The Archbishops of York usually visited the diocese shortly after their accession, and then every fourth year after that. During a Visitation all the business in the archdeacons' courts was inhibited, and was heard instead by the officials of the Archbishop's court.
The documents that the Archbishops' Visitations generated were:
The Court Books contain comperta (accusations) and detecta (verdicts). Each court book is arranged by rural deanery and calls are included in most of these volumes from the late 17th century. Correspondence and some visitation papers (mainly excommunications and penances) are also to be found inserted in the court books from this date onwards.
These consist variously of presentments (written charges or accusations); commissions; inhibitions; premonitions; excommunications; penances; answers to articles of enquiry; etc.
The Exhibit Books contain the names of all the incumbents in each parish and chapelry within the diocese at the time of the Visitation.
Archbishops' Visitations containing entries for Bubwith (down to the eighteenth century) occurred in 1567/8, 1571/2, 1575, 1578/9, 1582, 1586, 1590, 1594, 1595/6, 1600, 1604, 1607, 1615, 1619, 1623, 1627, 1633, 1636, 1640, 1662/3, 1667, 1674, 1682, 1684/5, 1693/4, 1712/3, 1714/16, 1717/19, 1720/2, 1726/7, 1743, 1748/49, 1764, 1770, 1777, 1781, and 1786. There are separate entries for Spaldington in the 1636 and 1662/3 Visitations, and for Willitoft in the 1640 and 1662/3 Visitations.
Unfortunately no Court Books have yet been published. There is a current project to provide an online database of cases before the Church Courts of York, but it is unclear if this will contain Visitation cases, see: http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=40453
What has been published are some of the returns to the Articles of Enquiry, for 1575, 1743, 1764 and 1865. These returns are reproduced below:
1575: Archbishop Grindal's Visitation
Borthwick Texts and Calendars 4,
They had no sermon these ii years.
Avise Butler is with child, but who got it they cannot tell.
John Smithe and Janet Smithe have been asked in the church and kept house together for one half year, and the parishioners thought they would have married together, but are now broken off, and the man gone, but his goods remain there still.
Robert Maynard, vicar there, exhibited no writings at the Visitation.
1743: Archbishop Herring's Visitation
Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series, Vols 71, 72, 75, 77 and 79
I. What number of Families have you in your Parish? Of these, how many are Dissenters? And of what sort are they?
I have a hundred & forty nine families, six of which are Romans or Papists, & not one Dissenter of any other kind.
II. Have you any Licensed or other Meeting House in your Parish?
I have no meeting house, nor any Dissenting preacher or Papist priest.
III. Is there any public or Charity School, endowed or otherwise maintained in your Parish? What number of children are taught in it? And what Care is taken to instruct them in the Principles of the Christian Religion, according to the Doctrine of the Church of England; and to bring them duly to Church, as the Canon requires?
I have no Charity School in my Parish, but ye Parishioners have or hire a School Master monthly or quarterly to teach their Children to read, & to come duly to Church to be instructed in ye Church Catechism as ye Canon requires.
IV. Is there in your Parish any Alms-House, Hospital, or other Charitable Endowment? Have any Lands or Tenements been left for the Repair of your Church; or to any other pious use? Who has Direction of such Benefactions? How are they managed? Do you know, or have you heard of any abuses or frauds committed in the Management of them?
Henry Hotham of ye parish of Bubwith left half an oxgang of land lying in the townfields of Bubwith, three pounds a year, for ever to the poor of Bubwith Township, to be distributed twice a year by equal portions, viz. thirty shillings at Xmas & thirty shillings at Whitsontide, ye Minister, Churchwardens and Overseer have as by Order of his Last Will and Testament ye Direction of it. James Turner of Foggathorpe in ye Parish of Bubwith left by will to ye poor of Bubwith Parish six acres of lands lying in Aislabies fields, rent one pound eighteen shillings on St. Thomas day, ten shillings to ye Vicar for preaching a sermon on Low Sunday, nine shillings to ye poor on the Thursday before Whitsontide. Ye Minister & Churchwardens have ye Direction of it, 3 shillings and two pence more given by Wood & distributed at Xmas by ye Constable.
V. Do you reside Personally on your Cure, and in your Parsonage House? If not, where do you reside? And what is the reason of your Non-Residence?
I have resided upon my Cure ever since my Collation to it, & do still constantly reside upon it.
VI. Have you a Residing Curate? Is he duly qualified according to the Canons on that behalf? Does he live in your Parsonage House? What allowance do you make him?
None at all.
VII. Do you know of any who come to Church in your Parish that are not Baptized? Or that being Baptized, and of a competent age, are not confirmed?
I know none of my Parish that are not Baptized some there are of age to be confirmed.
VIII. How often is the public Service read in your Church? Is it duly performed twice every Lord's Day? If not how often, and at what Times is it performed? And how comes it not to be twice done, as the Act of Uniformity and Canons of the Church require?
The publick Service is duly performed twice every Lord's Day as ye Canons of the Xh require.
