The Parish of Bilton-in-Ainsty with Bickerton

Bilton in Ainsty and Bickerton villages have been linked since Norman times. The Doomsday Book (1086) states that the combined area was approximately 3 miles in length and 3 miles in breadth. Cultivated land was said to have been equivalent to “9 plough area”, and the population was noted as including “8 villeins (feudal serfs) with 4 ploughs”.

Historical map of Bickerton black and white

The Norman invaders took over Church administration in these parts around 1150 and probably commenced their work of reconstructing the Saxon church known as St Helens. Seven centuries later the renowned architect Sir Gilbert Scott was involved in the restoration of the church.

Bilton in Ainsty owes its name to the fact that the first settlement was on land farmed by a man called ‘Bilo’, with ton being added as a derivation from Saxon for village or farmstead. Bickerton means ‘Bee Keeper Farm’.

Present Day Context

The Parish of Bilton-in-Ainsty with Bickerton (The Parish) is a rural parish consisting of two separate villages with outlying farms. It extends to approximately 1219 hectares (3464 acres). Bilton in Ainsty and Bickerton have similar populations of 147 and 190 respectively, according to the electoral register, December 2006.

The Parish lies in North Yorkshire, although the western boundary of the Parish is the county boundary with West Yorkshire. It is in the area administered by Harrogate Borough Council.

The villages lie either side of the Wetherby to York Road (B1224). Rudgate, a Roman road, crosses the Wetherby-York Road and links Tadcaster with Boroughbridge.

Wetherby is the nearest town lying some 3 miles to the west of the parish, and the cities of York and Leeds are 10 and 17 miles, respectively. The A1 motorway runs 2 miles to the west.

Tickled Trout Public House Bilton in Ainsty white building

A bus service between York and Wetherby runs along the B1224

Other than farms the only business premises are a garage on the Wetherby- York road and a restaurant/bar in Bilton in Ainsty, The Tickled Trout. The nearest convenience store and Post Office is in Tockwith (2 miles) and the nearest supermarket is in Wetherby.