Monday 17 June 2024

Thomas Bristow - from Blacktoft via Reedness to Australia

The weather is slowly improving and I have managed to get the grass cut and planted some courgettes outside. I am also trying to catalogue my old photos properly - but keep buying new postcards so it is a never ending task. Although some are on my website I now have many more so do contact me if you are searching for a photo to show your house or illustrate your family history.

 And speaking of family history last Monday I met a lovely couple, Geoff and Wendy in Blacktoft. We sat and chatted in the friendly old schoolroom there which is always open for walkers, cyclists or in our case family historians.

The schoolroom when it was open for pupils

Geoff's ancestors were the Bristow family who originated in the Yokefleet/ Blacktoft area at least as early as 1769 when William Bristow married Joyce Johnson in Blacktoft church. They had several children [ I have not followed them but know some stayed in the local area].

The son from whom Geoff is descended was another William, born in 1773. He married Mary Mennett, daughter of Christopher, at Bridlington in 1796.

They had a large family but here we are following their son Thomas who was born at Blacktoft in 1798. He married Elizabeth Bullass in Whitgift church in 1823.  On his marriage he says he was living in Hook [which then encompassed most of modern day Goole] and was probably working on a farm in the area.

Thomas and Elizabeth settled in Reedness where her family lived. Their first child, William was born in 1823 but died aged 3 days.

 Their daughter Hannah was born in 1825 and Thomas was then a blacksmith. William Bullass was born  in 1827 and George Bullass in 1829.  Thomas was still a blacksmith,  but when baby Harriet was born in 1831 Thomas was described as a farmer. Sadly she died in June aged 14 weeks.

A son, John Thompson Bristow was born in 1832. Elizabeth's mother's maiden name was Thompson.

But then, in 1833 Thomas was accused of stealing corn from a neighbouring farmer.

The case was reported in the Leeds Mercury newspaper of 13th April 1833

The Court was occupied several hours on the trial of Thomas  Bristow, a small farmer at Reedness near Goole, who was charged  with robbing the barn of Mr Thomas Smith, a neighbouring farmer, of about ten loads of wheat. It appeared that in the early part of February, some persons entered the barn in the night-time, and carried off the wheat in question. There was no direct evidence to prove that the prisoner had stolen the wheat, 

The following circumstances were relied on as bringing the charge home against him. A considerable quantity of wheat, exactly resembling that stolen from the prosecutor, had been traced to the possession of the prisoner, which wheat had this peculiarity that it contained a number of small weeds called  cock rose seed. It was also proved that the wheat land occupied by the prisoner was incapable of growing nearly the quantity of wheat which he had disposed of, the inference from which was rendered more conclusive against the prisoner by his declaration, that he had never purchased any wheat, and that all he had sold or consumed had been grown upon his own land. 

Evidence was also given to prove that the weeds in the prosecutor's wheat had never been known to grow upon the land occupied by the prisoner. Samples of the wheat taken from prosecutor's barn, and that found in the possession of the prisoner, and also of some of which he had sent to the mill to grind, were produced and shown to the jury, who expressed themselves satisfied that they were taken from the same corn. The jury without hesitation, found the prisoner Guilty. 

The Court sentenced him to be transported for seven years. The chairman said, it appeared very probable from the evidence, that the prisoner had been in the habit of plundering his neighbours. There was another indictment against the prisoner for a similar offence, on which it was not thought necessary to proceed.

Thomas was transferred to the prison hulk Retribution at Woolwich and then transported to Australia on board the Neva. He arrived in New South Wales on 21st November 1833

Initially he was 'disposed of' to Henry Howey of Minchinbury which was a cattle area but is now a suburb of Sydney.

Meanwhile back in Reedness Elizabeth was left to cope with the loss of her husband. Confusingly she had a daughter Ann who was baptised in 1837 and described as the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth.  It is possible that she was probably born soon after her father was imprisoned but baptised later.

In 1841 Elizabeth was in the newly built Goole workhouse with her two youngest children. John was said to be 5 and Ann 4 -  ages are not exact in the 1841 census.

Goole workhouse is the red building on the left

By 1851 she is a labourer back in Reedness with her son John aged 18. Ann is elsewhere in the village and in service. 

She describes herself as a widow. This is accurate as in the probate index at York is the following entry for 1848 New South Wales - Thomas Bristow of Raintree Hill New South Wales [I cannot locate this place] but formerly of Reedness, parish of Whitgift. The figure given in the probate index is £20.

In 1850  son William Bullass Bristow married Ann Bateman [early sources give the name as  Batman] a local girl at Whitgift church. Their two eldest children [Hannah and Mary Ann] were born in Reedness but the family then emigrated to Ontario where their son George was born in 1854. They had five further children and lived in Osprey township. He died in 1894 and is buried in Rob Roy cemetery there. Ann died in 1903.

The interior of Whitgift church where many members of the family were married

Her brother Thornton Bateman also emigrated to the same area. He married Alice Kneeshaw who had recently emigrated with her parents from Crambe in North Yorks. They too are buried in the Rob Roy cemetery.

William's  younger brother, George Bullass Bristow [b 1829] was a little more adventurous!! Before eventually settling in Canada he joined the gold rush in California and then travelled to Australia. Here he met and married Susannah Pethick in Adelaide in 1859. She was born in Cornwall.

The couple then travelled to Ontario where their daughter Emeline was born in 1860. Thereafter they lived near the rest of the family and farmed. George became renowned as a cattle breeder.  Susannah died in 1900 and George in 1914. Both are buried in Rob Roy cemetery.

And what of those children of Thomas and Elizabeth left at home?

In 1851 eldest daughter Hannah was a servant at the Bowman's Inn in Howden. She married Charles Gray,  a coachman in 1861 in Newcastle. They moved with their children then back to Hull where Charles worked in a brewery, then later to Hedon where he was described as a  brewer. He died in 1890 and she moved to Gilberdyke where she lived with her brother John [Thompson] and his wife.

John Thompson Bristow was in the workhouse with his mother and sister Ann in 1841. From his 1904 obituary we learn that he went to live with an uncle when he was nine  and learned the trade of a shoemaker. 

This uncle was most probably David Bristow [born 1810 at Scalby near Gilberdyke]. His father, another David, was the son of William and Joyce Bristow. John married David's daughter Mary Ann in 1858.

They moved to Wressle where John commenced business as  a "cowkeeper and huckster". He obviously prospered and returned to Gilberdyke and "purchased a house, shop, and a quantity of land. He became popular and filled all public offices in the parish. He was a member of the late school Board from its formation, a Guardian for a considerable time, and for upwards of twenty years rarely missed attending the meetings at Howden". 

Clementhorpe Road, Gilberdyke

The youngest daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth was Ann.  By April 1861 Ann was running a lodging house in Albert Street in Goole.  Her mother was living with her. She gives her age as 27, giving her a birth date of 1834. She was already a widow having married Samuel Lucas from Swinefleet in 1857. Both he and his father Solomon were master mariners. They married at Whitgift in 1857 and had two sons, George Samuel born 1858 and James born1860.  But by 1861 Samuel had died [ drowned?] and  later that year Ann married again to James Davies. He too was a sailor.

I think Ann died before 1871 as in that year  her son James was in a sailor's children's home in Hull and later was a  merchant seaman. George was living with his uncle John in Wressle. He married Mary Ann Shipley from Scalby near Gilberdyke and worked in various Yorkshire towns as a  house carpenter but by 1911 was living locally in the Gilberdyke area.

Elizabeth herself remained in Reedness, at one point keeping a small shop. Sadly she died in 1890 aged 85, in the Goole workhouse where she had spent time so many years earlier. She was described as the widow of Thomas Bristow, farmer.

