This is a huge volume in the possession of the Society and will be available for members to view at the meeting in February. The rather grand title belies the fact that this volume only covers the Wapentake of Gilling West - essentially the part of Yorkshire known as Richmondshire which covers the valleys of the Swale, Greta and Tees. Other volumes in the series were never published.
The author, George Henry de Strabolgie Plantagenet Harrison (a Marshal General in various overseas armies), was an interesting character, obsessively transfixed with the proof of his family's pedigree. This pedigree, published at the beginning of the book, takes his family back through the Plantagenets to the Emporers of Rome. Maybe his heritage gave rise to his rather sarcastic view of the nouveau riche ....
A great many of the Pigot family were buried here [St John's Church, Stanwick], whose tombs were destroyed to make way for the cumbrous piece of imposture erected to the memory of the first Sir Hugh Smithson of Stanwick who is represented as a Cavalier warrior in armour with Miss Rawsterne, his wife, lying beside him.
Here we have the sublime and the ridiculous in the superlative degree. This Sir Hugh Smithson was only a haberdasher of humble birth, who made a fortune from his trade and purchased Stanwick Hall for £4000 and his baronetcy for £1095. I suppose the flags above his tomb were made out of remnants from the old man's shop.
The book is also available in a digitised form from Yorkshire CD Books for £15. The web-page includes a review and commentary on the author, and more usefully, the place, name and illustration indices for the book. The book covers each village in the Wapentake, listing local pedigrees and details of the history of land ownership since the Domesday Book. The author's comprehensive notes for the whole of Yorkshire, which may prove useful to anyone researching family history in the county, are kept at the National Archive, Kew.