Saturday, 6 February 2016

Newport [East Yorkshire] village hall

I have been asked recently about the history of Newport village hall. I have added East Yorkshire into the title of the post as there are so many Newports around! Our Newport [sometimes New Village, New Gilberdyke or River Bridge] came into existence when the Market Weighton canal was dug in the late eighteenth century [ for more history of this look at my Howdenshire history website].

The present village hall is properly the Recreation Hall or 'The Rec' and dates from 1927. I looked up the reports of its opening and also the opening of the associated playing field. Both are still in use.

The playing field or Recreation Field was opened in April 1927. Williamsons were brick makers in both Newport and Broomfleet.

Hull Daily Mail 25th April 1927


The village of Newport was en fete on Saturday afternoon for the opening the Recreation Field, presented to the village by Messrs Henry Williamson and Co., Ltd. 

Mr Alfred Williamson, of Brough, has had the field laid out with tennis court, bowling green, cricket pitch, play corner equipment with swings for children, park seats, pavilions, etc. There was a good display of bunting from many of the homes of the residents, and row of streamers from large flagstaff the entrance to the field.

 In spite of the cold and dull day, there was a large gathering. The opening ceremony was performed by Lord Deramore, of Heslington Hall (chairman of the East Riding County Council and the East Riding Playing Fields' Committee), Major W.H. Carver, M.P., J.P., presided and was supported on the platform by Lord and Lady Deramore, Mrs Carver and A. Williamson. There were also present Mr J. R. Proctor (clerk to the East Riding County Council), Mr Godfrey Macdonald (secretary of the East Riding Court of the National Playing Fields' Association), and Mr T. Clark (director of Messrs H. Williamson and Co). Major Carver said he was glad to have the honour of being chairman. A more auspicious day than St. George's Day could not have been chosen for such an event. The cross of the patron saint of England stood for religion and service, and that service for others was exemplified there by the munificent gift to the village which Mr Williamson had made.

The National Playing Fields movement had as its aim the ensuring of adequate facilities for recreation, and such provision for young people in particular was desirable. The president of the Playing Fields' Committee for the East. Riding was Lord Deramore, and they were therefore delighted to have him with them (applause). Lord Deramore said he was proud to have been asked perform this duty, but he felt Williamson was the man to do it, for it was through his munificence they had these magnificent grounds. This was just the kind of thing the National Playing Fields Association wanted. The Association's aim every village was to provide what Williamson had done Newport. He was glad say that in most places, there were cricket and football fields, but such splendid grounds as Newport now possessed, were few and far between. A great appeal was to be made, when the Duke of York returned, for money for playing fields, but they would not find many people who would give as Mr Williamson had done. He had great pleasure in declaring the recreation grounds open for ever for the inhabitants of Newport (applause). Lord Deramore then hoisted a blue flag, bearing in gold letters the words, Newport Recreation Club. As this ceremony was performed, heavy rain drove the large crowd to shelter.'

Re-assembling after a short delay, Mr Williamson, who was cordially received, moved a vote of thanks to Lord Deramore, and said that Newport felt greatly honoured by his presence. They all knew how great interest Lord Deramore took in village life, and how much he had at heart the welfare of the countryside. There had in the past been a feeling that education and recreation would not fit a man for undertaking laborious work, but happily had been demonstrated that human nature responded to the best conditions of employment and social life. Hence the movement in the country to obtain improved housing, and now strong effort to provide playing fields. It was with great sincerity he thanked Lord Deramore (applause). C. A. Carr, in seconding the vote of thanks, said Newport was very proud of its recreation field. He thought they were the pioneers the National Playing Fields movement. They were glad to have got so far with their scheme, but they were not at the end yet. He appealed every one loyally to support the scheme. They were delighted to have Lord Deramore with them (applause). The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation. Lord Deramore, responding, said should always remember this as the first playing field provided in the East Riding since the National Playing Field movement began. Moving vote of thanks to Major Carver, Mr E.  C Wright said their Member's presence showed he was heart and soul in favour of the movement  which Mr Williamson had so generously started. He would like to express the gratitude of Newport to Messrs Williamson and Co., and to Mr A. Williamson particular, for the great work they had done for the village (applause). Mr J. J. Underwood seconded in humorous vein. Mr Williamson, he said, had done his share, and it was now for the people of Newport  to work  to raise funds for the erection of the Hall. Major Carver, responding, wished the scheme every success. Lord Deramore then proceeded to the bowling green, and played the opening game.

