Parishes: South Otterington

Pages 50-51

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

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Otrintona (xi cent.); Southottryngton (xiv cent.).

This parish consists of a long, narrow strip of land with an area of about 1,450 acres. It lies almost entirely between the River Wiske on the west and the North Eastern railway, which is nearly parallel with the river, on the east. More than half the total area is permanent grass. (fn. 1) There is practically no woodland. About 605 acres are in cultivation, (fn. 2) and wheat, barley, oats and beans are grown. The subsoil is Keuper Marls.

The high road from Boroughbridge to Northallerton runs the whole length of the parish beside the Wiske. The village lies on the low ground near the river, opposite the village of Newby Wiske. The two are connected by a road which crosses the river at Otterington Bridge and runs east to the railway station. St. Andrew's Church and the rectory stand on the north side of this road; the village street runs southward from this point and ends with the school.

The village is built round a picturesque but diminutive green with a tree in the centre, the cottages being mostly of red brick. A short distance to the south is an early 18th-century farm-house of the same material, having the initials a. w. in wroughtiron on the east gable; the windows have flush frames and sliding sashes. West of the village and on the bank of the river is the site of the old manor-house of the Talbots.

North-east of the village are the mill and a large mill-pond fed by a stream called the Hove Beck, flowing down from the north. A mill in South Otterington is mentioned in 1349, (fn. 3) and there were two windmills in the Everingham part of the manor in 1580. (fn. 4)

Between Hove Beck and the high road is a large modern mansion, Otterington Hall, the seat of Mrs. Aikenhead.


From the earliest date at which SOUTH OTTERINGTON is mentioned till the 17th century the manor was divided into moieties with quite distinct descents, which never developed into separate manors; courts were held jointly by the lords of both moieties in 1560. (fn. 5)

The first half consisted of 6 carucates of land which were Crown land held by Egelfride and Altor in 1086, and at the end of the 11th century were granted to Robert Brus (fn. 6); they were held of his family till the overlordship fell into abeyance. (fn. 7) In 1242 Peter Brus granted to the Abbot of Byland the services of his tenants here, and the abbots held a mesne lordship down to the 16th century. (fn. 8)

The tenants of this moiety in the 12th and 13th centuries were a family called Fossard, perhaps connected with the Niel Fossard of the Domesday Survey. In the latter half of the 12th century Adam Brus granted to Geoffrey Fossard the tenure in Otterington which Geoffrey his father had held for half a knight's fee. (fn. 9) It must have passed from Geoffrey to the Thomas Fossard who held it before 1242. (fn. 10) In 1279 Robert Fossard was in possession. (fn. 11) Five years later, however, the moiety had passed to Richard Malebiche. (fn. 12) This part of South Otterington followed the descent of Hawnby (fn. 13) (q.v.) and was sold by Christopher Aleyn (fn. 14) in 1556 (fn. 15) to John Talbot, ancestor of the Talbots of Thornton-le-Street (q.v.), which it followed in descent, (fn. 16) passing with that manor to Sir Samuel Crompton (fn. 17) and then to Earl Cathcart. The latter is now one of the chief landowners in the township, though the manorial rights have lapsed.

Talbot. Argent three leaping lions purpure.

Cathcart, Earl Cathcart. Azure three crosslets fitchy coming out of crescents argent.

Bishopric of Durham. Azure a cross or between four lions argent.

The second moiety was probably granted to the Bishop of Durham in the 12th century along with North Otterington and Thornton-leStreet. (fn. 18) It is always closely associated with the latter place, and followed for the most part the same descent. Both were in the 15th century held of the bishop's manor of Northallerton. (fn. 19)

The family of Wassand were tenants under the Bishop of Durham both in Thorntonle-Street (q.v.) and South Otterington from 1226, when Adam Wassand presented to the church. (fn. 20) This moiety of the manor passed with Thornton-le-Street from the Wassands to the Wadesleys before 1349, (fn. 21) and from them by right of Katherine Wadesley to her husband Sir John Everingham at the end of the 15th century. (fn. 22) In 1539 it was in the hands of Henry Everingham, who conveyed it to Sir Thomas Johnson. (fn. 23) There appears to have been a complicated series of mortgages on the estate, and the families of Everingham, Johnson, Fauconbridge and Talbot were all interested in it. (fn. 24) Henry Johnson, son of Sir Thomas, (fn. 25) made a conveyance to Roger Fauconbridge in 1567, (fn. 26) and Roger's grandson Roger (fn. 27) Fauconbridge conveyed the property to the Talbot family in 1616. (fn. 28) The two moieties of the manor were in this way united and have followed the same descent, but there are no manorial rights in either.

Fauconbridge of Otterington. Argent a lion in a border invecked azure.

