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arches. Above the piscina are portions of an ancient string-
course, consisting of two bold rolls, with the nail-head ornament
between them. This was carried round the east end of the
chancel, and returned for some distance on its north and south
walls. In the east wall, on either side of the altar, are plain
square aumbrys, as at Kirklington. The east window is modern.

About the year 1330, another extension of the fabric took
place. This was the addition of a large chantry chapel, in the
form of a south transept, and was the provision of John de
Appleby, rector of the church in 1316, and until his death in
1328. The arch, which formerly divided the chapel from the
nave, has been replaced by a modern one. The original south
window also, which was of five lights, has disappeared ; but
in the east and west walls are two original 'windows of two
lights, each with well-moulded rear-arches dying into the jambs,
and hood-moulds both within and without. The east window
is cusped, and has a depressed trefoil in the head, the west
window being without cusps or trefoil, like those in the chancel.
Both have similarly moulded scoinson arches and external
hoods. In the east wall of the chapel is a plain square-headed
aumbry, divided into two parts by a stone shelf, which has

Saint Mary, Wath. 141

been enclosed within double-folded doors. Beneath the large
south window is a fine arched tomb recess, surmounted by a
lofty pointed pediment, the head of which has perished. The
spandrils are decorated with cusps, the points of which terminate
in carved roses. Without doubt, this recess once contained a
monumental slab or effigy of John de Appleby, the founder
of the chantry. The grave-cover now beneath the canopy, of
very early fourteenth century character (say 1300 or 1310),
was found in the churchyard on the north side of the nave in
1873, and was placed in the position it now occupies, for safety.
On the inner side of the cross shaft an inscription was formerly
legible in two lines, recording the name of the person com-

. RC . . c. East of the sepulchral recess occurs a piscina
with credence shelf above, and having a cusped head and

Towards the close of the Fifteenth century the nave under-
went considerable change, though it is worthy of remark that
the aisleless character of the pre-Conquest church has never
been altered. The extension of churches by the addition of
aisles was so general in the Middle Ages that Wath affords a
rare, though by no means unique, example of a church which
has in this respect preserved the plan of its nave unaltered.
Other illustrations occur at Stow in Lincolnshire, and at North
Newbald in the East Riding. At this period, the original
windows of the nave which were pointed, and of lancet form,
were taken out, with the exception of one towards the western
end of the north wall, and much larger windows inserted
with tracery of late Perpendicular character, having two lights
and four lesser lights in the heads. Only one of these has
remained unrestored that in the south wall.

On the north side of the chancel is an interesting adjunct,
which is probably contemporary with the fifteenth century
alterations in the nave to give a date, about 1480. This
consists of a vestry with a priest's chamber over it. The former
is entered from the chancel by a pointed doorway, the lintel
in the rear of which is formed out of a fourteenth century
grave-cover, with incised cross. Further east, in the same wall,
is a small slit window with widely-splaj^ed jambs The principal
light came from a two-light square-headed window, the internal
head of which is carried on shouldered corbels. The lights
are divided by a mullion of extraordinary thickness. The

142 Richmondshire Churches.

window has been protected by doors on the inside, the crooks
of which remain in the jambs, whilst on the mullion are two
large iron eyes for holding bars, which would effectually prevent
any person from entering the room from the outside. Pro-
jecting from the south wall are two large quarter round corbels,
and on the north wall is an offset. These carried the beams,
which, in their turn, carried the joists supporting the floor of
the upper, or priest's chamber. Access to this was provided
by a 'winding stone stair of ten steps, in the north-west angle,
and the upper room was lighted on the east by a single square-
headed window. Similar priest's chambers exist at Kirkby
Malzeard, at Well, Wensley, and South Cowton, all of which
have been constructed about the same period as that at Wath.

The original roofs of both nave and chancel were demolished
in 1629, when extensive mutilation of the fabric took place.
The substitution of roofs of lower pitch necessitated the removal
of the chancel and chapel arches, and nothing remained but
the jambs and capitals of the latter, and the jambs, capitals,
and first stringers of the former. The tie beams of the roof
consisted of huge oak baulks, imperfectly squared, and exhibiting
the mis-shapen growth of the timber. The condition of the
church after this "restoration" is well illustrated in a sepia
drawing made by the Rev. W. C. Lukis, in 1866, and repro-
duced (Plate XXXIV).

