Saturday, 10 October 2015

New chickens

Last Sunday we acquired 12 new chickens. Since the fox took the last of our chickens earlier this summer  we have had none and I was wary about getting any more in case the same thing happened.

But now the crops are cut and I have been assured that the foxes are under control I was tempted by an offer of some hens which were being disposed of by a local poultry farm.  The farm, not too far from Howden, is a commercial egg producing enterprise and they regularly change their flock.

So we went with a crate and for £12 we bought 12 chickens. They are Bovan Brown birds and although in moult  they are very happy hens. I had been warned that they might not be in good condition or might not be used to perching or scratching.

But  we have been very pleasantly surprised. I kept them in a pen for a day just so they became used to their new home but since then they have been free ranging under the trees in the orchard. They have been happily scratching up worms and other bugs, eating a mixture of pellets, grain and scraps and each morning I have gone to let them out they watch my arrival from the perch.  Already they  are getting their new feathers and best of all they are laying more eggs than I know what to do with.

We have so far eaten bacon and  fried egg, scrambled egg, poached egg, quiche and chocolate cake as well as giving the eggs away.

We are also hoping this weekend to pick probably the last of the bramble harvest and if we are lucky extract a little honey from our beehive. So history is taking a bit of a back seat at the moment.

Above and below our new chickens. They are very friendly and not at all bothered by Molly!

Nearly all the hens have lovely red upright combs, a sure sign that they are healthy and laying

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Ellerker Church concert

On Saturday I visited Ellerker church which is near Brough in East Yorkshire.   I have visited before with my WEA history classes in July 2014 and wrote then a piece about the Levitt window.

This time I was with churchwarden and organist Diana Bushby and The Saltmarshe Duo [Amy Butler and Steven Goulden] as they discussed their forthcoming concert on October 10th.

The concert is timed to coincide with the harvest festival at the church when it will be beautifully decorated and so it is appropriately entitled A Harvest of Music. Steven will be singing such favourites as The Flower Song from Carmen while Amy will be  accompanying him as well as playing solos on piano and organ.

Harvest of Music- concert at Ellerker church by The Saltmarshe Duo

Having spent some time in the church listening to the lovely music I thought I would do a little research about its history. I think I got somewhat carried away but as I sit in a pew with its poppy head decoration on October 10th I shall be able to look around me with more appreciation of my surroundings.

Ellerker church

Ellerker church was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and was his first individual design built 1843-4.

There is a report in the Hull Packet newspaper, edition of Friday 1st Sept. 1843  of the laying of the foundation stone. Below is an edited extract.

Ellerker Chapel.
Wednesday the 23rd ult., was the day selected for the laying of the first stone of the new chapel to be erected at Ellerker, in the  parish of Brantingham. Divine Service commenced in the parish church at eleven o’ clock. Prayers having been read by the Reverend Vicar, a most admirable and effective sermon was preached by the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, from the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians IV chap. 16th verse. A collection of £19 5s was made after the sermon when a procession was formed from the parish church to the site of the chapel, in the following order:

Bands of Music;
Odd Fellows, with their banners of their order.
Messrs. Appleton and Malone, contractors for the building.
Foundation Stone, carried by four workmen,
Boys  of the School,
Girls of the School, all wearing neat white caps,
Choir in their surplices.

 On their approaching the ground, the children and clergy sang  the ninety-fifth Psalm and after the Archdeacon had read the versicles preceding the collect of the day, the collect of St. Simon and St. Jude's Day, and the Lord's Prayer, the  Rev. G. Fyler Townsend addressed Mrs. Edwin Hotham requesting her, in the absence of Mrs Fleetwood Shawe, of Brantingham Thorpe, to lay the first stone of the new chapel, and said

'I have very much pleasure in now asking you to do me; and the inhabitants of Ellerker, by many of whom you are surrounded, the favour of laying the first stone of the chapel to be  erected in this place "to the Glory of God, and in memory of St. Ann,"

You, as well as that lady (Mrs Fleetwood Shawe), whose representatlve on this occasion you have kindly consented to be; you, madam, have now been for some time a resident of  this parish and this neighbourhood and you are well aware as many of those present can also bear witness, into what a dilapidated and. ruinous state the chapel which lately stood on this spot had fallen. It is not my present intention to enter at any great length, into the past history of the edifice, among the  ruins of which we are now standing.

