Egton (St. Hilda)

EGTON (St. Hilda), a parish, in the union of Whitby, E. division of the liberty of Langbaurgh, N. riding of York, 6¼ miles (W. S. W.) from Whitby; containing 1102 inhabitants. The parish is intersected by the river Esk, and comprises 13,600 acres, of which nearly 7000 are open moorland: the vale of the Esk is richly wooded, and in many parts of romantic character: the soil, naturally of inferior quality, has been much improved by careful management. The principal substrata are, ironstone, freestone of good quality for building and for engineering purposes, and whinstone affording excellent materials for the roads; they are all wrought, and large quantities are sent by the Whitby and Pickering railway, which passes for several miles along the south and south-east boundaries of the parish, to Whitby, whence they are shipped to various places. The inhabitants obtained from William III. the grant of a weekly market and four annual fairs. The market is now held only on the Tuesday before Palm-Sunday, and on the Tuesdays following till Midsummer; there is a large market for cattle, on the Tuesday before Old Michaelmas-day. The fairs are held on the Tuesdays immediately preceding the 15th of February, the 11th of May, the 4th of September, and the 22nd of November, for horned-cattle, and for boots and shoes.

The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £120; patron and appropriator, the Archbishop of York, whose tithes have been commuted for £175. The church, which is situated about half a mile from the village, is said to have been consecrated by the Bishop of Damascus in 1349; but it is evidently of much earlier foundation, and, from the style of the doorway and the south aisle, which are of Norman character, must have been built soon after the Conquest. A second church, dedicated to St. Matthew, has been recently erected. There is a place of worship for Independents in the village; also a Roman Catholic chapel at Egton-Bridge. A fine spring here, called Cold Kell well, which is much resorted to for strengthening weakly children, is supposed to have been connected with an ancient baptistry, of which the remains of the bath and the steps leading into it are in good preservation. A priory was founded about the year 1200, by Johanna, wife of Robert de Turnham, who endowed it with lands in the parish, for the support of monks from the monastery of Grosmont, in Normandy: the priory was situated on the north bank of the Esk, in a beautifully sequestered spot now forming part of the line of the Whitby and Pickering railway; and at present, part of an old tomb, and a few sculptured stones, are the only remains of the establishment. When clearing some ground on the farm of Julian Park, a few years since, the foundations were discovered of an extensive range of buildings supposed to have been the baronial seat of the lords de Mauley.

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

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