Blyth (St. Martin)

BLYTH (St. Martin), a parish, in the unions of Doncaster, East Retford, and Worksop; partly in the N. and partly in the S. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, W. riding of York; and partly in the Hatfield division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham; 31¼ miles (N. by E.) from Nottingham, and 151½ (N. N. W.) from London, on the old road to York; containing 3488 inhabitants, of whom 811 are in the village of Blyth. This place, anciently called Blia and Blida, was chiefly noted in former times for its religious and charitable establishments. In 1088, a priory was founded in honour of the Blessed Virgin, by Roger de Builly and his wife Muriel, for monks of the Benedictine order; which, though considered as an alien priory, being in some respects subordinate to the abbey of the Holy Trinity, near Rouen, in Normandy, was yet spared at the suppression of alien priories, and subsisted till the general dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £126. 8. 2. An hospital for lepers, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, was founded by Hugh de Cressy, lord of Hodsock, in the reign of John, for a warden, three chaplains, and brethren, whose revenue at the Dissolution was £8. 14. Of these buildings, as well as of a strong castle which is known to have been anciently erected here, there are scarcely any remains, nearly the whole having been demolished by wanton hands, or decayed by time; the monastic institution occupied the site and grounds of the present Hall, a handsome mansion of considerable magnitude which stands near the church, in a situation surrounded by beautiful scenery. The lord of the honour of Tickhill had a castle at Blyth, where he exercised the usual feudal rights of a lord paramount; in the immediate neighbourhood was one of the five places which alone were licensed for holding tournaments, and several records are preserved of royal and noble blood having been shed in these dangerous sports.

The parish is nearly 11 miles in extreme length, and contains the chapelries of Bawtry and Austerfield, and the townships of Barnby-Moor, Blyth, Hodsock, Ranskill, Torworth, and part of Styrrup; it comprises 15,477a. 11p. of fertile land, of which 1257 acres are in the township, and is intersected by the river Idle. The town or village, which is four miles from Bawtry, is pleasantly situated on the east bank of the Ryton, on a gentle ascent; and is clean and well built, and amply supplied with water. The market, which was formerly held on Wednesday, has been discontinued; the fairs are on Holy-Thursday and October 20th. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £14. 9. 4½.; gross income, £751; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. The great tithes of the township of Blyth have been commuted for £295, and those of the vicar for £170. 8.: there are in the township nearly three acres of vicarial glebe. The church is a lofty structure partly in the Norman style, and formed the ante-choir of the splendid cruciform church of the priory; it has a handsome tower in the later style of English architecture, with crocketed pinnacles. At Austerfield and Bawtry are chapels of ease. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends and Wesleyans; and a school endowed with land producing £12 per annum. Some almshouses for six aged people, supposed to have been originally an appendage to the hospital founded by Hugh de Cressy, have been lately rebuilt; and there are also almshouses for two aged women, endowed with £10 per annum, under the management of the Society of Friends; besides other charitable bequests for the relief of the poor.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.