Parishes: Kildale

A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.

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'Parishes: Kildale', in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2, (London, 1923) pp. 249-253. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


Childale (xi cent.).

Kildale is a wild moorland parish on the slopes of the hills where the River Leven takes its rise. The extent of the parish is more than 5,000 acres, but of these only about 600 are arable land, while 964 acres are under grass. (fn. 1) The moors on the higher ground are black, peaty and covered with ling. Towards the end of the 18th century an attempt was made by Sir Charles Turner, then lord of the manor, to reclaim some of the uncultivated land. He inclosed about 1,000 acres, of which 600 were brought into tillage and 200 planted with fir trees. (fn. 2) After his death this tract of land was much neglected, (fn. 3) and one writer declares that Sir Charles himself gained nothing by his improvements, and 'never raised as much corn as he sowed.' (fn. 4) At the present day the industry of the parish is purely agricultural; ironstone was worked between 1868 and 1876. Barley and oats are the chief crops grown on the low ground, where the soil is loamy on a subsoil of middle and upper lias.

The valley of Kildale is shut in by the Cleveland Hills, and the parish is bounded for the most part by the streams that rise on their slopes. In the northeast is Sleddale, a valley down which flows the Sleddale Beck, forming the eastern boundary of the parish. The parallel valley of Lounsdale to the west is separated from Sleddale by a long ridge of hills called Percy Cross Rigg. The remains of Percy Cross have stood at the highest point since at least the 13th century. This part of Kildale Moor, 'by Percy Crosse, extending toward the south as far as Golstandale,' (fn. 5) belonged to the Priors of Guisborough. They had common of pasture in Kildale, from which the 'wood of Golsendale,' the park of the lords of the manor, and the wood of 'Heynning' were excepted. (fn. 6)

The southern boundary runs up from the river across the Cleveland Hills with 'John o' Man's Cross' as its highest point. It then follows Basedale Beck, which flows north-east into the River Esk, near the point where that river is joined by the Sleddale Beck from the north-west. The heights between the two are called Kempswithen. Land on Kildale Moor called Basedalesyde, near the 'Depilbryge' (fn. 7) and bounded on the east by a 'place called Raufscales,' also belonged to Guisborough. (fn. 8)

The village of Kildale is on the main highway through the parish, the road from Stokesley to Whitby. Between the village and the River Leven, a little to the north of it, is the Hall Plantation, just south of which stands Kildale Hall. This is a 19thcentury mansion, in which are incorporated the walls of two old cottages. The foundations and moat of the earlier manor-house (fn. 9) which was probably occupied by the Percys of Kildale (fn. 10) can still be traced on a site to the north-west of the present hall and near the church.

The rectory, which has taken the place of the glebehouse returned in 1818 as a 'little old building, not suited to the residence of a clergyman,' (fn. 11) stands at the head of the village street.

A lane leads from the village to the Kildale station on the Yorkshire and Cleveland branch of the North Eastern railway, which runs through the parish along the banks of the Leven.

At the point where the small stream which forms the western boundary falls into the Leven is Bleach Mill Farm. The old mill of the lords of the manor of Kildale was about half a mile further up the stream. Arnald de Percy in the 14th century granted a rent of 2 marks from this mill to Katherine de Meynell, (fn. 12) who was probably his daughter. In 1321 'the said mill was totally destroyed by a great inundation,' and John son of Arnald was unable to rebuild it for two years, owing to the heavy price he had paid as a ransom to the Scots. Katherine successfully sued him for the rent due. (fn. 13) This mill was still an appurtenance of the manor in the 17th century. (fn. 14)

The flood which carried away the mill is paralleled by another which shortly before 1846 burst into the valley and destroyed the ornamental lakes before the manor-house. (fn. 15)


In 1086 KILDALE was held by Orme, one of the king's thegns, and seems to have been accounted soke of Ormesby (fn. 16) (q.v.). Kildale had increased in value from 16s. in the reign of the Confessor, when Ligulf had held 6 carucates here, to 20s. at the date of the Survey. (fn. 17)

Kildale was included with Ormesby in the grant of land to Robert de Brus, (fn. 18) and was subsequently held of his descendants. (fn. 19) At the partition of the lands of Peter de Brus in 1281 the overlordship of Kildale was allotted, first, by a provisional award, to Margaret de Roos, (fn. 20) and later to Marmaduke de Thweng. (fn. 21) The overlordship subsequently followed the descent of the manor of Yarm (q.v.), coming into the possession of the Darcys of Knayth. (fn. 22)

Kildale Hall

From a very early date Kildale was the seat of that branch of the Percy family known as the Percys of Kildale. By what tie they were connected with the Northumberland Percys is unknown, but that a tie existed is indicated by the fact that they witnessed many important grants made by the latter family. The Arnald de Percy who witnessed William de Percy's foundation charter to Whitby Abbey (fn. 23) was probably the first ancestor of the Percys of Kildale.