John Wassand enjoyed free warren in his share of the manor in the 14th century. (fn. 29)


The church of ST. ANDREW consists of a chancel measuring internally 22 ft. 8 in. by 18 ft. 1 in., nave 48 ft. 10 in. by 25 ft. 9 in., north aisle 8 ft. 1 in. wide, west tower 13 ft. square and a south porch. It is an entirely modern building of stone in the Norman style and was erected in 1846.

There are three small bells in the tower by C. & G. Mears, 1847.

The plate consists of a silver cup without marks, probably of the end of the 17th century, and a pewter flagon and two pewter plates.

The registers begin in 1689.


The rectory of South Otterington, like the manor, was divided into independent moieties, one being called in the 18th century Gamwell House and the other Weatherel House. (fn. 30) The Gamwell moiety followed the descent of the Fossard half of the manor and the Weatherel that of the Wassand half. (fn. 31) Roger Fauconbridge sold a moiety to Robert Knightley of Ashtead, Surrey, in 1664. (fn. 32) John Knightley presented in 1704 with Roger Talbot. (fn. 33) The Knightley moiety passed with the family estates (fn. 34) to Charles Brown of Mold, Flintshire, (fn. 35) who purchased the other moiety from Roger Talbot. (fn. 36) He sold the advowson to the Rev. Joshua Sampson, who held it in 1831. (fn. 37) It passed by his daughter's marriage to Mr. T. Darnborough. (fn. 38) From him it passed to Mr. J. Witham, to whom it belonged in 1908, but from 1910 the patronage has been vested in Lincoln College, Oxford.


Charity of William Hutton.—See parish of Kirkby Wiske.

The Offertory Charity.—By deed dated 8 January 1879 (enrolled) a sum of £50 arising from church offertories in excess of the actual needs of the poor—augmented in 1898 by a further £50—was directed to be invested and the income applied for the benefit of deserving poor in the supply of clothes, food or other articles in kind, medical relief, &c. The trust fund is represented by £101 17s. 5d. consols with the official trustees.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. De Banco R. 353, m. 169.
  • 4. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 22 Eliz.
  • 5. Ct. R. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 211, no. 100; cf. Rentals and Surv. (Gen. Ser.), portf. 17, no. 41.
  • 6. V.C.H. Yorks. ii, 203, 291.
  • 7. Feet of F. Yorks. 26–9 Hen. III, no. 20; Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 203; see Danby.
  • 8. Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. IV, no. 47; (Ser. 2), xxxiv, 44. It was regarded as part of their liberty, and they had all the usual privileges of infangentheof, return of writs, &c. (Plac. de Quo Warr. [Rec. Com.], 223).
  • 9. Yorks. Arch. Journ. xii, 299.
  • 10. Feet of F. Yorks. 26–9 Hen. III, no. 20.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. 1–19 Edw. I, 189.
  • 12. Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 105.
  • 13. Chan. Inq. p.m. 9 Edw. II, no. 2; Feet of F. Yorks. 7 Ric. II, no. 1; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, 429; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xxxiv, 44; Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 26 Hen. VIII.
  • 14. North Country Wills (Surt. Soc.), ii, 289.
  • 15. Feet of F. Yorks. Mich. 3 & 4 Phil. and Mary.
  • 16. Ibid. Mich. 13 Jas. I; Trin. 1642; East. 33 Chas. II; Recov. R. Mich. 33 Chas. II, rot. 140; Mich. 8 Geo. II, rot. 506.
  • 17. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 33 Geo. III.
  • 18. Cott. MS. Domit. vii, fol. 54b.
  • 19. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xvi, 23.
  • 20. Archbp. Gray's Reg. (Surt. Soc.), 14.
  • 21. De Banco R. 353, m. 169.
  • 22. Foster, Visit. of Yorks. 38; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xvi, 23.
  • 23. Feet of F. Yorks. Trin. 31 Hen. VIII.
  • 24. Ibid. East. 22 Eliz.
  • 25. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), lxxi, 151.
  • 26. Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 9 Eliz.
  • 27. Foster, op. cit. 516; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cclxxvii, 61.
  • 28. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 14 Jas. I.
  • 29. Cal. Rot. Chart. et Inq. a.q.d. (Rec. Com.), 176.
  • 30. Bacon, Liber Regis, 1119.
  • 31. Bulmer, North Yorks. 773.
  • 32. Recov. R. East. 16 Chas. II, rot. 27; Feet of F. Yorks. Hil. 15 & 16 Chas. II.
  • 33. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 34. Manning and Bray, Surrey, ii, 630.
  • 35. Feet of F. Yorks. East. 13 Geo. III; Bulmer, North Yorks. ii, 773.
  • 36. Bulmer, loc. cit.
  • 37. Ibid.; Allen, Yorks. iii, 492.
  • 38. Lawton, Coll. Rer. Eccl. 458; Bulmer, North Yorks. ii, 773.