IX. How often and at what Times do you Catechise in your Church? Do your Parishioners duly send their Children and Servants who have not learned their Catechism, to be instructed by you?
I Catechise in my Xh every Sunday & several prayer days during ye time of Lent, & ye Parishioners duly send their children to be catechised & instructed by me.
X. How often is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper administered in your Church? What number of Communicants have you in your Parish? How many of them usually receive? Particularly, how many did communicate at Easter last?
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered six times in ye year, ye number of Communicants this last year at Michaelmas 13, at Xmas 45, Palm Sunday, Good Friday & Easter day 97; Whitsuntide 29; in ye whole year - 184, & persons in ye whole parish of age to receive ye Sacrament are 359.
XI. Do you give open, and timely Warning of the Sacrament before it is administered? Do your Parishioners send in their names to you as required? Have you refused the Sacrament to anyone? For what Reason? And how has the Person so refused behaved himself since that Time?
I give notice in ye Parish Xh the Sunday before the Sacrament is administered, and read ye exhortation as ye Rubrick directs: they do not give in their names as they ought to do. I have not refused ye Sacrament to any one person.
John Burton, Vicar of Bubwith
1764: Archbishop Drummond's Visitation
Borthwick Texts and Calendars 21, 23 and 26.
1. What number of Families have you in your Parish? Of these, how many are Dissenters? And of what sort are they?
150 families. 6 Roman Catholicks. 10 Methodists.
2. Have you any Licensed or other Meeting House in your Parish? How many? Of wha sort? How often do they assemble? In what number? Who teaches them?
2 licensed Methodist meeting houses. The times of assembling are uncertain, as also the number, nor have they any certain teacher.
3. Is there any public or Charity School, endowed or otherwise maintained in your Parish? What number of children are taught in it? When and by whom was the school founded? Who is the Master or Mistress? What number of children, oys or girls, are taught in it? In what language? Are they cloathed, maintained or lodged? What are they taught? Are they employed in working, and afterwards put out to husbandry, trades or services? And what Care is taken to instruct them in the Principles of the Christian Religion, according to the Church of England, and to bring them duly to Church, as the Canon requires?
1 petty school taught by an old woman.
4. Is there in your Parish any Alms-House, Hospital, or other Charitable Endowment? Have any Lands or Tenements been left for the Repair of your Church; or to any other pious use? Who has Direction of such Benefactions? How are they managed? Do you know, or have you heard of any abuses or frauds committed in the Management of them? Has there been any augmentation to your church by benefaction or lot from Queen Ann's Bounty, and when? Has there been any purchase of lands etc. in consequence of that augmentation? And what does that purchase consist in, and amount to yearly?
There is no almshouse or hospital. There is half an oxgang of land, lying in Bubwith Fields, which brings in the yearly rent of ?3, paid half-yearly, left by Henry Hotham to the poor of Bubwith only. There is ?1 8s paid out of ground lying at Aislaby, left by James Turner of Foggathorpe to the poor of Bubwith Parish, half on St. Thomas' and half Thursday before Whitsunday, and 10s. to the vicar for preaching an anniversary sermon on Low Sunday, both of which are under the direction of the Overseer and Churchwardens, as also 2 closes left for the repairs of the church, one called Church close, lying at Harlthorpe, of the yealy rent of 3s., paid every third or fourth year to Aughton church, another called St Mary's Close, lying at Foggerthorpe, which has been paid time immemorial to the repairs of the church of Bubwith till the year 1756, since when it has been withheld by Mr John Swan of York. There has been an augmentation by agreement between the Dean of York and the vicar at that time of ?10 a year in lieu for rapeseed etc. There has been a lot from Queen Ann's Bounty, not yet laid out in a purchase.
5. Do you reside Personally on your Cure, and in your Parsonage House? If not, where do you reside? And what is the reson of your Non-Residence?
I serve my living of Hutton Bushel, which is the reason of my non-residence at Bubwith.
6. Have you a Residing Curate? What is his name? How long has he been curate? Is he duly qualified according to the Canons on that behalf? Does he live in your Parsonage House? If not where doth he live? What allowance do you make him?
I have, who is my son, and has served the cure from 7 November 1763. He is duly qualified and boards in the town. I allow to the value of ?30 a year.
7. Do you perform divine service in any church besides your own? On what days and at what times is divine service performed in your church? If not twice every Lord's Day, with a sermon in the morning, for what reason?
My curate performs divine service in Bubwith church usually twice every Sunday, and no where else.
8. Do you know of any who come to Church in your Parish that are not Baptized? Or that being Baptized, and of a competent age, are not confirmed? Have you baptized any adults since my coming to be your bishop? If you have, I desire you t exhibit a schedule of their names and ages.
I know of none.
9. How often and at what Times do you Catechise in your Church? Do your Parishioners duly send their Children and Servants to be instructed and catechised? Do they learn any, and what, exposition for the better understanding of the church catechism?
The children are catechised every Sunday in the afternoon during Lent. Their parents are careful in sending them.