Suffice it to say, that it  was built in an age long since passed away, and that by a well  authenticated tradition it formed a part of a convenical or  monastic establishment in this place; the spiritual wants of which were not supplied by a resident minister; but were served  by a priest, an ocassional visitor, from the distant church of Durham.  We have reason, indeed, to be grateful that the  additions made in those ages to the faith, as once delivered to the saints, have been swept away. We have reason to rejoice also that while we have discarded from our creeds all Romish superstition, we have still at the same time lost no part nor portion of  Catholic truth. [ ]

Many churches  and chapels, which were erected by the piety  and endowed by the munificence of our ancestors the length and breadth of the land have been permitted to fall into decay.
Among the number is to be reckoned the chapel in this place. This may in part be attributed to the lapse of time and to that convulsion in our national history which led to the mutilation and destruction of so many of our churches yet is also to be attributed, and I must not shrink from declaring the truth, to be attributed  to the negligence and carelessness of the former inhabitants of this place.
For within the memory of man this chapel is known to have extended beyond the walls of that which has just been taken down. It reached, it is said, to the most distant part of the chapel yard in which we are now met.

It, was owing partly therefore, to the negligence end carelessness of the former inhabitants of this village, to that negligence and carelessness alone of the ordinances and sacraments and worship of the Church, which was shown in their neglect of the building erected among them, as the outward sign of those ordinances, that we are now assembled on this occasion to erect a new House of Prayer in this place.

And although we, cannot, on this occasion, speak to you of a single owner of the soil who, of his sole bounty and munificence has come forward to re-build the chapel of this village yet we can tell you that there are funds found sufficient to enable us to commence this work.

 The cultivators of the land, the occupiers of the lands and the general ratepayers of this chapelry have granted and it redounds to their praise and credit a rate of £200 for this purpose. The chief ruler of the church in this diocese, the Dean and Chapter of Durham the munificent patron of this benefice and the owners of the neighbouring soil, have all assisted with their bounty and generosity.
Neither can I omit to mention that we are permitted to enrol a Royal personage among our list of contributors on this occasion and that a lady no less illustrious for her virtues than by her station Her Majesty the Queen Dowager has sent a donation to the completion of this undertaking.

It is owing to these circumstances and facts that I have now the pleasure and gratification to request of you the laying the first stone of the chapel to be erected on this spot.
 [ ]
Mrs. Hotham having laid the stone, with the usual formalities, the 122nd Psalm and some suitable collects were read, then The Archdeacon Wilberforce said I am happy, on an occasion of this kind, so see so large an assembly of my fellow countrymen and fellow Christians and it gives me much pleasure to see so many persons of all classes assembled around me.
[ ]
I am told that the very spot on which I am now standing actually formed a part of the old building formerly erected in this place.
The first and earliest churches in this country were built of wood and you have has an instance today [alluding to a scaffolding which had given way] of the instability and insecurity of a wooden foundation. We now therefore lay the foundation of this building in stone - the strong foundation…

After a short address from the Rev. W. Hildyard, the 1O0th Psalm was sung, and when The Archdeacon pronounced the blessing the ceremony was concluded.
A large party met at the Vicarage for luncheon, where the children of the schools and others assembled for tea in the afternoon. So ended a day, which will long be remembered.

The following inscription - in Latin and English was enclosed in the stone with a handsome Victoria medal, the gift of a lady from the neighbourhood:-

Hujus aedis
Ad Gloriam Dei et S. Aanae in memoriam dicatae, partim parochis. Ellerkerenais per impenas, partim Reverendi Capitularis Dunelmensis, Vicarii de Brantingham, et vicinae incolarum per munificentiam, extruendae, primus lapis positus est hoc vigesimo tertio die mensis Augusti, MDCCCLX111. Non nobis, Domine, sed te Nomini, Gloria

There is yet we hear some deficiency in the funds requisite for the completion of this chapel but those funds will probably be made up by collections in the neighbourhood before the completion of the chapel. The indefatigable and unwearied exertions of the much respected vicar, The Rev; G. F. Townsend, to bring about this desired object are most praiseworthy; and although he has met with a little opposition from a small portion of his parishioners, yet, since his labours have been crowned with success, tbere appears nothing but good feeling to prevail.


The church was consecrated a year later and the same newspaper of 16th August 1844 included in its report of the ceremony the following contemporary description.

