Welleberg, Welberga (xi cent.); Wellebergh
(xiii cent.); Wethergh (xiv cent.).
The ecclesiastical parish of Welbury lies on the
south bank of the River Wiske; it is co-extensive
with the civil parish and consists of a single township. Locally it is situated in Allertonshire, but is
nevertheless included in the wapentake of Birdforth.
The elevation of Welbury parish is generally 200 ft.
to 225 ft. above the ordnance datum, rising west of
the village to 250 ft. The soil is clay on a subsoil
of Keuper Marls. The area is a little over 2,399 acres,
of which 1,227 are arable land, 1,077 permanent grass
and 78 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The inhabitants are
mainly engaged in agriculture, the chief crops being
wheat, oats and beans.
The Leeds and Stockton section of the North
Eastern railway traverses the parish, with a station to
the south of the village.
Welbury village is built on a curve of Tofts—or,
as it is called further west, Mankin—Lane, which
leads to Appleton Wiske. The Manor House stands
at the southern end of the village street, and across
the road is St. Leonard's Church. Further down is
the school, built in 1858, and round the curve of the
road is the Congregational chapel. Hill House,
lying among fields to the north of the village, is the
residence of Mr. Harry Merryweather. The houses
in the village are small and built of brick, those on
the east side having gardens in front. The hedgerows are usually well-wooded. North of this the
land slopes gradually downward to the Wiske, which
is crossed by Wiske Bridge, probably a successor of
the 13th-century bridge of Ingram. (fn. 2) It was probably
across this bridge that the Scots came in 1319, when
they wholly destroyed the goods of Welbury Manor
and stole the beasts. Ingram Grange, once a farm
of Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 3) lies close to the river, while
Ingram High and Low Granges stand higher up the
hill-side and further south.
In 1086 the two 'manors' of 6 carucates at WELBURY were in the hands
of the king, having been forfeited by
Fredgist and Melmidoc, the tenants under the Confessor. (fn. 4) It formed part of the fee given to Robert
de Brus, (fn. 5) and the overlordship followed the descent
of his manor of Skelton (q.v.).
Lascelles, Earl of Harewood. Sable a cross paty in a border or.
Here, as in Ingleby Arncliffe, the tenant under the
Brus lords was in 1131 Walter de Ingram or
Angram, and, like Ingleby Arncliffe, Welbury passed
by the marriage of Ingelisa, heiress of John Ingram,
to Sir Philip Colvill. Before
1279–81, however, Welbury
had been subinfeudated, and
at that date the lordship in
demesne was held by Ralph
son of William. (fn. 6) From this
time until the early 18th century Welbury followed the
descent of the manor of Henderskelfe (q.v.). In 1800 it
was in the possession of Edward
Lascelles, (fn. 7) first Earl of Harewood. He died in 1820,
and was succeeded by his son
Henry, who died in 1841. His son Henry third
Earl of Harewood died in 1857, when the title and
estates passed to his eldest son and heir Henry
Thynne, the fourth earl, who died in 1892, and was
succeeded by his son Henry Ulick, present earl and
lord of the manor.
