Hambleton parish population estimate 480 (2000)
Raskelf - a History
The name of the village of Raskelf can be traced back to the words ra (roe deer) and skelf (shelf), which implies that roe deer would have been found on the shelf of land, or ridge, where Raskelf now stands, and which originally formed part of the Forest of Galtres. The name is spelt Rascill in the Domesday Book, and is often pronounced like this today.
On the Tholthorpe road is the hamlet known as The Green. The deeds of the Parish Hall mention the road to Easingwold as a bridle road. This Parish Hall, erected as a chapel in 1835, was purchased by the Parish Council in 1895 when a new chapel was built in the main street opposite to the Old Black Bull Inn.
B M Wilmot-Dobbie's book on pinfolds describes Raskelf's as follows:
At the cross roads in the centre of the village stands the Old Pinfold. It is octagonal in shape, 10" brick walls about 11 feet high and castellated. A pointed doorway and arched barred windows, 18th century. Unique design quite Gothic.
The Three Tuns Inn also stands at the crossroads and in times gone by was known as the Peacock Inn. This name was derived from one of the Nevilles of Raby Castle, Co Durham, one Robert Neville, known as the Peacock of the North. He was slain at Berwick in 1318. His father was Ralph Neville, hero of Neville's Cross and connected with Sheriff Hutton and Middleham. During the Middle Ages the Nevilles were Lords of the Manor at Raskelf, which is evidenced in the beautiful church of St Mary's, where the capital of the central pillar of the old wooden arcade bears a shield with the arms of the Nevilles.
Raskelf church is also well known for its unusual timber tower, which probably dates back to the late 15th century. An old rhyme ran something like,
Raskell Town and Rascal People,
Drunken Parson and Wooden Church Steeple.
Cicely Neville, known as "the rose of Raby", was the mother of Edward IV and Richard III. One of the towers at Raby Castle is called Mount Raskelf after the manor at Raskelf which stood near the church. When Richard III was at Sheriff Hutton Castle, he hunted at Raskelf.
Lady Barbara Belasyse, daughter of Lord Belasyse, married Sir John Webb, Bart. Lady Barbara was the heiress to Raskelf. She died without leaving an heir and the estate passed to the Webbs, where it remained for most of the 18th and 19th centuries, and was sold to the Church Commissioners in 1876. In the north chapel of the church is a tablet to the memory of Captain Augustus Frederick Cavendish Webb of the 17th Lancers, who died of wounds received in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1854.
Some distance to the west of the village, on Raskelf Farm and Park House Farm, is the "double dyke", or "double jump", which runs for about three quarters of a mile on the boundary of the deer park. The Hall pond, about 160 yards long by 30 yards wide, is still to be seen.
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"RASKELF, in the parish of Easingwold, and wapentake of Bulmer; 2.5 miles W. of Easingwold. The Church is a perpetual curacy, dedicated to St. Mary, which is in the patronage of the Bishop of Chester, and of which the Rev. F. Blackburn. is incumbent, has a wooden steeple, and the whole pile is rapidly hastening to ruin. Pop. 440.
The windows of this church, exhibit in rich painted glass the arms, of Nevile, Lord Dacre, Scropes of Masham and Bolton, &c.
In the year 1623, Ralph Reynard and Mark Dun were tried for the murder of a respectable yeoman, of the name of Fletcher, who lived at or near this village they were both convicted and executed, together with the wife of Fletcher, who was proved to have had a share in the horrid transaction."