Amongst the attractions was a friendly football match between Gilberdyke and Newport teams. The vicar kicked off.  A good game resulted in a draw, each side scoring a goal, B. Exley for the visitors and C. Haig for Newport. Messrs J. W. Benson and H. Clark had charge of the balloon bursting competition; sweet stall, Mrs J. Kirk and Miss J. Thompson; aerial flight, Messrs G. Hutchinson and A. Underwood; wireless, Mr S. Mothersdale; bowling the wicket, Mr Haigh. The prize winners in the cycle parade for 'children were: 1, Zoe Underwood; 2, Arthur Kitching; 3, Willie Kirk; 4, Norman Haigh.

 The playing ground was in charge of Messrs S. Lennon, W. Cressey, and B. Kitching;  the tennis court in charge of Mr S. Mothersdale. Capital music was played at .ntervals by Mr Harry Hotham's orchestra. Tea was provided in the schoolroom, supervised by the ladies' committee. In the evening, a whist drive and dance was held in the Council School. Messrs S. Lennon and  Mothersdale were the M.C.'s. The prize winners were: —Ladies: , Mrs F. Woodall; !, Mrs A. Wainman; 3, Mrs F. Coultires. Gentlemen: 1, Mr W. Johnson; 2, Miss A. Williamson (as gent) ; 3, Mr Oldfield. There was a crowded company at the dance. Messrs C. A. Carr and J.  Kean were the M.C.'s. The music was supplied by Harry Hotham's orchestra.

Building the hall in 1927

The hall was opened later in the same year.

Hull Daily Mail 12th December 1927

There was a large gathering at the opening of the new hall at Newport on Saturday afternoon. Major W. H. Carver, M.P., occupied the chair, and on the platform were Mrs T. C. Gurney and Miss Gurney (Hotham Hall), Mrs Carver, Mr Alfred Williamson, Mrs Mackenzie, Mr E. P. Scholfield, J.P. (Sand Hall), Miss Williamson, Mr J. J. Underwood, Mr E. C. Wright, Mr C. A. Carr, and Mrs Stevenson

 The chairman said it was far better that they should pay for such place themselves, which he understood they were doing; they would appreciate it all the more. Such Institutes made people more tolerant with their neighbours, and promoted good feeling amongst the people and the desire to help others. Wishing the hall every success, he called upon Mrs Gurney to declare it open. 

Mrs Gurney said it was the best of its kind she had ever seen, and they must be greaty indebted to Mr Williamson, who had made a scheme possible. She could not see how people of Newport could have 'lived much longer without such place. declaring the Hall open she hoped they would aek her many times in the future to help them. A bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs Gurney by Elsie Kirk on behalf of the Recreation Club committee.

Newport Recreation Hall on the right. The Primitive Methodist chapel beyond it is no longer there.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

High winds and Knedlington article in Howdenshire Living

On Thursday night the wind sounded so strong- I think it was Storm Gertrude!- that rather than be lulled to sleep by it we were worried about falling trees. Mind you we had good reason. On Tuesday I took Molly for a walk onto the riverbank to look at a trench which had recently been dug to allow a new water pipe to be put in.  As I watched two quite large yew trees opposite our garden and hanging over the road were rocking alarmingly as their roots had been cut through. After a phone call to their owner and with the help of a local farmer both trees were cut down. I was sorry to see them go as they were old trees and acted as a windbreak to our garden. One remains and I wonder how long it will last on its own. Hence our worry last night.

It must be the time of year to stay inside and look at family history. I have had several enquiries and am busy researching three Yorkshire based families for their descendants. One family in particular has been causing problems - I could find no record of them before they arrived in Goole although from census entries I knew they were all from a village in the Isle of Axholme. But the problem was solved when I mentally imagined how the name - which began with an 'h' might have been said locally. Drop the 'h'  for a start and then experiment. And there they were. Computer searches are wonderful but cannot beat local knowledge!!

I have also been writing an article for the new magazine Howdenshire Living. This is a lovely glossy lifestyle magazine and I have agreed to write a monthly illustrated piece each month about the history of local villages. Last month was Knedlington and this month will be Laxton.

