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PICTURESQUE YORKSHIRE

Full text of "The place-names of Northumberland and Durham"by ALLEN MAWER, M.A. Joseph Cowen Professor of English in Armstrong College, University of Durham. Late Fellow of Gonville and Caius College 1891

Trefford (Egglescliff).

1189 D.S.T. Treiford; 1268 D.Ass. Tre(f)ford ;

1382 Hatf. Trefforth.Probably the same as Treyford, Suss,
[tri’fad, trefad], earlier Treverde, Triferd, Tre{u)ford, which Roberts [s.n.) explains
as ” tree-ford,” i.e. one marked by a tree or made of timber, but the
phonological development is difficult.

Trewhitt (Rothbury) [trufit]. 1229

Pat. Tyrewyt; 1255

Ass. Tyr{e)wyt; 1296

S.R. Tirwyth; 1327

 Inq. a.q.d. Tirwhite ; 1346

F.A. Tirwith ; 1356

Newm. Tirwhit ; 1428

F.A. id. ; 1436

Ipm. Tyrwhitte ; 1542

Bord. Surv. Trewhytt.

An unsolved problem. It is impossible to say whether the name has anything to do with Dial, tirwhit = lapwing.

This is probably the source of the surname Tyrwhitt.

Of town, village, and farm-names that must be Celtic
there are a good number. We may note Alwent (ultimately
a river-name). Amble, Cambois, Carraw, Cocken, Glendue,
Jarrow, Kielder (probably a river-name), Lampart, Lindis-
farne, Maughan, Mindrum, Painshaw, Plenmeller, Ross,

Tecket, Teppermoor, Trewhitt, Troughend, Wardrew, Yeavering.

A picturesque history of Yorkshire, being an account of the history, topography, and antiquities of the cities, towns and villages of the county of York, founded on personal observations made during many journeys through the Three Ridings

CHAPTER XXXV
The Lower Nidd and its Surroundings

CHARACTER AND COURSE OF THE RIVER NIDD — ^THE LOWER NIDD — KIRK HAMMERTON — CATTAL MAGNA AND ITS ROMAN ANTIQUITIES — HUNSINGORE — WALSHFORD — A STRETCH OF THE GREAT NORTH ROAD — ALLERTON MAULEVERER — COWTHORPE AND ITS OAK — KIRK DEIGHTON AND NORTH DEIGHTON — SPOFFORTH AND ITS CASTLE — SPOFFORTH CHURCH— PLUMPTON — RIBSTON AND THE KNIGHTS-TEMPLARS ORIGIN OF THE RIBSTON PIPPIN — GOLDSBOROUGH AND THE CRUSADERS.

THE river Nidd, which runs a course of fifty-five miles from its source on the eastern slopes of Great Whernside to its junction with the Ouse at Nun Monkton, is one of the most remarkable rivers in Yorkshire, so far as concerns
the extraordinary variety of the scenery which encloses it. At some points of its career the Nidd is surrounded by the wildest of scenes : at others, by the tamest ; all long its banks the traveller finds a constantly changing panorama of moun-
tain, valley, rock, wood, and meadowland. Round about the scene of its birth, there is a wilderness of moor, mountain, and fell, with solitudes as great as those which surround the source of the Wharfe. From the slopes of Black Fell to Pateley Bridge, the valley of the Nidd has one aspect; from Westeley Bridge to Knaresborough another; from Knaresborough to Nun Monkton, a third. It is at first wild, lonely, and rocky as a Swiss valley ; in its second stage it assumes a romantic and fairylike character ; in its third it ‘winds through a land as level as that intersected by the Ouse, and partakes very largely of the somewhat sluggish nature of the greater river.

