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The Ancient Parish of SLINGSBY

“SLINGSBY, a parish in the wapentake of Rydale; 6 miles WNW. of Malton; is situated on an extensive beautiful plain, and on an ancient Roman road, formerly a Roman station. This manor and castle formerly belonged to the noble family of Mowbray, who were succeeded by that of Howard: John, Lord Howard, was created Duke of Norfolk, by King Richard III in which illustrious family the title still remains. The castle was partly re-built by Sir C. Cavendish, in 1603, but not finished. In the woods of Earl Carlisle, there are nine or ten large tumuli, showing that some severe conflict has taken place here.

Baine’s Directory of the County of York (1823)


In 1180 William de Slingsby found himself somewhat to the left of where he should be and in a fit of confusion, fathered a child. Young John appeared in about 1200 and made his way even further left, to a tiny hamlet just outside Knaresborough – Scriven. His offspring have never left.


In Scriven John produced a child and called him after his father. It was 1219 and in the fullness of time William, once grown, found Will Thorpe’s daughter, Isabella, to his liking. They married and had a son called John. The Johns and the Williams roll down through the generations, joined on occasion by a Richard or two, and one solitary Gilbert de Slingsby de Scriven.


We note Gilbert’s name has grown. This is because, six generations down the line, his father, another William, struck it lucky. He married the heiress to the Scriven estates in 1333. She certainly came connected.


GAMEL – A Northumbrian nobleman, son of Orm, a prominent Northumbrian Thane.  It is supposed he was born in 956 or thereabouts and he died before the reign of Edward the Confessor. He had large possessions in counties York, Lincoln, Derby, Stafford, Salop and Chester.  These were laid waste after his death.  He also held the hereditary offices of King’s fowler and Ranger of the Forest of Knaresborough.  He was “craftily” slain at York in 1064 for opposing the tyrannical practices of the Earl. 


Gamel had issue two sons: – ORM and GAMELBAR


ORM, the elder, was Lord of Wellebrune in which berewick was Kirkdale, Thormanby, Scriven and other places.  He restored the old Saxon church of Kirkdale, near Helmsley, which is still standing, with an ancient sundial bearing an inscription in Saxon, “Orm, son of Gamel, bought S. Gregory’s monastery when it was all broken down and fallen and he caused it to be made anew from the ground, to Christ and S. Gregory, in the days of Edward the King and Tosti the Earl.” And underneath this, “And Haworth made me, and Brand the Priest.” 


He married Ethelbritha, daughter of Ailred, Earl of Northumbria, and had descendants, one branch of whom assumed the name of “De Scriven” whose line ended temp. Ed. III in an heiress Ivana, who married William de Slingsby, to which family she conveyed Scriven with other estates, together with the Rangership of the Forest of Knaresborough.  Orm was dispossessed of a considerable portion of his estates by William the Conqueror, who bestowed them on William Malet, Governor of York Castle, at the time of the struggles of the Northumbrians under Gospatrick, for the maintenance of their independence.




Ivana, or Johanna de Scriven as she is generally known, was the only child of Henry de Scriven andAlice(de) Caperon, and appeared in either 1302 or 1313. Whether she was 20 or 31 makes a lot of difference to the reasoning behind giving away the family jewels, but the title deeds were signed and exchanged as Orm and Gamel jerked upright in their graves – for the next 530 years the de Slingsby’s hung onto them through thick and thin until the line tapered out and, in 1868 the absence of anyone else in the line of succession to give it to, the line was reduced to searching out the nephew of the mother of the last bride of Slingsby. How the mighty had fallen.


That’s why Gilbert had a very long name. They all stayed as Slingsby de Scriven for a very long time. There weren’t very many of them. The Slingsby’s seemed to have only as many children as were absolutely necessary. They were rising in the world. Too many children would have been vulgar. So each generation an heir and a spare were turned out, another William, or John, or Richard. It wasn’t until William had taken over Scriven that they even had a girl child. That was poor solitary Joan. Another 80 years went by till an Agnes was born but then a trickle of Joans, Elizabeths, Margerys, Anns and Agnes’s appeared in the line. But succession was always paramount. Scriven must have a master.


The estates and the influence of the master grew. The Squire of the Manor and his line rose in importance through the fifteenth and into the Sixteenth Centuries. They were seen at Court. Then Thomas Slingsby de Scriven Esq. appears. He married Joan Mallory, a descendant of Magna Charta Surety, Saier de Quincy, and they produced 9 children from around 1520 onwards. One of them, child number seven, was called Francis.