The chapel consists of nave and chancel, the former 47 feet long and 20 feet 6 inches wide, the latter  18 feet long and 13 feet 6 inches wide; a south porch and a vestry on the north aide, communicating with the chancel by an open archway, in which is intended to place a parclose screen of decorated character, carved in rich English oak. The style of the buildings  throughout of pure Decorated that which prevailed during the reign of Edward the Second.

 The west end is surmounted by a bell gable, on the top  of which is placed a very ornamental cross; the east gable of the nave and the east gable of the chancel, are also finished with rich crosses. In the nave there are nine windows, three on the south and four on north side, two lights each, nearly all of differing  foliation  and rivalling each other in the beauty of their forms; the west end has two single lighted windows with tracery. These windows have very rich painted glass in upper part, with a beautiful border down the sides formed of leaves in  a running pattern, the space in the centre being filled up with small diamond squares of dark green glass, the sombre effect of which adds very greatly to the appearance of the chapel.

 In the chancel there are three windows, the east one over the altar being of three lights, and the tracery of very elegant pattern and of the richest character ; the two other windows which are on the south side, have also very rich tracery, and are of a single light each. The latter windows are filled with beautiful painted glass with the emblems of the four Evangelists in medallions. The upper part of the east window it also filled with very rich glass. The whole is painted  by Mr. Wailes who seems to have displayed his usual good taste.
 The lower portion the east window is now glazed with plain glass, but it is intended to have this also filled with rich glass when funds sufficient can raised.

 The chancel is separated from the nave by a lofty archway, which originally formed part of the old chapel: the under side of this, a series of subjects connected with the life our blessed Saviour (beginning the Nativity, and ending with the day of Pentecost, as commemorated in the the ecclesiastical year, are painted in medallions formed by the interlacing of two wreaths of thorns. On the walls all around the are painted sentences from Holy Scripture, as in the porch.

The roof of the nave is of open timber work, and of a very high pitch, and divided into eight compartments  by pointed timber arches, moulded on the edges with carved and painted bosses at the intersections. The chancel roof  is also of an arched form, and divided into twelve panels on each side, the boards being laid on the circular ribs, thus forming a wooden vault; these panels, it is hoped, will be painted and illuminated.

 The font, of very simple form, is placed at the entrance from the south porch. The pulpit is placed on the north side against the pillar of the archway. The reading desk occupies the opposite side, together with the lectern; the former faces the north, and the latter to the west. The litany dcak is placed at  the end of the nave. In the middle of the aisle, facing eastward. These are made of very beautiful dark English oak, and richly moulded and carved.

An altar rail, of very rich design oak, goes across the chancel, opening in the middle with a folding gate. Within the rails on the south side are three sedilla, stepped one above the other, of plain carved stone work. The altar table is of solid English oak, and approached by three steps or landings: there are also two desks within the rails, one for the Epistle and the other for the Gospel. The seats of the nave all face eastward; the ends of which are terminated with plain poppy heads. Children’s seats range on each aide in front of the pulpit and lectern, facing north and south. The accommodatton thus afforded is for about two hundred persons, including the children, and nearly all the seats are free.

 Th» embroidery and other ornaments of the communion table was provided under the care and taste of Mrs. Hubbarde, of Hull; and the books, in very rich crimson binding, were prepared by Mr. Nicholson, Hull. The stone work was done by Messrs. Simpson and Malone, of Hull  and the several works were contracted for and ably executed by Messrs. Appleton and Son.  of Anlaby, under the superintendence of the architect, Mr. J. L. Pearson, of London


Rev George Fyler Townsend [1814-1900], the new vicar of Brantingham was so horrified when he first saw the dilapidated brick and chapel of ease at Ellerker in autumn 1842 that he immediately began fund raising to build a new one.

His father was a canon at Durham and the family were friendly with young John Loughborough Pearson who was studying in Durham 1831-42 with architect Ignatious Bonomi. Pearson was also Sunday school superintendent while George Townsend snr was the Bishop of Durham's private secretary.

And so JL Pearson was given his first commission- to design a new chapel of ease at Ellerker. He later designed the new schoolroom.

Rev George Fyler Townsend left Brantingham for Leominster and was the translator of the standard English edition of Aesop's Fables. His volume of 350 fables introduced the practice of stating a  moral at the conclusion of each story and continues to be influential. Several editions were published in his lifetime, and others since.