I have found this Bristow history interesting - the family spread all over the world and always kept their family Christian names. I  do however caution anyone researching the Bristows to beware of some of the trees on Ancestry as some are not quite accurate!

Thursday 30 May 2024

D Day in the Goole and Howden area

On  Thursday June 6th 2024 there will be several events both nationally and locally to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D Day landings. 

My father, Doug Watson of Eastrington, had been at Dunkirk but in 1944 was in North Africa. But my mother's cousin, Gunner Jack Nurse, a village joiner with his father, was involved while serving in the Royal Artillery.

Invasion practice had been going on for some time. Alan Swires who lived at Sleights between Eastrington and Spaldington remembered

One day I was biking home from Spaldington school when I had to get off my bike and get into the hedge bottom as there was a squadron of Centurion tanks coming. Their tracks were wider than the road and they parked them all in Spaldington village with one track on the road and one on the footpath squashing it  out of sight. The army later were sent to repair the damage the tanks had done.

We had swarms of soldiers, trucks and tanks practising for the invasion of France. There were soldiers everywhere and trucks and tanks in the fields. In Hall field one soldier slept under his tank which sank in the night squashing him.

We had three officers sleeping in the front room in sleeping bags. Their batman used to cook their breakfast in the coalhouse and bring it in at 6 o’ clock in the morning. There were soldiers sleeping in the barn, others sleeping outside and they had campfires in the yard.

Mum and dad had to put up signs where their potato and mangold clamps were so that the army did not over run them and squash them. My dad went down to the Royal Oak and said they were having to serve beer to the soldiers in jam jars as there were so many of them.

We did not go to school while the army was there as it was not safe to go on the roads. We went back to school when they had all gone. They were doing tank training on the Wolds where they had requisitioned 2000 acres and the army used to take fresh soldiers up there every day to the ‘front line’.

In Goole in preparation for D Day, there were Americans, some of whom were billeted in Christ Church with their cook house in the church grounds in Victoria Street, next to Beecrofts’ corner shop. Other preparations for D Day involved throwing a bridge over the river near Hook.

Michael Williams remembers how ‘we lived in what was then a new semi-detached house in Western Road. Life there became quite difficult during the war due to the road being used for storing large wooden crates containing military vehicles which were shipped in ‘kit’ form by Lep transport. The road was a security area with barriers and sentries at each end and we needed a pass to get to the house.

My father was away in the army from early 1940 until late 1945, serving in the Western desert with Montgomery. I would often go for long walks with my grandfather, Allan Wale, from Western Road to Airmyn and to Westfield Banks. I remember one day seeing a Bailey Bridge over the Ouse, quite close to the old isolation hospital. There were Sherman and Churchill tanks testing the pontoon bridge. My grandfather explained to the soldiers that my father was at that time a tank commander and so I was given a pretty scary ride over the bridge in a Churchill tank.’

Goole ships, including the Yokefleet were involved in the actual landings

This picture taken in June 1944 shows the Yokefleet discharging cargo near Corseulles sur Mer off the Juno landing beach.

It is not possible to mention all the local men who were involved and all those who lost their lives. So I include here some extracts from newspaper reports and some names mentioned in Mike Marsh's Goole at War volume 3. I hope this will give an idea of how everyone from our the local towns and villages was waiting for news in 1944.

From the news

Able Seaman Ernest Johnson of Howdendyke was one of first casualties, wounded on his leg while on a minesweeper. 

Charlie Dorsey and Edgar Bradshaw of Bubwith and signalman John Clayton of Staddlethorpe were early arrivals on  the beaches

Lance Corporal Cyril Arthur Goddard of Rawcliffe was killed on June 28th. He was the adopted son of Samuel and Florence Goddard, of Rawcliffe,  and  husband of Lorna Goddard, of Rawcliffe.  He was serving with the East Yorkshires and was 28 when he was killed. 

Cpl Harry Willingham of Hailgate  was killed 12th June six days after D day while serving with the Seaforth Highlanders. He was 26 and is buried in the Ranville war cemetery. He left a widow Elsie [nee Drury].

Jim Jackson originally of Howden but living aged 83 in 2005 in Holme on Spalding Moor  was serving with the Royal Engineers Inland Water Transport Co remembered

We landed at Luc sur Mer just after 6am. There was lot of stuff flying about shells and bullets  when we got onto the beach  so we ducked down for shelter behind some drums which we then realised were filled with petrol.  Because we'd been drafted in at the last minute we had little idea where we were until I saw a map in the Daily Mirror a few days later

1944 5th July Hull Daily Mail

WOUNDED IN NORMANDY Pte Rowland Mounsor, of Newport Road, North Cave, wounded at Normandy,  is now in hospital in England suffering from machine-gun and rifle wounds in the legs and arms. He is 19 years age. In his opinion many the German prisoners taken in Normandy are glad to out of it. 

Pte. Harold Shipley, aged 28, Duckels Buildings, Old Goole is now in hospital in Scotland, and is reported to be making good progress after an operation. His father, Mr Herbert Shipley, aged 63 is also taking part in the invasion. He is in the Merchant Navy, in which he has served for 35 years and he has been at least once to Normandy in these invasion operations. Pte. Shipley landed in France with the first wave on D-Day. He is a native of Goole, and as a boy attended the Old Goole Council School. He then worked for seven years on a farm at Swinefleet, and before joining the Forces four years ago, he was an engine driver for the River Ouse Catchment Board. 

July 11th 1944 Hull Daily Mail

Goole Officer Wounded 

Lt. Bruce Thompson, aged 20, youngest son of Mrs Thompson and the late Mr L. Thompson, Westbourne Grove, Goole, is in hospital in Lancashire with a bullet wound in his left thigh received while serving in Normandy. 

Lt. Thompson joined the Royal Armoured Corps about two years ago. trained at Sandhurst, and passd out as an officer, but later transferred to an infantry regiment. A native of Goole, he attended the Alexandra-st. school and the Grammar School, and at the time of joining the forces he was on the clerical staff of the County Welfare Institution at Goole. He has two brothers in the army, Lt. Allen Thompson, who is serving wth a heavy anti-aircraft unit in Italy, and Cpl. Douglas Thompson, who is with the R.A.M.C. in France

July 11th 1944

KILLED IN ACTION  Mrs Whitehead. of Richard Cooper St. Goole has received information that her husband Pte. Ernest Whitehead, aged 24 of the R.A.M.C.. has been killed in action in Normandy. Pte. Whitehead joined the Forces in March 1940 and went abroad in May1942. serving in North Africa and Sicily. He returned to this country in November last. As a boy he attended the Old Goole council school, and at the time of being called up he was employed by a Goole firm of fertiliser manufacturers. 

Aug 1944 Hull Daily Mail

Goole Corporal Killed in Action. Lce Cpl Arthur E. Mileham, aged 19, third son of Mr Mileham and the late Mrs Mileham, of Cheviot-ave., Goole, has been killed in Normandy. Lce Cpl. Mileham joined the Army in June, 1943. and went to France a few days after D-Day. Before being called up, he was a member of the Goole civil defence Messenger service. His eldest brother Staff Sgt. Frederick G. Mileham, who has lived in America for 17 years, is serving in France with the American Forces, and his father is a member of the civil defence ambulance service. 

Aug 10th 1944 Hull Daily Mail

Mrs Snarr, of Morley St. Goole has learned that her husband, Pte Newton Snarr, aged 30 has been killed in action. Pte Snarr had been in the Regular Army for 12 years, and had served in India, the Sudan. Palestine and Crete. He returned to this country in May, 1943, and was among the first troops to land in Normandy. 