The tower is modern, having been erected in 1812, on the
foundations of a former tower which had gone to decay. It
contains six bells which have inscriptions as follows :








During the repairs to the church in 1873, it was fortunate,
indeed, that so vigilant an archaeologist as the late Mr. Lukis
was in charge. Four pre-Conquest sculptured stones were dis-
covered in the north buttress of the chancel arch, and a fifth
was met with near the western end of the north wall, all being
of sandstone grit. Three of these stones have been built, for
their preservation, into the inside of the modern wall forming

To face page 142.



[VF. C. Lukis, del.

Saint Mary, Wath. 143

the choir vestry. That to the east has two figures upon it
with arms extended (? Adam and Eve) ; that to the west
represents a beast with long body, but the head is gone, and
some other animal springing on its back probably intended
for the hart and hound. Beneath the latter is a poorly-
executed piece of flat interlaced work. Preserved in the vestry
are several fragments, two of which are of pre-Conquest date.
One of these is the upper part of the head of a cross, of late
date and poor character. Note the appearance of rude hands
on the lateral arms. The other is the head of a standing cross.
Besides these " Saxon" stones, there are preserved in the
vestry a fragment of a thirteenth century gable cross with a
rose upon it ; and the heads of three thirteenth century grave-

One of the most interesting things connected with the church
is a very fine carved chest, which is also preserved in the
vestry. Christopher Best, who was the chantry priest of the
chapel of St. John the Baptist in 1548 and 1554, directed
by his will, 23rd April, 1557, certain things to be given to the
church, and bequeathed also to George Best all that remained
in his hands, " excepe a Flanders Kyste and y 1 thing y l ys
within yt. Item, fothermore I wyll that George Best restore
to Wathe Churche an almere, a vestment and a portys 1 that
belongeth unto Saint John Chappyl." The chest bears much
resemblance to a similar coffer at Brancepeth, in the county of
Durham, and may have been carved about the year 1330.
It was thus already of great antiquity when Christopher Best
mentioned it in his will ; and it is possible that a " Flanders
chest " may have been a term in common use to denote any
such ancient coffers, for doubtless many were brought hither
from Flanders. But experts do not consider that the Wath
chest is of Flemish origin ; and Mons. Lefevre-Pontalis, the
President of the Society of French Antiquaries, who possesses
very extensive knowledge of Flemish carving, thinks that this
is of English workmanship. The chest is said to have been
brought to the church from the old Hall of Middleton Quern-
how, when the latter fell to decay in the former half of the
Nineteenth century.

Much of the ancient stained glass which the church once
possessed has disappeared. In the Herald's Visitation of 1622,
four shields of arms, are mentioned in the north windows,

1 A portable breviary or small prayerjwwk.


Richmondshire Churches.

those, namely, of CONYERS, ST. QUINTIN, MARMION, and FITZ-
HUGH. The fragments of old glass remaining are confined to
three examples, the earliest of which is a lozenge-shaped panel
occupying a position in the eye-light of the central window
on the south side of the chancel, and consisting of a four-rayed
star, with an azure centre. Between the rays are four leaves,
apparently intended for vine leaves. This is contemporary
with the chancel (say about 1250), and is an interesting speci-
men of stained glass of that period. In the south window of
the transept a quatrefoil of fourteenth century glass exhibits,
on a quarried ground of oak leaves and acorns, a representation
of our Lord's crucifixion. In the west window of the same
chapel is an heraldic shield of fourteen quarterings, affording a
most instructive illustration of the science of armoury as the
exponent of genealogy. The
coats are impaled, Baron and
Femme ; viz. Quarterly ist and
4th, azure three chevronels
embraced or a chief vair, for
FITZHUGH ; 2nd and 3rd, vair
a fesse gules, for MARMION :
impaling quarterly ist and 4th,
gules a saltire argent, a label
componny of the second and
azure, for NEVILLE ; 2nd and
3rd, grand quarters ; ist and
4th, argent three fusils gules
conjoined in fesse, for MONT-
ACUTE ; 2nd and 3rd, or an eagle
displayed vert armed gules, for

MONTHERMER. To the student of heraldry the following gene-
alogy will be interesting, but in the illustration no attempt has
been made to follow the difficulties which beset the worker in
stained glass ; the drawing is an outline intended merely
to illustrate the pedigree :








To face page 145.