In or about 1119 Arnald de Percy, perhaps his son, was among the men of Robert de Brus, of whom he held land in Ormesby. (fn. 24) As Ormesby and Kildale were subsequently held together by the Percy family, (fn. 25) it seems probable that they were also at this date in possession of the latter manor. This Arnald (Ernold) de Percy was probably the Arnald, 'vir genere et divitiis notus,' (fn. 26) who in 1121 supported the monks of Durham in their claim on Tynemouth Church. His grant of the church of Ormesby to the priory of Guisborough was confirmed by his son Arnald, (fn. 27) whose confirmation was witnessed by his brother Robert. (fn. 28) Arnald must have died without issue before 1169–70, when Robert was also dead, leaving heirs in the custody of Adam de Brus. (fn. 29) One of these heirs was William, the next lord of Kildale, who in confirming the Ormesby grant speaks of the donors as his grandfather Ernulf de Percy and his uncle Ernulf. (fn. 30)

William was in possession of Kildale in 1197. (fn. 31) His wife was Agnes de Flamvill, (fn. 32) and with her he was party to a fine in 1202 concerning land in Hammerton. (fn. 33) He was dead in the next year, for Agnes recovered dower from his tenants in Battersby. (fn. 34) She subsequently married John Birkin, and made a grant for the good of the souls of both her husbands. (fn. 35)

The son and heir of William and Agnes was Walter de Percy, (fn. 36) who confirmed a gift of his mother to Basedale Priory (fn. 37) and his father's grants in Ormesby. William de Percy, son of Walter, (fn. 38) succeeded him, and was in possession of the manor for about fifty years. In the last few years of his life he was attacked by paralysis, and in 1285 was not only 'impotent in body' but also of unsound mind. (fn. 39) He had two sons, Arnald and William, of whom the younger had reaped the advantage of his father's feebleness, 'giving him no rest day or night' till he had bestowed upon him, among other lands, the manor of Kildale. It was granted to William for life, with remainder to William son of the elder son Arnald. When an inquiry took place William de Percy said, 'weeping softly, that he was not of sound mind nor knew how his son William entered his manor of Kildale, nor how he himself was ejected, but begged peace . . . and that they would not stop him from returning to his manor of Kildale.' Judgement was given that he was not of sound mind when he made the gift. (fn. 40) Nevertheless the younger William appears to have remained in possession (fn. 41) till his father's death, which took place after Trinity term 1293 (fn. 42) and before July 1295. (fn. 43) The manor then reverted to Arnald de Percy, eldest son and heir of William, who in 1302–3 was holding 3 carucates in Kildale. (fn. 44) He made a considerable grant of land and rent to Katherine wife of John de Meynell, (fn. 45) who was probably his daughter. It included 5 oxgangs which he had bought from his brother William. (fn. 46)

The manor of Kildale descended at the death of Arnald, or possibly before, (fn. 47) to his son John, whose elder brother William (fn. 48) had died without issue. John was the husband of Mary Mautalent. (fn. 49) At some date after 1344–5 he seems to have been succeeded by John his son, (fn. 50) whose first wife was Mary Colvill. (fn. 51) He subsequently married Alice de Meynell, (fn. 52) granddaughter and ultimate heir (fn. 53) of the Katherine who had received a grant of land and rent in Kildale. He died in 1382–3, (fn. 54) leaving a son and heir John, who succeeded him. (fn. 55) This younger John took part in the Yorkshire rebellion of the reign of Henry IV. (fn. 56) He was imprisoned and his lands forfeited (fn. 57); in 1405, however, he was pardoned, (fn. 58) and at his death his lands were inherited by his son another John. (fn. 59) The latter died in 1442, and administration of his estates was granted to John Felton of Kildale. (fn. 60) His son and heir John was then aged ten (fn. 61); he was described as John Percy, esquire, in 1462, (fn. 62) and died in 1501, mentioning in his will his sons Peter and James. (fn. 63) There is some uncertainty as to his heir. The family tradition (fn. 64) declares that he had an elder son John, whose four daughters, Isabel Percy, Joan wife of William Bulmer, Alice wife of — Watson, and Elizabeth Percy, sold the manor to Henry Earl of Northumberland, completing the sale in the year 1502–3. (fn. 65) No record of this sale has been found, but, as Henry Earl of Northumberland presented to the church in 1508, (fn. 66) it seems probable that he was in possession of the manor also before that date. It descended in his family, and was held by the successive Earls of Northumberland (fn. 67) till the reign of Charles I. They leased the manor-house during the reign of Elizabeth to the family of Appleby. (fn. 68)

