. 79) and a John Shepheard and Margaret his wife and William Shepheard, for themselves and the heirs of John, in 1680 conveyed two-fifths to Richard Shepheard and his heirs. (fn. 80) Robert Shepheard and Frances his wife in 1702 conveyed a fifth to John Webster (fn. 81); in 1708 Edward Liptrot and Mary his wife and Thomas Liptrot conveyed two-fifths to Nicholas Hall and James Close and the heirs of Nicholas, (fn. 82) and in 1713 William Whitehead conveyed two-fifths to John Cuthbert and Nicholas Hall and the heirs of John. (fn. 83) In 1737 Elizabeth Todd, spinster, conveyed a fifth to Martin Sandys. (fn. 84) James Tindall was lord in 1872 and 1879, his trustees in 1889. The manor is now in the possession of the executors of Mr. Thomas Metcalf of Towton, Tadcaster, by whom it was acquired in 1899 from the late Marcus Worsley. (fn. 85)

Roger Mowbray was in 1284–5 overlord of another 3 carucates of land here of which the Wakes of Liddell were mesne lords, (fn. 86) Baldwin Wake having in 1282 died seised of one-third of a knight's fee in Cawton as an appurtenance of his manor of Buttercrambe. (fn. 87) This mesne lordship with that of another eighth part of a fee here descended until the 15th century with the Wakes' manor of Kirkby Moorside (fn. 88) (q.v.).

Under the Wakes held the Cruers of Cawton and the Lascelles. (fn. 89) Richard Cruer was returned as joint lord with Gernagen in 1166–7, as John Cruer was with Reginald Blancmusters in 1316 (fn. 90); and this family is mentioned in the feudal returns until 1428, (fn. 91) and was still assessed for the subsidy here in 1545–6 (fn. 92); but no manorial rights seem to have been attached to their lands. (fn. 93)

In 1086 GRIMSTON (Grimeston, xi–xiv cent.) was a berewick of the manor of Hovingham (fn. 94) (q.v.). The Ettons of Gilling had also some rights here early in the 13th century when Geoffrey de Etton granted the lay fee of William Burdon (Burdun, de Burdon), the under-tenant, in Grimston, to the Dean and Chapter of York. (fn. 95) The place in 1284–5 was said to be held of the liberty of St. Peter of York, (fn. 96) and the manor was still held of the dean and chapter in 1565. (fn. 97) In 1280 Geoffrey, brother and heir of John Burdon, sued the Prior of Malton for waste of 100 acres of land and 1,000 acres of wood in Grimston that John had given him for a term of years. (fn. 98) In 1284–5 William Burdon held the 2½ carucates of land of which Grimston was composed under Roger Mowbray, lord of Hovingham. (fn. 99) In 1298 John Burdon conveyed the manor of Grimston to William Burdon and Avis his wife in exchange for other lands, (fn. 100) and in 1336 Gregory son of William Burdon conveyed the manor to Sir John Moryn, kt. (fn. 101) In the same year Sir John Moryn granted Gregory for life a yearly rent of £10 and a silk robe of his yeomen, price 15s., together with furs, and the right to stay wherever Sir John Moryn kept his household and have the usual estate of his esquires for a fortnight at Martinmas and a fortnight at Whitsuntide. (fn. 102) From this time the manor follows the descent of that of Whenby (fn. 103) (q.v.) until in 1571 Edward Burton (Barton) and Elizabeth his wife conveyed it to Edmund Colthirst. (fn. 104) In 1612 it was in the possession of Edward Moody, (fn. 105) and in 1641–2 Edward Moody and Mary his wife, William Moody, Thomas Ibson and Thomas Hutchinson conveyed it to William Weddell. (fn. 106) The Weddells still held Grimston in 1745 when Thomas Weddell as lord of the manor appointed a gamekeeper. (fn. 107) They sold it to the Garforths about 1778, and from the Garforths it was purchased by George Wilson in 1866. (fn. 108) William Randolph Innes Hopkins in 1900 bought the manor from Mr. George Wilson of Gilling Castle, but sold it in 1905 to Mr. Edward Fisher of Bryan Lodge, Edgerton, Huddersfield, now of Grimstone Manor. (fn. 109)


The church of HOLY CROSS consists of a chancel about 30 ft. 9 in. by 19 ft. 7 in., north vestry and organ chamber, a nave 47 ft. 1 in. by 15 ft. 6 in., north aisle 45 ft. 8 in. by 8 ft. 8 in., south aisle 46 ft. 8 in. by 8 ft. 10 in., a west tower 11 ft. 9 in. by 11 ft. 11 in. and a north porch. These measurements are all internal.