[He had married Ada Forbes in Goole in 1943]

Sept 1944

Goole Soldiers Killed in Action

 L.-Cpl. Walter Salmon, aged 30, youngest son of Mrs Salmon and the late Mr W. Salmon, of Jackson St Goole, is reported to have died of wounds in France. L. Cpl. Salmon, who joined the Forces as a volunteer in May, 1940, went to Normandy a few weeks ago. As a boy he attended the Goole Boothferry Rd school, and at the time of joining up was employed in the grocery business at Bridlington, where his wife resides. 

Pte. Albert Roland Sherwood, aged 22, youngest son of Mrs Sherwood and the late Mr A. Sherwood, of Westfield ave, Goole. has been killed in action in France. Pte. Sherwood joined the Army in April, 1942. He attended the Goole Alexandra-st. school, after which he was employed by a Goole firm of house furnishers. His wife  is in the A.T.S. 

November 1944


 Well known in Humber shipping circles, Mr Frank Atkinson, of Goole, assistant director of the Sea Transport Division of the Ministry of War Transport, has been awarded the OBE. for his services in the planning of the landings in Normandy. Mr Atkinson, who is the only son of Mr and Mrs A. W. Atkinson, of Ingleside, Airmyn-rd,  Goole. and is 43 years of age. took up his present position in London in August, 1941. He is a director of the Ouse Steamship Co., Ltd., of Goole, and a partner in the firm of E. P. Atkinson and Sons, steamship managers, which was founded by his grandfather. For some years he has been secretary of the Goole Chamber Commerce and Shipping; was Ministry representative Goole for the Hull Coasting and Short Sea Shipping Control Committee; a member of the Goole Port Emergency Committee; and honorary secretary of the British Coasting and Near Trades Shipowners' Association. He is also a member of Goole Rotary Club and was formerly in the Royal Observer Corps at Goole. 

Although not entirely about Normandy I have left this extract from the Hull Daily Mail 1960 complete as I think it is interesting.

 Arthur Thompson of 18 Lansdowne-Rd  comes from a seafaring family and is one of five brothers to make a career in shipping. One of his brothers is Goole’s harbour master, another is master of a passenger ship and another master of a tanker. The fourth brother is chief steward on board the mv Kirkham Abbey which trades between Goole and Copenhagen. Their father and grandfathers went to sea for a living.

Capt Thompson was born in Goole in 1894 and was educated at Boothferry Rd School. He became an errand boy at a local chemist’s shop when he was 13 and began his seafaring career after taking a medicine chest aboard the ss Hessle 

The mate asked he wanted a job and a would-be chemist became a 15-year-old able seaman.  In 1910 Capt Thompson joined the ss Argus as steward and two years later joined the old ss Dearne. Shortly before World War One began he left the Dearne which was interned four ears by Germans at Hamburg on its next voyage

When war broke out in 1914 Capt Thompson joined the minesweeping trawler section of the Royal Navy. He enrolled as a deckhand but became skipper before being demobilised. He gained his master’s certificate in 1918 and a year later rejoined the Merchant Navy as second mate on the ss Yokefleet which sailed regularly from Goole. 

He was master of the ss Yokefleet when it was blown up by a mine off Harwich in 1942. All of the crew escaped without injury in the starboard life-boat and were picked up within an hour.  The  bows of the ship were protruding out of the waves the following day and Capt Thompson went out to the wreck with a salvage crew and there was a roll-call of the rescued seamen when voices were heard coming from inside the partly submerged ship. Eventually the voices were traced to a battery wireless set which had survived the mine  and was still operating It had been left switched on when the crew abandoned ship

Capt Thompson spent the remainder of his career  working for the sea transport division of the Ministry of Shipping and was in charge of four concrete harbour units towed from Goole  for use in the Normandy landings 

In 1945 he returned to Goole as Assistant Dock Master has worked ashore since. He is a member of Trinity House at Hull. Capt Thompson is married and has a son and daughter. His son was in the Merchant Navy during World War II and is now engineer charge of a clothing factory in Goole. 

I intend to visit Howden Minster next Thursday where there will be a service and other displays about D Day. Do add comments either on the blog or on one of the local facebook pages to which this will be linked if you can add further names or information.

Monday 20 May 2024

Goole's part in building Mulberry Harbour 1944

Late in 1943 workers began arriving in Goole to work on a project in numbers one and two dry docks.  Many were simply told to report for work in Goole and were accommodated in Mariners Street in huts.  [not certain where]. Some of the men were local and there were around 500 men in total.

No one knew what they were working on but the work was under the control of Henry Boot and Son.   Workers worked back to back twelve hour shifts. Timber was provided from the yard of E P Porter on Bridge Street. Work began in January 1944 and six concrete caissons were constructed and were completed by April 2nd.

This picture shows construction of caissons at Southampton in April 1944

We now know they were to be part of the Mulberry Harbours and that in total over 400 of these caissons [they were codenamed Phoenix]  in six sizes were constructed secretly all over the country.  They were designed to act as breakwaters to protect the harbour structures. Those constructed at Goole were categorised as type C. 

This photo [from the Imperial War Museum] of a caisson being towed by a tug gives some idea of the structure.

One of the local workers was plumber George Gunnill and working with him was 15 year old apprentice Frank Agar. He later remembered that when mixing the concrete a precise amount of chemical had to be added and that George came up with the idea of using a lavatory cistern. One pull of the chain and the exact amount was dispensed into the mix.

When complete the caissons were floated out of the docks and into the river. They were long and unwieldy and moved from Goole one at a time.  Harbourmaster then was Captain Charles E Tree who  described how difficult it was first getting the caissons out in to the river and then with two tugs ahead and two alongside down river. Each journey took two tides with a break at Blacktoft.

After leaving Goole the caissons were provided with Bofors guns and shelters for the gun crews. The first four went initially to Immingham and the other two to Hull. They were then floated to the South Coast where they were briefly sunk to conceal them until they were towed across the Channel

It was only later, much later, that it was realised what the structures built in Goole in spring 1944 were.  

And of course Goole's connection is recognised  today in the name of a pub and a housing development as well as an information board on the newly constructed Normandy Way which is positioned as near as possible to where the caissons were constructed.

This picture was taken by  Clifford Frank,  assistant docks engineer in Goole in the 60s and 70s and shows the dredger Goole Bight in one of Goole's dry docks.

Incidentally in 2022  there were three Goole built caissons still existing at Mulberry B  [port Winston Churchill]  visible between Tracy sur Mer and Asnelles

Much information about Goole - and the surrounding area -  during the war is available in the three books entitled Goole at War written by Mike Marsh. A former reporter at the Goole Times he borrowed the relevant volumes of the Goole Times and went through them extracting news from home and abroad during the war. This was added to  by stories from readers who read articles he wrote  in the paper as he worked.  I have used some of the information from volume three in this blog post.

It was the day after D day June 7th 1944 that the caissons were towed across the channel.  I am writing this blog post now in the hope that maybe local people may have further information or pictures [ unlikely I know] that I could add here.

Monday 22 April 2024

Ringstonhurst, North Howden

 It's now three weeks after Easter - and it is still cold and wet. Local farmers cannot get on to the land and are desperate for some warm dry days. Here in the garden the raised beds are still wet and claggy and nowhere near in a fit state for planting. But I have got some plants going in the greenhouse and some potatoes chitting in a tray. We are so dependent on the weather despite all our modern technology.

Last week I went to an interesting talk by Gary Tavender of the Howdenshire Archaeology Society. He talked of the various projects the group was interested in and mentioned the site of Ringston[e]hurst near North Howden station. It is a place I have long been fascinated by and so I came home to see what I could find.

Aerial and drone surveys and old maps show what appears to be a square moat on the site which was originally just on the boundary of the Bishop of Durham's park - the origin of Park Farm - where he had deer and other game for sport.