Saint Mary, Wath. 145

We are thus, upon this evidence, able to identify the shield
with the utmost precision as that of Sir Henry Fitzhugh,
who succeeded to the manor of Wath in 1452, and died in
1472, impaling the arms of his wife, Alice Neville, sister of
the redoubtable Richard, Earl of Warwick, " the King-maker."

In sepulchral monuments the church was at one time
exceptionally wealthy, but alterations in modern times have been
so considerable that many of the more ancient inscriptions no
longer exist. On the south wall of the chapel is a brass, with
effigies of Chief Justice Richard Norton, who was appointed
King's Sergeant in 1408, and Chief Justice in 1413, and Kathe-
rine (nee Manningham), his wife. The figures are much defaced,
but he appears to have been represented in judicial robes,
consisting of a tunic with close sleeves, a tippet and hood,
and a mantle buttoned on the right shoulder. She wears a
veil head-dress with a mantle. The inscription has been often
printed, but probably never correctly. It is much worn, but
considerations of space show that Whitaker's transcript, for
example, cannot be accurate. As far as can now be ascertained
the legend runs :


Another interesting brass in the chapel is that of an armed
man, the work of the Yorkshire school of engravers, but much
worn and damaged. The Norton crest, a Moor's head, sur-
mounts the helmet, and is surrounded by mantling. He appears
to have worn a collar of mail, a breastplate, shoulder and
elbow pieces of moderate size, and a very short skirt of taces,
with two large and pointed tuilles strapped over a long skirt
of mail. The knee pieces have plates above and behind, the
former ornamented with small fleurs-de-lys at tne top. The
sollerets, with rounded toes, are articulated, and under his
feet is a lion. The sword is suspended from a narrow belt
crossing the taces diagonally, and to the right hand tuille
a short dagger is affixed. There is no inscription, but the
figure probably represents Sir John Norton, who died in
1489. On the west wall of the chapel are several shields
in brass, bearing the symbols of SS. Matthew, Mark,

146 Richmondshire Churches.

and Luke. They are much defaced, but are probably not earlier
than 1450, nor later than 1500. Several monuments to members
of the family of Graham of Norton Conyers adorn the walls
of the chapel. A small brass, without name or date, bears
the words :


Longstaffe has recorded that it relates to Catherine, Lady
Graham, daughter of Thomas Musgrave, of Cumcach, who died
in 1649. The remains of her monument, with effigies, and
kneeling figures of her two sons and four daughters, is imme-
diately above the brass, but it was "repaired " in 1783. Richard
Graham, son of Sir Richard Graham, Bart., died in 1680, aged
20. Sir Reginald Graham, born 1704, married Jacoba Catharina,
daughter of Col. Metcalfe Graham, of Pickhill, died 29 October,
1755. Another brass on the south wall of the chapel commemorates
the Rev. Stephen Penton, rector of the church from 1693 till
1706. It displays the arms of Penton, Per chevron, two castles-
in-chief, and a lion rampant is base ; and the following curious
inscription : " Hear lies what is left of Stephen Penton Rector
who being dead yet speaketh. Once for all my beloved par-
ishioners, since any one of you may be the next, Let every one
prepare to be so. To prepare for death, devoutly receive the
Sacrament. To prepare against sudden death, receive it often.
Make your Will while you are in good health that you may have
leisure to die wisely. And if you hope to die comfortably you
must resolve to live righteously. God send us all an happy
meeting, etc. Obiit 18 October 1706 etat suae 67."

A fine cenotaph to the Rev. Canon Brand, rector of the
church 1799-1814, is the work of Flaxman, and was erected
at the charge of Charles, Earl and afterwards Marquess of
Ailesbury, who is depicted in the act of sorrowing over the
sepulchral urn of his friend and former monitor. The portrait
of the Earl is excellent, both in face and figure.

Connected with the church were several chantries, the
earliest of which was that of Saint John the Baptist, founded
by John Appleby, rector in 1316 and 1327. On I5th August
in the latter year there is a licence in mortmain for John de
Appleby, parson of the church of Wath juxta Rypon, to alienate


To face page 147.

[C. C. Hodges, phot.