In 1860, he also published a revised edition of The Arabian Nights. In 1872, Townsend published, under the auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a volume entitled 'The Sea Kings of the Mediterranean',  an account of the Knights of Malta. The dedication is addressed to his 'Dear Boys', 'in the hope that they will hate all that is low and base, and love all that is noble, great and good.'

Friday, 18 September 2015

Reuben Chappell trail, Goole

Last Friday I went to The Lowther Hotel in Goole where the official opening took place of the Reuben Chappell Art Trail.

This was the culmination of a lot of work by the small but enthusiastic Goole Civic Society who have mounted replicas of some of Reuben Chappell's paintings on sites around the town. The booklets which accompany the trail are beautifully produced and freely available in Goole Library and Museum.

I have written about Reuben Chappell elsewhere on my blog.

But I was interested to meet on Friday not only Reuben's great grandson who had travelled to Goole from Cornwall [Reuben moved to Cornwall from Goole for his health as he had bronchitis] but also some of the Chappell family of Goole.

Reuben was born in 1870, the fourth of the six surviving children of his parents and in 1871 was living with his family in Turner's Yard which was off Doyle Street in what is now Goole but was then part of the parish of Hook.

His father, George, a native of Goole,  was then described as a wheelwright and Reuben already had three older brothers John William, Alfred Edwin and George. Reuben's mother was called Sarah [formerly Sarah Elizabeth Thrash] and had been born in Doncaster. She and George married in 1861.

By 1881 the family was living in Scott's Square off South Street. George was a joiner and eldest son John was working as an iron works labourer. Reuben now had two younger sisters Clara and Blanche and his youngest sister Rhoda was born in 1882. Sadly Clara died in 1886.

I have briefly traced what happened to Reuben's brothers and sisters

John William married Sarah Dews and was living in 1891 in St George's Terrace He  was a locomotive foreman.  He eventually rose to be an engine driver and lived in Henry Street. He and Sarah had a family of eleven children, three of whom had died by 1911. I have found 9 of them - Ada, George, Miriam,  Edith, Elsie, Wilfred, Joseph, Clifford and Selina.

Alfred Edwin was a general labourer and seems not to have married, remaining with his parents, latterly at number 9 Jackson Street [next door to Reuben and his wife who were at number 7 until their move to Cornwall]. Alfred died in 1935.

George married Alice Redford and lived in Pasture Lane, later Road. He had sons Claud, Reuben,  Ernest, Charles and Cyril. He eventually became a furniture dealer at number 67-69.

Blanche Chappell married Joe Addy in 1898. In 1911 they were living at 23 Fifth Ave. Joe was away at sea and Blanche was at home with Ivy, Ida, Roy, Eric and baby Signa.

Rhoda, a dressmaker, married George Lister in 1922. They had a daughter Audrey and a son George.

George, Reuben's father, died in 1913 and his mother the following year in 1914.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Prickett Hill, near Howden

It is Tuesday morning and pouring with rain. But this gives me time to catch up with my blog.

It has been a busy few days and we have been harvesting our fruit. This weekend we made fig chutney from our own figs and bramble jam [ I always call them brambles rather than blackberries as it was what we called them when I was a child and we went brambling].

The brambles were gathered from a lovely unspoiled hedgerow near Howden. When it stops raining we shall gather more - and also some of the impressive crop of sloes to make into sloe gin to warm us on cold winter evenings.

I have been talking to a friend about the area north of Howden which was, centuries ago,  part of a vast wood. Station Road, Howden was Wood Lane and Brind means a settlement where the trees have been burned off.

To the west of Station Road was the deer park belonging to the Bishop of Durham and it was also where Howden's very own hermit lived at a place called Ringstone Hirst [ hirst/ hurst means a wooded hill].

The site of the hermitage, dedicated to St Mary Magdalen, was able to be identified until quite recently  as a slightly raised rectangular, moated enclosure with a few stones still visible.

A little further north and west were some remote old farmhouses. One of these, Prickett Hill is now demolished but had a very interesting history.

I have not been able to find out how old the name is but do know that a pricket was the word used to describe a young male deer whose antlers had not yet branched. It would be lovely to think that this was indeed the derivation of the name of the farm and that it was in some way connected wit the deer park.

