Parishes: Liverton

Pages 383-385

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

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Liureton (xi cent.); Liverton, Leverton (xiii-xvi cent.).

Liverton is a parochial chapelry ecclesiastically dependent on Easington (q.v.) and a township under the Loftus Urban District Council. Its area is 2,457 acres of land, (fn. 1) of which 678 acres are arable, 1,011 acres permanent grass, 205 acres woods and plantations (fn. 2) and 4 acres covered by water. The subsoil is inferior oolite and Oxford clay, the soil clay and gravel, the crops raised being chiefly wheat, barley, beans and oats. The iron mines, which belong to Viscount Downe and are leased to the Cargo Fleet Iron Co. Ltd., were opened by 1874 (fn. 3) and large quantities of ironstone are now sent to Middlesbrough for smelting.

The village of Liverton is built on a by-road which runs from Loftus south to the moors. (fn. 4) In the fields some distance to the north is the old chapel, now called the church of St. Michael. By the beck is Park House, a farm to which a park is attached. This may represent the capital messuage of the manor mentioned in the 14th century and the park of Halikeldale referred to in the 13th century and later. (fn. 5)

Robert de Liverton in about 1180 granted to Whitby Abbey tenements in 'Holmesclive,' (fn. 6) Waytail (Waytehil) and 'Hutcroft' here. (fn. 7) In another grant to the abbey he mentions the footpath from Gerrick (Grenerig), 'Scalebec,' 'Luskeldesic' or 'Luscheldesic' stretching from the coast road to 'Dunscinghales' or 'Duncilghales' and from the cultivated land to 'Scortebuttes,' and the road and land of 'Stuntheridighe' to the footpath from Loftus. (fn. 8) The 13th-century names 'Ravensike,' 'Trebersike' and 'Scortlandes' occur. (fn. 9)

Liverton has a Wesleyan chapel and a public elementary school.


In 1086 7 carucates in LIVERTON were soke of the 'manor' of Loftus (q.v.); they were afterwards under the overlordship of the lords of Loftus. (fn. 10)

The mesne lords were the Brus lords of Danby and Skelton, the third Peter de Brus dying seised in 1272 of half a knight's fee here, (fn. 11) which then passed to the Thwengs. (fn. 12) By William le Latimer, son of Lucy, heir of Lucy de Thweng, the manor was held in demesne, but the younger Lucy, (fn. 13) and, by her grant, the descendants of her connexion with Nicholas Meynell, (fn. 14) had certain services from these lands which were included among the knights' fees that descended to the male line of the Thwengs. (fn. 15)

Robert son of Niel de Liverton, (fn. 16) the earliest known under-tenant, (fn. 17) is probably the Robert son of Niel who paid relief for his father's land in 1169–70. (fn. 18) Then follows a family that had for some time been enfeoffed of lands in other parts of Yorkshire, (fn. 19) and went by the various names of its possessions, being called Liverton, Manfield, Stillington, Kelfield and using the patronymic of Fitz Conan and later of Fitz Henry. (fn. 20) Henry son of Conan who in 1218 granted Liverton chapel to Guisborough Priory (fn. 21) was probably grandson of Torphin de Manfield, as Torphin had a son Conan and was succeeded by a Henry son of Conan at Manfield. (fn. 22)

Henry son of Conan seems to have been lord in 1211, (fn. 23) and was succeeded by a Conan, probably his son. (fn. 24) Henry son of Conan and his heirs obtained in 1271 a grant of free warren in his lands of Liverton, Kelfield and Kirkby Fleetham. (fn. 25) He lived at Liverton and had a son Conan who married at such an early age that the whole countryside was surprised at the birth of his son. (fn. 26) The grandfather to whom news of the birth of a child at Sockburn was brought was too ill to travel, but sent word that, whether boy or girl, it was to be called Henry. (fn. 27) The grandfather was still or lately enfeoffed in 1284–5, (fn. 28) but in this year on his death the heir's custody was given to William le Latimer. (fn. 29) Henry's son Conan had predeceased him, leaving a widow Parnel (fn. 30) (mother of the heir), who in 1289 complained of William le Latimer for having received the custody of her son's lands before any dower was assigned to her; and it was proved that Henry the grandfather, who had received her and maintained her in his own house for three and a half years, (fn. 31) had given permission to Conan to dower her. Henry came of age in 1299, (fn. 32) and in 1311 received, as his grandfather had done, a grant of free warren in Liverton, Kelfield and Kirkby Fleetham. (fn. 33) By 1316, however, the manor was in the hands of William le Latimer, (fn. 34) who must have received a grant from the Fitz Conans, as their lands elsewhere did not escheat. (fn. 35) The manor then descended with the Latimers' manor of Danby (q.v.) until 1396, (fn. 36) when, possibly by the settlements of 1383–4, (fn. 37) it passed to the Ettons. Several of the manors of Lucy de Thweng were settled on the heirs of her second husband Robert de Everingham, (fn. 38) whose nephew and heir Adam died in February 1387–8, leaving granddaughters and heirs Joan and Katharine wife of John son of Thomas de Etton. (fn. 39) George de Etton, younger brother of Sir John de Etton of Gilling, kt., (fn. 40) held the 6 carucates of land (or half knight's fee) of the Latimers in Liverton in 1428, (fn. 41) and left a daughter and heir Isabel who married Sir Edmund Darrell, kt., of Sessay, and died in 1448. (fn. 42) The manor followed the descent of Sessay (fn. 43) and is now in the possession of Viscount Downe.


