top of page

Individual Farm: Littleburn Bridge and Farm

In a will date 1620, there is a bequest by Henry Gristhwaite, of Thoralby, of 40 shillings (£2) towards building Littleburn Bridge. In 2017 40 shillings was worth £263.04, see the image below form the Currency converter: 1270–2017, The National Archives indicates the what you could buy with that amount of money, perhaps the most notable one is the last one 40 days wages for a skilled tradesman.



Currency converter: 1270–2017, courtesy of The National Archives

The will of Henry Gristhwaite of Thoralby detailing his bequest of 40 shillings (£2), value today about £270 can be viewed by clicking on the buttons below for a transcription or digital copy of the entire will. Below is a copy of the section pertaining to the bequest of 40 shillings towards the building of Littleburn bridge.

© Thoralby Through Time

Transcription copy of the will

Henry Grisethwaite Thoralby 

 Yorkshire, England, Probate Records, 1521-1858

courtesy Ian Spensley

Digital copy of the will

Henry Grisethwaite  Thoralby

Yorkshire, England, Probate Records, 1521-1858

courtesy of West Yorkshire

Archive Service

In addition to the bequest towards the building of Littleburn bridge Henry Grisethwaite bequeathed to his servant Margaret Slater 20s. The following bequests, locally to the poor of the following townships: Bellerby - 10s., Constable Burton - 5s., Thoralby - 25s., Burton in Bishopdale - 5s., Newbiggin - 5s. and Aysgarth - 5s, he was not only a very wealthy man but also a philanthropic individual.


In the Survey of the Lordship of Middleham and Richmond, 1605 Thoralby Tenants, Henry Gracethwayt is listed as having the following: 1 house, 1 outhouse, 10 acres of meadow, 1 rood of arable, 3 pasture gates, 19s. 9d. paid in fines in the last year, 9s. 10½d. yearly rent to the King and £2 15s. 10d. as value of things held.

It is likely that the bridge was built soon after 1620. The bridge is Grade II listed with Historic England, but no date is given.


In Jane Hatchers book Richmondshire Architecture (1990). Littleburn Hall [House], she dates "the rear elevation chamfered windows as c.1700. The round-arched landing window (see images below) is one of the improvements made a century later when it was the the home of the fourth Baron Rokeby"[early 1800s see below].






Courtesy of Jane Hatcher 

Richmondshire Architecture (1990)


Littleburn bridge is not shown on ‘Jeffreys Map of Yorkshire’ of 1771, which is inconclusive. Yet in the County Record Office at Northallerton the bridge is mentioned in the Quarter Session Records when one of the inhabitants of the village asks for respite for repairs to the bridge which have been prevented by bad weather 2 May 1791. 


In the Quarter Session Records in a Letter dated 2 May 1791 relating to Littleburn Bridge in Thoralby from John Breare at Middleham to William Wailes esquire at Northallerton. He is unable to attend the Sessions and asks for a respite in the case against the inhabitants of Thoralby for not repairing Littleburn Bridge. Repairs have been prevented by bad weather, and when the weather settles, the bridge will be completed.

(Information courtesy of Ian Spensley NYCRO:  QSB 1791 2/4/4)

Evidence of Littleburn from Aysgarth Parish Registers

The earliest record in Aysgarth Parish Registers is in 1725/6 when Littleburn is mentioned January 1725/6 when the death and burial of William Sadler of Littleburn is recorded. 

In December 1748 the baptism of a son Tristram of Mr. Hogg Littleburn is recorded. The last baptism of a member of the Hogg family was in 1756. 

Monumental Inscription: Here lies the body of Tristram Hogg (1701-1755) of Littleburn near Thoralby who departed this life July 4th in the 54th year if his age and in the year of our Lord 1755.

The next family to live at Littleburn were Robert Tennant (1729-1807) and his family. Robert had been successful at breeding blue roan race horses and he used some of his wealth to purchase Littleburn House. In May 1781, Robert's daughter Ann Tennant (1757-1843) of Littleburn appears in the Aysgarth Parish Registers when she married Rev. James Law (1755-1831) Aysgarth curate, on 3 May 1781. The couple obviously resided at her parents home as a daughter is baptised three years later. Rev. Law as well as being Aysgarth curate was the school master at Cross Lanes School from 1779-1784.


In July 1788, Robert's son Christopher Tennant (1761-1835), of Littleburn married Mary Purchas (1769-1847) of West Burton. Christopher was also the school master at Cross Lanes School. However his conduct was deemed unsatisfactory and the Trustees tried unsuccessfully to have him removed. Christopher appears to have squandered his fathers money and left his wife and children with little means of supporting themselves, becoming labours rather than gentlemen! 

(Information courtesy of Valerie Slater and her book:

A Coverdale Clergymen, The Life, Family and Times of the Reverend James Law 1755-1831 (2021)

Following the death of Robert Tennant of Littleburn in 1807. The house was sold by auction, described as "A neat, commodious dwelling ... with about 20 acres of land of the first quality," Robert also had a "Half share of the Corn Mill at Thoralby in full work and good repair", see auction advertisement below:

© Thoralby Through Time

Sale of Littleburn in 1807.

© Thoralby Through Time

Below is a postcard of Littleburn House, date unknown.