In 1199 King John confirmed to Gilbert son of
Gilbert Hansard lands which his father had acquired
from William Ingram in Welbury. (fn. 8) These lands
were probably situated at INGRAM (Angerum,
Angram, xiii-xvii cent.), where Gilbert Hansard
had 2 carucates or the vill. (fn. 9) One of these carucates
he gave to Rievaulx Abbey, (fn. 10) apparently following
this by a grant of the whole vill at a later date. (fn. 11)
Possibly the second carucate was held by tenants, for
Gilbert son of John Hansard remitted to the monks
the 27d. rent they were wont to pay for 1½ carucates
in Angram and 3d. from half a carucate which
Master Ralph de Uckerby had held. (fn. 12) Probably the
whole of the Uckerby holding came to the abbey, for
Hugh son of Ralph de Uckerby gave to the abbey in
all 4 oxgangs, 2 of which had once been held by
Gilbert Hansard, (fn. 13) and Thomas de Uckerby in 1224
granted half a carucate to the abbot, (fn. 14) this being
quitclaimed in 1267 by Gundreda, evidently heir of
Thomas and wife of Robert de Teasdale. (fn. 15)
Welbury Church from the South-east
The grange which the abbey established here was
granted by the abbot in 1534 on a lease for fortyseven years to Christopher Bowes, (fn. 16) yeoman, who was
still holding it when in August 1543 Richard Vincent
obtained a grant of it in fee from the Crown. (fn. 17) A
month later Richard Vincent received licence to
alienate it to Christopher Bowes. (fn. 18) Possibly Christopher was father of Marmaduke Bowes, who in 1585
was hanged for concealing Roman Catholic priests,
one of whom he was said to have maintained as
schoolmaster for his children. (fn. 19) Perhaps his sons
were the Robert and Thomas Bowes who in 1607
sold half the grange to Edward Raper. (fn. 20) Marmaduke
Bowes with others made a settlement of half the
manor in 1608. (fn. 21) John Bowes died in 1624, leaving
a son John, then aged twenty and more. (fn. 22)
Edward Raper, who had bought half the grange
in 1607, (fn. 23) died in 1620–1, when his son George
succeeded him. (fn. 24) He died in 1624, his heirs being
his sisters Julia wife of William Todd and Elizabeth. (fn. 25)
The priory of Guisborough obtained a grant of
2 oxgangs of land with an adjacent 'manse,' together
with the church of Welbury, from Walter Ingram. (fn. 26)
At the Dissolution the priory still held property
here. (fn. 27)
The master of the hospital of St. Nicholas of
Yarm was party to a fine as to 2 oxgangs of land in
Welbury in 1227. (fn. 28) This hospital was afterwards
granted to the priory of Healaugh Park, which had
temporalities in Welbury worth 10s. at the Dissolution, (fn. 29) when the priory of Mount Grace also had possessions here valued at 22s. (fn. 30)
The church of ST. LEONARD consists of a chancel measuring internally
17 ft. 6 in. by 13 ft. with a small north
organ chamber and vestry, nave 35 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft
6 in. and a south porch.
The church probably dates from the 12th century,
but the chancel has been entirely rebuilt and the
nave has been so much modernized that there is no
detail to give its date beyond a piece of 12th-century
carved stone now preserved in the north wall.
The chancel is lighted by windows in the east
and south walls. In the north wall is a small doorway into the vestry and an archway into the organ
chamber. The nave has two windows in each side
wall and a window in the west wall, all modern.
The south doorway, between the two windows, has
single chamfered jambs and square head and is of old
stonework. The porch has an outer pointed archway
of two chamfered orders.
In the north wall are some old jamb stones,
grooved for glass, and the piece of stone already
mentioned, which is carved with zigzag ornament.
All the furniture is modern.
There are two bells of 1822 hung in a modern
bellcote above the west gable.
The plate consists of a silver cup and paten and a
pewter flagon. The cup bears the inscription 'Calix
Sacer. Ecclesiae de Welbury,' and the paten is inscribed 'Patina Sacra Ecclesiae de Welbury'; both have
the London mark for 1725. The flagon bears no date.
The registers begin in 1678.
Walter de Ingram gave the church
of Welbury, with its 2 oxgangs of
land and dwelling-house, to Guisborough Priory (fn. 31) probably at or soon after its foundation by Robert de Brus in 1129. (fn. 32) At its surrender
in 1539 (fn. 33) the priory apparently still held the
advowson and it received a yearly pension from the
rectory of £1 6s. 8d. (fn. 34) The advowson of the rectory
still remains in the hands of the Crown. (fn. 35)
At the suppression of chantries in 1546 it was
found that there was half an acre of land in Welbury
given by the inhabitants for the finding of a lamp (fn. 36)
in the church.
There are no endowed charities in this parish.