The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of chancel 18 ft. by 14 ft. with vestry on the north side, nave 30 ft. by 17 ft., and west porch 7 ft. by 5 ft., all these measurements being internal. The building is of 12th-century date, but was very much altered about the end of the 18th century, when many of its original features were destroyed and others obscured. There was a restoration in 1902–3. (fn. 44) Externally very little of the ancient masonry remains, the chancel and porch (fn. 45) having been wholly rebuilt and the walls of the nave raised and repaired. The greater part of the old walling is at the west end of the north wall and at the southeast and south-west angles. The roofs are modern and are covered with green slates overhanging at the eaves, and there is a slated bell-turret with pointed roof at the west end replacing an older one of stone.

The jambs of a 12th-century doorway are still visible in the north wall of the nave outside near the west end. The opening, with plain semicircular head, was revealed when the plaster was stripped off the inside walls in 1902. The walls, however, have again been plastered internally and the doorway hidden. The chancel arch, which is elliptical in form and a very excellent example of 12th-century work, had been plastered up in the 18th-century reconstruction, but was restored in 1902–3. It consists of three orders towards the nave, springing from angle shafts and inner half-round responds, all with elaborately carved capitals and moulded bases. Towards the chancel it is quite plain and of one square order, and the width of the opening between the faces of the responds is 7 ft. 2 in. The outer order consists of twenty-six voussoirs, all carved in the upper part, with the exception of the keystone, which is of smaller size, with a pair of heads or beaks from the mouths of which emerges intertwining scroll foliage completing the ornament in the lower part. The two inner orders have a double cheveron ornament which is continued on the soffit of the middle order, the other two being plain. The two outer shafts are detached, but the second pair are attached to the wall at the angle, and the bases are all plainly moulded. The impost moulding is carved on the face with the honeysuckle pattern and is continued along the walls of the nave north and south with ornament of a different character. The carving on the capitals on the south side represents (1) a boar hunt, (2) a grotesque head and foliage, (3) the Temptation in Eden, and on the north (1) a pelican between two beasts, (2) interlacing foliage, (3) grotesque beasts and foliage, the first on each side belonging to the outer order. Below the two capitals of the inner order and that of the middle order on the north side is a fillet of cable moulding.

The font is of 12th-century date and consists of a plain circular bowl 2 ft. 3 in. in diameter on a modern stem.

The windows all belong to the last restoration and the pulpit and other fittings are also modern. Previous to 1902 there was a gallery at the west end with a return for a short distance along the north wall, and the old square pews and flat plaster ceiling inserted in the 18th century remained. An early 14th-century grave-slab with floreated cross and sword discovered in the last restoration is now in the chancel. In the middle of the cross stem is a shield charged with the arms of Fitz Conan (a cross engrailed). (fn. 46)

In the vestry is a 17th-century oak altar table and a chest of the same period, together with two mediaeval long-waisted bells which hung in the former turret. One of them is quite plain, but the other bears the inscription in Lombardic letters, '+ vocor maria dma,' the Rs being reversed. (fn. 47)

There are now two new bells in the turret presented in 1903.

The plate consists of a chalice, paten, flagon, and two almsdishes of mediaeval design presented by Viscount Downe in 1847, each inscribed, 'In honorem Dei, et in usum Ecclesiae Parochialis de Liverton hunc calicem [hanc patinam, &c.] dedit Gulielmus Henricus Vice Comes de Downe Ao Dni mdcccxlvii.' There is also a bronze almsdish. (fn. 48)

The registers begin in 1665.

The churchyard has been extended to the north and west.


Henry son of Conan granted the chapel to Guisborough Priory in 1218. (fn. 49) It was 2 miles distant from the parish church of Easington, and was described in 1587 as a parochial chapelry for which the parson of Easington provided a curate (fn. 50); this arrangement still continues.


An ancient payment of 5s. a year for the poor is made in respect of a piece of land called Scalebeck's. This money is distributed among the poor, together with the interest of £20 deposited in a bank under the title of Poor's Money.


