THE WAPENTAKE OF BIRDFORTH
containing the parishes of Old Byland; Cowesby; Coxwold; East Harlsey; Hawnby; Husthwaite; South Kilvington; Cold Kirby; Kirkby Knowle; South Otterington; Over Silton; Thirkleby; Thirsk; Topcliffe; Welbury
Index Map to the Wapentake of Birdforth
At the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) all the parishes now in
this wapentake were taken under 'Gerlestre' Wapentake except Hawnby
and East Harlsey with their townships, which are entered under Allerton
Wapentake. In the middle of the 12th century the wapentake is mentioned
as Brideford, taking the name from the little hamlet of Birdforth in Coxwold
parish, where probably the hundred court was held. (fn. 1) At the end of the
13th century it comprised the same parishes as it does at the present day,
Hawnby having been transferred from Allerton. (fn. 2) Then, as in 1831, it contained the townships of Boltby, Sutton under Whitestone Cliffe and Thirlby,
all part of the West Riding parish of Feliskirk; but Kilburn, divided
between Birdforth and the West Riding in 1831, was said to be in Allertonshire in the 13th century. The wapentakes of Birdforth and Allerton were
in early times closely associated. In 1276 it was stated that the men of
Allertonshire were accustomed to answer with the wapentake of Birdforth
until the time of J. de Oketon. (fn. 3)
The fee of Birdforth Wapentake appears to have been in the hands of
the Crown throughout. Roger Lascelles did suit to the king's bailiff at the
wapentake of Birdforth in the reign of Edward I. (fn. 4) In 1316 the king is
described as the lord of the wapentake. (fn. 5) In 1334 Edward III made a grant
of the bailiwick of the wapentake to John de Dishforth to hold for life. (fn. 6)
|| Pipe R. 16 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 43; 17 Hen. II, 68.
|| Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 93–9.
|| Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 123.
|| Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 200.
|| Kirkby's Inq. (Surt. Soc.), 322.
|| Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 520.