The Ancient Parish of COVERHAM

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"COVERHAM, a parish in the wapentake of Hang West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 1½ mile SW. of Middleham. Here was a priory, of the order of the Proemonstratenses, founded by Ralph, son of Robert Lord of Middleham, about the 14th year of King John. The ruins of the Abbey are scattered about in Coverdale, so called from the river which runs through it. The Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a neat structure, the living a curacy; patron, the Rev. S. Hardcastle; incumbent, the Rev. William Otter; officiating curate, the Rev. James Law. It is worthy of remark, that, though the church-yard contains little more than an acre of ground, yet, from a sudden descent along the SE. side of it, a person stationed in this part of the burial ground can neither see the church nor hear the bells; the sudden rise of the churchyard, entirely obstructing the view of the church, and the noise of a waterfall drowning the sound of the bells. Pop. with Agglethorpe, 131."

Information on the following places in this Parish is contained on a supplementary page.
  • Agglethorpe
  • Arkleside
  • Arundel Grange
  • Ashgill
  • Blackrake
  • Borkesgill
  • Bracken Gill Lodge
  • Braidley
  • Caldbergh
  • Carlton
  • Cotescue
  • Cover Bridge
  • Coverham Abbey
  • Coverhead
  • Gammersgill
  • Hindlethwaite
  • Horsehouse
  • Melmerby
  • Pen Hill
  • Pickle
  • Saint Simons' Chapel
  • Sowersett
  • Swineside
  • Tupgill
  • West Scrafton
  • Woodale
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]


  • Please see Christine Amsden's Census pages for the following Census transcriptions:
    • Caldbergh
      • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901
    • Carlton
      • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901
    • Carlton Highdale
      • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901
    • Coverham
      • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, 1901
    • Melmerby
      • 1841, 1851, 1891, 1901


  • Here are photographs of Churches etc. in the parish:
    • Holy Trinity Church, Coverham.
    • The Methodist Church, Melmerby. (The Church's website is here.)
    • Carlton Mission Room, Carlton.
    • The Methodist Church, Carlton, founded 1815. (The Church's website is here.)
    • The Methodist Chapel, West Scrafton. This chapel was originally the Primitive Methodist Chapel and the final service was on 21st December 2014.
    • Here is a photograph of St Botolph's Church, Horsehouse.
      • Unfortunately, this beautiful church is now on the point of falling into disrepair, mainly because the crisis in farming has led to a decline in rural life, and a consequent drop in the income of the Coverdale Churches' Committee. This Committee would like to know if any organisations or anyone (perhaps in America?) who maybe has local connections and would be prepared to help them.

        They say "I know it is cheeky to contact you in this way, but we are desperate. It would be a tragedy for future generations if such a lovely ancient building were lost from the community."

        If you know of anyone at all who may be able to help in any way, please let them know.
        Many thanks,
        Anne Readshaw (September, 1999)

        Mrs A. Readshaw
        Secretary, Coverdale Churches' Committee
        School House
        North Yorkshire
        DL8 4TS


Church History


Church Records


Description & Travel

  • Here are two photographs of Caldbergh, Coverdale:








You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SE104863 (Lat/Lon: 54.272248, -1.841803), Coverham which are provided by:


Memorial Inscriptions