This 1910 OS map shows Ringstonhurst not far from the station with
the inverted U shape to the left being the park boundary

                Below is an aerial view from the 1970s with Mulberry House/now Northgate House in the background

Early records suggest that between 1200 and 1208  the bishop of Durham was granted permission to construct a park north of Howden where he and his friends went hunting, mainly deer.  In medieval times the bishops had a hunting lodge at Ringstonhurst where a gamekeeper/ park keeper lived. Bishop Tunstall in 1548 mentioned the lodge as being occupied by the keeper of the park although by 1561 the lodge, described as being at the parke gate was reported to be in disrepair.

We know too that this one and a half acre/ two acre site also included a chapel dedicated to St Mary where a hermit lived. In 1332 Simon of Lynne, a chaplain, had a licence to collect donations for his maintenance.

In 1391 John de Hay of Spaldington left 3s 4d in his will to Robert of Shackerstone hermita de Ryngstanhyrste

Bishop Fox in 1495 issued an indulgence to those who undertook a pilgrimage to pray at the chapel or hermytage of St Mary Magdalene at Howden or went there to hear mass. 

In 1501 he granted a penny a day to John Richardson, a Franciscan friar and hermit who was to 'locate himself within the chapel of the manor of Howdenshire called Ringstonehurst'

Ringstonhurst was the site of the muster of Howdenshire people when they marched with Robert Aske in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. This probably referrred to the whole North Howden area.

But in 1564 with the Reformation the chapel was 'suppressed' and the site granted to non religious owners. By the seventeenth century it was owned by Sir Philip Monckton of Caville who bought it in 1610.

In the Howden parish records there are mentions of births marriage and deaths of families who lived in houses at Ringstonhurst.  For example  there were 10 burials of people between 1570 and 1590. The latest burial I can find is 1658 when Thomas Bell, son of John of Ringstone hurst, was buried.

Local people know where the site is [on private land] and recall that in 1947 when the area was flooded  the remains of the moat were flooded but an area inside it stood slightly higher above the water. Also it is said the large stones and pieces of glass have all been turned up when the field has been ploughed.

Incidentally on the OS map above and also on the aerial photo you can see Mulberry House, now renamed. I have had a quick look at its history.

The earliest occupant I found was a Robert Fields who died in 1880. 

But perhaps the most interesting was the Whitfield family. George Whitfield was living there in 1901. He was living with his elderly mother while on census night his wife and daughter were with her parents in Market Weighton. George was the retired chief constable of York while his wife was a talented photographer. 

He and his family later ran the Londesborough Arms in Selby. His mother continued to live at North Howden and died in 1913.

I found this from a newspaper of 1904

 Mrs Whitfield, Mulberry House, Howden, well known throughout the district as a successful photographer, has just received another appreciation of her ability, having been specially commanded by the Prince and Princess of Wales to proceed to Harewood House, the seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood to take photographs of their Royal Highnesses and the distinguished house party. Not only did Mrs Whitfield take several photographs of the whole party, but their Royal Highnesses granted her other opportunities of photographing them, and the Prince conversed with Mrs Whitfield for some time, congratulating her upon the success of her work. 

Monday 25 March 2024


 It is only a few days before Easter but it is still cold and wet and however much I want to get out into the garden it is impossible as everywhere is soggy. I am hoping to start various seeds in the greenhouse but enthusiasm is hard to find when the weather is so horrible.

But local history is always there and I have been interested to follow the work of the Howdenshire Archaeological Society // who are working on the history and archaeology of Spaldington. Do visit their website and facebook page to see what they have found so far and what their plans are.

Many years ago I knew a gentleman called Bill Atkinson who, long before the days of the internet. made a study of the village. His work is invaluable today. 

My memories of Spaldington centre on visiting a shop/emporium/ shed in the village run by a gentleman called Brian Terry. My father often took my brother and myself there where you could  buy all sorts ranging from tools, nails, paint etc to wellingtons, torches and shoelaces - in fact almost anything. Of course he is long gone but I can still remember the varied contents and characteristic smell of his premises.

Over the years I have researched different aspects of the village. The early history is very interesting - the land passing from the de la Hay family to the Vavasours but the family story I wanted to mention today is what happened after the last maleVavasour heir of Spaldington died. It is a a bit complicated! Below is a shortened summary.

Thomas Vavasour 1636- 1679

Thomas was the last male heir of the Spaldington Vavasour family. He died in 1679 aged 43 and was buried at Bubwith.

The Trafford connection

Thomas' daughter and heir, Mary Vavasour, married Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton, Lancs,  

Their eldest daughter Anne, married Humphrey Trafford, Esq on 5th Aug 1701, in Manchester. [This is the same family who have given their name to  several modern features - eg Old Trafford and the Trafford Centre]

Humphrey and Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth Trafford, who married Mail Yates, of Mail, Lancashire, and who had three daughters: Anne Assheton Yates,  Mary Yates who married Henry Aspinall and Catherine Yates who married Robert Campbell.

The three sisters

On the death of Elizabeth in 1788 the ownership of Spaldington was split into three parts.

1. Anne Assheton Yates married Henry Nooth, a Colonel in a Cavalry Regiment, who took on his marriage the name of Vavasour in 1791, and was created a baronet in 1801.  He died in 1813 at Melbourne Hall [Yorkshire]. His widow, the former Anne Asheton Yates, died  in York in 1818 aged 88.

Their eldest son, born in Dorset in 1768 was Henry Maghull Mervyn Vavasour [born Nooth] who was a career soldier. He died at Melbourne Hall  in 1838 and was buried at Bubwith.  His son Henry Mervyn born 1814 died aged 98 in 1912.

This is a picture of Henry M Vavasour taken in 1890

2.  Mary Yates

Mary married lawyer Henry Aspinall .  She died in 1794 and he inherited her third of Spaldington which included the hall and much of the land north of the village. He put it up for sale in 1809 and died in 1810.

Lord Howden

In  May 1809  the following advertisement appeared in the Hull Advertiser

FREEHOLD ESTATE, consisting of  the Spacious MANSION HOUSE, called SPALDINGTON HALL, and several FARMHOUSES, with suitable OUTBUILDINGS, and 966 acres. of Fertile LAND, in a ring fence, divided into convenient Farms. Also, ONE-THIRD part of the MANOR of SPALDINGTON.

It was bought by  eminent soldier  General Sir John Francis Cradock who also bought Grimston Hall. In 1819 he was granted the Irish title of Baron Howden of Grimston  and Spaldington. He was the only son of  John Cradock, formerly Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.

So in 1822 we read that  'The hall at this place was formerly the seat of the ancient and honourable family of Vavasour, but now the property of Lord Howden, it exhibits a fine specimen of architecture of the time of Queen Elizabeth. "

Baron Howden was granted the English title in 1831. He died in 1839 and was succeeded in the title of Lord Howden by his son, John Hobart Cradock who immediately remodeled Grimston Park as an "Italianate palace" with large pleasure grounds and a riding school.

But  Lord Howden and his wife divorced and the estate including Spaldington was sold in 1851 to fellow diplomat Albert Denison, 1st Baron Londesborough.

There is no evidence that Lord Howden ever lived at Spaldington and most likely tenants lived at the hall.

For example a newspaper report of 1822 reports a death  at Stanton, near Burton-upon- Trent, Staffordshire, at an advanced age, Wm. Nadin, Esq. formerly of Spaldington Hall, and father of the late Mrs. Waterworth, of Wressle Castle


Whilst under the ownership of Lord Howden the old Elizabethan hall was pulled down in 1838. It was replaced by a new building within two years which is now known as Old Hall Farm.