As the seventh child in a family where succession to the Estate always falls to the first born son it would seem that a quiet life was set out for Francis, but the dice were on his side. By accident or incremental family connection Franceswas knighted “Sir Francis Slingsby of Scriven” and married Mary, the daughter of Sir Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland. Sir Thomas was executed for treason in 1572 but Sir Francis seems to have lasted a bit longer. Time enough to pass the title on to Sir Henry Slingsby of Scriven, Sherriff of Yorkshire.



Henry was knighted “Sir Henry Slingsby” by Queen Elizabeth and was Chief Forester of the Parks and Forests of Knaresborough, West Riding, Yorkshire, England. He was one of the King’s Council in the North holding various offices under the Duchy of Lancaster, of which he was deprived 1611, by the unjust decree of Sir Thomas Parry, then Chancellor of the Duchy, who by a second decree 1615 deprived him of certain Crown leases, and committed him to the Fleet where he remained for two years. During his shrievalty 1611-1612, he was absent from the summer Assizes, being then in London on account of his suit for the restitution of his offices, for which he was fined 200£ by the judges of Assize.


Amongst his many accomplishments, Sir Henry married Frances Vasavour, the daughter of William Vasavour of Weston and, in 1601 produced the next, and even more obstinate Sir Henry.


By special enthusiasm of King Charles 1, Sir Henry was created a Baronet. Bart for short. Once a Baronet, always a Baronet, as we will see. He was now known as Sir Henry Slingsby, 1st Bart of Scriven and showed loyalty to his King in a very extreme manner. The labyrinthine politics of the Parliamentarians and the good King Charles are too complicated to begin to unravel here but, by 1644 things had reached a head andYork, where the King had retreated, was under siege by the Parliamentarians. Sir Henry Slingsby was in charge of the Royalist defence ofYork.


Prince Rupertled a Royalist force to relieve the city. The Parliamentarians, led by Lord Fairfax, raised the siege and moved west ofYorkto meet Rupert. They camped on the ridge close to thevillageofLong Marston. Then followed the Battle of Marston Moor. The 14,000 strong Royalist army was defeated andYorkfell to the Parliamentarians. This was the beginning of the end for Charles 1 but there were a few more battles, a bucket more blood to be spilt before that became apparent. Sir Henry was on the losing team but, showing great mettle, refused to renounce his allegiance to the king.


He didn’t give up. In 1655 Sir Harry was a ringleader in the uprising to takeYorkand thenHullin support of the king. The Marston Moor Rising, as it was known, failed due to lack of support. According to local tradition, Sir John Bouchier of Beningborough Hall, a regicide, spotted Slingsby walking on the roof of Red House. He reported him to Parliament. Sir Harry was arrested by a doorway in the Peach Wall as he walked to theDeer Park. He was taken toHull.


In 1658 Sir Harry was executed in theTowerofLondonfor his continued support of the King.

In America in 1621 there was a New England, a New France, and a New Spain. An enterprising Scot, Sir William Alexander of Menstrie who made made a Knight in 1609, attracted the attention of King James (VI of Scotland and I of England), who held court regularly at nearby Stirling, when he proposed that it might encourage development of a New Scotland if His Majesty were to offer a new order of baronets. The King liked the idea. After all, his creation of the Baronets of England in 1611 and the Baronets of Ireland in 1619 had raised £225,000 for the Crown.


At Windsor Castle on September 10, 1621 King James signed a grant in favour of Sir William Alexander covering all of the lands ‘ between our Colonies of New England and Newfoundland, to be known as New Scotland ’ (Nova Scotia in Latin), an area larger than Great Britain and France combined. On October 18, 1624 the King announced his intention of creating a new order of baronets to Scottish ‘ knichts and gentlemen of cheife respect for the birth, place, or fortounes ’, James I died on March 27, 1625 but his heir, Charles I, lost no time in implementing his father’s plan. By the end of 1625 the first 22 Baronets of Nova Scotia were created and, as inducements to settlement of his new colony of Nova Scotia, Sir William offered tracts of land totalling 11,520 acres ‘ to all such principal knichts & esquires as will be pleased to be undertakers of the said plantations & who will promise to set forth 6 men, artificers or laborers, sufficiently armed, apparelled & victualled for 2 yrs ‘. Baronets could receive their patents in Edinburgh rather than London, and an area of Edinburgh Castle was declared Nova Scotian territory for this purpose. In return they had to pay Sir William 1000 merks for his ‘past charges in discoverie of the said country ‘.

