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North Riding
Spennithorne railway station (site), Yorkshire.jpg
Spennithorne Railway Station Site
Grid reference: SE136890
Location: 54°17’48"N, 1°47’30"W
Population: 198  (2011, with Hutton Hang)
Post town: Leyburn
Postcode: DL8
Local Government
Council: North Yorkshire

Spennithorne is a village in lower Wensleydale in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The village is two miles south-east of the market town Leyburn, on a slight elevation above the River Ure, which forms the southern boundary of the parish.[1] The village is overlooked by the steeple of St Michael and All Angels Church.[2]

Spennithorne is approximately four miles east of the bounds of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.


Although Spennithorne dates from Saxon times, there are very few facts recorded relating to its history. At the period of the Norman Conquest, Alan Rufus, to whom the Conqueror gave the whole of Richmondshire, distributed his lands among his retainers in feudal fashion, and in this division Spennithorne and Middleham were allotted to his brother, Ribal Fitzrandolph.[3]

In the Domesday Book Spennithorne is referred to as "Speningtorp", believed to be from "Spening", or a prickly thorn; and so 'Prickly thorn village'.

Harmby Beck flows into the River Ure near the village, here perhaps was Spennithorne Mill in existence in 1301, however there is no trace of its remains.[4]

From 1856 on, the village was served by Spennithorne railway station, mile north-east of the village.

In 1870–72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Spennithorne as:

a township and a parish in Leyburn district, N. R. Yorkshire. The township lies on the river Ure, near the Leyburn railway, 2 miles SE by E of Leyburn; and has a station on the railway, and a post-office under Bedale. Acres, 1,280. Real property, £2,457. Pop., 198. Houses, 45. The parish includes two other townships, and comprises 4,680 acres. Pop., 852. Houses, 191. The property is much subdivided. S. Hall is a chief residence. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £425. Patron, M. Wyvill, Esq. The church is ancient. The p. curacy of Bellerby is a separate benefice. Hutchinson, the Hebraist, was a native.[1]

Parish church

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Spennithorne

St Michael and All Angels Church, a Grade I listed building is said to have been erected by Robert Fitzrandolph in AD 1166. The Church was completely demolished to make way for its Norman successor with only two or three small fragments being discovered: two stones with Runic ornament which have been built into the east wall of the chancel; and a Saxon monument recently discovered under the floor of the chancel which has now been placed in the wall of the vestry. The interior of the church also contains tablets to the family of Chaytor.[5] By the mid-12th century, St Michael and All Angels Church had been built and enlarged.

The existing church tower dates back to around the 14th century when the aisles were also widened to their current width, along with the channel being rebuilt and extended eastwards to its present length with the vestry being added on the north side.

In 1872 the church was again thoroughly restored, costing around £2,000. The work was carried out under plans prepared by Mr Fowler Jones of York who preserved all the old fabric which was capable of restoration, with all construction done in strict conformity with the style of the original building.[3] The structure of the church now resembles a mediæval building of which majority remains in the 21st century. In the 1970s and 1980s Spennithorne church featured in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small.[6][7]

About the village

Spennithorne Hall

Spennithorne Hall, the seat of C. D. Chaytor, Esq., J.P., dating back mainly to the early 18th century is best seen from the hillside to the east of Middleham. The Hall is a Grade II listed building and is described as "a handsome mansion, occupying a delightful situation".[3]

Thorney Hall is another mansion in this township, the seat and property of the Hon. A. C. Orde-Powlett. Set within five acres of formal garden and woodland, claiming to have "the finest view in all Yorkshire" Thorney Hall lies in the heart of Wensleydale.[8]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Spennithorne)