Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HELMSLEY

HELMSLEY, a small town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in N. R. Yorkshire. The town stands on a gentle eminence, adjacent to the river Rye, under the Cleveland hills, 5 miles N of Gilling r. station, and 14 W of Pickering; has picturesque environs; includes a spacious market place, with a cross, built in 1869, as a memorial of the late Earl Feversham; is a seat of county courts; and has a post office under York, a banking office, five good inns, a news room and literary institute, a church, three dissenting chapels, a national school, and a workhouse. The church is of different dates, from Norman downward; consists of nave, N aisle, transepts, and chancel, with western embattled tower; and contains a piscina of the 14th century, a unique hexagonal font, a brass, and several monuments. The churchyard has a small mausoleum of the Duncombe family. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and fairs are held on 19 May, 16 July, 1 and 2 Oct, and 5 and 6 Nov. The township comprises 8, 200 acres. Real property, £6, 777; of which £52 are in mines, and £21 in fisheries. Pop., 1, 384. Houses, 305.—The parish contains also the townships of Rivaulx, Laskill-Pasture, Pockley, Beadlam, Harum, and Sproxton, all in Helmsley district, and the chapelry of Bilsdale-Midcable, in Stokesley district. Acres, 44, 382. Real property, £18, 680. Pop., 3, 429. Houses, 683. The property is not much divided. The manor belonged to the family of De Roos; passed to the Dukes of Buckingham; was purchased, in 1685, for £90, 000, by Sir Charles Duncombe; and belongs now to his descendant, Lord Feversham. The profligate Duke of Buckingham, after retiring from the court and cabinet of Charles II., made this the favourite scene of his sports and revelries; and he died in the neighbouring town of Kirkby-Moorside, in 1687, in obscurity and neglectPope alludes as follows to the sale of his estate:- " And Helmsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, Slides to a scrivener or a city knight." Helmsley Castle, within the grounds of Duncombe Park on an eminence overlooking the town, was built in the 12th century, by Robert de Roos; was defended by two broad and deep moats, outer and inner; sustained a siege by a parliamentarian force in 1644, and eventually capitulated to them; and is now an interesting ruin, with fine remains of the gateway and barbican, and with part of an early English keep about 95 feet high. A range of buildings, on the W side, close to the moat, is Tudor and well preserved, and probably was the residence of the Duke of Buckingham. Duncombe Park, the seat of Lord Feversham, was built in 1718, by Wakefield, after designs by Vanbrugh; occupies a charming site, amid magnificent grounds; is in the Doric style, somewhat heavy, but very imposing; has a hall 60 feet by 40, surrounded by lofty Corinthian pillars, -and a saloon 88 feet by 24½, partitioned into three compartments by Ionic pillars; and contains a rich collection of paintings and sculpture, among the latter the Dog of Alcibiades and Discobolus, or the Quoit-Thrower, both ascribed to Myron, who lived about the year BC. 440. The beautiful remains of Rivaulx abbey are a little to the NW. See RIVAULX. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of Pockley, in the diocese of York. Value, £464.*-Patron, Lord Feversham. The vicarage of Harum and the p. curacy of Bilsdale are separate benefices.—The sub-district contains all Helmsley parish, excepting Bilsdale-Midcable chapelry; and contains also the parishes of Hawnby, Morton, Old Byland, Scawton, and Cold Kirby. Acres, 56, 844. Pop., 3, 969. Houses, 812.—The district comprehends also the sub-district of Kirkby-Moorside, containing the parishes of KirkbyMoorside, Kirkdale, Great Edstone, Normanby, and Nunnington, and parts of the parishes of Lastingbam, Sinnington, Salton, Stonegrave, and Hovingham; and the sub-district of Oswaldkirk, containing the parishes of Oswaldkirk, Gilling, and Ampleforth, and parts of the parishes of Stonegrave, Hovingham, Coxwold, and Kilburn. Acres, 131, 516. Poor rates in 1863, £3, 978. Pop. in 1851, 11, 734; in 1861, 11, 832. Houses, 2, 428. Marriages in 1862, 90; births, 417, -of which 65 were illegitimate; deaths, 236, -of which 72 were at ages under 5 years, and 12 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 793; births, 3, 681; deaths, 2, 306. The places of worship, in 1851, were 23 of the Church of England, with 14, 069 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 759 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 324 s.; 31 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 4, 445 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 655 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 200 s. The schools were 31 public day schools, with 1, 101 scholars; 24 private day schools, with 489 s.; 35 Sunday schools, with 1, 531 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 s. Two poor law unions, Helmsley and Kirkby-Moorside, are comprised in the district; and the workhouses for them are in the townships of Helmsley and KirkbyMoorside.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a small town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Helmsley AP/CP       Helmsley SubD       Helmsley RegD       Yorkshire AncC
Place: Helmsley

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