In 1845  Old Hall  farm was occupied by Thomas Stogdale who was renting from Lord Howden.  He was  farming 300 acres and employing 4 labourers in 1851.  He was married to Ellen and  they had two sons.

 3. Catherine Yates and the new hall.

Catherine Eleanor married Robert Campbell of Arknish House in Argyll and had two daughters Catherine and Sarah Charlotte. She was the owner and probably the builder of a new hall at Spaldington which was on her property, south of the old hall. One source suggests it was built in 1810, the year Lord Howden bought the old hall.

This house was shown on the 1852 map as Spaldington House.
It was advertised to let in 1833. The advert read

With Immediate Possession, with or without TWELVE ACRES of GRASS LAND, a very desirable RESIDENCE, comprising Drawing, Dining, and Breakfast Rooms, with suitable Lodging Apartments; also, Butler's Pantry, Coach House, Stables etc. There is also a large Orchard, and an excellent Kitchen Garden.

Catherine died in 1838, the same year as her her daughter Catherine and her sister's son Henry M M Vavasour who died at Melbourne. Also of course this was the year too that the Old Hall was pulled down.

Her surviving daughter Sarah Charlotte inherited her Spaldington property and on the tithe award of 1849 is shown as owning and occupying the house. She had married Nathaniel Jekyll of Pitcombe House in Somerset but after he died she sold up in 1830. In 1838 she was given official permission to be known solely by the surname Campbell.

She died in 1853 at Bath and left her Spaldington property to her cousin Henry Mervyn Vavasour. She left a bequest to create a charity  for the poor who lived on her lands.

In 1857 it was described as  'The present hall, the property of Sir H. M. Vavasour, and residence of Robert Goldthorp, Esq., is a large brick building, with stone dressings, erected in 1810'.

In 1857 it was described as  'The present hall, the property of Sir H. M. Vavasour, and residence of Robert Goldthorp, Esq., is a large brick building, with stone dressings, erected in 1810'.


Robert Goldthorpe did not live in the house for very long but seems to have made a good impression.

We read that in 1856 — R. Goldthorpe, Esq., of Spaldington House, has lately distributed to each widow, and to the deserving poor of Spaldington, a pair of blankets, as a Christmas-box. At this inclement season, nothing could have been more suitable. During the past year this respected gentleman presented a very handsome Bible and prayer book for the use of the established Church in Spaldington. Other charitable and local projects have met with his liberal aid and support. May he long live to enjoy the hearty good wishes of the poor and all who have the pleasure of knowing him.

He was a widower and when he remarried in 1863 he left the district, moving to Surrey where he  died in  1870.

The end of the Vavasours at Spaldington
In 1865 Henry Vavasour put his whole Spaldington estate up for sale. It was described as

THE SPALDINGTON ESTATE, including the Mansion known as Spaldington Hall, with its Gardens and Pleasure Grounds, surrounded by a Freehold Domain of 2,510 acres of superior land, divided into 12 capital farms, interspersed with woodlands and plantations affording  coverts for game, lying in a ring fence, only two miles from the Howden Railway Station, within an easy distance of the city of York, and being in a thoroughly rural district, yet of easy access from the manufacturing towns of the West Riding, particularly eligible as a residence or investment for a banker, merchant, or country gentleman.

Spaldington Hall, a modern-built residence in grey brick, with stone dressings, and slated, is pleasantly situated, overlooking an enclosure of park- like pasture, and is approached by an entrance lodge and carriage drive through ornamental plantations, lawn, and pleasure grounds ; it contains an entrance-hall, dining, drawing, and breakfast rooms, seven bed rooms and dressing rooms on the first floor, besides attics, housekeeper's room, ample domestic offices, stabling, etc.

On another part of the estate a second residence has recently been erected, in the Gothic style, and large sums have been expended in the erection and repair of the farmhouses, homesteads, cottages, and the buildings generally are of a most superior character, and in excellent order.

The Estate comprises 2,540 acres, of which about 800 are fine pasture lands and orchards, 50 acres woodland, and the remainder arable. The soil is a strong, deep loam, and tbe portions requiring it having been under-drained in the most effective manner under Government Inspection, it is capable of producing very large crop of both grain and roots, while the size and regularity of the enclosures render it especially suited for steam cultivation, and it is most accessible to good markets, the roads  and river Ouse affording every facility for the delivery of produce. Deep seams of coal exist under the whole of thia district, though at present unworked. The compact character of this Estate is favourable for the preservation of game. It is at present well stocked with partridges and hares, and has excellent covert for pheasants. The country is hunted by the Holderness and York and Ainsty hounds, and good trout fishing may be had in the vicinity.

The farms included  Fir Tree House [described above as newly erected], Town End Farm, Sandwood House Farm, Yoke Gate Farm, Sykes Farm, Warham Farm.

So next time you hear of Old Trafford or visit the Trafford Centre remember the connection with our small East Yorkshire village of Spaldington.


Friday 15 March 2024

Howden Hall East Yorkshire

It's a sunny breezy day - such a relief from the incessant rain - and although the snowdrops have  all finished the daffodils are looking good. A friend came yesterday and we walked around with her phone app identifying what birds were about. Not only did it identify the various types of tits and the wren but also a tree creeper which I know we often had but had not seen  so far this year. And we could also hear the wood pecker hammering away in the ash tree.

Last week I gave a talk at Skelton to the small history group which meets there about Howden Hall. It is well hidden behind its [listed] wall and although there is a lot of information about it in the Howden an East Riding Market Town book which I wrote several years ago with Ken Powls it was interesting to 'revisit' what I knew of its history.

Originally part of the extensive Metham lands for a time the Howden hall estate was a separate manor called Paradise [meaning an enclosure] owned by a family called Har[t]forth.  It can be traced as being in the ownership in the mid 16th century  of Peter Hartforth  who was the Howden vicar or possibly curate.  

Christopher Hartforth was the high constable in Elizabethan times and in the seventeenth century William Hartforth was the owner of the small manor of Paradise.which in in 1644 consisted of house, barn, stables, orchard, windmill and 3 crofts - about 30 acres in all. 

He sold it to the Belt family of Belby who owned it by 1702.

In that year it was sold to the Worsop family who  originated around Adlingfleet and Luddington. Rev Richard Worsop was vicar of Adlingfleet in the late seventeenth century.

Richard and Sarah Worsop were the first of the family to live at Howden. Richard died in 1723 aged 63 and is buried in Luddington. He is described on the family plaque as 'late of Howden'. His widow Sarah died in 1739 aged 77. 

The plaque tells us that they had four sons and three daughters all of whom died young, other than a daughter Sarah who married Samuel Smith a Hull merchant and died in 1740 and a son Richard. When Richard died  in 1758 aged 67 the Worsop property passed to two distant cousins, John and Hester Arthur.  Richard requested in his will that they take the Worsop name.

William Arthur [1675-1741] of Wadworth near Doncaster had married Hester Worsop in 1704. The Arthur family lived at Alverley Hall/Grange. John Arthur, as requested, changed his name by act of parliament to John Arthur Worsop.

So in July 1778 John Arthur Worsop of Alverley Grange married Sarah Mauleverer at Arncliffe second daughter of Thomas. It is said that he was a gambler and mortgaged many of his lands.

They had three children: Hester, Richard and John.  His wife Sarah died in 1790 and is buried at Luddington. He died 1818 and is also buried at Luddington.

After his death his eldest son Richard, who had served in the 11th Dragoons,  took up permanent residence at Howden Hall.

His sister Hester Arthur Worsop had married John Parker Toulson in 1804 at Luddington. They lived at Skipwith Hall.