Plan of Gilling Church

Though no detail remains of so early a date, portions of the north and south walls of the nave probably belong to a church of the 11th century and aisles were added circa 1190, to which date the nave arcades belong. In the 14th century the chancel was rebuilt, when it was lengthened and widened southwards, and at the same time the aisles were rebuilt and widened, while late in the 16th century the west tower was built and a large window inserted in the south wall of the chancel. Early in the 19th century the north porch was added, and in recent years the church has been considerably restored, the chancel arch rebuilt, the north vestry and organ chamber added, and many windows inserted in the aisle walls.

The east window is modern and of three trefoiled lights under a net traceried head. It is set above the level of the original one, which was pulled down during the restoration, when most of the east wall was rebuilt. On the north is a 14th-century window of two trefoil-headed lights under a pointed traceried head with a two-centred segmental rear arch and splayed inner jambs, which have been scraped and partly restored. Underneath is a much scraped pointed segmental tomb recess of late 13th-century date. To the west of this is a large modern pointed archway, opening into the modern organ chamber and vestry, which is lighted on the west by a twolight window and entered by a north doorway. The easternmost window in the south wall is of 14thcentury date and of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a pointed head. The rear arch is a pointed segmental one and the inner jambs are splayed and partly restored. To the west of this is a late 16th-century window of four lights under a flat three-centred head. Under this window is a small doorway of the same date, having a flat head with rounded angles with widely splayed inner jambs and a segmental rear arch. The south-west window is of three trefoiled lights with net tracery under a pointed head. The chancel arch is modern and of two chamfered orders; over the arch are three corbels which probably carried an earlier flat roof. In the south respond is a rectangular squint from the south aisle. At the corners of the east wall of the chancel are diagonal buttresses; late in the 16th century the walls were heightened.

The north arcade is of three bays with pointed arches of two slightly chamfered orders, the inner one of which is not placed centrally with the wall over, but has the north face flush with the face of the second order. The piers of the arcade are circular and incline slightly to the north, probably through the weight of the inner order, and have moulded capitals and bases, square abaci and square chamfered plinths. The responds are semicircular and have capitals and bases similar to those of the piers. The south arcade is of three bays with pointed arches of two square orders and is carried on piers and responds similar to those of the north arcade.

In the east wall of the north aisle, which is lighted on the north by three modern two-light windows, is a modern pointed opening into the organ chamber. Between the second and third windows from the east in the north wall is a pointed 14thcentury doorway of two chamfered orders under a moulded hood mould terminating in head stops. A shouldered lintel takes the place of a rear arch. The west window is of two trefoiled lights under a square head. The tracery and outer jambs are modern, but parts of the inner jambs are original. The south aisle is lighted on the south by three 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights, with tracery under a flat head. The westernmost of these windows has been much restored. Between the first and second windows from the east is a late 14th-century cinquefoiled and cusped tomb recess under a crocketed and pinnacled ogee-headed hood mould. On each side is a shield of the arms of Etton of Gilling, while over the finial is another shield quite defaced. Between the second and third windows from the east is a pointed doorway of two chamfered orders. In the west wall is a modern two-light window. In the south face of the arcade wall and in the south wall of the aisle are corbels which evidently carried the timbers of the original roof. All the present roofs are modern and are covered with stone slates with the exception of that to the north aisle, which is roofed with purple slates.

The tower stands on a moulded plinth and is of two stages with an embattled parapet, west diagonal buttresses and flat buttresses on the east. The west buttresses are in five stages as far as the level of the bell-chamber, from which point they are considerably narrowed and carried up in one stage and surmounted by pinnacles. In the south-east corner is a vice, which is entered from the inside. The tower arch, which is the full width of the tower, is pointed and of two chamfered orders. In the west wall, lighting the ground stage, is a large window of four uncusped lights with three-centred heads under a debased fourcentred main head with a moulded hood mould. The rear arch is two-centred. Under the string which marks the level of the ringing stage in the east and west walls are single uncusped lights. Lighting the bell-chamber on each side are windows of three uncusped lights, under three-centred arches, with moulded hood moulds, from the heads of which issued small pinnacles which rose above the parapet, though these are now much decayed, as are those at the angles. Below the parapet on the south side is a well-carved gargoyle, but the corresponding one on the north is now decayed almost beyond recognition.

