The attached is a brief history of Londesborough, extracted from David Neave’s brilliant book, commissioned to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Copies of the updated version of ‘Londesborough: History of an East Yorkshire Estate Village’ are available at the cost of £4.00. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details of how to obtain a copy.
- The remains of a Roman road, thought to link Brough with Malton were found in the 18th century, along with coins and pottery of the same period, suggesting the time of the earliest settlement at Londesborough to be the third century.
- An Anglo-Saxon cemetery dating from the sixth-century, appears to provide evidence that the village continued to thrive. Legend has it that Londesborough was the site of King Edwin Palace and where, in the year 626 was converted to Christianity. a more likely settlement however, is Goodmanham.
- The Doomsday Book records 3 further settlements within the parish: Easthorpe, Towthorpe and Cleaving.
- The humps and bumps in the field near Easthorpe Farm reveal the site of the village, which was raised to the ground during the landscaping of the Park in the 1730s.
- The remains of Towthorpe are slightly less obvious; however an interpretation panel on the public footpath offers an idea of the layout. It is thought that the village was abandoned after the Black Death hit the Londesborough Parish. Towthorpe was known locally as ‘Towthorpe in the Thistles’ revealing that the land there was poor . It has been suggested that the inhabitants did not all die of the plague but moved to where a better living could be made. The Black Death of 1349 killed a large proportion of the population, which ironically had a beneficial effect on the survivors. Towthorpe’s villagers would not have had to go far to find better land, freed-up by the death of less fortunate victims of the disease.
At Cleaving the moat is still visible and now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Records illustrate the village to be the site where John de Cleving murdered his wife’s brother, Hugh and later declared an outlaw. The crime was committed during a party at the outlaw’s house. The court also listed that 8 other male revellers that were present and that should be ‘taken‘.
Lords of the Manor and their influence on the village
- At the time of the conquest, the land at Londesborough belonged to the Arch Bishop of York, forming part of the Everingham estate.
- The Manor was tenanted to the Fitzherbert family between the early 12th and late 14th century, before passing through marriage to the Broomfleets in 1389. The estate passed again through marriage of a female heiress to Lord Clifford who became known as both as ‘the Butcher’ and ‘Bloody Clifford’ such was his ruthless behaviour during the Wars of the Roses. Legend has it that after Clifford was killed the night before the Battle of Towton, his wife sent their son Henry to Londesborough to be brought up as a shepherd, in order to save him from Yorkist retribution. Henry, ‘The Shepherd Lord’s’ lands were reinstated by Henry VII in 1485.
- 1643, Richard Boyle, the Earl of Cork and later, the 1st Earl of Burlington, inherited the Estate after the death of his Father-in-Law Henry Clifford. Burlington spent much time and money improving and extending the Elizabethan house that has been built by the Cliffords. It is thought that Lady Burlington was responsible for the changes, which also included the grounds and village. It was at this time that the deer arches, stables and Alms Houses were built.
- The house and grounds were further improved by the 3rd Earl of Burlington, who became a great patron of the Arts and an architect in his own right, designing amongst many other fine building, the Assembly Rooms in York and also Chiswick House. It is no accident that the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly is sited in Burlington House, as this was his London residence. The landscaping at Londesborough, during the 1730s included demolishing the village of Easthorpe, to improve the view from the house and also cottages that surrounded the Church to make way for ‘The Wilderness’.
- Between 1753-1845, the Estate was owned by the Devonshire family , who spent little time at Londesborough. Sadly , the house was neglected, as the family favoured their residence at Chatsworth and in 1818, the decision was made to demolish the old hall. During the following years, the surrounding farmland was enclosed and the origins of the present hall (then known as The Shooting Box) was erected. In 1845, the estate was sold to George Hudson (The Railway King) who owned Londesborough for a brief period of five years, principally to block a rival railway company from gaining the line between York and Market Weighton.
- Londesborough was sold again in 1850 to Lord Albert Denison , later known as Lord Londesborough. The Estate enjoyed a renaissance period during it’s time in the hands of the Londesborough family, who spent vast amounts improving the buildings and grounds, which teemed with servants and therefore offered employment locally. May parties, fetes and festivities were enjoyed during this period, as well as sporting events, including golf, cricket and shooting . The latter attracted numerous visits from both Edward VII and George V, whose presence motivated even more building projects to be carried out, including that of the concert Hall, which originally served as a Laundry for the Hall.
From the early years of the Estate was leased to various tenants, before eventually being bought by Mr and Mrs Lupton-Booth, wealthy mill owners from the West Riding., who in turn left the Estate to his Godson, Dr. R.F Ashwin.