His brother John Arthur Worsop (1784-1851) had also served in the army during the Napoleonic wars. He married Harriet Hesse Topham in 1806 at Thwing. She was the  daughter of Major Topham of Wold cottage She died in 1810. 

Her obituary described her as having 'the most affable and engaging manners, and  that beauty and countenance, which attracted the notice of all who saw her. She died at the age of 23 years, and has left two infant daughters—as yet unconscious of their loss'.

By 1841 John was living at Landford Manor House in Wiltshire.  The house was also occupied by his son-in-law William Trollope, married to his daughter Maria, and their family. He died on 21 May 1851. 

Back in Howden the story of Richard is not straightfoward. 

Richard Arthur Worshop 

He was educated at Harrow and Magdalen College Oxford where he matriculated  in 1800 aged 19.  He, like his younger brother, served in the 11th Dragoons. So far quite straightforward.  We know he married Mary Ann Moat  at St George's Hanover Square in London in February 1819.

But it seems as if he and Mary were already married [ I cannot find the marriage] as they had at least 6/7 children already. The eldest was Sarah born in July 1812 and the youngest Valentine born in July 1819 [after the marriage]. All these children were baptised in Sculcoates, now a part of Hull.

And who was Mary Ann Moat? We know that her parents were William and Elizabeth [nee Pool] - both were living at Howden Hall in 1841 and a Mary Ann Moat was baptised in Beverley in 1792.

So did Richard and Mary have a first 'secret' marriage'? Was she 'not suitable'? Did Richard's father not approve? We shall never know.

 Richard Arthur Worsop

Mary Ann Worsop nee Moat

But what we do know is that after they moved into the hall they had a further nine children including one born in Edinburgh in 1830 where they had a house. Richard died in 1835. Mary Ann died in 1849 and the hall was then sold.

It was bought by John Banks who was a landowner and shipbuilder and  whose family also owned Brackenholme near Hemingbrough. John owned almost 400 acres and a shipyard at Skelton near Howden.

John Banks and his wife Sarah nee Tennant had had 10 children - seven girls and three boys. Their son James died in 1874 at Wressle castle,  Sarah died in 1877, John died in March 1778 aged 82 and only a fortnight later their son John also died.

John's obituary is below.

John Banks, of Howden Hall.— We regret to report tho death of Mr. John Banks of Howden Hall, which took place on Tuesday. Mr. Banks was one of the oldest inhabitants of ihe town, and  was well-known and esteemed throughout the entire district. He commenced life in comparatively humble circumstances, and raised himself to a position of affluence. ln addition to his Howden estate, he was also a large owner of property in Goole, Selby, and otber places. He was 82 years of age

His memorial and others to the Banks family are in Hemingbrough church.

Then on 28th February 1879 John, son of James, who was only 25 died.

After this the whole of the Howden hall estate was put up for sale in October 1879

Important Property Sale.—On Thursday week, Mr. Robert Brown offered for sale by auction, at Bowman's Hotel, the Howden Hall estate, late the property of Mr. John Banks which included a number of houses, and 137 acres of land. There were in all 27 lots, of which Lot 21, the most important, comprised “the hall, outbuildings pleasure grounds, grass land adjoining:—in all, 55 acres. This was offered subject to the life interest of the Misses Banks and a charge of £3000. The highest bid was £3,600 by Mr. J. Hawke, but the lot was withdrawn. 

Several of the detached dwelling-houses were sold at £400, or rather over; some of the smaller lots were sold at fair prices. The bidding for the land was of a very much less spirited character, only one field being bought at the sale, the price being £200. Several small plots of  ground  sold remarkably well, one of about  three quarters of an acre being knocked down for £260. Mr. Henry Green was solicitor for the vendor, and the attendance was the largest ever known at a property sale at Howden.

In April 1881  Miss Ann Banks aged 45 was living alone in the hall  with a cook and a housemaid. But in September that year at Howden she married Henry Blanchard Anderson a timber merchant a few years older than her whose business was at Howdendyke. Henry and Annie lived lived at the hall until her death in 1897.

Henry died in 1899. His obituary reads

Mr H. B. Anderson, of  Howden Hall, died suddenly yesterday morning the age of 71. Though a native Fimber. near Driffield, he had for over forty years been resident Howden, where he successfully carried the business of a timber merchant. He was a Justice the Peace for the Riding and chairman of the local Conservative Association. For some years he was churchwarden.  He was a Past Master of St Cuthbert's Lodge of Freemasons.

Both Henry and Ann were buried at  Hemingbrough.

In early 1900 the hall was advertised for sale but had no takers.

A report from February 1900 reads that 

at the Station Hotel, Hall, on Thursday afternoon, the Howden Hall Estate was offered for sale by public auction. The auctioneer entertained the company to whiskey and cigars, and then spent half-an-hour in endeavouring to induce a bid, but was reluctantly compelled to declare the sale closed without one offer having been made

The contents were put up for sale in March 1900

Mr. JAMES GLEW is favoured with instructions from the Exors. of the late Henry Blanchard Anderson, Esq., J.P, to SELL BY AUCTION, on Thursday, March 29th, the Valuable Furnishings. Pictures, Electro-plate, Glass, etc., in the Drawing Room, Dining Room, Breakfast Room, six Bedrooms, Bath Room, Box Room, Entrance Hall, Wine cellar, Pantries, Passages, Office, Kitchen, Scullery, Garden, Greenhouse, Yard, etc. 

There is no mention here of the ballroom which is there now. A bit of a mystery as to who had it built and why?

Howden Hall painted by local artist Frances Hutchinson

By 1901 Mrs Elizabeth Wilkinson was living at the hall. She was a 45 year old widow of independent means. Also there was her 17 year old niece Dorothy, a cook, a house maid and a kitchenmaid. Mrs Wilkinson was, before her marriage, Elizabeth Chaplin whose family were large landowners in the Bubwith area. She  had married John William Wilkinson, fourth son of the vicar of Bubwith. He had died in 1899.

Mrs Wilkinson lived at the hall until her death in 1943. She maintained her interest in the Bubwith area and seems to have lived quietly in Howden.

In 1903 for example she gave new carved oak choir stalls to Bubwith Parish Church. The work, which cost about £200, was carried out by Messrs. Jones and Willis, of Birmingham, under the supervision of Mr. M. Wilson, of Sheffield, and included two prayer desks for the clergy.

After the death of Mrs Wilkinson the Howden hall estate was bought by James Edward 'Jimmy' Mortimer and his wife Mary. They had moved from Knedlington manor and he  was something of an entrepreneur having previously owned the Howden airship station.

But soon after moving from Knedlington he died in 1946. His widow Mary died in 1951 leaving the hall to Dr and Mrs Mackenzie of Newport.

The Yorkshire Post reported in May 1951 that 

A doctor and his wife of Newport, East Yorkshire, are undecided whether to occupy Howden Hall, with 52 acres of parkland and gardens, together with two cottages and outbuildings, left to them by the late Mrs. Mary Mortimer, who lived there until last February. Mrs Mortimer left £51,287 (net £50.130, duty paid £7,713). Dr. James M. McKenzle and his wife were both friends of Mrs. Mortimer, whom the doctor had attended for the past three years. Mrs Mortimer's husband died about four years ago. shortly alter they went to live at the Hall. Mrs. McKenzic told "The Yorkshire Post" last night that Mrs. Mortimer had hinted that she might leave the Hall them, but it was not confirmed until after her death. Dr. McKcnzie has been practising the Howden district for about 25 years. 

The Mackenzies remained at Newport and later sold a large part of the estate to the East Riding council who built a new secondary school on the site.

The hall itself has had other subsequent occupiers - bank manager Mr  Harrop and latterly Peter White and his family.