Turton. Ermine nine trefoils alternately vert and azure with a crosslet fitchy sable in the foot and a quarter gules.

In or about 1662 Kildale was purchased by John Turner, serjeant-at-law, of Kirkleatham. (fn. 69) It subsequently followed the descent of the manor of Kirkleatham (fn. 70) till the beginning of the 19th century, when (shortly before the death of Sir Charles Turner in 1810) (fn. 71) it was sold to Robert Bell Livesey of Thirsk. (fn. 72) His daughter and heir Marianne married Edmund Turton in 1822 (fn. 73) and died in 1858. (fn. 74) Under the will of Mr. Livesey Mr. Robert Bell Turton, the second son of Captain Edmund Henry Turton, who was the only surviving son of Edmund and Marianne, succeeded on his birth in 1859 (fn. 75) and is the present lord of the manor.

A grant of free warren in Kildale was made by Henry III to William de Percy in 1253. (fn. 76) He had at the same time a grant of a weekly market on Friday and a yearly fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of St. James. (fn. 77)

The Prior of Guisborough had licence to inclose the land on Basedale side which he held by grant of William de Percy. (fn. 78) Arnald de Percy, son of William, (fn. 79) was fined in 1308 for disseising the prior of his common in Kildale. (fn. 80)

William son of Fulc gave 2 oxgangs of land in Kildale to the nuns of Thorpe (afterwards Basedale) (fn. 81); this grant was confirmed by Henry III in 1236. (fn. 82) Agnes de Flamvill gave 1 oxgang here, which was confirmed by her son Walter de Percy. (fn. 83) This land was granted by Elizabeth in 1565 to Nicholas Holbourne and Humphrey Shelton, who sold it to John Conyers. (fn. 84) The latter conveyed it to Robert Appleby, (fn. 85) lessee at the time of the manor-house.


The church of ST. CUTHBERT was entirely rebuilt in 1868 in the style of the 13th century, and consists of chancel with north vestry, nave with north aisle, south porch, and west tower with pointed slated roof. (fn. 86) The building stands on high ground (fn. 87) near the railway station a little to the north-west of the village and occupies an ancient site. In pulling down the old church several mediaeval grave slabs were discovered, and in digging the foundations 'a number of skeletons in perfect preservation were dug up' along with a number of bronze objects and iron weapons—swords, daggers, and a battleaxe—of Danish character, indicating the existence of an ancient cemetery upon the site. (fn. 88) Two preConquest stones have also been found, one the end of a cross arm and the other an incised cross, perhaps part of a grave slab, (fn. 89) as well as fragments of coped gravestones with rectilinear patterns which may belong to the same period, but are possibly postConquest. (fn. 90)

Kildale Church from the South-east

Ord describes the church pulled down in 1868 as 'a plain unadorned building, the beau idéal of a small church, the greater part rebuilt in the year 1714,' (fn. 91) but Canon Atkinson states that it was an 'old, dilapidated, tasteless, unchurchlike building, alike inside and out.' (fn. 92) Besides the fragments already mentioned some other relics of the former building have been preserved. In the porch are four large sepulchral slabs with floreated crosses, two of which bear the arms of Percy (fn. 93) and a third an indecipherable inscription. Some old stones apparently of 12th-century date are built up into the walls of the porch outside, and in the churchyard is an ancient circular font, with raised vertical bands on the bowl. At the west end of the aisle is a painted board with a long Latin inscription in memory of the Rev. Maurice Lisle, rector, who died in 1719. The fittings are all modern. The tower contains one bell and has a vice in the south-east angle.

