Wapentake of Bulmer – Electoral Division of Stillington – Petty Sessional Division of Bulmer West – Poor Law Union and County Court District of Easingwold – Rural Deanery of Easingwold – Archdeaconry of Cleveland – Diocese of York.
This parish, written also Bransby, is situated among the Howardian hills, and comprises an area of 3,048 acres, chiefly the property of Hugh Charles Fairfax Cholmeley, Esq.
The soil, which varies in different situations, is rich in the vale and light on the hills. The scenery, in many places, is beautiful and picturesque. Good limestone is quarried for building and other purposes. There are no dependent townships; rateable value, £3,214, and population, 300.
The name of the place indicates its Danish origin. Brand, a Dane, having taken forcible possession of this part of the forest of Galtres, fixed his by or habitation here, and another village, which arose about a mile further east, was called, from its situation, Esteresbi, now corrupted into Steresby.
From the Domesday Book we learn that, at the time of the Conquest, Cnut (evidently a Dane) had, in the manor of Branshi and Esterisby, eleven carucates of land, rateable to the gelt. There was a church and also a priest. Soon after that event, it was given by the Conqueror to Roger de Mowbray, and was held of that powerful baron by Nicholas de Riparia or de la Ryver, and by the latter name the family became known in later times.
The Riparias were of Norman extraction, and first came into England with William the Conqueror. They were seated here from an early period. Richard de la Ryver was lord of Brandsby in the latter part of the 13th century, as we learn from Testa de Nevill, and in 1279, gave to the monks of Byland and their men, free passage through his wood of Brandsby, The manor and estate remained in the possession of this family until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when Jane, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas de la River, conveyed the Brandsby and Brafferton estates in marriage to Roger Cholmeley, Esq., second son of Sir Richard Cholmeley by his first wife, Margaret, daughter of William, Lord Conyers.
This ancient and distinguished Yorkshire family was descended from the Cholmondeleys, barons of Malpas, in Cheshire. Sir Roger Cholmeley, an illegitimate son, was Lord Chief Justice of England, and another Sir Roger, called “the Black Knight of the North,” was the father of the above Sir Richard. Many of the family have distinguished themselves in the service of their country. Sir Richard, before alluded to, was a valiant soldier, and received the honour of knighthood at Leith, in 1544. Sir Hugh Cholmeley, of Whitby, descended from Sir Richard by his second marriage, bravely defended the castle of Scarborough against the parliamentarian army, for upwards of twelve months, in the great civil war which culminated in the execution of Charles I. Another Hugh Cholmeley was high sheriff of Yorkshire in 1724.
The present owner of Brandsby, and representative of this branch of the family, is Hugh Charles Fairfax Cholmeley, Esq., who succeeded to the estate on the death of his father, Thomas Charles Fairfax Cholmeley, Esq., on the 11th of April, 1889. The late Captain Fairfax Cholmeley, R.N., was the third son of Francis Cholmeley, Esq., and inherited the estate on the death of his nephew, Francis Henry Cholmeley, Esq., in 1876. In 1885, by the death of Mrs. Lavinia Barnes (nee Fairfax), of GillingCastle, he succeeded to that estate, and assumed the name of Fairfax in addition to Cholmeley. He married Rosalie, daughter of Charles Strickland, Esq.
Brandsby Hall is a spacious modern freestone structure, erected on the site of the old mansion of the Rivers’s in 1745. The style is Italian. The interior stucco work was by a Signor Curtizzi, and it is probable that the exterior was by the same hand. The house stands on the edge of the plain of York, and commands extensive views of the surrounding country. There is a very neat Catholic chapel in the hall, in which a priest from AmpleforthCollege officiates every Sunday.
Steresby village or Stearsby village and estate formerly belonged to a family named Bridesale or Birdsall, one of whom, Robert de Bridesale, gave two carucates of land in Steresby to the Abbey of St. Mary’s York; and another member of the family was sheriff of York in 1383.
The village of Brandsby is picturesquely seated on an eminence embosomed in wood, and is distant about five miles E.N.E. of Easingwold. The church (All Saints) is a neat stone edifice, in the Italian style, surmounted by a handsome cupola rising from the centre of the roof, and supported on four arches resting on pillars. In 1716, a faculty was granted for the removal of the old church to another site, and in 1770, the present one was built at the expense of Francis Cholmeley, Esq., except the small sum of £45 which was paid by the parish.
On the north side are emblazoned the arms of the Cholmeleys. Several of the windows are stained glass memorials. The living is a rectory in the patronage of the lord of the manor, and worth £586 per annum, the commuted value of the tithes. There are 68 acres of glebe land and a good residence. Present rector, the Rev. P. F. Swann, M.A.
The following benefactions to the poor are recorded on a board in the church Mrs. Bawdon, £30; Anthony Hardwick, £40; William Hebden, £20; Ed. and Mary Belwood, £10; Law. Littlefare, a rent-charge of 40s. per annum; William Smith, a late rector, £50; and Samuel Wiley, £109 11s. 9d.
Description(s) from Bulmer’s History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890).