Monday 22 January 2024

Family connections - Jenkinson and Nagley

 We have had a week of snow - very little here - and ice and have now had yet another 'named' storm. How did we ever manage when we looked at the sky to see if it was going to rain and put on a woolly hat when it was cold?

In the garden the snowdrops are just showing white and a few daffodils are in bud but wisely they are waiting for a little warmth.  I see them when I walk Molly who is an old dog now - she was a puppy when I began to write my blog- she likes lying in her bed next to the radiator and has to be coaxed out for a walk.

Both my history groups have now started and we are catching up after the Xmas break.So often you can pull a thread and you never know where you are going to end up. This was the case when I received an e mail from a gentleman whose  grandmother was brought up in Goole and who was a very proficient musician.

Maud Hopkinson was born in Hunslet in 1884 but when she was 6 years old her father died of tuberculosis and she was ‘adopted’ by her aunt and uncle.  Her uncle, Alfred Whittaker, was a professional sign writer and also a musician who played the violin and the piano.  

In  June 1913 an article about her appeared in the Goole Saturday Journal. This is an extract.

Miss Hopkinson, of 11 Jefferson Street, Goole, has lived in a musical atmosphere all her life.  At an early age she made her debut as a pianist, and when twelve years old she secured her first professional engagement. This was to play at a dance at Saltmarshe Hall. She was assisted by her uncle, Mr Alfred Whitaker, who played the violin, and was complimented by the company for whom she played. Among the guests, and about her own age, was Miss Saltmarshe, who is now Lady Deramore. Needless to say, the half guinea Miss Hopkinson earned was greatly treasured. Following this she received similar engagements, but after a few years her taste for classical music became too strong to allow her to continue playing for dances, and naturally she declined to undertake any more work of that kind.

About this time, Mr Rogers, a musician from Doncaster, expressed a desire to form a ladies’ orchestral society in Goole. Miss Hopkinson was so much in sympathy with this idea that she pluckily choose to learn the double bass, an essential instrument to the orchestra, yet one upon which few ladies desire to devote their practice. She soon became a good player, but unfortunately no ladies’ society was formed owing to the insufficient number of members. 

However Miss Hopkinson’s energies in this direction were not wasted, as she was invited to join the Goole Amateur Orchestral Society, and on several occasions she assisted at their concerts. Finding the double bass rather clumsy, and hardly suitable for solo work, the ‘cello next claimed Miss Hopkinson’s attention. She became a useful member of the Orchestral Society, and also assisted the Goole Operatic Society in the production of their operas - ‘Trial by Jury’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘Les Cloches de Cornville’. 

When the Maidstone Violin Classes were formed at the Boothferry Road Boys’ and National Schools, with Mr Whitaker as instructor, Miss Hopkinson assisted.  A well known Goole violinist to whom Miss Hopkinson gave his first lessons at these classes was Master S. Nagley. She soon discovered his natural ability, and although he joined the class at a later date than the majority he easily became the leading boy.

At the present time Miss Hopkinson is best known as a pianist and organist. Her later pianoforte tuition was received from Herr Muller, Mus. Bac., under whom she studied harmony and counterpoint for two years. She was a prize winner at Pontefract Music Festival on two occasions, being successful in the class for pianoforte accompaniment at sight.

 Following a course of organ lessons under Mr Arthur Whitaker she obtained the post of organist at the United Methodist Church, and as an accompanist to the prize choir of that church she is well known as a very capable worker, and has played a number of oratorios.

 As a mark of appreciation of her untiring efforts on their behalf, the members of the choir presented her with a gold watch in January of last year.

She is a member of the Royal College of Organists, and succeeded in passing the practical section of the associateship examination, held in London last July. Her coach for this work was Dr Eaglesfield Hull, F.R.C.O., Principle of the Huddersfield College of Music. Besides a year’s organ tuition under so eminent a master, Miss Hopkinson has attended lectures in London, Huddersfield and Manchester, and has heard some of the best English and continental organists, including a recital at Lucerne Cathedral.

Three years later Maud married Walter Tom Jenkinson, a farmer from Gribthorpe, as reported in the Goole Times in June 1916.  

The  Boothferry Road chapel on the right where Maud Hopkinson played the organ and where she was married. It was damaged by bombing in the war in 1942 and was demolished in 1962.

 A very pretty wedding, and one of considerable interest to lovers of music and admirers of the high musical service at the Boothferry Road United Methodist Church, to which Miss Hopkinson has been so valuable a contributor, was solemnised at the United Methodist Church, 

 The bride was Miss Maud Murdina Hopkinson, daughter of Mrs Hopkinson, Dunhill Road, Goole, and the late Mr Jas Hopkinson, and the adopted daughter and niece of Mr Alf Whitaker, of 11 Jefferson Street.

 The bridegroom was Mr Walter Tom Jenkinson, of The Beeches, Gribthorpe, youngest son of Mrs Jenkinson and the late Mr Edward Jenkinson, of Gribthorpe.


 The chief bridesmaid was Miss Mobbs (Clifton Gardens), an old friend. There were four junior attendants; Miss Mary Alden (Foggathorpe), niece of the bridegroom, and Miss Daisy Hopkinson, niece of the bride, Master Charlie Patchett (Yokefleet), and Master John Jenkinson (Howden), nephews of the bridegroom.

         The happy pair were the recipients of many handsome and valuable presents, which included a massive silver candelabra, the gift of the members of the church and congregation, and a rosewood music cabinet from the choir.

         The letter accompanying the present from the choir reads :- 

“Dear Miss Hopkinson, I am desired on behalf of the choir and choirmaster to convey to you on your approaching marriage our most sincere wishes for your future happiness and prosperity. It may have been a foolish thought to adopt, but we had almost begun to think that you were wedded to the organ and proof against any man diverting you from it. But we have had a rude awakening. That any man should have the presumption to come and take you away from our organ and choir is almost unthinkable and some of us are looking forward to meeting the gentleman. However, we desire you to accept this cabinet, not for the face value but as a token of the esteem we have for you, and also as an appreciation of your most valued services so consistently and modestly given to the choir. 

Pictured at Yokefleet are the Patchett family. Seated in the rear is Mrs Alice Patchett, nee Jenkinson, Walter's sister and children George [at the wheel] Charlie, Alice and Eliza

The couple had one daughter, Nora, who became a nurse and who, in 1943 married Alec Innes, a Scottish  surgeon whom she met while working in Leeds.

But this is where the following a thread that I mentioned earlier, comes in. One of the members of the Goole Thursday morning group wondered who this talented young violinist, Master S Nagley was and followed up his life story.

And this story was very interesting but ultimately sad.  

Here is a quick summary but if anyone would like to know more do get in touch. Sam Nagley was born in Leeds in 1896 but later lived with his family in Pasture Road in Goole. His family were Jewish and had fled Russia  before his birth. He attended Alexandra St school in Goole and then Thorne Grammar School  and briefly in 1909 the newly-opened Goole Secondary School. In 1910 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and was taught by American born violinist Achille Rivarde, Dr Read, Thomas Dunhill and Frederick Bridge.

He returned to Goole, living in Mount Pleasant and taught music. After the death of his father he moved to Leeds and became part of a thriving Jewish artistic community.  A 1922 portrait of him by artist Jacob Kramer is in the Ben Uri collection and can be seen online

He trained as a doctor at Leeds University and practised in London until, aged 32, he was struck off the medical register. Research suggests that this was because he performed an abortion on his pregnant mistress. Exactly what happened to him then is unknown. He disappeared in the Austrian alps in 1930 and was declared dead in 1938.

One branch of the Nagley family moved to Canada and  a descendant and author, Susan Glickman, wrote a book in 2006 entitled The Violin Lover. It is a fictionalised account of Sam's story. She based her novel on some family information and suggests that Sam walked in the Alps with his violin and was never seen again.