The plate consists of a cup of 1570, of the usual type, with a band of leaf ornament, and the maker's mark, a bunch of grapes, and a chalice, paten, and flagon of 1863, mediaeval pattern, the paten inscribed 'E dono Roberti Burrell in usum ecclesiae sancti Cuthberti in Kildale, 1867.' There are also two pewter plates, a paten, and a flagon, the last inscribed 'Ex dono M. Lisle in usum Ecclesiae.' (fn. 94)

The registers begin in 1719. Previous to this they are included in those of Ingleby Greenhow.


There was a church with a priest at Kildale in the 11th century, and it is clear that since the first recorded presentation, that made by William de Percy in 1280, (fn. 95) the successive owners of the manor have regularly presented to the rectory. (fn. 96)

In the 13th century there was a chapel in the park of Kildale dedicated to St. Hilda, which William de Percy granted to the priory of Healaugh Park, with land here and in Crathorne, (fn. 97) and a rent of 2 marks from his water-mill. In return for this grant the monks of Healaugh were to find two priests (secular or regular) to celebrate divine service; any failure to observe this was to expose them to the ecclesiastical censure of the Archbishop of York. (fn. 98) The prior and convent returned the lands in Kildale to Arnald de Percy, son of William, and were released from the duty of serving the chapel. (fn. 99) Arnald appears to have granted it to a community of Crutched Friars, who in 1310 were pardoned for acquiring from him a messuage and 10 acres of land in Kildale, (fn. 100) evidently within the park. (fn. 101) They were holding divine service for people of the neighbourhood, and were building themselves unconsecrated offices and oratories, when in 1312 the Archdeacon of Cleveland was ordered by the archbishop to interdict the house on the ground that the order was not recognized by the apostolic see. (fn. 102) The use of the chapel was forbidden in 1314–15, (fn. 103) and it is not again mentioned, though there was a close still called 'Saynt Yld's Garth' in the 16th century. (fn. 104)


