Terrington Village

Terrington is a reminder that many apparently Olde Englisheí villages were actually nineteenth century developments, made possible by the Enclosures and the agricultural, industrial and transport revolutions. There are few buildings in Terrington which show any external parts from before the Enclosures. Any old structures still standing have been embraced by more recent building work.

A hundred years ago, the Big Houses in the Parish amounted to the Hall (converted from the old Rectory, dating from 1826, and now Terrington Hall Preparatory School); the Rectory (built in 1870 and now Terrington House); the Cliff (also 1870, and now much decayed), together with its neighbouring Lodge; Wiganthorpe Hall, (1780ís and now mostly demolished) and Ganthorpe Hall (then the Castle Howard agent’s home, now privately occupied).

Most other house were built as estate cottages for labourers, (whom the gentry referred to as, say, ‘Rhodes’; but there are a few larger but unluxurious properties for tenant farmers and people with skills, such as the smith or the schoolmaster (prefixed by their betters as, say, ‘Mr Shackleton or by their occupation, say, Gamekeeper Hill.) There also remain as today’s outhouses one or two bothies, which were basic housing for casual labourers working temporarily in the area.

Mains water arrived only in the 1930’s. Until then, you got your water from pumps, some of which remain along the village street – or by arrangement from neighbours supplies. Mains electricity dates from 1930 and mains drainage from the 1960ís.

At the head of the village street stands The Plump, a walled mound containing ancient trees. Its earth probably came from the excavation of New Road or Wiganthorpe Lake, half a mile away, in the early 19th century at the time Castle Howard estate developed the top of the village.

Outside the village, there are old quarry workings, mainly the Jurassic limestone from which most of the village was built. Stone from Mowthorpe was probably used to build Sheriff Hutton Castle 900 years ago, and the Church quarry on the Dalby road provided the stone to build the present village school in 1890.

On the Ganthorpe road, you pass an impressive row of oaks. These were planted for Castle Howard estate, probably by James Elliot, its woodman in May 1859. In recent years the Parish Council has encouraged the tree-planting tradition as shown by the promising rows of trees along other roads approaching the village.


Any student of English village life is drawn to the Church, since for centuries it represented authority and kept most of the records. Ye Parish Church of All Hallows, Tyverington as early records call it is no exception. Dating in part from before William the Conqueror, much of it is 12th or 13th century, but heavily modernised in the 1860’s. A good description of its structure and features is available at the church. Don’t miss the Anglo-Saxon window in the South aisle, topped with a recycled gravestone, probably about 1200 years old.

Until the 1930’s, the church was well endowed through property ownership and the tax of tithes on the parish and the Rector managed the Church farms and reaped the benefit. Patronage of benefices could be bought and sold, and Samuel Wimbush, the Rector of the time reported in his diary in 1885 that he believed the Living of nearby Dalby had been sold for £1225. In the last century this usually meant that the Rector was as much a gentleman farmer and estate manager, as he was a priest.

By the 1950’s, the days of grandeur were over. The then Rector gave up the struggle of tending a large mansion on a small income to move to another parish. Within a few years the present modern Rectory was built in its grounds and the Rectory passed into private hands as Terrington House.

In 1239, for example, a brawl in the church between the households of political rivals led to the death of one William of Lydeyate and the imprisonment of Stephen, priest, of Terrington for his part in it. A hundred years later, in 1349, Roger Basset, the rector died. Nothing unusual, until you see a turnover that year of over half the clergy in the neighbourhood. It was the year of the Black Death which wiped out up to a third of England’s population and it is unlikely that Terrington was spared.

Apart from the Black Death, another plague for Rectors was the Visitation, a regular formal enquiry by the church hierarchy on the spiritual, moral and organisational state of the Parish. It was frequently fuelled by complaints from the congregation about their neighbours, the Rector and parish officers. So the Visitation records over the Tudor and Stuart reign tell us how those turbulent times for religion affected the Rector and his flock in uneventful Terrington

They suggest that the Rector of those times found no peace, with Puritan tendencies in one direction, and Catholic recusants in the other making his life a misery.

A zealous Puritan faction in Terrington was probably behind the demands at Visitations for quarterly sermons in Elizabeth’s time and the new translation of the Bible in James I’s. By 1633 there were complaints about Edward Hindsley, Rector of Terrington, for not reading prayers upon the Eve of Sundays and Holydays save only at the feasts of Easter and Whitsuntide and Christmas. Neither does he also wear a hood in reading divine service. Hindsleys clerk, John Brian, a layman, was also in trouble for the more Dissenting tendencies of teaching in church and reading Divine Service in the absence of the Rector.

Hindsleys successor, Samuel Pawson, was flexible enough to be appointed in 1658, during the Commonwealth, under Lord Protector Richard Cromwell, no friend of the Established Church; and yet to be confirmed and legitimised in 1661 after the Monarchy returned. In compiling the official list of Rectors a hundred years ago, the Rev. Samuel Wimbush, who knew the facts but was clearly a Royalist, chose to record the later date as the legitimate one.

After the Restoration, dissenting from the Established Church, even as a Protestant, became politically incorrect. Thus there was a 1663 report Michael Richotson for not coming to his parish church, for keeping his child unbaptised, for burying his wife & a child in his Garden & for keeping private Conventicles (Dissenters meetings) in his house.


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