The presence of springs of fresh water must always have allowed and attracted human settlement in the area of Sharow old village. Actual evidence of dwellings pre18th Century is missing, and the meaning of the place name Sharow is open to discussion. The use of the word ‘ keld’ is apt, meaning ‘springhead’ but the word is not used in the Sharow of today.
Yorkshire dialect has the nearest word ‘arridge’ meaning a ridge or projection. Sharow is on the higher north bank of the River Ure, a site well visible from the south and west. The present site of Sharow Hall can be seen from the Ripon to Boroughbridge road and possibly stands on the foundations of much older settlements lying close to the spring line.
Anglo-Saxon settlers’ terminology calls ‘harrow’ a place of worship; there are local earth circles and tumuli at Hutton and Blois.
Norman and later English has ‘harrow’ meaning to lacerate or torment. The sanctuary stone provided relief from harassment or chase. ‘Shir’ or ‘Sher` also meant boundary. So take your pick. To me there seems some truth in all the above. Either way Sharow grew in the shadow of Ripon and the great collegiate church of St. Wilfrid. The oldest road into Ripon entered the town from the direction of Thirsk over the North Bridge, and was known as ‘Herstretegate’ or ‘the way of the Saxon host’. The country to the immediate north was sparsely populated.
In the seventh century Ripon was part of Deira in Northumbria, with York as the area capital and Bamburgh as the seat of the king.
655 AD saw Alcfrid granting Abbot Eata a tract of land called Rhyphum to establish a monastery.
660 AD Alcfrid gave Wilfid 30 hides of land at Ripon – the population being about 300 to 400 people. King Athelstan granted the right of sanctuary to Ripon.
934 AD Sharow’s cross must have been sited about that time.
950 AD Most of the area was laid waste by King Eadred, and there is little further reference to Ripon by the old chroniclers until the advent of the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Survey.
“Domesday 1086 AD:
Ripon Manor being valued at £7 pounds 10 shillings’
To Ripon belongs the soke of these lands: ‘Estonlai et Sudton’ (East Stainley, i.e. Studley and Sutton), Estollaia (Studley), Selenforde (Sleningford) and Southwic (unknown)…. in all twenty-one ‘caracutes’ and one half to be taxed; there may be fifteen ploughs, and meadow two acres; in Southwic …coppice wood one mile and a half long and one mile broad “. Is this latter reference perhaps Sharow….? The relic of these woods still exist besides the river at Bellbanks?
Extracts from the Ripon Millenary book 1886 :
1228 AD There is no further mention of Sharow until 1228 AD when it appears in: Possessions of the Chapter House of Ripon by Geoffrey de Lardare, Canon of the prebend of St. Andrew … ‘In Sharow the third part of the town and more with freemen and natives’.
Further references during the Middle Ages are:
1316 AD In nomina vollarium, the Liberty of Ripon, the Archbishop is the Lord of the Liberty of Ripon in which are the following towns…… ‘Munketon, Scharow, villae….the Archbishop of York’.
1318 AD A taxation of the livings in Yorkshire show the damage done by the Scots’ raids ….. ‘prebend of Scharow 100 shillings’
There were seven canonries in Ripon founded by Archbishop Thurston in the 12th Century: Thorpe (Littlethorpe), Monkton, Givendale& Skelton, Nunwick, Studley Magna, Scharow and Stanwick (perpetual residence in Ripon). The six canons had to reside for twelve weeks at the church in Ripon. The rents or tithes from their prebends or estates such as Sharow were grain, dairy produce, poultry, and meat, which were to support the said canon. A prebend consisted of a mansion, which was a ‘hall-house’, which could include a kitchen and a tithe barn. Sharow prebend house was on the site of, or adjacent to the old House of Correction on St. Marygate, Ripon.
Reference to Sharow during the Later Middle Ages and Tudor times is rare.
1551 AD A widow Cumberland held a tenement in Sharow belonging to the chantry of St. Thomas the Martyr in the church of Ripon :
1557 AD John Grange purchased two messuages of land and a cottage at Sharow.
1609 AD William Grange held a cottage and croft at Sharow belonging to the prebend of Nunwick . Rent 4 shillings and 11 pence. During the 17th century the ‘Poor Lands’G at Sharow were purchased by Ripon Corporation with legacies left by Hugh Ripley and Lord Craven.
Circa1800 A nephew of Mrs Allanson from Studley was given land at Sharow to build the Hall.
1824 AD 13th January saw the foundation stone of a new church laid at Sharow by Lord Grantham in the name of his son. The Church of St. John the Divine was consecrated by the Archbishop of York in 1826.
1826 AD Also saw the Perambulation of the Ripon Commons previous to enclosure …..also named were ‘stinted’ pastures.. A stint was the right to graze cattle on the common. It included land in Bishopton, High Ellers, Sharow, Ox-close etc.
1845 AD Mrs Lawrence left her estates in the neighbourhood of Ripon north of the River Ure,including Hutton Conyers,Sharow,Copt Hewick to the Earl of Ripon. The property was limited to life.
1866-67 AD Benjamin Pulleine Ascough built a pleasant villa residence called Woodside between the railway station and Sharow.
1868 AD Saw the purchase of Fairlawns by one William Garnett and the change to Lucan House. Strange how the names change and change as years go by.
Sharow of old is hidden beneath more recent houses and road plans. Somewhere perhaps in the walls of the Hall Farm, or the walls that divide the grounds of the Hall from the road there is a secret. The old footpaths, Sharow Lane and the bridleway over to Copt Hewick are relics of the past. The present church and vicarage are so ‘new’ historically as to be of little relevance, but the footpath and worn steps that disappear into the wood near Sharow Grange… now there’s a mystery waiting to be solved in the new millennium!
Author’s note: the above is not a great work of scholarship. Facts have been gathered from numerous sources, some of which are re-listed on the next sheet. The more recent 20thcentury history is in the next section.