Joseph Dunn, as appears from an inscription on his tombstone in the churchyard, 1716 (among other charitable gifts), left 20s. a year to be paid on the said tombstone, by equal portions, on 1 May and 11 November yearly for ever. The sum of 5s. a year is paid to each of four poor persons.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Graves, Cleveland, 263–4.
  • 3. Tuke's Agric. Surv. (quoted Graves, op. cit. 265).
  • 4. Ord, Cleveland, 429.
  • 5. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 268. Golstandale was another name for Lounsdale.
  • 6. Ibid. 269.
  • 7. Now Dibble Bridge.
  • 8. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 268–9.
  • 9. Exch. K.R. Misc. Bks.xxxvii, fol.241d.; Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 425, no. 22.
  • 10. cf. Camden, Brit. (ed. 1731), vi, 624.
  • 11. Lawton, Coll. Rer. Eccl. 457.
  • 12. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 273.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 26 Chas. II.
  • 15. Ord, Cleveland, 429.
  • 16. V.C.H. Yorks. ii, 288.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Ibid. 291.
  • 19. Pipe R. 16 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 41; Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 202; Cott. MS. Vesp. A iv, fol. 103 d.
  • 20. Cal. Close, 1279–88, p. 90.
  • 21. Ibid. 106.
  • 22. Cal. Pat. 1345–8, p. 43; Chan. Inq. p.m. 13 Hen. IV, no. 36; 7 Hen. V, no. 78; 21 Hen. VI, no. 17.
  • 23. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 698 n.
  • 24. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 3, 228.
  • 25. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 127.
  • 26. Symeon of Dur. Hist. Regum. (Rolls Ser.), ii, 262.
  • 27. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 231.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Pipe R. 16 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 41.
  • 30. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 232–3. Ernulf is evidently another form of Ernald or Arnald, for in the Pipe Roll above cited Adam de Brus is said to have the land of William's 'uncle Ernald.'
  • 31. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 234.
  • 32. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 251; Rievaulx Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 219 n.; Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 232.
  • 33. Yorks. Fines, John (Surt. Soc.), 34.
  • 34. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 4 n.
  • 35. Ibid. i, 232; cf. 234.
  • 36. Ibid. 235.
  • 37. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 251. He also confirmed to Rievaulx Abbey the gift of Hugh de Flamvill his uncle (Rievaulx Chartul. [Surt. Soc.], 219 n.).
  • 38. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 269.
  • 39. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 19 et seq.
  • 40. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 19 et seq. See also Anct. Petitions 3254, in which Arnald de Percy complains of the outrages of his brother William.
  • 41. Cal. Close, 1279–88, p. 381.
  • 42. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), ii, 20 n.
  • 43. Ibid. iii, 11.
  • 44. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 235.
  • 45. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 700 n.
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. He is said to have made a grant in 1308 to his son John in tail (ibid.).
  • 48. See above.
  • 49. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 702 n.; Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 272 n.
  • 50. Whitby Chartul. loc. cit.
  • 51. Wrottesley, Ped. from Plea R. 250.
  • 52. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 703.
  • 53. Chan. Inq. p.m. 19 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 41; 23 Edw. III, pt. ii (1st nos.), no. 158.
  • 54. Test. Ebor. (Surt. Soc.), i, 123.
  • 55. Wrottesley, loc. cit.
  • 56. Cal. Pat. 1401–5, p. 297.
  • 57. Wrottesley, loc. cit.
  • 58. Cal. Pat. 1405–8, p. 48.
  • 59. The will of his wife Elizabeth, made in 1438, mentions her sons William and Henry and 'John son of John Percy,' apparently her grandson (Guisbro' Chartul. [Surt. Soc.], i, 229 n.).
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Hen. VI, no. 17.
  • 62. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 230. Three more generations of Percys all called John between this John and the John who died in 1382–3 are mentioned in Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 29, no. 531.
  • 63. Guisbro' Chartul. loc. cit.
  • 64. Percy Feodary (Whitby Chartul. 706 n.).
  • 65. Ibid.; cf. Upsland, V.C.H. Yorks. N. R. i, 375.
  • 66. Graves, Cleveland, 260.
  • 67. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 28 Hen. VIII; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cl, 149; Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. xxxvii, fol. 239; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxx, 44; ccviii, 167; cccclxxxiii, 87; Recov. R. Trin. 17 Chas. I, m. 63.
  • 68. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. xxxvii, fol. 239.
  • 69. Topog. and Gen. i, 506; Ord, Cleveland, 425.
  • 70. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 26 Chas. II; Recov. R. East. 8 Anne, m. 262; 30 & 31 Geo. II, m. 207; 34 Geo. III, m. 50; Quart. Sess. Rec. (N. R. Rec. Soc.), viii, 250.
  • 71. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. Turton.
  • 72. Ord, Cleveland, 426.
  • 73. Burke, Landed Gentry.
  • 74. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. Turton.
  • 75. Ibid.
  • 76. Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 418.
  • 77. Ibid.
  • 78. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), i, 268–9.
  • 79. Ibid.
  • 80. Ibid. 271.
  • 81. Burton, Mon. Ebor. 251.
  • 82. Ibid.
  • 83. Ibid.
  • 84. Pat. 7 Eliz. pt. ix, m. 6; Ct. of Req. bdle. 34, no. 12.
  • 85. Ct. of Req. bdle. 34, no. 12.
  • 86. The architect was Mr. Fowler Jones of York. The internal dimensions are: chancel 23 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft., nave 43 ft. 9 in. by 19 ft., aisle 10 ft. 3 in. wide, tower 8 ft. square, south porch 8 ft. by 9 ft.
  • 87. Graves describes the situation as low and retired. This, however, is so only when considered in relation to other parts of the parish. The site is 550 ft. above sea level and the distance from the sea is only about 20 miles (Atkinson, Cleveland, i, 301).
  • 88. Ibid. 81. The iron weapons are now preserved in the vestry.
  • 89. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xix, 338.
  • 90. Ibid.
  • 91. Ord, Cleveland, 428. It was 'greatly beautified' in 1844. The windows were 'exceedingly chaste and elegant.'
  • 92. Atkinson, Cleveland, i, 310. 'I have seldom seen, even in Cleveland, a church for which less could be justly said.'
  • 93. Assoc. Archit. Soc. Rep. xiv, 236.
  • 94. Fallow and McCall, Yorks. Church Plate, i, 115–16.
  • 95. Archbp. Wickwane's Reg. (Surt. Soc.), 58.
  • 96. Graves, Cleveland, 259–60; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.). The advowson is included in the 18th century, apparently by error, among the possessions of the heirs to the Percy estates (Recov. R. East. 6 Anne, m. 131).
  • 97. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 440.
  • 98. Ibid.
  • 99. Cott. MS. Vesp. A iv, fol. 104.
  • 100. Cal. Pat. 1307–13, p. 274.
  • 101. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 388.
  • 102. Ibid. 389.
  • 103. Ibid. 389–90.
  • 104. Exch. K. R. Misc. Bks. xxxvii, fol. 241 d.