Bellerby Study Group

As Others See Us

1000 Years of Written History

Extracts from the writings about BELLERBY presented at the Last Members' Meeting of the Millennium December 1st 1999
Ron Spencer

In Bellerby, 6 carucates taxable, 6 ploughs possible, Thorr had a manor there. Now Enisant has there 1 plough and 13 villagers and 2 smallholders with 4 ploughs. Meadow 8 acres. The whole I league long and wide.
Value before 1066 32s now the same

Note: 32s makes Bellerby the most valuable parish in the area. Barden, Coverham, Leyburn, and Middleham had all been laid waste by the "Harrowing of the North" by William the Conqueror and only Bedale and Harmby came close at 30s each. All the rest were valued at 20s or less.

Bellerby - The Name

The Spelling of the name has varied down the early years. In his 1928 book, Smith gives the following names and its origin. Other theories abound, but all agree the name is that of a 10th Centuary Danish settlement, possibly on the site of much earlier occupation.

1086 Domesday Book BELGEBI
1166 Pipe Rolls BELEHERBI
1167 Pipe Rolls BELEG'BI
1231 Yorkshire Feet of Fines BELLEHERBY
1235 Easby Cartulary BELLIERBY
1244 Yorkshire Assize Roll BELGERBY
1285 Kirkbl' Inquest BELLERBY

Belg's farm Belg is from the Old Norse by-name Belgr derived from the Old Norse Belgjar "bellows" and then belgr "withered dry old man"

Legal Documents

Bellerby Court Rolls
NYCR Office has copies of 5 Courts held in Bellerby between 1418 and 1443. As these are in Latin I have not copied them. The Lord of the Manor holding these courts is given as William, Lord Fitzhugh.

The last recorded manor court was held on 30th April 1863 with Thomas Topham as Steward for the Lord of the Manor, John Osbourne. (This was the father of "Honest John" Osbourne, the jockey, who ran a horse called Bellerby at the local races). The court fined those found wilfully soiling water supply or turning it out of its course: also those found piling stones, manure, and rubbish on the streets and highways.

Two extracts from The Extent of the Honour of Richmond in the County of York by Knights' Fees in the Time of King Henry VII (1485 - 1509)

Page 20 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in his demesne as of fee of 4 carucates of land with the appurtenances at Bellerby held of the king in honour of Richmond as the 3rd part of 1 knight's fee and worth yearly 20 marks. He died 20th April 4 Henry VII (ie 1489) and Henry Percy son & heir was then aged 10.
Page 22 One messuage and two bovates of land with the appurtenances in Bellerby held of Henry, Lord Scrope of Bolton, who held of the king in capite of the said honor of the yearly value of 20s

Extracts from the Topham Papers

1646/47 7 Jan Bargain & sale for £3860: Thomas Metcalfe of Bellerby esq. and Adryan Metcalfe of par. St Martin in the Field esq. to Philip Box of London, grocer and George Sedgewick of Westminster, gent - manor, manor house and water mill of Bellerby and 7 cotts in Bellerby…… & moiety of 3 farms in Bellerby.

Extracts from North Yorkshire County Records

1 Aug 1562 Charter form grant

Robert Bowes, Darton to Richard Pacocke, of Bellerby, Husbandman, for £22.15s0d paid beforehand of a moiety of one messuage & of 3 closes containing 6 acres meadow and half of 14 acres land and meadowin Bellerby and all his land and tenements, woods etc. lying in Bellerby 100 RP and of the annual value of 8s.11d, which land and tenements a certain George Bowes Kt. and said RP lately purchased of the Right Honourable William, Marquess of Essex, Lord Parr, Marmyon de Saynt Quintin and Baron of Kendall and which the said Marquess had of a gift and grant of Philip and Mary, Late King and Queen of England etc. as more fully appears in their letters patent bearing date 8 Aug a.r.6 & 6.