The entrance to the north aisle is covered by an early 19th-century porch built in the Gothic style.

Under the tomb recess in the north wall of the chancel is a late 13th-century tomb slab, on which is carved a foliated cross, the upper part being pierced by a quatrefoil, under which is the head of a knight wearing a basinet, with his hands joined in prayer, while projecting through a trefoil at the bottom are his feet. On the dexter side of the cross is his helm with the crest of a deer's head cut off, while on the sinister side, lying on his sword, is his shield with the arms of a bend with three martlets thereon in a border engrailed.

At the east end of the south aisle is a 13thcentury tomb slab, while one of the same date and character occupies the space under the tomb recess in the south wall. Under the eastern arch of the south arcade to the nave is a large late 16th-century monument to a knight and his two wives. The effigy of the knight, who is probably Sir Nicholas Fairfax, lies above those of his wives, the northern one of which wears mid-16th-century costume and was probably placed there before her husband and his second wife. At the west end of this aisle are the remains of a 13th-century tub font. The font now in use is modern. In the tower is a fragment of a 10th-century carving of the Crucifixion, the upper part of which is missing. There is also in the tower a 17th-century oak chest. In the head of the window in the north chancel wall is a small piece of 14th-century glass, while in the head of the fourlight window opposite is a piece of 15th-century glass with some canopy work.

There are three bells: the first by Samuel Smith of York, 1701; the second by Pack & Chapman, 1773; and the third inscribed 'God Save his Church. Charles Fairefax 1664.'

The plate is silver and consists of a cup, salver and flagon and a modern paten. The cup is of 1598, with London maker's mark W.I. The salver, which is an ordinary domestic waiter adapted, was presented by Rosa widow of the Rev. W. M. Barnes, M.A., in 1853. The flagon is in reality a peg tankard and bears no date. It is ornamented with repoussé work, and is probably not of English make. It may have been given by the Rev. John Pigott, who died in 1812. He also bequeathed a large amount of plate for the use of the rectors of Gilling.

The registers begin in 1573.


The church was granted by Eustace son of John in the first half of the 12th century to St. Mary's Abbey, York, but did not remain in the possession of that house. (fn. 110) In 1446 Alexander de Etton exchanged the rectory of Laxton, Notts., for the rectory of Gilling with Thomas Tanfield, (fn. 111) and this suggests that the rectory of Gilling had descended with the manor, and, not being entailed, had passed, like the lands of the Ettons in the parish of Laxton, (fn. 112) to the daughters of Miles de Etton, (fn. 113) the exchange being made through Thomas Tanfield as trustee. The Fairfaxes continued to hold the advowson of this rectory until 1768–9, (fn. 114) although as recusants they were not allowed to present in the early 18th century. (fn. 115) In 1768–9 Charles Viscount Fairfax conveyed it to the Rev. John Pigott, (fn. 116) who left it by will dated 9 May 1812 to Trinity College, Cambridge, (fn. 117) the present patron. There was a chapel at Cawton in the 14th century. (fn. 118)


The poor receive £2 a year issuing out of land in possession of Ampleforth College in respect of the gift of —Duck; also the income of the charities of the Hon. Anne Fairfax, £50 9s. 10d. consols, founded by will proved 1793; Rev. John Boulton, £10 0s. 9d. consols; Thomas Potter, £10 0s. 9d. consols, will, 1776; Edward Pape, £10 0s. 9d. consols, will, 1845. The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees.

The official trustees also hold a sum of £445 1s. 3d. consols, derived under the will of Hon. Anne Fairfax, 1793, and £407 0s. 10d. consols, the foundation of Dame Mary Fairfax by deed 17 July 1844. By a scheme of the Board of Education sealed 25 August 1905 the annual dividends, amounting to £21 6s., are applicable as to one moiety for the benefit of any public elementary school not being a school provided by the local education authority, situate in Gilling or Cawton, and as to the residue of the income in supplying school apparatus to any public elementary school in the same places, in the purchase of books for a school library and in providing prizes or exhibitions.