But I think it more likely that the farm was somehow connected with the Prickett family [ the spelling varies between one and two 't's] of Allerthorpe near Pocklington.

A member of the family Robert Prickett, lived at Wressle Castle in the seventeenth century and was the steward managing the Percy estate. Robert was born in 1630 and died in 1701. He and other members of his family are buried in Pocklington church.  The following inscriptions are on the floor of the Lady Chapel there.

Here lyeth the body of Miss Anna Marie Prickett, daughter to Robert Prickett of Wressell Castle, Esqre, who died September yc 9th, 1661, aged 3 months.

Here lyeth the body of Mrs. Mary Prickett, wife of Robert Prickett, of Wressell Castle, Esqre, daughter to the Right Honourable Marmaduke Lord Langdale, Baron of Holme who departed this life the 4th day of September Anno Domini 1678, aged 48.

Here lyeth the body of Miss Lennox daughter of Robert Prickett of Wressell Castle, Esqre, who departed this life the 15th of Novr, 1673, aged 17 years.

Robert's wife Mary was the daughter of Sir Marmaduke Langdale who was created Baron Langdale of Holme-on-Spalding Moor by Charles II 'for his gallant services in the civil wars to the Royalist cause'.

There seems to have been some bad feeling between the Langdale and Prickett families as Mr. Marmaduke Prickett, in his will dated Sept. 28, 1652, disinherited his son Robert  "if he takes to wife one of the daughters of Sir Marmaduke Langdale." But the marriage obviously went ahead.

Robert's  name is inscribed, with the date 1674, on a lintel built into a length of brick walling at Wressle castle.

So this does not tell us when Prickett Hill farmhouse was built but does suggest it could have been named after the family at nearby Wressle.

I shall keep looking and see what else I can find.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Elmit Cook of Goole - and Trinity House

After I had posted Elmit Cook's obituary I was contacted by another friend, Pauline Stainton of Goole.
It was in fact she who had first become interested in Captain Cook and had suggested that his obituary might be interesting.
Below she explains what sparked her interest:

Captain Elmit Cook & Trinity House.
Earlier this year, the late captain’s Trinity House documents were discovered at a Collector’s Fair on the Lincolnshire Show Ground. 

They are dated 13th March 1919 when Elmit Cook was installed as a Younger Brother of Trinity House. The main document is printed on vellum and Trinity House informed me it is called a branch. The seal was originally attached to this document.

The second document of two pages is the Oath of a Younger Brother & includes the Byelaws of Trinity House. This document is also signed & dated. The third & smaller document is a Copy of Declaration required to be made by a Younger Brother on being elected an Assistant.

Contact with the Warden’s secretary at Hull confirmed that these items do belong together & were part of the ceremony when Captain Cook was installed.  He added that the ceremony had hardly changed in a hundred years & experienced mariners still have to pass a pilotage exam.  He also said that becoming a member was considered an honour & still is to this day.

Document and seal relating to Elmit Cook of Goole

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Goole sea captain Elmit Cook

On my website we have a section entitled Goole Worthies. These are men and women with a Goole connection about whom we have information. Much of it has been gathered by Goole historian Harvey Tripp who is an assiduous reader of old newspapers and who has a particular interest in the Goole Times obituaries which give so much information about their subjects and about the life of the town. 
As it is harder to load these onto my Howdenshire history website I am loading some of them onto my blog which is an easier process.  Here is the first

Goole Times, Friday, 22nd July 1932


One of the old school of Goole’s master mariners, Captain Elmit Cook of 19 Marshfield Avenue, died on Monday at the age of 62 years. Captain Cook had been ill for several months and his death, though a shock to his wide circle of friends and acquaintances, was not unexpected.

The whole of the working career of Captain Cook was spent at sea. As a young boy he served in the old sailing schooners that traded from Goole and learned his seamanship in a very hard and practical school.

For generations back on his father’s side, his ancestors were sailors from Goole. As soon as he could he became one of the crew of the sailing vessel Mary. Later he joined the Matilda. He was about seven years in sailing vessels and had two long voyages; in the barquentine Glenville from Goole to South America and in the barqueRosendale, a trip of nine months to various South African ports.

Captain Cook joined the Goole Steam Shipping Company as a seaman in 1887. His father was master of the Richard Moxon at the time and was master with the company for forty years, later becoming the commodore pilot.