The harsh climate killed many of the early settlers but the fatal blow for those who remained came in 1632 when Charles I ceded the lands to Louis XIII of France and ordered the removal of the colony and destruction of Charles Fort at Port Royal. The Order of Baronets continued, however, and grants of land were made until the end of 1639, by which time 122 baronetcies had been created, 113 of whom were granted lands in Nova Scotia. The Order continued until 1707, by which time 329 baronetcies were made. There are still about 100 Baronets of Nova Scotia in existence, many of them descendants of those who once owned land there – land which they never set foot upon.


Marie Fraser: Baronets of Nova Scotia


Gules (red) a chevron between two leopards’ faces in chief and a buglehorn in base Argent (silver).


A lion passant Vert (green).



Luckily there was another Slingsby in the wings waiting to pick up the title.In the midst of his hair-raising activities for King and Country, Sir Henry fathered two boys. The first one died and left the way clear for Thomas, soon to be Sir Thomas, 2nd Bart of Scriven and Sheriff of Yorkshire.  He held the title from 1658 when his father’s head had rolled off the scaffold till his own death in 1687. Once he had joined the Slingsby effigies in the family chapel in Knaresborough the first of his two sons had a turn – not for long though. Sir Henry Slingsby, 3rd Bart of Scriven died in 1691 after only three full years at it, and Sir Thomas, his younger brother became the 4th Bart for a longer innings till he joined the family in stone in 1726.

While the Barts have been wielding their power and breeding, their brothers and sisters, few that they are, have been at it too. By Sir Thomas’ 4th Bart-ship branches of the family had spread further afield. Critical Mass had finally been achieved over four and a half centuries. There had been a family pod in Knaresborough for over a hundred years by this point, but as Knaresborough is only one mile away it’s scarcely a migration. There’s another branch in Barnsboro and some scattered activity in the North – around Cundall and Lecksby.

One Peter Slingsby is doing some scattering of wild oats it appears. He’s first sighted getting married in Holy Trinity Goodramgate, right in the middle of York. On the 20th December in 1704 he and Mary Crossby are wed. After a very merry Christmas indeed the newly married couple made their way back to their new home and travelled the 15 miles to Cundall with Lecksby, and entered into the business of the day. That meant producing a son and heir as quickly as possible. Young Thomas answers the call in early 1705 and is returned to this very church for his christening, on the 10th October.












Thomas grew healthy and strong and by the time he was 20 he had found himself a wife. There is no extant record of his marriage, if in fact it occurred at all. Her name was Jane and  together they very likely moved to Aldborough, about 5 miles down the road towardsYork. She bore him three children between 1722 and February 1730 and died during or soon after the third one. Or else he divorced her. Either way, she’s been replaced by November 3oth when Thomas walks down the aisle – of a different church this time – with Mary Shaw on his arm.


The Ancient Parish of ALDBOROUGH

“ALDBOROUGH, a parish-town, in the lower-division of Claro, a part in the liberty of St. Peter; 1 mile from Boroughbridge, 7 from Knaresborough and Ripon, 16 from York, 5 from Whixley. Pop. 484. The Church, peculiar, is a vicarage, dedicated to St. Andrew in the deanry of Boroughbridge, diocese of Chester, value, ~£9. 19s. 5d. Patron, the Dean and Chapter of York.


This was the ‘Iseur’ of the Ancient Britons, and the ‘Isurium’ of the Romans, of which scarcely a vestige of its former grandeur remains. And this once celebrated city, which has ever since the days of Leland, arrested the attention and engaged the particular notice of British antiquaries, is now sunk into a small village, and in danger of losing the remains of its ancient grandeur.


Though we have no account from history of its origin, yet we have incontestible evidence of its great antiquity; and that it was the metropolis of the Brigantes is a fact that can never be called in question. Many British princes resided here, and as it flourished many ages prior to York, it is probable that it was the seat of government. Venutius who opposed the brave Caractacus resided here in the year 50. –Tacitus. The brave Agricola, about the year 70, resided at York, and made it his head quarters. In the time of the Romans it was defended by a strong wall, a small part of which is still visible. it was attacked with great fury by the Danes, who murdered a great part of its inhabitants, and burnt the city to the ground. In the house famed for curiosities, may be seen a Roman pavement in great preservation, about 18 inches below the surface, first discovered in 1731, and in the same room are many other ancient remains, particularly a votive stone found in 1776, coins, &c. The most fatal blow given to this once celebrated city, was the turning of the road, which went through it, by removing the bridge over the Ure to where it now stands at Boroughbridge, which happened during the reign of the Conqueror.


Langdale’s Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire. (1822)]


Mary was 4 or 5 years younger than Thomas and seemingly happy to take on the step-children as well. There was none of the root, rush and marry of the peasantry. This was all done with the correct steps in place and in due and legal time their first issue, a girl called Saayrah is born.




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