In travelling along its banks, then, the explorer passes with little delay from one aspect to another, and is never wearied by a continual succession of the same species of scene. Nor are the associations which cling around it less remarkable for variety and interest than the continually changing character of its course and surroundings. Here and there along its banks are towns, villages, or houses, of note in history, associated with the names of great men, or the story of stirring deeds, or with the doings of some eccentric personage  whose oddities made him famous, or of some hero of romance whose fame sprang chiefly from his crimes. At Ribston the traveller hears of the Knights Templars and their deeds of piety and charity ; at Spofforth he sees the grave of Blind Jack, the sightless man who made roads and highways ; at Knaresborough he is surrounded by associations of the dark and romantic figure of Eugene Aram. Natural curiosities, again, abound along the banks of the Nidd. No other river in Yorkshire, or indeed in England, can boast the possession of such curious phenomena as the rocks at Brimham and the dropping-well at Knaresborough, or the remarkable strata at Plumpton.
Thus a journey along its banks is chiefly characterised by variety, and is
rendered doubly interesting by the fact that so much of that variety, with
its romance, its poetry, and its association, is compressed within compara-
tively small limits. The entire valley of the Nidd is full of charm at any
period of the year, but an exploration of it during the first weeks of summer,
or when the autumn tints are in their full glory, is a delight which every
lover of the beautiful will appreciate to the full.

I

The immediate environments of the meeting of the Nidd with the Ouse
are as flat and uneventful, in the matter of remarkable or conspicuous objects
in the surrounding scenery, as those which characterise the junction of every
Yorkshire river with the great central waterway of the county. On either
side the banks of each river the land lies in long, level lines, rich enough
in fertility and in flocks and herds, but with little to relieve its plain-like
character. Yet the interest of the Nidd begins at once, from the point
where the traveller turns along its sedge-lined banks towards the more
romantic stretches going westward. The first two villages which he meets,
Nun Monkton and Moor Monkton, belong rather to the Ouse than to the
Nidd, and the land lying around Marston Moor has more affinity with the
belongings of the greater than with those of the lesser river. But no
appreciable distance has been traversed from Ouse-side along the Nidd ere
historical associations are encountered. At a little distance from Nun
Monkton, and lying between that village and the site of the battle of Marston
Moor, is Skip Bridge, a structure which carries the highroad from York to
Boroughbridge and the north over the river. From this point there used
to run — presumably along the line of the present highway — a pavement or
causeway which connected the country hereabouts with York. Leland
speaks of seeing it when he was in the neighbourhood, and observes of it
that it was built by one Blake, who was twice Mayor of York, and had no
less than nineteen arches or bridges in its length between that city and
Skip Bridge, which arches were for carrying it over the small streams and
rivulets draining the surrounding moorland. At the inn at Skip Bridge,
one of the most remarkable of the old election-expenses bills was run up

KIRK HAMMERTON 205

■during the celebrated contest t>etween William Wilberforce, Viscount
Milton, and the Honourable H. Lascelles in 1807. Although the
hostelry stands in a comparatively lonely position, the landlord’s account
showed that the free and independent electors who had regaled them-
selves there at the expense of their candidate, had consumed food and
drink to the value of over ;£2300, of which ^^1389, 4s. was for wines
alone, and £5<), i8s. for bread.

KIRK HAMMERTOIf

Kirk Hammerton, a village lying on the north bank of the Nidd, and
■connected with the York and Boroughbridge highway by a byroad, is one
of the most interesting places along the lower stretches of the river, tiecause
oi its picturesque situation and its ancient church. A little distance away
lies its sister village of Green Hammerton, which boasts a fine green
approached by an avenue of elms. Both these places are mentioned in
the records of the Domesday Survey. Green Hammerton was then waste,
but there was land for several ploughs at Kirk Hammerton, and there was
also a mill, a fishery, and a church and priest. According to some autho*
rities, this church, which has been so admirably repaired that its ancient
appearance is exactly preserved, is of Saxon date so far as its chancel, nave,
and tower are concerned, but others contend that it is the work of a period
almost immediately succeeding the Norman Conquest. It stands on a slight
eminence, which is apparently artificial, but there is nothing to show why
any eminence should have been made here. The appearance of the church
is particularly striking and interesting. In a report prepared for the Society
of Antiquaries in 1890 by Mr, St. John Hope, the latter spoke of the south
side of the structure as consisting entirely of original Saxon work, and
pointed out other portions which are of the same period. The late Sir
Gilbert Scott questioned the existence of any Saxon work at all in the

2o6 PICTURESQUE YORKSHIRE

church, which he attributed to the early twelfth century. In 1891 the
church was restored, and during the excavations under the south wall, some
proof of its Saxon origin was thought to be discovered in the finding of
portions of a bone bracelet, formed of small rings, which had presumably
been part of a personal ornament of some chieftain or man of consequence
who had been interred there. Whether the original structure was of Saxon
or Norman work, its present appearance is remarkable and almost unique ;
the undressed stone-work of the tower, the high walls of the nave and
chancel, and the general air of antiquity, which restoration has done nothing
to impair, giving the edifice a peculiar character and interest.