After eight years with the company, Captain Cook was appointed second officer on 24th February 1895. Two years later he was appointed mate securing his pilotage licences in 1902. His smartness commended itself to the owners and after various short periods as master he obtained his first permanent command on 13th February 1906. His ship was the SSRosa.

In the next five years, Captain Cook had spells in charge of various steamers of the line including the old AireFrankfort{he was on board this vessel at Blacktoft on the night of the 1901 Census}, Cuxhaven and Don. In October 1911, Captain Cook was given captaincy of the Irwell on which he served for nearly 20 years. For short periods he was in charge of practically all the other vessels of the fleet but his regular command was the Irwell, a ship he loved by reason of his familiarity with her.

SS Irwell of Goole

During the war, Captain Cook ran the Irwell across the dangerous zone of the English Channel, between Southampton and Rouen mainly, and between Newhaven and other north French ports. He had, however, surprisingly few adventures considering the danger to which his ship was exposed.

Latterly, Captain Cook traded regularly between Goole and Rotterdam with the Irwell. His cheery personality was known not only in English but also Continental ports.
At times he took over the Copenhagen service with the Irwell and was in charge of her when she became ice-bound off Denmark in March 1929. A magnificent piece of seamanship on his part enabled the vessel, with steering gear disabled, to be guided to port by means of hawsers from the winches attached to her rudder, after the ice-breaker had cleared a passage in the floes. It will be recalled that that was the occasion of the unfortunate accident which cost the life of Captain Aaron

Captain Cook’s career was singularly free from mishaps to his commands. He knew the navigation of the Ouse, the East and South Coasts, and the approaches to the near Continental harbours as few men did. He was as popular with his crews as he was with his owners and brother officers.

When he retired in October 1930, he received the good wishes of many and at a “Blue Water Evening” he was presented by the men of the company with a handsome silver coffee service, and many were the tributes paid to him and his sound record of service.

After his retirement, he went to live at Thorne, but it was not long before he returned to the town of his birth. On the committee of the Goole Conservative Club he was one of its oldest members.
He leaves a widow, {Patricia, née Rowbottom}, a son {Herbertand a daughter {Elma}The funeral took place at the Goole cemetery on Wednesday afternoon, the Vicar, the Rev. HEWall, M.A., officiating.

The 1871 Census has the one-year old Elmit living with his parents John (mariner – mate) and Martha Cook at Rowbotham's Buildings, Goole {listed in the schedule after Ebenezer Terrace and Bentley's Buildings}In all later censuses and on his grave's headstone he is named Elmit.

The answer to this name's origin is found in the baptism register for St John's, Goole, where the entry for 14th August 1870 is written :- Helmett Cook, son of John (mariner) and Martha Cook; residence Old Goole; WCobby, Officiating Minister for David Bell, Vicar.

It is not difficult to imagine how Helmett quickly changed to Elmit, with people saying and writing down what they thought they heard from his mother (while his father was away at sea), who we can believe could not read or write, since she signed a cross (X) against her name in the register of marriages. Why the name Helmett was chosen is another question.

Above is Captain Elmit Cook. Picture courtesy of Pauline Stainton

Captain Cook's grave at Goole. Picture courtesy of Pauline Stainton

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Dennis Hanson, philatelist of Eastrington

The death occurred recently of Dennis Hanson of Eastrington. He had lived in the village of Eastrington for much of his life but his name was known worldwide. As a schoolboy, living with his parents at the village stores, he was confined to bed for two years and it was then that he began buying and selling stamps.

He eventually built up a flourishing business as a philatelist and advertised in children's comics such as The Beano and Schoolfriend. Children could send for stamps on approval and would receive small albums and a free plastic magnifying glass. Later in 1958 Dennis built a wooden hut in the garden of his house, Kirkdene where around 20 workers, mainly women were employed. Other village ladies worked at home producing sheets of stamps to send out. The village post office too flourished as bags of mail from around the world passed through it.

Dennis also dealt in more valuable stamps and was very knowledgeable and well-respected. He scaled down his business as he grew older, but never really retired. He was a gentle man and a popular member of the community. His son, David, predeceased him.

