Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Roman Catholic population of Hutton Rudby, c1780 to 1830

After the Reformation, the mediaeval frescoes in Hutton Rudby parish church were whitewashed over and a wealthy parishioner left money in his Will for a pulpit to be installed, in accordance with the new Protestant emphasis on preaching.

Even so, in the late 16th century, Rudby was still known as one of the local centres of Catholicism and we know of two prominent Catholics in the parish: Sir John Ingilby and the Venerable Mary Ward.

Sir John Ingilby of Lawkland owned the manor of Rudby.  He was prosecuted for recusancy in 1604.  A labourer from Crathorne destroyed a seat in a close in Rudby which belonged to Sir John “on which the said John, an old man and lame, was wont to rest himself”. 

Mary Ward (1585-1645) lived in quietly in Rudby parish near the end of her life, after her many hard years of journeying in Europe and her struggle to found the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In 1642, during the Civil Wars, she came back to her native Yorkshire and took refuge at Hutton Rudby with her Ingilby relatives.  During her time there, Mary prayed at the shrine of Our Lady at Mount Grace.

I think we can assume that she stayed in the old manor house of Rudby, which stood beside the river Leven.  (There is nothing of it to be seen today - only a field, across the road from the church).  In this obscure corner of the Ingilby estates it seems very unlikely that the family maintained another house that could be suitable for sheltering an elderly and infirm woman and her companions.

Hutton Rudby was, in those days, a very remote place and in early 1643 Mary decided that she must move to Heworth near York, in order to be in communication with friends and supporters.  She died there on 30 January 1645.  She was the foundress of the Bar Convent, York.

Apart from Sir John and Mary Ward, we know very little of Catholics living in the village - until the baptismal registers for St Mary's in Crathorne provide us with names for the period c1780 to 1830.

In 1780 the Catholic population of Rudby parish was 13 [“Rudby-in-Cleveland:  Local Government & Society” by R P Hastings].  Working from the registers, we can say that the Rudby Catholics in 1780 probably included: 
  • Mrs Sarah Bewick, Susannah and Sarah Bewick and Mary (Bewick) Smith and her little daughter Susannah
  • Charles Young (and any family)
  • John and Margaret Wood of Middleton-on-Leven with one or two young children
  • Mary Ayrsome of East Side, Hutton, may also have been Catholic, and possibly also Thomas Ayrsome. 
(It appears that the Bewicks are the women of the family of George Bewick, who is believed to have moved to the area from Northumberland in the mid 18th century.  Some of the descendants of the Bewick men were were strongly Wesleyan Methodist.) 

A year or two later, the Bewick family was joined by the Meynell family, when in about 1783 Edward Meynell, wheelwright and publican, moved to Hutton from Crathorne.
His wife Martha Harrison was not a Catholic.  Some of their children married Protestants:
  • Mary Meynell married Reuben Bainbridge, the son of Reuben Bainbridge and Susannah Bewick 
  • Martha Meynell married James Hood.  
  • Jane Meynell married William Hansell (they appear to have had two daughters, one baptised a few months before their wedding, and another whose baptism is not recorded)
  • William Meynell, cartwright, married Helena Moss. 
The children of these mixed marriages were all baptised at Crathorne, but some were apparently educated at the Rudby school, as William Mennill and Mary Mennil are listed (in the early 1830s) as buying Anglican catechisms for their children.  It is not known how many of the next generation remained Catholic;  Edward Bainbridge, son of Reuben and Mary, became a prominent Primitive Methodist. 

In the first decade of the 19th century the Bewick/Meynell families were joined by the more families:
  • Christopher & Ann Tate (possibly originally from Appleton Wiske)
  • George & Jane Brown
  • Mr & Mrs Jackson and son William
  • Mr & Mrs Harpley from Coxwold are also mentioned, date unclear.
In 1831, when the Revd Robert Barlow arrived in the village, the Catholic population was or included:
  • Edward Meynell aged 67
  • his son Edward Meynell aged 44
  • his daughter Mary Bainbridge and seven children
  • his daughter Martha Hood and two children
  • his daughter Jane Hansell and two daughters
  • his son William, in his early thirties with two children.  
In 1833 Mary Souter is named as a godmother to William and Helena Meynell’s son George.
There were at this time two Mrs Mary Souters in Hutton:  Mary Moon, who married William Souter in Stokesley, and Mary Dalkin who married Robert Souter in Hutton Rudby.  The Dalkins were not Catholic, and it seems more likely that Mary Moon would be a possible identification.

The Meynells and the Souters both lived on East Side;  William and Mary Souter lost two children in the 1832 cholera epidemic.

NB.  This blogpost was amended on 22 July 2013, as an error relating to the Meynell family was pointed out to me by a reader.

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