In 1812 the Rev. John Pigott, rector, by his will bequeathed £100, interest to be paid by the rector to the parish clerk, to be nominated by him. The legacy is represented by £102 4s. 6d. consols with the official trustees.

The National school was founded by deed, 1894.

Township of Cawton.—The poor of this township receive 16s. a year, known as Garforth's charity, which is paid by Sir William H. A. Worsley, bart.; also the income of £5 19s. 10d. consols, representing the charities of Liptrot and Mann; and of £20 3s. consols, John Shepherd's charity, founded by will, 1828.

Township of Grimston.—The poor of this township receive the income of £20 3s. consols belonging to the charity of Dr. Nicholas Gouge.

The several sums of stock belonging to these townships are held by the official trustees, and the dividends are administered by the respective overseers.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. The hill on which the castle stands is called Moat Hill, a name used in 1717 (Quart. Sess. Rec. [N. R. Rec. Soc.], viii, 2; Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 138).
  • 3. The very remarkable array of armoury in this room has been admirably elucidated in a paper on Gilling Castle by John Bilson, F.S.A. (Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 105). The writer deals in most careful detail with the heraldry of the frieze, the fireplace and the windows, and his paper is highly valuable to the student of Yorkshire family history.
  • 4. Sir William Fairfax's son Thomas Viscount Fairfax married as his first wife Catherine eldest daughter of Sir Henry Constable of Burton Constable. This glass is slightly later than that of the other windows.
  • 5. Assize R. 1057, m. 27 d.
  • 6. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 118.
  • 7. Quart. Sess. Rec. (N. R. Rec. Soc.), viii, 81.
  • 8. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 223.
  • 9. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 117.
  • 10. Quart. Sess. Rec. (N. R. Rec. Soc.), viii, 2.
  • 11. Ibid. 81.
  • 12. Cott. MS. Claud, D xi, fol. 100, 100 d., 101.
  • 13. V.C.H. Yorks. ii, 270, 276.
  • 14. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 118; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clvi, 41.
  • 15. Ellis, Landholders of Yorks. pt. ii, 5–6.
  • 16. See Kirkby Moorside.
  • 17. See Malton and Brompton in Pickering Lythe.
  • 18. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 106, where many documents relating to this place are printed and a full account of the families of Etton and Fairfax is given.
  • 19. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 118. The remaining half carucate then belonged to Malton Priory (ibid.).
  • 20. Ibid. 321.
  • 21. For the rectory and lands held by this abbey see Gilling (Gilling West).
  • 22. Pipe R. 13 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 96.
  • 23. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 110.
  • 24. Ibid. 106
  • 25. Parish of Sheriff Hutton.
  • 26. Perhaps this family had some connexion with the Richard de Surdeval of 1086; see Barton-le-Street.
  • 27. Pipe R. 5 Hen. III, m. 9.
  • 28. Feet of F. Yorks. 36 Hen. III, no. 90.
  • 29. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 111.
  • 30. Ibid. 109.
  • 31. Ibid. 106–10. An account of the Ettons of Etton (Yorks. E. R.) has been drawn up by Mr. Bilson from the Chron. de Melsa (Rolls Ser.).
  • 32. Feet of F. Yorks. 3 Hen. III, no. 39.
  • 33. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 363.
  • 34. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 434.
  • 35. See above; Assize R. 1045, m. 31.
  • 36. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 118.
  • 37. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 117.
  • 38. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 321.
  • 39. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 118; Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Hen. VI, no. 29.
  • 40. See above.
  • 41. Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Hen. VI, no. 29; Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 180.
  • 42. Feet of F. Yorks. 16 Hen. VI, no. 14.
  • 43. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 121–2
  • 44. Surtees, Dur. iv (1), 163.
  • 45. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 122–3.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1461–7, p. 86.
  • 47. Ibid. 269.
  • 48. Ibid. 1467–77, p. 40.
  • 49. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 123–4.
  • 50. Ibid. 130–6.
  • 51. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 308.
