LITTLE ICE AGE – Severe cold weather over all Northern Europe. The whole decade was notable for harsher Winters than normal. In 1779 the River Tees was frozen over for 2 months.
SERVANTS TAXED – A tax of one guinea per head was imposed on those who employed male servants in any capacity.
WHERE WAS THE SKELTON PARISH WORKHOUSE ?
The “Poor Law” Act of Elizabethan times had placed provision for those incapable of looking after themselves in the hands of each local Parish.
See the “Skelton Overseers of the Poor” pages – Here.
From the early 1600’s, Skelton villagers, who often struggled to survive in hard times, had been obliged to pay a “Poor Rate” to the Parish Clerk, in hard cash.
This Parish income was doled out to the unemployed and infirm by two local Churchwardens elected for that particular year, the ‘Overseers of the Poor’.
The Workhouse system for the whole of the UK started in 1834 with the Workhouse Acts, when the number of unemployed in some parts grew to such a level that the Parish Poor Rate system became unsustainable.
However in 1723 the Government had passed the ‘Workhouse Test Act’, which allowed for each Parish to set up its own Workhouse to make the poor work for a living and also to discourage false claimants.
A Parliamentary report of 1776 refers to a “workhouse” in Skelton with 40 inmates and this had obviously been in operation for some time.
Exactly where this number of people were housed and in what circumstances they were kept employed is not presently known.
Some reports say that the “poor” claimants were employed in the homes/farms of private individuals, who were contracted by the Parish Overseers of the Poor, to make them in some way useful and thereby profit from their labour, or, as it was termed “farming the poor”
The numbers of Parish Workhouse inmates were given for all the UK and, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, Skelton had more than any other place apart from Thirsk and Whitby.
However, Skelton village in these times was just the few buildings in the vicinity of the Castle, but the Church Parish itself covered a much larger area.
Rev John Graves, “History of Cleveland”, published 1808 says:-
This Parish, comprehending the several townships of Skelton, Brotton, Skinningrove, Kilton, “Moresham” and Stanghow, is of considerable extent, stretching in length North to South upwards of eight miles and is about six miles broad.
It is bounded by the Parishes of “Lofthouse” and Easington on the East, by Guisborough and Upleatham and “Marsk” on the West, by Danby on the South, while its Northern limits border on the sea.
NEW PARSON – John Parrington was the new priest at Skelton All Saints Church.
His Grandson was John Hymers (20 July, 1803 to7 April, 1887), who achieved fame in the world of Mathematics at St John’s College, Cambridge, making new discoveries in analytical Geometry.
Villages still had to record who among them were Catholics.
From a “Return of Papists by Parish” for Skelton:-
Henry & Frances Harrison and their children, Eleanor, Anne, Richard, Elizabeth, John, Joseph.
Tobias & Isabel Taylor and their sons Tobias & John.
TOP 5 DRIEST. – One of the top five driest years recorded.
GLEBE TERRIER – SKELTON CHURCH’S POSSESSIONS AND INCOME.
A “Glebe Terrier” was an inventory of a Church Parish’s possessions and was written at the annual visitation of the Archdeacon.
The Terrier for Skelton Parish for this year shows that:-
The Parish Clerk’s wages were 13 shillings and fourpence per annum.
Plus 5 pence per annum of every Householder, within the said Parish.
For every Funeral 1 shilling [= 5p today], for every Marriage by Banns one Shilling, for every Marriage by Licence 2 shillings and sixpence.
Also the Clerk repaired the Churchyard fence and 1s 6d was paid to him for this.
The Curate received £26 13s 4d per annum.
Plus for every funeral 1s 6d, for every tombstone erected, 5 shillings [25p today] for every Headstone 2s 6d.
A Marriage by Banns earned him 3s 6d and by Licence 10s 6d.
1 shilling for every Churching.
[this was a ceremony to give thanks for the recovery of women after childbirth, when in those days complications often resulted in death for the mother and was to be “thankfully received from our Lord” even if it resulted in a stillborn child.]
The Terrier was signed off by T Parrington, Curate. Church Wardens, Stephen Emmerson and Thomas Robinson. Principle Inhabitants, Richard Harrison, George Hutton, John Hammond, George Willis and Robert Thompson.
HOUSE OF CORRECTION BUILT – CAT-O-NINE-TAILS WHIPPING.
The County gaol for the North Riding of Yorkshire was built at Northallerton.
