Bilton with Harrogate, Yorkshire Family History Guide

Bilton with Harrogate is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Yorkshire, created in 1829 from chapelry in Knaresborough Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Harrogate.

Alternative names: High Harrogate Christ Church, Bilton

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1748
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1817

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Spofforth
  • Knaresborough
  • Nidd
  • Farnham
  • Pannal
  • Low Harrogate
  • Ripley
  • Brearton

Parish History


A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

HARROGATE, a celebrated watering-place, comprising the villages of High and Low Harrogate, of which the former, with the hamlet of Bilton, constitutes a township in the parish of Knaresborough, and the latter is in the parish of Pannal, Lower division of the wapentake of Claro, W. riding of York, 15 miles (N.) from Leeds, 21 (W. by N.) from York, and 200 (N. N. W.) from London; containing, exclusively of Low Harrogate, 3372 inhabitants. This place, which is within the limits of the ancient forest of Knaresborough, derives it name, originally Heywraygate, from its situation on the road from Knaresborough to Heywray, now Haverah Park; and, prior to the discovery of its mineral waters, consisted only of a few farmhouses and widelyscattered cottages on a barren heath. About the year 1571, Captain Slingsby, of Scriven, after his return from Westphalia, found a spring in the forest of Knaresborough, which resembled, in its properties, the waters from which he had derived much benefit abroad; this spring is now the source of the old Harrogate spa. The Tewit Well was subsequently discovered, and both the springs gradually attracted public notice for nearly a century before any provisions were made for the reception of the increasing number of visiters, till, in the year 1687, an inn, now the “Queen,” was erected for their accommodation, to which another, now the “Royal Oak,” was subsequently added. The town has since by degrees become extensive, and is at present one of the most fashionable and best frequented watering-places in the kingdom.

High Harrogate is finely situated on an eminence, commanding a richly varied prospect bounded by the mountains of Craven, the hills of Hambleton, and the wolds of Yorkshire; and is connected with Low Harrogate, in a valley to the west, by ranges of houses of modern erection, which, from their position between the two villages, have been called Central Harrogate. The houses are chiefly of stone, and many that have been built for visiters are spacious. There are several hotels, containing suites of apartments affording every accommodation for families of the first class; and attached to the principal are pleasure-grounds laid out with great taste, and embellished with shrubberies and plantations. The pump-rooms, baths, and assembly-rooms, also, are of the first order. In High Harrogate are a subscription library, and a repository, with a museum of fossils, shells, minerals, birds, and insects: there is likewise a library at Low Harrogate. Assemblies and concerts take place during the season at the Dragon, Crown, and Granby hotels, weekly, and occasionally at the other inns; and a band of music is stationed on the Green at High Harrogate, every evening. The environs afford pleasant walks and rides, and about a mile to the west of Low Harrogate, is Harlow Hill, a gentle acclivity, on the summit of which a tower was erected in 1829, commanding an extensive prospect. An act was passed in 1846 for better supplying the town with gas, and in the same year another act for supplying it with water. In 1845 an act was obtained for a railway from Leeds, by Harrogate, to Thirsk, with a branch of half a mile from Harrogate to Knaresborough, there to join the York and Knaresborough railway; and in 1847 a line was opened from Harrogate to Wetherby and Tadcaster.

Of the buildings recently erected, the Royal Promenade, or Cheltenham Pump-room, is the most conspicuous for magnificence of style, and the extent of its grounds; it is of the Doric order, with a portico of six fluted columns, supporting an entablature and cornice surmounted by a triangular pediment, and forming the entrance to the pump-room, which is nearly 100 feet in length and more than 30 feet in breadth, and is lighted by a range of windows embellished with stained glass. The water, a saline chalybeate, was discovered in 1819, and the pumproom was erected by the late Mr. Williams. The building contains a library of 2000 volumes for the use of subscribers to the rooms; the reading-rooms are supplied with the London, Dublin, and provincial journals, and the principal periodical publications, and the promenade is enlivened by a band of music. The subscription for the season is £1. 10., and for a family £2. 2. The Montpelier gardens, near the Crown hotel, though not so extensive as those of the Royal Promenade, are beautifully laid out, and much frequented as affording the united advantages of a saline chalybeate and a sulphureous spring, both of which are introdueed into an octagonal building resembling a Chinese temple, erected by the late proprietor, Mr. Thackwray, in 1822. The promenade is attended by a band. The Victoria Promenade rooms were erected in 1805, at an expense of £3000; the building is of the Ionic order, and contains a principal room, 70 feet in length and 30 feet wide. The subscription for a family during the season is £1. 10., and the subscribers have the use of a library, the daily journals. and the periodicals.