Dennis Hanson in the garden at Kirkdene

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Saltmarshe Duo

It's now Tuesday morning and it is raining. But luckily last week we managed to avoid the rain and all our events went well. Almost 50 members of the Boothferry History society enjoyed an evening of history here last Monday and then descended like very pleasant locusts on Gloria's buffet which, judging by the comments and empty trays they thoroughly appreciated. The following afternoon we replayed the event for a smaller group from the Reedness and Swinefleet area.

On Wednesday I was at Saltmarshe Hall to talk to the Historic Houses Association whose members had come from as far afield as South Lincolnshire and the Lake District to look round this hidden gem of East Yorkshire.

And then it was time to prepare for a private concert and party here in our garden given by the newly- formed Saltmarshe Duo.

Amy Butler and Steven Goulden about to perform as The Saltmarshe Duo
[picture by Gilbert Tawn]

Although my daughter, Amy Butler, who is a pianist, has been performing concerts for some months with tenor Steven Goulden, this was a celebration of their decision to form a professional partnership as The Saltmarshe Duo.

Preparations involved power washing our yard, fetching very heavy tables in the pouring rain, sellotaping paper cloths which persisted in blowing away onto them, stringing up bunting and setting up the sound system.

But it all worked out well. In true Yorkshire fashion everyone brought plates of food to share and laid them out on two long tables. There was everything from quiches to samosas, Bakewell tarts and gateaux to trifles. And lots too to drink. We began the evening with Pimms and worked through to wine and soft drinks as well as tea and coffee.

Family and friends gathered and the concert began. Steven has been singing professionally for several years and we were treated to a wide range of repertoire ranging from Andrew Lloyd Weber hits, including Love Changes Everything and  Music of the Night to folk song arrangements such as The Lincolnshire Poacher and The Plough Boy.

Perhaps most impressive, however, were the operatic arias which included La Donna e Mobile,  Nessun Dorma and O Sole Mio. I think the sheep in the nearby field and the ships on the river must have heard and wondered.

Amy accompanied Steven as well as playing solos ranging from Gershwin to Glenn Miller and then we ended the evening with a Last Night of the Proms where we all sang along to Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia.

It was a lovely evening and I wish The Saltmarshe Duo well for the future. They already have several  varied bookings ranging from a concert for the Eric Coates Society, a flower themed concert in Ellerker church,  Songs of the Redcoats for a Waterloo dinner, a Dickens evening and two First World War concerts to a 70th birthday party and music for a fashion show.

Read more about them or book them on


Watch a short clip from the concert -  Steven Goulden singing O What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma! accompanied by Amy Butler.

Amy at the piano

Steven and Amy getting ready for Rule Britannia

The buffet where everyone went round several times!!
[ All pictures by Gilbert Tawn, without whose hard work there would have been no museum,  archive
 or concert space]

Monday, 3 August 2015

Local family history

I am busy at the moment tidying up the yard and garden in preparation for three events. The first two are visits to our museum by the Boothferry Family and Local History group and the following day by the Marshland History group.

It is always enjoyable to show people around and talk to them about the bygones and old pictures we have on display.

The third event is slightly different as it is a  small concert for friends performed by singer Steven Goulden and pianist Amy Butler.  We have planned it an an open air event with music ranging from opera to show tunes and concluding with a Last Night of the Proms finale. All we need is good weather and after the summer we have had so far this is not guaranteed. It may yet be in the local village hall!!

When not working outside I have been looking at some local families - the Cook family who were millers at Barmby on the Marsh and Seaton Ross and the Empsons of Goole and Yokefleet. The Goole Empson line has been something of a challenge as on at least two occasions the male line died out and the name only survived by descendants of the female line changing their name.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Nurse family of Eastrington

It has been a difficult few weeks as my aunt,  Jean Sellers, nee Nurse, who was 89, has been ill and then sadly died. The funeral,  this week, in the village church at Eastrington was poignant but also comforting.

This is the church where members of our Nurse family have been baptised, married and buried for over three centuries. Their names are on gravestones outside the church door, on the church wall, celebrating the fact that my great grandfather was churchwarden and on much of the church woodwork which my ancestors made.

My daughter played the organ, as my mother did before her and we had a 'wake' in the local village hall where we reminisced about my aunt's life and enjoyed countless cups of tea and pieces of pork pie and cake.

We shall miss her but she enjoyed her  life as a teacher at Gilberdyke School,  as a gardener, as a traveller in retirement and as part of the village community.

Jean Sellers of Eastrington with Basset hound Oscar

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