Below is the article on Knedlington that  appeared last month

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A big egg - and Goole canal contractors

Now we are in 2016 and still the weather is mild - I have daffodils from my garden on the kitchen table. Also on the kitchen table were two eggs - one a normal sized egg and one an eye wateringly large egg laid by one of our hens yesterday.  The others are laying well but I expect the hen who laid this whopper will be resting!

The garden is very wet and Molly has to have her paws dried when she comes in if we are not to have muddy marks all over the floor.

In my last post I  wrote about Mark Faviell who lived at Amcotts Lodge. He was a contractor on the local Goole Aire and Calder Navigation and since writing about him I have been learning more about other contractors - until quite recently a somewhat neglected aspect of the town's past.

We already knew about Messrs Jolliffe and Banks - see my website [

and are now turning our attention to Hugh McIntosh who was responsible for constructing the Steamship Lock and Dock and the graving dock.

I have also been looking at the story of Thomas Bramley from Snaith. He left Yorkshire for Australia in the 1850s and was unfortunately murdered in 1867. His murder was reported in the  newspapers of the time as The Rokewood Murder.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bees, Amcotts and Mark Faviell

It is the strange limbo period between Christmas and New Year when no one quite knows what to do. Of course we are quite near York where there have been awful floods and so are very grateful that the Ouse is behaving by the time it reaches us. We have taken Molly along the river walk just to check.

The chickens are still laying well - around 6 eggs a day which I think is very good for this time of year although now we are past the solstice every day is getting ' a cockstride lighter' and of course it is still unseasonably mild.

Today we had a look at the bees to see if they needed feeding any fondant. Normally they would be almost asleep at this time of year but as it is so mild they are flying a little and using up their stored supplies. They are alright at the moment but need watching.

A view of the bees today, looking through their glass quilt. If you look carefully you can also see the reflection of the  ash tree above them. We hope no branches fall in the wind.

On the history front I was recently asked if I knew anything about a Goole architect called Mark Faviell who, according to Wikipedia, designed Amcotts Church in the 1850s

I had never heard of him so did a little research.

Mark Faviell lived at Amcotts Lodge and in October 1850 the newspapers reported  how he and his family were involved in building the new church.  The foundation stone was laid by  his son Jeremiah. Below is an edited extract of the newspaper report.

  'NEW CHURCH AT AMCOTTS, IN THE PARISH OF ALTHORP, LINCOLNSHIRE. On Tuesday last, the interesting ceremony of laying the foundation stone for a new church took place at the pleasant village of Amcotts, the parish of Althorp, on the banks of the Trent, in the county of Lincoln. The weather, which on the previous day had been extremely showery and boisterous, was remarkably fine and propitious, and there was consequently numerous attendance of the gentry, clergy, and other inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

 The church is to be built in the Early Gothic style architecture, with lancet windows. It will be erected on the site of the ancient chapel-of-ease to the parish church of Althorp,  which fell down about the Midsummer of 1849. But, as will be seen below, the new edifice will,  on the petition of Mark Faviell, Esq., of Amcotts Lodge, be constituted a district church, and will be separated for ever from the mother church of the parish.

The cost of the erection is estimated at from £1200 to £1500, exclusive of the parsonage house. Towards this sum of one hundred guineas has been contributed by Sir William Amcotts Ingilby, Bart., the lord of the manor: Mark Faviell, Esq., of Amcotts Lodge, has contributed £100; Mrs. Faviell, of Stockeld Park, £100; Miss Isabel Amelia Faviell, £100; other members of Mr. Faviell's family, £100; Mark Faviell, Jun., Esq., £50; Archdeacon Stonehouse, £20; and Joseph Thornton, Esq., of Kettlethorp Hall, £20. About £400 has been raised in the parish, and there is an augmentation of £110 from Queen Anne's bounty fund.

 About noon, the principal personages who intended to take part in the proceedings assembled at the schoolroom of the parish, (recently erected by J. Faviell. Esq., at his sole cost,) whence they walked (the clergy wearing their silk gowns) to the site of the new church, neaded by the Venerable the Archdeacon Stonehouse.

 When the company had arrived on the ground, the ceremonial was commenced by the Venerable Archdeacon Stonehouse calling upon the assemblage to join in singing the 132nd Psalm. After the singing, the Archdeacon offered up a prayer for the whole state of Christ's Church militant here on earth.

