From The Ripon Historian Vol. 4 No.1 January 1999

(*Author’s name held for privacy)

    The following article was published in The Ripon Gazette and Observer in October 1941, because the GATENBY family were then celebrating their 500 years of farming at Chapel Garths.


    During a period of over 500 years, twenty generations of the Gatenby family have lived in Chapel Garths Farm, Harrogate Road, Ripon, and, so far as is known they were the first people to farm in the vicinity. All the male members of the family have been named Thomas with one exception, Mr. John Gatenby, who died 23 years ago (1918). This change of Christian name was said to have broken the family's good luck, so the present Mr. Gatenby is called Thomas like his forefathers. He represents the nineteenth generation, and his daughter Mary, who is fifteen, the twentieth generation. Mary loves farming and says she intends to follow in her father's footsteps. She gallops over the fields on Peggy, her pony, and takes a great interest in everything connected with the land. In the farmhouse there is a chair which Mrs. James Scatchard (who before her marriage was Miss Margaret Gatenby) used to sit in, and this is now Mary's special chair.    

    The farm is situated on land where the Markentield Hall Chapel of Ease for monks used to stand. The present house is comparatively new, the old farm having been demolished some years ago, and the site is occupied by a Dutch barn built by the late Mr. John Gatenby. Another barn in the vicinity is made from masonry and oak beams from the old chapel.

    Walking over Chapel Close, the field near the farm where the Chapel of Ease once stood, clearly defined traces of the square walls of rooms and cloisters may be seen under the grass, and it is said there are also ancient monastic graves nearby."

    As a child* I enjoyed my visits to my mother's cousin Thomas, who was the last of the line. His daughter Mary did not follow in her father's footsteps and ill-health caused Thomas to retire around 1973.

Generation 1. MARY GATENBY was born at Chapel Garths on 28th June 1860. A tapestry embroidered by her recording all these facts. She was one of five(?) children. Her eldest brother Thomas died aged 21, and the other brother John took over, thus breaking the continuity of the name Thomas. Mary married Joseph BURRILL from Broadfields, the farm opposite.

Generation 2. Mary's parents were Thomas GATENBY, who died on 1st December 1904, and Sarah (nee COLLIER). Their gravestone is extant in Ripon Cathedral yard. Sarah was a daughter of John COLLIER and Ann (nee COATES) of Ripon. John was schoolmaster at Burton Leonard from llround 1812 to 1829. He then took up farming at Brearton, later returning to the family farm at Littlethorpe. His father was a Matthew COLLIER.

Generation 3. The Thomas GATENBY baptised on 30th July 1792 was buried on 26th March 1879. He was married to Sarah SKAIFE, daughter of Thomas SKAIFE and Hannah (nee HARDISTY). The SKAIFES were of Braisty Woods, Hartwith. The Hardistys of Blubberhouses include Mary (nee WARDMAN of Blubberhouses Hall). A Thomas SKAIFE circa 1650 married Ann BILTON whose ancestors are also those of William STUBBS (1825 - 1901) who became Bishop of Oxford.

Generation 4. This Thomas GATENBY was baptised 6th October 1768 and was buried on 1st September 1823 at Ripon Cathedral. He was married to Mary WALBRAN daughter of Thomas WALBRAN and Mary of Quarry Moor House, next to Chapel Garths

Generation 5. Thomas GATENBY was born in 1732 and was buried on 13th September 1815 at Ripon Cathedral, aged 83. He was married to Elizabeth BAYNE on 13th January 1768. She had a mother named Isobel, a widow, who was buried from Chapel Garths on 4th January 1776.

Generation 6. This Thomas GATENBY was buried on 4th September 1767 at Ripon. He was married to Ruth MITCHELL of Cundall, birth in Cundall in 1718. They were at Chapel Garths for the birth of their first two children. They then moved to Clott House, Aldborough for around twenty years, moving back to Chapel Garths about 1740.

Generation 7. Thomas GATENBY who was buried on 5th April 1740 at Ripon was married to Mary CASS, daughter of Francis CASS(E) of Sessay on 16th April, 1689. I believe Francis to be the son of another Francis CASSE. This Thomas GATENBY could be the one who lived at Baxbie, Coxwold, as he had several children baptised there whose names match up to those in his Will.

    The 1800 census' show Chapel Garths to be 138 acres. Interestingly Yorkshire Deeds p. 154 shows a small curtilage called Chapelgarth in the village and common fields of Thrintoft, which, in 1586, is described as sold from John AUBREY and John RADCLYFF to Edmund NORTON of Norton Conyers. An A GAYTONBY (no Christian name - possibly Anthony?) was witness. Thrintoft is in the parish of Ainderby Steeple, 4 miles west of Northallerton, and could prove an association or possibly through the Gaytonby’s of Gaytonby pedigrees? - see Gaytonby of Gatonby

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