10. How often is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper administered in your Church? What number of Communicants have you in your Parish? How many of them usually receive? Particularly, how many did communicate at Easter last? Have you refused the Sacrament to anyone? For what Reason? And how has the Person so refused behaved himself since that Time?
5 times in the year. Notice is given the Sunday before in the church. The number of communicants is about 400, usually 20 or 30 at a time. At Easter last 80 received. The sacrament has been refused to none.
11. Have you any chapels within your parish? What are the names of them? How far are they distant from the parish-church? How are they endowed? By whom, and at what times, are they served. Is the curate duly qualified? By whom, and when, was he nominated? Have you any chapel in ruins in which no divine service is performed?
There is now no chapel. 2 lie in ruins, one at Spaldington, and one at Willitoft.
12. Have any publick penances been performed in your church since I became your bishop? Do you know of any commutations of penance made by any of your parish within the same time? By whom was it done? For what money? And to what use was that money applied?
There have been no penances, neither do I know of any commutation.
1865: Archbishop Thomson's Visitation Returns for the Diocese of York
Edward Boyle and Ruth M. Larsen, 2006
1. Name and address of incumbent, date of institution and induction?
William George Wilkinson, Vicarage, Bubwith, Howden. Instituted March 28th 1843.
2. Has he last year been resident in the parish for 275 days?
3. Does he perform the whole duty, or does he have an assistant curate?
Yes, the whole duty.
4. Does he hold any other benefice or serve any other cure?
Yes, the Perpetual Curacy of Ellerton.
5. Is the curate, if any, licensed? Date?
6. Name of curate? Priest or deacon?
7. Does he perform any other duty?
8. The duty performed in church, how often Divine Service?
Divine Service is performed twice on every alternate Sunday and once on the opposite Sunday commencing at a quarter past 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and at 6 o'clock in the evening, and a Sermon is preached at each Service. There is also a Service on Christmas Day and Good Friday with a Sermon.
9. When do you Catechise the Children?
A daily school has been established but recently here and circumstance have prevented me adopting any thing beyond an occasional catechising of the children. It is my intention, however, shortly to enter upon a more regular and frequent course of catechetical instruction.
10. How often do you administer the Sacrament?
Four times during the year.
11. Average number of Communicants?
12 or 15 will be the average number of communicants.
12. Average number of the Congregation, and if any increase or decrease the reason thereof?
I am not able to state the exact number as I never take an account, but according to the judgment which I have formed from time to time I may, I think, put it during the summer months as follows: morning congregation 75, afternoon 150, evening 100. In winter time, as we have no warming apparatus for the church the cold causes a considerable diminution in the number I hope soon to remedy this evil, as many of my parishioners have expressed a desire to get the church properly heated. I do not perceive either much increase or decrease.
13. Does the congregation represent a fair proportion of the population?
Far from it, as the population of the parish is over 1200. The deficiency is owing to the fact that the parish church being at one extremity of the parish a large proportion of the people are living at too great a distance from it to enable them conveniently to attend.
14. Objects for which collections have been made?
Church Missionary Society, and also a collection for the person who plays the harmonium in the church and conducts the singing.
15. What schools are there in your parish?
The only school specially connected with the church is a mixed daily school which, in addition to the children's pence, is mainly supported by myself. The number of scholars at this time last year was over 70, but I regret to say there are now only 30 scholars. This falling off is owing partly to the Master who, though a well conducted person, is wanting in energy, and his wife is also very delicate in health and not able to render much help. They are leaving about Easter and I hope to meet with a new Master and his wife more suitable in the various qualifications which tend to make a good and efficient Master and Mistress of a parish school.
16. Can you retain young people in Sunday School after they finish Daily School?
During the first seven years of my ministry here I had a Sunday School carried on in a building attached to the church, but owing to a severe gale of wind which took the lead off the chancel of the church and sent it with great force on the roof of this building causing so much injury to it as to make it desirable to pull it down and remove it altogether, I was left without any room suitable for the purposes of a Sunday School and was obliged to discontinue it. I have since made great efforts to obtain a School room with Master's house without success. I have, however, lately built a place at my own expense which is used in a temporary way as a daily school and I hope soon to commence a Sunday School as well.
17. Any other mode of retaining them?
The Master who taught the school up to last Easter had a night school which appeared to be successful. My present Master has not tried one, but the person with whom I am in treaty regarding the situation is desirous of having a night school.
18. What Dissenting Places of Worship are there, and what numbers of Dissenters?
Four Methodist chapels, and one Ranter's Chapel. The number of decided dissenters is not large. Methodism is on the decline here. The Ranters have recently built a chapel in Bubwith and have shown much zeal in propagating their views but there are symptoms which indicate a falling off in their endeavours to gain proselytes.
19. What impedes your Ministry?
The two great extent of the parish, the wants of which can only be effectually met by adopting a plan of division such as I ventured to suggest in a memorial addressed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
20. Is your Church or Chapel in good Repair?
Yes, the churchwardens are attentive to their duties.
21. Has there been any alterations to the Church since the last Visitation?
22. Any other Business?
I am not aware of anything which requires special notice.
Wm. Geo. Wilkinson