The old spa, better known as St. John’s Well, on the common, discovered by Capt. Slingsby, was covered with a dome by Lord Loughborough in 1786, and has recently been inclosed by an octagonal building in the Italian style, with angular pilasters supporting an enriched cornice and attic, erected at an expense of £180. Not far from it is the Tewit Well, over which has been placed the dome removed from the old sulphur well. They are both saline chalybeates; and at each, persons are in attendance for supplying the water to visiters without any charge. A strong saline chalybeate spring was discovered in the gardens of the Crescent inn by Mr. Walker, and has been conveyed into a room in front of the Crescent buildings; the water contains a large proportion of carbonate of soda, and muriates of soda, lime, and magnesia, and is raised by a small pump in the building. The Old Sulphur Well has long maintained a high character for its superior efficacy, and is still the principal attraction of this distinguished watering-place. It is situated near the Crown hotel, and was formerly received into a stone basin covered with a dome resting on pillars, but which has been superseded by a pump-room erected at an expense of £2000, by the commissioners under an act of parliament passed in 1841 for the improvement of the town. At Starbeck, half way between Harrogate and Knaresborough, are chalybeate and sulphureous springs of weaker quality; and to the west of the old sulphur well, and in the direction of Harlow Tower, is a small portion of marshy ground, upon which a number of sulphureous springs are to be found, which are under the control of the commissioners, and are of considerable utility, though not of so great power as those already described. Among the principal Bathing establishments are the Victoria baths, near the old sulphur well, built by Mr. Williams, in 1832; there are six baths for ladies, and seven for gentlemen, and also warm, vapour, and shower baths. The Montpelier baths, situated in the gardens of that spa, were built by Mr. Thackwray, in 1834; in the front of the building is a handsome portico, leading to the hall, which is lighted by a dome. The Starbeck baths have been enlarged and improved since they were originally erected in 1828; they comprise four warm, two shower baths, and a cold bath. The cold baths situated between the lower town and Harlow Tower, comprise plunging, shower, and spouting baths; and there are also accommodations for warm and cold bathing at most of the hotels. The water of the old sulphur well, and that of the sulphur spring in the Montpelier gardens, are annually resorted to by an increasing number of visiters; and it appears that these, as well as the numerous other springs at Harrogate, present very little variation, either in the amount of sulphur or salts, during the entire year, so that they may be considered perfectly efficacious at any time. Under the act procured in 1841, the protection of the springs is vested in 21 commissioners, of whom seven retire annually.

The old chapel of St. John, in High Harrogate, towards the erection of which, in 1749, Lady Elizabeth Hastings largely contributed, was taken down in 1831, and the present church, dedicated to Christ, erected on its site, at an expense of £4500, of which £900 were a grant from the Incorporated Society, £300 paid from the revenues of the duchy of Lancaster, and the remainder raised by subscription. It is in the later English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles, and contains 1250 sittings. A district comprising 4100 acres has been since assigned to it, and the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Knaresborough, augmented to £150 per annum from the Canonry Suspension Fund. The district church of St. Mary, in Low Harrogate, was erected in 1826, by subscription, aided by a parliamentary grant, on a site obtained, with two acres for a cemetery, from the duchy land; it has 1000 sittings, of which 500 are free in consideration of a grant of £500 from the Incorporated Society, and the living is a perpetual curacy, endowed with £50 per annum from the revenues of the duchy: patron, the Vicar of Pannal. There is a place of worship for Independents in Low Harrogate, and one for Wesleyans in Central Harrogate. The free school, situated about a mile from High Harrogate, was founded in 1785, by Richard Taylor, Esq., who endowed it with lands producing £30 per annum. The Bath hospital for patients requiring the benefit of the waters, was erected by subscription in 1825.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848


  • County: Yorkshire
  • Civil Registration District: Knaresborough
  • Probate Court: Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
  • Diocese: Post-1835 - Ripon, Pre-1836 - York
  • Rural Deanery: Boroughbridge
  • Poor Law Union: Knaresborough
  • Hundred: Claro
  • Province: York