An even greater antiquity than that attaching to the church of Kirk
Hammerton hangs about the little hamlet and bridge of Cattal Magna, a
little distance away on the road leading to Hunsingore. Here, almost on
the very spot where a railway station now stands, there was a Roman
guard-house, from which observation was kept on the ford at which the
great Roman road from Calcaria (Tadcaster) to Isurium (Aldborough) crossed
the Nidd. The road hereabouts is still called the Street, and there are
records of a ford across the river existing at this point from Norman days.
Numerous relics of the Civil War, in the shape of weapons, have been
unearthed here at various times, and there have also been discovered frag-
ments of iron which are attributed to a much earlier date. At the time
of the Domesday Survey, Cattal was associated with Hunsingore, its larger
and more important neighbour. Gospatric the Dane was chief proprietor
in them, and that he was in some favour with the Conquerbr may be
gathered from the fact that when William conducted his fierce reprisals
on the northern folk in revenge for their attack on his new works at York,
the manors of Hunsingore and Cattal were spared. These lands were
subsequently given by the Conqueror to his favourite, Ernegis de Burun,
from whom they passed, by failure of the male line, to the Paganel family,
who held large possessions in the county. They were subsequently in the
hands of Robert de Ros, who conferred large portions of them upon the
Knights Templars of Ribston, close by. The original church of Hunsingore
was a Norman foundation, and was an appurtenance of the same religious
order. There are some very early entries concerning its thirteenth and
fourteenth century vicars in the registers of the Archdeaconry of Richmond,
from which it would appear that they were appointed by the Prior of the
order of St. John of Jerusalem for the time being. The parish registers of
Hunsingore commence in 1626, and contain some very curious entries.
There must have been in this parish at some time a conveyance specially
used for carrying the infirm from one point to another, judging by the
following extracts : —

** 1729. — A stranger was brought to Walshforth by the Cripple-Cart.”
** 1741. — A female child came in the Cripple-cart, dyd at Walshforth.”

HUNSINGORE 207

HUNSINCORE

A very remarkable occurrence in connection with Hunsingore church is
recorded in the Sessions Rolls of the West Riding, 1597-98 : —

” Fforasmuch as it is manifestlie proved to this Court (the court then
sitting in sessions at Wetherby) that Ffrancis Thompson and George Allen
of Hunsingore did in a most contemptuous manner bring into Hunsingore
Church a Toie called the Flower ol the Well in the tyme of divine service,
wherebie the Vicar was disturbed in saieing the said service. It is there-
fore ordered that the said Francis and George shall be presently stripped
naked from the middle upward and whipped throwe this town of Wetherby
for their said oflence.”

The toy here referred to was in all probability an image which had
been used at one of the old well-deckings, in celebrating which it was
usual to construct an effigy of the saint to whom the well was dedicated,
and to trick it out with gew-gaws and flowers’ and carry it in procession.
The old church of Hunsingore, in which this curious instance of sacrilege
took place, was pulled down about thirty years ago, and the present modern
edifice erected close by. The previous church had been restored about
1750 by Sir Henry Goodricke, the head of a family which had a long con-
nection with the village ; the new one was built at the sole charge of Joseph
Dent, head of the family of Dent, of Ribston. In the new church there
are several ancient memorials of various members of the Goodrickes,

2o8 PICTURESQUE YORKSHIRE

amongst them being one which bears the initials of Sir John Goodricke^
who was a zealous adherent of Charles I. during the Civil War. It was
during Ids occupancy of the estates, and in consequence of his opposition
to the Parliamentary leaders, that the ancient hall or manor-house of
Hunsingore was reduced to ruins.

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