 An excavation had been prepared in the foundation-stone for the reception of two hermetically-sealed glass tubes, the one containing a list of the donors, subscribers to the re erection fund, and the other a number of coins of the reign of Queen Victoria, with a sheet copper bearing the following inscription:

"The First Stone of this Church was laid by Jeremiah Bourn Faviell, Esq., of Stockeld Park, near Wetherby, Yorkshire, on the 22nd day of October, 1850.—by order  in Council, this Chapelry was separated from the Mother Church of Althorp, on the Petition of Mark Faviell, of Amcotts Lodge. With the aid of the good Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and the Venerable Archdeacon Stonehouse, the Lands at Amcotts, in Lieu of Tithe, were set apart for the maintenance of a Vicar for ever."

 The glasses having been properly secured in the excavation prepared for them, the foundation-stone on which they had been placed, was inverted, and speedily launched to its final resting place. Mr. Jeremiah Bourn Faviell having descended into the excavation prepared for the foundation of the tower of the Church, and having caused the foundation-stone to be duly placed, levelled, and adjusted, he struck the stone with a mallet thrice, saying,—"Thus, thus, and thus, I lay the foundation-stone of this Church, to be dedicated St. Mark, the Evangelist, in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost."

 The ceremonial having been concluded, the principal portion of the company returned to the school-room, where a cold collation had been set out in a very liberal style.'

It will be seen from this that the Faviell family were instrumental in the building of and paying for the church but there is no mention of Mark Faviell being the architect.

In fact it seems unlikely as Mark Faviell was a contractor on the Knottingley to Goole canal, working with Abraham Pratt and Simon Hamer. He was living at Amcotts by 1822. He and his wife had eleven children, three of whom became prominent railway contractors. Mark snr lived at Amcotts and described himself thereafter as a farmer although he underwrote his sons' contracts, some of which were in India and Australia. He died in 1861.

post script

After publishing this post I was sent by my friend Pauline Stainton an image from The Lincolnshire Chronicle of 29th July 1853 which gives details of the builders of Amcotts church but nothing of who designed it.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas preparations

This is the time of year when everyone is preparing for Christmas and there never seems to be enough time to do everything.

Last night I went to see Father Christmas at Laxton Victory Hall and sing some carols. We enjoyed mulled wine, sang with hilarity about the 12 days of Christmas [we kept forgetting which gift was given on which day despite helpful mimes from the stage] and watched the small children receive gifts from the red-suited man himself.

It was very much a village event organised by the hall committee with The Saltmarshe Duo [Amy Butler and Steven Goulden]  performing for their own community. Tonight is a similar event as it is the Boothferry History Group Christmas party in Goole.  This is a lovely group with wonderful speakers every fortnight in The Courtyard and a very keen membership who will, tonight be enjoying a buffet, games and probably 12 more days of Christmas!!

I know many readers of my blog enjoy hearing about our chickens. We still have 12 happy hens laying well although one has decided to walk alone - round to our neighbours where she has found an easily accessible supply of cat biscuits.

On the history front our friend John Leake is pleased with the response to his book about Foggathorpe which is selling well and I am keeping up with orders for my own books about Goole, Eastrington and Howden which make good Christmas presents.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Foggathorpe history book

I am delighted that our friend John Leake, who has been working for a long time on his book about the village of Foggathorpe near Howden and Bubwith, has at last seen it appear in print.

We have been very involved with its editing and production and so it was lovely to see it for the first time when John came to the history group lunch in Goole on Thursday. It is a hardback book with dust jacket and is a fascinating read. It would make a good Christmas present for anyone interested in local history. You can buy it at Chappelows' newsagents in Howden [priced at £15.95] or direct from John at

John Leake pictured at the launch of his book about the history of Foggathorpe

In other news I have learned another new beekeeping word. Our hive is now going to have an eke added to it. This is like a mini super and is used as a spacer in winter when the bees need feeding. It was hammered together yesterday on the kitchen table! I sometimes wonder what the medieval monks who kept bees not only for honey but for the wax for candles would have made of quilts and ekes.

The chickens are flourishing - the 7 eggs they have laid today have been converted already into Christmas  and Yorkshire puddings.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Marshland Local History Group supper

It has been a very varied week- a bit like the weather which too has ranged from sun, storms and frost. I was sad to see earlier in the week that a lovely sweet chestnut tree had blown down. I have enjoyed its lovely pink candles for many years but now it is reduced to a large pile of logs.