Saint Mary, Wath. 147

certain premises in Holm, Melmerby, Middleton, Rokeby Pykall,
Sutton Hougrave, and Wath, to a chaplain who shall celebrate
divine service daily in the parish church of Saint Mary at
Wath, for the soul of the said John and his ancestors, and for
all the faithful deceased. 1 John Appleby died the same year, 2
but the building of the chapel was proceeded with according
to his directions, and the chantry founded on Wednysday afore
Seynt George is day (22nd April), 1332. William Norton, rector
of Tanfield, by his will in 1405 desires to be buried in Saint
John's Chapel in Wath Church.

Chief Justice Richard Norton, by his will dated 2oth August,
1420, founded a chantry in the chapel of Saint Cuthbert at
Norton Conyers, endowing it with a piece of ground whereon
to build a house and make a garden, and eight marks yearly
payable out of the manor of Norton Conyers. John de Threske
was the first chantry priest, and on a vacancy occurring the
founder's heirs are to present within a month. Or, if they
fail to do that, the parson of Wath may present within eight
days, failing which the Chapter of St. Wilfrid within fifteen
days, then the Chapter of York within twelve days ; in failure
of all which the Ordinary to collate. In 1548 and 1554, William
Armyn was priest of the Chantry of St. Cuthbert in the chapel
of Norton Conyers ; and he died in 1558, but his will, formerly
at Richmond, cannot now be found.

A third chantry was founded in a chapel at Middleton
Quernhow by Richard de Berningham, by deed dated at Middleton
Quernhow on Monday next after the feast of St. Agatha, 1320.
Certain premises in that township were thereby bestowed in free
alms upon the abbot and convent of Jervaulx, for the maintenance
of two chaplains secular, to pray for the souls of the said Richard,
and of Treophanie and Katherine, successively his wives, and for
the souls of John, Duke of Brittany, and John, his son, Earls of
Richmond. One of the chaplains was to sing in the chapel of
St. Lawrence in Middleton Quernhow, or in the church of St. Marie
de Wath juxta Melmorby, the other to sing in the church of St.
Michael of Berningham, after the death of the said Richard, for
ever. 3

And a fourth chantry, also called by the name of Saint Lawrence,
was founded by the will of Lawrence Harrison, 3ist August, 1505, the
chaplain to say mass three days a week in thejparish|church,

1 Cal. Pat. Rolls, I Edw. Ill, p. 145-
2 Inq. p. m., I Edw. Ill, No. 140. s Plantag. Harrison, p. 287.

148 Richmondshire Churches.

and three days in the chapels of Melmerby and Middleton

The parish registers commence in 1571, but much confusion
to the whole has arisen from an attempt to keep separate
the entries of baptisms, weddings, and funerals relating to the
different townships or quarters of the parish ; and the earlier
volumes have suffered much from damp and other deterioration.
A skilful transcript of the registers was, however, made in 1855,
by Rev. John Ward, then rector of the parish, who was also
the original compiler of Fasti Riponensis.

The communion vessels are of much interest. A paten
cover of an Elizabethan cup, no longer in existence, is inscribed
with the date 1571, and has the London marks with the date
letter belonging to that year. The cup, which now is fitted to this
cover, was made in 1623 by James Plummer, a goldsmith
at York, who was free in 1616, and died 1663. His son, John
Plummer, made the fine set of altar plate at Ripon Minster.
The cup has a plain bell-shaped bowl, and a tall thin baluster
stem. A second chalice, with cover forming the paten, bears
the London marks for 1659, an< ^ tne maker's mark, P. B. An
inscription on the chalice tells us that these were the gift of
the Right Hoble Tho : Earle of Elgin to ye Parish of Wath,
An 1659 ; and the Elgin arms and crest are engraved on both
pieces. A salver, with foot, has the arms of the Graham family,
and an inscription : " The gift of Mr. Reginald Graham to the
Church of Wath, 1704." Its marks are very indistinct, but are
probably those of William Busfield, a well-known goldsmith
of York, who was free in 1679.

The church is mentioned by the name of St. Mary in the chantry
foundation of Richard de Berningham, 1320 ; and in the licence
in mortmain for John de Appleby, 1327, already alluded to.