Called the House of Correction, at first it contained only 12 cells, each measuring just 4 square yards. Punishments were solitary confinement and whipping with the cat o’ nine tails.STILL FREEZING – The winter of 1783/84 winters had prolonged frosts and snow falls.
2nd March –
THE SITE OF THE FIRST WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL ?
The Will of Duncan McNaughton of Skelton, of this date states that he was a “Yeoman” and that he:-
“Bequeath land of 8 yard square, part of my garth called “Buck Garth”, for the Methodists to build a meeting house.”
His name is recorded in the return of males in Skelton in 1801 to oppose the threat of Napoleon, where he is listed as a “Merchant”.
A person of the same name, probably his son, is recorded as a Parish contributor in the “Overseers of the Poor Book” Ratepayers in 1823 elsewhere on this website.
The first Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Skelton was built in 1813, see the photograph on the page for this date.
THE PARISH CHURCH WAS REBUILT.
The Old church near the Castle was rebuilt by John Hall-Stevenson.
All that remains of the previous church, that was built by the Fauconberg family in the fourteenth century, is the section of wall supported by a lone buttress that can be seen to the left in the photograph.
The irregular stones of the old mediaeval building can be clearly seen against the neat regular sandstone blocks of the new.
The reason this section was preserved can be seen internally where it, the north wall of the chancel, bears memorials to the Trotters of Skelton Castle etc. [see page 18].
Two bells were kept from the old building.
One is now in the All Saints Church in the High St and the other is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Like the exterior of the Church the inside is free of any ornamentation.
The focus of attention is the three decker pulpit, from which the locals heard their weekly sermon.
The Whartons had a private room opposite the 3 decker pulpit with a fireplace. It is said one of the Castle family used to stoke the fire noisily if the sermon outlasted its welcome.
According to some local tales, the present day cottages on the driveway leading to the Castle and Church used to be the stables for certain people attending the church services.
RICH TO THE FRONT, POOR TO THE BACK.
It was the custom to sell pews to those who could afford them, the resulting income going to the expenses of the church.
The local parsons formed a Commission to allot church pews :-
“the said Commission shall direct and appoint, they first having regard to the particular claims, and also having regard as much as may be in their allotment, to the several Degrees, Estates and Conditions of the Parishioners of the said Parish, and the numbers of their respective families.”
All the pews in Skelton Old Church are numbered on the door at the end of each.
About half of them have family names painted on the wall.
At the rear of the Church a gallery was added to seat those people who were presumably considered at the time of a lower “degree, estate and condition”.
D T Petch
|CHURCHWARDENS ACCOUNTS SHOW THAT THE WHOLE BUILDING COST £443 2s 7d
|CASH DISBURSED FOR THE BUILDING OF SKELTON CHURCH
|To John Snowdon and William Lamb as per contract
|To Thomas Calvert as per contract
|To letters to and from Mr Clough of Yorks and others
|To Mr Clough for faculty to build
|To Mr Clough for Confirmation of Grant of Seats
|To expenses to Commissioners and on all other occasions
|To John Taylor baring quarry
|To Mr Forster for an Article and two Bonds
|To Churchwardens going to Gisbro’ 4 times each
|To Cart Hire in all
|To Churchwardens collect Money themselves and Horses two days each
|To Johnathan Snowdon and William Lamb for digging and walling the Groundwork
|To J Parrington for Damages in the Church-yard and taking part of it up
|To T Calvert for Bells hanging in the new Steeple
|To T Calvert for Window Soles and painting them
|To raising and new flagging the Chancel
|To setting up the old Seats and raising the Door
|To Johnathan Barry Smith work
|To R Pulman 2lb and 5lb Lead
|To the Vestry flagging and plastering
|To Masons 13 Days at the Church Walk and Gate
|To Labourers 9 days
|To the Painter for Extra Work not in T Calvert contract
|To G Macnaughton Desk and Pulpit Cloth
|To spare slates for repair
|To two stools to place corfine upon
|To Thomas Calvert for plans
|Omitted 3 days Labour at Church Walk
|To Attendance of Churchwardens each 7 days at 1/6 per day
|Paid at the last concluding meeting
|To Thomas Calvert for the new Gallery
|To J Snowdon and William Lamb for new Gallery
|CASH RECEIVED FOR THE BUILDING OF SKELTON CHURCH
|Of Joseph William Hall Stevenson Esq – a Benefaction
|Of the Subscribers for Seats
|For two small pews
|Of Richard Pulman for the old Lead
|Of Subscribers to additional Gallery