You never know where local history will take you - but with the aid of the internet it is possible to follow  some life stories to their surprising ends. 

Tuesday 2 January 2024

January 2024

Happy New Year to all who read my blog.   I wish it would stop raining as the land is waterlogged and our pond is as high as I have seen it for many years. But on the plus side  I can feel all the snowdrops pushing through as I walk Molly around the wood and there are some daffodils peaking up too.

I have tried to have a computer-less Christmas and have succeeded to some extent although I did manage to produce a short slide show about Howden pubs to go with the history of Howden pubs booklet which I produced with Geoff Taylor just before Christmas and which has sold very well as Christmas presents. Here it is as a You Tube link to my as yet small You Tube channel for those many readers who do not 'do' facebook.

I thought I would include here some accounts of how Christmas and  the New Year was celebrated in times past.

1851 Howden
Howden Church.—On New Year's Eve, according to annual custom, the ringers of the Parish Church ascended tho tower at half-past eleven o'clock, and commenced ringing the old year out; firing with the bells together twelve close volleys, in imitation of the clock striking twelve, which at that time had a most solemn and impressive effect. They then welcomed in the new year of jubilee with a merry series of changes on tho melodious peal of eight bells

1861 Howden
 Christmas Tide.—Frost and snow have this year given to Christmas the old characteristics of' the season, and the ancient customs of bell-ringing, carol singing, and Christmas gifts have been kept up at Kowden as the olden time. Christmas-day, the inmates of the Union House, about 85 in number' were feasted with roast beef and plum pudding, the beef being supplied by Mr. Robert Claybourn, and consisting of the best parts of some remarkably fine beasts fed by Robert Scholfield, Esq., of Sand Hall. Mrs. Clarke, of Knedlington, the Rev. G. Richards, Mr. Wm. Fitch, Mr. and Mrs. Anderton, Mr. aud Mrs. Dix, Mrs. John Taylor, and Mrs. Rigby assisted Mr. and Mrs. Meadley, the master and matron, in carving aud waiting on tho poor people. During the past week considerable quantity of fine beef was distributed by Thomas Carter, Esq., among the old retainers of the family. Excellent soup was given away, to all comers, by George Anderton, jun., Esq.; and other generous individuals distributed meat, coals, and blankets.

Goole  Jan 1899

With what " hooting " and a " tootling " was the New Year ushered in to sure. such screaming and a screeching of buzzers and  heralded the birth of 1899, the like of which one seldom hears at Goole at any rate.  The snow which fell on Saturday morning did not stay long; in fact, before night it had all dieappeared. It was exceptionally dirty under loot, and very unpleasant for the large number of people who flocked into the town to the market. Thick fog also set in, and prevented the steamers from getting away by the night's tide. It was quite bad yesterday morning, and is consequence there were sailings or arrivals. Of course, it just suited the men for they were able to spend New Year's Day at home.  Talk about mud! Why, Bridge-street yesterday was "a sight for the Gods!" Passing vehicles splashed pedestrians, some of whom presented a sorry picture. Aire-street may boast about its tar macadam, but Bridge-street stands second to none for its mud. 

New Year Honour for Goole Man. Included in the New Year Honours List is Captain Percy Pratt, master mariner, of Victoria-street, Goole, who receives the M.B.E. (Civil Division). 
Captain Pratt is 50 years of age, and a native of Goole. Following the death at sea of' his father, who was a marine engineer, Captain Pratt entered the Newland Homes at Hull, where he spent his boyhood days, and served his apprenticeship in deep sea vessels. He has held a master mariner's certificate for nearly 30 years, and for many years has been in the service of Messrs Atkinson and Prickett, Ltd., coal exporters, of Hull and Goole. He has had command of their motor vessel Coxwold since she was launched a year or two before the war, and she was one of the last vessels to leave Norway during the evacuation. Since then the Coxwold has on two occasions rescued the crews of ships sunk by enemy action. Captain Pratt is married, with two sons and a daughter. He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House.

Today we no longer hear the blowing of the sirens from Goole docks, not have we had snow. But we have had fireworks and mud!!!  Health and happiness for 2024

Saturday 16 December 2023

An eye witness account of the launch of the R100

 Ninety four years ago today on a still winter's day, like today,  the airship R100 was launched from Howden. Strictly speaking it was North Howden where it had been built in a giant hangar. 

Ernest Butler was then a young reporter on the Goole Times and seventy years later years later he wrote this account of that morning.

I was only a trainee reporter, with little more than a year’s experience in journalism, when I was present at the launch of the R100 airship from North Howden.

From Goole I travelled in the Goole Times van - there were no company cars in those days - with the van driven by one Charlie Ayre, and with the then chief reporter, Stuart Gunnill, squeezed in with me to oversee what I did and wrote.

I remember we - the Press, and there seemed to be hundreds of reporters and photographers swarming around - had to present ourselves at some ungodly hour in the pitch darkness of a December morning, and I remember, after we had crossed over Boothferry Bridge - that itself was a novelty because the bridge itself had been opened only a few months    earlier in 1929 - that the roads leading to Spaldington were literally alive with people -   people walking, people running, people on bicycles, people on motorcycles, people in cars. Cars in those days were few and far between but on that December morning in 1929 it seemed that every car in the country was heading for the airfield. I remember seeing people camped out on the grass verges and even dancing to the music of portable gramophones. I think we had to be in the cordoned off press enclosure outside the hangar by 6.30 am. It wasn’t cold, I remember, just dark and a little eerie.

And then, eventually, the huge hangar doors were slowly opened, the sky began to lighten with the approach of dawn and slowly, just before 8.00, out of the hangar the great airship slowly emerged, hauled by seemingly hundreds of pygmies beneath her, each of them holding her steady by ropes. They were soldiers and they marched steadily in step out of the hangar and onto the airfield with the great mass of the R100 a few feet above them. It was, to me, and I think to everybody who saw it, an awesome sight. In fact I remember being rather frightened to watch this huge gleaming monster passing slowly and silently a few yards above where I was standing, with lights shining from the gondolas beneath the mass of her body. And then I remember faintly hearing a word of command, the soldiers released their hold on the ropes, the airship rose slowly up, the propellers began to revolve and hundreds of gallons of water ballast were released, soaking the soldiers underneath. The R100 rose higher and higher, turned slowly to dip seemingly in farewell salute over Howden, and in a few more moments she was lost to view.

70 years on, and it is still - almost all of it - a vivid memory. The launch of the R100 was my first real story; and when I turned in my copy, the great god Gunnill (and to me he was a god in those days) read it through, made some corrections, grunted ‘Good. Now go home and get some sleep.’ So I did. And the following Friday, when I presented my weekly expenses claim form to the cashier for payment, there was the item ‘Breakfast - 1s 6d’. Gunnill had told me to enter it - in those days we received 2s 6d for lunch expenses, and 1s 6d for tea or supper. So 1s 6d for breakfast was fair enough, even though I didn’t have any breakfast. Gunnill thought I deserved it, for I’d been on Goole Times duty from 4.30am to 9am out in God’s cold air, and then from 9am to 11am writing the story.

Many local people worked on the airship and were out of work after it departed for Cardington. It could not return to Howden as there was no mast there for it. And despite a successful flight to Canada it was dismantled after the crash of the government built R101. Much has been written about the R100 since that day and of course anyone interested in its story can walk the airship trail in Howden, enabling the visitor to realise exactly how vast it was.

R100 at Howden having been walked out of its hangar. There was a

 9 foot clearance on each side and 5 feet on top.  It came out stern first

 R100 in flight. If you look carefully you can see how small the figures are on the ground.