Within a few years after 1146, the vill called Wath, with
the church and everything belonging to the vill, was bestowed
by Conan, Earl of Richmond, upon the monastery of Mont
St. Michel, in Normandy, and this was confirmed by Pope
Adrian IV in H56. 1 It seems that a cell of the monastery,
with a prior and brethren, was formed at Wath, and part of
the walls of the existing church date from this period namely
the middle of the Twelfth century. In 1184, Abbot Robert,
and the convent of Mont St. Michel, granted to Walter the

1 Dugdale's Monasticon ; Cal. Doc., France, p. 269.

Saint Mary, Wath 149

clerk, of Picale, the church of Wath in almoigne, on condition
of his making over for their use two-thirds of the offerings in
that church, and two-thirds of the tithes in wheat, and all
that is tithed, Walter receiving the other third with the land
belonging to the church and the offerings of bread and eggs
and flesh. Walter to be answerable to the bishop's justice,
and for all charges to the archbishop's officials. 1 By a some-
what later deed (about 1196), Abbot Jordan gives the church
of Wath, with its appurtenances, to Master Roger de Richemont,
Roger to pay to the prior of Wath five marks yearly, saving
the rights granted to Odo [sic] de Pikehale, who is vicar of the
church. The witnesses are the chapter of St. Michel and Sir William
de Chemilleio, Archdeacon of Richmond, and Bishop-elect of

In the reign of King John, and during the long minority
of Henry III, contentions were of frequent occurrence between
the religious houses and lay proprietors. Gernegan, son of
Hugh, Lord of Tanfield, and a powerful magnate in this district,
died in the year 1200, Avice, his only daughter and sole heir,
marrying, in 1215, Robert Marmion, a cadet of the Marmions of
Tamworth, in Warwickshire. In the igth of Henry III (1235-6),
Robertus Marmion et Avicia uxor ejus, were parties to a fine
relating to two carucates of land at Wath-juxta-Tanfelde ;
and a few years later there is a mandate by Gregory IX to
the Archbishop of York, to make inquiry and send a full report
to the Pope concerning a dispute which had arisen between
Robert Marmion and the abbot and convent of Saint Michel, in the
following circumstances. The late Count of Brittany had grant-
ed to the said monastery the manor of Wath, in the diocese
of York, and this had been confirmed by successive kings of
England ; and they have always had two monks on the manor.
But Robert Marmion, knight, of the diocese of York, claimed
that manor in right of his wife, and the predecessor of the
present abbot was summoned before the king's court, where
the said knight offered to prove by duel that the said manor
was his. This challenge, although he had other defence, the
late abbot indiscreetly accepted. The combatants fought
in the place appointed by the king, the knight bringing with
him a multitude of armed men, and the knight's champion
was more than once brought to the ground ; on which the

1 Cal. Doc., France, p. 276. 2 Ibid., p. 278.

150 Richmondshire Churches.

knight's party interfered to rescue him, and threatened death
to the abbot and his champion, so that the abbot, under fear
of instant death, came to the spot and renounced his right.
The abbot and convent pray that this renunciation, extorted
by threats and made without consent of the convent, may not
hold good. Dated 4 Kalends March, 12 Gregory IX (26th Feb-
ruary, 1239). l The above is, of course, the convent's side of
the question ; and both parties were ordered to appear per-
sonally or by proctors before the Pope within a fixed period."
However the matter may have ended at the time, we do
not hear any more of the monastery of Mont St. Michel in
connection with Wath ; and the Marmion family and their
successors in title have ever since held the manor and the

The descent of the manor of Wath and its lords is precisely
the same as that of West Tanfield, and reference may be made
to the pedigree at page 209.

In 1298, a contest arose between John Marmion, Lord of
Tanfield, and the abbot of Fountains, about the latter doing
homage to John for his holdings in Wath, Tanfield, etc.; but
the abbot producing a charter of exemption, John released
him from that service, reserving, nevertheless, all other services,
with that of his court of Thorneberg. 3

For a picture of the lawlessness of the reign of Edward II,
few records can probably surpass the description of an attack
made by the Marmions, father and son, with convocation of
their followers, upon the servants of the abbot of Fountains,
in 1314. The assailants captured two hundred sheep from
Melmerby, and ten oxen from the plough, four iron-bound wains
and the forty oxen yoked to them, on the high street of
Wath, and drove off the whole to West Tanfield ; assaulted

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