  • 1. Census Rep. (1901).
  • 2. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 3. Atkinson, Cleveland, i, 241. Conveyance was made of a furnace in the parish of Easington (in which Liverton is always included) in 1723–4 (Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 10 Geo. I).
  • 4. For the mill see Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 378.
  • 5. Ibid. 377, where Halikeld Head also is mentioned. Over the border in Loftus parish are Holywell Farm and cottages; Cal. Pat. 1307–13, p. 356; Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–9 Edw. III, 476.
  • 6. 'Probably White Cliff' (Atkinson, Cleveland, i, 236 n.).
  • 7. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 76.
  • 8. Ibid. 187. In a plan of Liverton of about 1730 the names 'Butts' and 'Longlands Butts' occur, and there is now Butts House about half a mile north of the church (ibid. 186 n.; Atkinson, loc. cit.).
  • 9. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 377.
  • 10. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 236; Chan. Inq. p.m. 48 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 68; 19 Ric. II, no. 51. These are the only mentions of this overlordship, which was practically neglected (see below, note 19).
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–19 Edw. I, 190.
  • 12. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 128; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i, 50b; see above, p. 330.
  • 13. Cal. Pat. 1338–40, p. 214; 1345–8, p. 43; Feet of F. Yorks. 19 Edw. III, no. 2.
  • 14. Cal. Pat. 1345–8, p. 43; see above, p. 312; Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Ric. II, no. 35; 12 Ric. II, no. 40; 22 Ric. II, no. 17.
  • 15. See above, p. 330; Chan. Inq. p.m. 48 Edw. III (1st nos.), no. 68; 10 Hen. VI, no. 42; (Ser. 2), cxvii, 1; Feet of F. Yorks. 21 Edw. III, no. 53.
  • 16. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 76 n.
  • 17. See above.
  • 18. Pipe R. 16 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 44.
  • 19. In 1290 the Earl of Richmond, overlord of Manfield and other Fitz Conan lands, claimed the custody of the heir, a minor, on the ground that the ancestors of the heir had held lands of his fee longer than of other lords; but the Crown escheator, who had taken possession on account of the minority of Lucy de Thweng, claimed the custody in any case, and especially as at the time of the decease of the tenant his heir was found at Liverton in the fee of Thweng (Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–19 Edw. I, 456).
  • 20. Guisbro' Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), ii, 183 n.
  • 21. Ibid. 183–5 and n.
  • 22. See V.C.H. Yorks. N. R. i, 187.
  • 23. Whitby Chartul. (Surt. Soc.), 377 n.
  • 24. See below.
  • 25. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, p. 166. 'Conan de Liverton' was returned as tenant in 1272 (Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. III, 265; 1–19 Edw. I, 190), but must have been dead at that date.
  • 26. Cal. Gen. 597–8.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 128. There was at this time a Henry son of Conan, kt., who with Henry Fitz Conan de Kelfield witnessed a charter in 1283 (ibid. 63 n.).
  • 29. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i, 50b.
  • 30. Her first husband was Humphrey Conyers of Sockburn (see V.C.H. Yorks. N. R. i, 437).
  • 31. Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–19 Edw. I, 456. She evidently obtained Liverton in dower and lived here, being assessed for the subsidy in 1301–2 as 'Parnel Sike' (Lay Subs. R. 30 Edw. I [Yorks. Arch. Soc.], 43).
  • 32. Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), iii, 141–4.
  • 33. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, p. 160.
  • 34. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 329; Cal. Pat. 1317–21, p. 282.
  • 35. See V.C.H. Yorks. N. R. i, 187.
  • 36. Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–9 Edw. III, 476; Lay Subs. R. bdle. 211, no. 23; Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Ric. II, no. 35; 12 Ric. II, no. 40; 19 Ric. II, no. 51; 20 Ric. II, no. 54; Close, 19 Ric. II, m. 9.
  • 37. Close, 7 Ric. II, m. 7 d., 35 d.
  • 38. See above, p. 329.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Foster, Visit. of Yorks. 79.
  • 41. Lay Subs. R. bdle. 211, no. 72.
  • 42. Foster, loc. cit.
  • 43. See V.C.H. Yorks. N. R. i, 448; Yorks. Fines, Tudors (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 35; iii, 121; Feet of F. Yorks. Mich. 12 Jas. I; Mich. 19 Chas. II; Recov. R. Trin. 21 & 22 Geo. II, m. 239; East. 59 Geo. III, m. 357.
  • 44. There are illustrations of the building as it was prior to the restoration of 1902 in Proc. Cleveland Nat. Field Club, ii, 249–52. These show two sash windows on the south side of the nave, one on the north side, and one at the east end of the chancel.
  • 45. The foundation stone in the porch is dated 20 Aug. 1902.
  • 46. Proc. Cleveland Nat. Field Club, ii, 252; Yorks. Arch. Journ. xviii, 417. The cross engrailed is formed by six lozenges. A skeleton was found in the grave.
  • 47. Proc. Cleveland Nat. Field Club, ii, 252.
  • 48. Fallow and McCall, Yorks. Ch. Plate, i, 130.
  • 49. See above; Feet of F. Yorks. 3 Hen. III, no. 86.
  • 50. Exch. Dep. Mich. 29 & 30 Eliz. no. 23.