  • 52. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxcvi, 123.
  • 53. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iii, 307–9.
  • 54. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 137.
  • 55. V.C.H. Yorks. ii, 221, 274.
  • 56. See Barton-le-Street.
  • 57. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 116, 119.
  • 58. Pipe R. 9 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 60.
  • 59. Ibid. 13 Hen. II, 197, where his name is joined with that of Richard Cruer, tenant of the second 3 carucates (see below).
  • 60. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 116.
  • 61. Chart. R. 32 Edw. I, m. 2.
  • 62. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 321, where the obliterated name is printed as 'Glaunt . . . .'
  • 63. Feet of F. Yorks. 50 Edw. III, no. 37.
  • 64. Ibid. no. 9.
  • 65. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 211, no. 71.
  • 66. See above.
  • 67. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxviii, 94.
  • 68. Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), iii, 4.
  • 69. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclv, 188.
  • 70. Ibid. ccclxxiii, 28.
  • 71. Ibid. cccclxxiv, 81.
  • 72. Ibid. dvi, 144.
  • 73. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 12 Chas. II.
  • 74. Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), iii, 202. George Layton and Eleanor his wife made a conveyance in 1588 to Robert Boothe and Henry Killinghall (ibid. 100).
  • 75. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 2 Chas. I.
  • 76. Ibid. Hil. 4 Chas. I.
  • 77. Ibid. Mich. 14 Chas. II.
  • 78. Ibid. Mich. 17 Chas. II.
  • 79. Ibid. Mich. 1667.
  • 80. Ibid. East. 32 Chas. II.
  • 81. Ibid. Mich. 1 Anne.
  • 82. Ibid. East. 7 Anne.
  • 83. Ibid. East. 12 Anne.
  • 84. Ibid. Hil. 11 Geo. II.
  • 85. Inform. kindly given by Mr. A. Metcalf.
  • 86. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 116, 119.
  • 87. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 245.
  • 88. Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. VI, no. 46; 3 Hen. VI, no. 32.
  • 89. Sometimes the Cruers were said to be tenants of the 3 carucates (Kirkby's Inq. [Surt. Soc.], 116, 119, 321), sometimes the Lascelles (Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–19 Edw. I, 260; Chan. Inq. p.m. 23 Edw. III [1st nos.], no. 75; 2 Hen. VI, no. 46), and in 1423 William Cruer was said to hold the one-eighth fee. Emma daughter of Robert Cruer in 1234–5 sold to William Cruer 3 carucates here, except one toft and 1 oxgang which had belonged to Geoffrey de Perham of Nunnington (Feet of F. Yorks. 19 Hen. III, no. 13).
  • 90. See above.
  • 91. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 211, no. 71.
  • 92. Ibid. no. 196.
  • 93. For other documents relating to the Cruers' lands here see Cott. MS. Claud. D xi, fol. 101; Baildon, Mon. Notes (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), 177; Cal. Pat. 1436–41, p. 388.
  • 94. V.C.H. Yorks. ii, 276.
  • 95. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 110.
  • 96. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 120, 123.
  • 97. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxlii, 119.
  • 98. Cott. MS. Claud. D xi, fol. 101.
  • 99. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 120.
  • 100. Feet of F. Yorks. 26 Edw. I, no. 30.
  • 101. Ibid. 10 Edw. III, no. 16.
  • 102. Cal. Close, 1333–7, p. 647.
  • 103. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxiii, 315; c, 31; cxlii, 119.
  • 104. Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 3.
  • 105. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 10 Jas. I.
  • 106. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 17 Chas. I.
  • 107. Quart. Sess. Rec. (N. R. Rec. Soc.), viii, 249.
  • 108. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. Fisher.
  • 109. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. W. R. Innes Hopkins and Mr. Fisher.
  • 110. It is curious that the Mowbrays and Vescys made a grant of the church of Brignall (in Gilling West, q.v.), to which their title is not apparent.
  • 111. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 121.
  • 112. Thoroton, Notts. iii, 209.
  • 113. See above.
  • 114. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclv, 127; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 115. Exch. Dep. Yorks. Hil. 12 Geo. I, no. 6.
  • 116. Com. Pleas D. Enr. Hil. 9 Geo. III, m. 6.
  • 117. Lawton, Coll. Rerum Eccl. 518.
  • 118. Rievaulx Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 306.