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West Riding
The Chequers at Bilton-in-Ainsty.jpg
The Chequers, Bilton-in-Ainsty
Grid reference: SE476500
Location: 53°56’40"N, 1°16’30"W
Post town: York
Postcode: YO26
Local Government
Council: Harrogate
Selby and Ainsty

Bilton-in-Ainsty is a village in the Ainsty of York, within the West Riding of Yorkshire. It stands about four miles east of Wetherby and eight miles west of York.

The village is situated on the B1224 York to Wetherby road and is surrounded by farmland. The nearest villages are Long Marston a mile and a half to the east, Tockwith a mile and a half to the north and Bickerton the same distance to the west. There is no road access to the south of the village.

The village has a church and a pub, The Chequers. There are public footpaths are strung across the fields to Tockwith to the north, Healaugh to the south-east, Wighill to the south and Syningthwaite to the south-west.

Parish church

St Helen, Bilton-In-Ainsty

St Helen's Parish Church is a Grade I listed building.[1] Standing at the crossroads with the main road, it was built in the Norman style in 1166. It was associated with the Syningthwaite Cistercian nunnery founded about the same time and dissolved in 1535. The church underwent restoration around 1870 under the direction of George Gilbert Scott. It contains two mediæval sheela na gig figurative carvings, as well as a carving of a mermaid pulling her tresses, several corbels, a cross from the Anglo-Saxon period, and other carved fragments.[2][3]

About the village

Bilton Hall became a Grade II listed building in 1966, cited as a "small country house. Early-mid C18 with extensions and alterations c. 1865."[4] Also listed Grade II at that time was a private house known as Bilton Brow. It has a style similar to the additions to Bilton Hall.[5]

One building converted to residential use is an 1845 Wesleyan chapel and Sunday school.[6] The village school, likewise Grade II listed and converted to residential use, was founded by Hall Plumer in 1801, closed in 1928, and then served as a village hall until 1973.[7]


A Bronze Age hoard was discovered on Bilton Moor, pointing to prehistoric habitation. Bilton is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning Bilo's or Billa's Homestead. Ainsty was the name of the wapentake. The village appears in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Biletone of the Annesti (Bilton in Ainsty). The parish registers go back in 1571 and record for 1644 the burial of several soldiers killed in the nearby Battle of Marston Moor, after which some Royalist prisoners were held in the church. Bilton Hall and its manor passed to the Plumer family in the 18th century, who established a school in 1801.

John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870–72) described Bilton, then including not only Bickerton, but Tockwith, as follows:

"BILTON, a township, a parish, and a subdistrict in the district of Tadcaster, W. R. Yorkshire. The township lies on the York and High Harrogate railway, near Hammerton station, 5 miles ENE of Wetherby; and has a post office under York. Acres, 1,460.-Real property, £2,606. Pop., 242. Houses, 44. The parish includes also the townships of Bickerton and Tockwith. Acres, 4,150. Real property, £6,894. Pop., 926 Houses, 201. A Cistercian nunnery was founded here, at Symingthwaite, about 1,160, by Bertram de Haget. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of York Value. £300.* Patron, the Prebendary of Bilton. Tockwith was made a separate benefice in 1867. There are two Wesleyan chapels and an endowed school.-The subdistrict comprises two parishes and two parts. Pop., 1,493."[8]


Bilton-in-Ainsty has a village cricket club, the BIACC, founded in 1932. The club plays in the York and District League Galtres Division 2 and Wetherby League Division 3. It is nicknamed the Frogs for its team badge.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bilton-in-Ainsty)


  1. National Heritage List 1315388: Church of St Helen, Bilton-in-Ainsty (Grade I listing)
  2. Sheela Na Gig project, with three photographs
  3. Megalithic Portal: Sheelanagig
  4. National Heritage List : Bilton Hall (Grade II listing) @Bilton Hall
  5. National Heritage List : Bilton Brow (Grade II listing) @Bilton Brow
  6. Bilton in Ainsty Conservation...
  7. National Heritage List 1150362: Old School House (Grade @ listing)
  8. Bilton in Ainsty on Vision of Britain
  • W. V. Crapp: Some Historical Notes on the Parish and Parish Church of St Helen's, Bilton in Ainsty with Bickerton, 1973