We also have been seeing a pile of logs appear in the garden but this was planned as Dan and his team came and cleaned out the dead wood and reduced the size of two of our trees which are near the house. One is a copper beech and the other a Norway maple. I did not want them felling but checking for safety and some of the lower branches removing to let more light in. It was a fine winter's day with no wind but even so I am glad that it was not me climbing the trees with a chain saw attached.

If you look carefully you can see Dan up the tree with the house to the left.

The chickens are spending tonight in their new home for the first time. They have lots of room and some spacious new nest boxes. They are still rewarding us with plenty of eggs and enjoy a mixture of layers' pellets, bread crusts and any scraps that Molly does not get.

Here are  the spacious new nest boxes filled with hay

Last night we went to the Marshland Local History Group annual supper and enjoyed sausage, mash and mushy peas and blancmange. The theme was Victorian and the entertainment was provided by the Saltmarshe Duo of Steven Goulden and Amy Butler. I was persuaded to be the page turner and found it quite challenging as  my music reading skills are limited. However I was assured that I had not done too badly.

The Goole Times sent a photographer to the event!

And finally on Monday afternoon I taught my last WEA class at Howden until 4th January 2016. We looked at pictures of Drax church and village and decided that next summer we will have a group visit. But that seems a long way away at the moment.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Bees, eggs and history

Much earlier in the year I wrote about our foray into beekeeping.  Over the summer our bees have been away to a site where they had access to Himalayan balsam. They love it and despite it being a poor year and our colony being comparatively small we did manage to extract a few jars of honey.

Now the bees have come home and the hive is strapped down at the back of the garden to prevent it being blown over when the winter winds come. In fact we are a bit worried as it is under a very large ash tree and we are intending to move it soon out of range of falling branches.

In the meantime we have removed the strips which control the varroa mite and have put onto the top of the hive a glass quilt. When I was first told of this I imagined something out of Frozen but now I have seen it I realise it is a transparent crown board which lets us see the bees without disturbing them. Beekeeping is surprising complicated with a language all of its own.

Meanwhile the chickens are taking advantage of the mild November weather by pecking grubs up from their  pen. Their new home will soon be ready as at the moment they are a bit cramped and are laying on a pile of hay rather than in the nest boxes.

One day this week I heard a light knocking at the door. I was confused as Molly who does scratch to be let in was in her bed and Poppy the cat was on the settee. So I opened the door and saw three chickens. I did not invite them in.

I have been teaching this week about a lady called Nancy Nicholson. She was the wife of Rev John Nicholson the vicar of Drax in the nineteenth century and they also ran the school, the forerunner of the present Read School at Drax.

Life for the 12 pupils then was not pleasant as the couple were at war within their marriage and eventually parted. Rev Nicholson liked a drink while Nancy was a miser and persuaded the boys to steal eggs for her. She eventually moved to Asselby where she  died in 1854, seemingly unloved and unmourned. The story was later made into a booklet but although amusing at times it is also quite sad.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

More about chickens

I have had several lovely comments on my last post about our new chickens and so will try to keep chicken news up to date. They continue to lay well and we are in the process of constructing them a large new run so that when it is fox season they can be safely fastened in. Almost all have now all their feathers and are very easy to handle.

I looked out into the garden a few minutes ago to see a group of four hens pecking about in company with a beautiful cock pheasant. I tried to get a photo but he ran off.

Last night I made some buns for visitors today and used four eggs. The yolks are now a lovely deep orange compared with the yellow they were three weeks ago.

Tonight was Bonfire Night. It was cold and drizzly and the forecast is not good for Saturday night when I am hoping to go to the local village bonfire. We will wait and see.

On the history front I have been teaching about some local and interesting families. The Metham family, for example, who lived near Laxton, were prominent  from medieval times until the seventeenth century. A Thomas Metham was imprisoned in York castle during the reign of Elizabeth as it was feared that he might become a focal point for those who wanted to return England to the Roman Catholic faith while the last Thomas was killed while fighting as a Royalist at the battle of Marston Moor.

Much later Metham was the home of a famous hackney stud owned by Mr Burdett Coutts. I found an interesting  newspaper article from October 1904 about a sale of some of his horses when Mr Burdett Coutts spoke of the effect the invention of the motor car might have on horse breeding.

" There was a large attendance at Howden yesterday of dealers and buyers of horses, in connection with the sale of about hackneys, the property of Burdett-Coutts, M.P., who is reducing his [Brookfield] stud at Metham, near Howden.  The sale was conducted by Messrs. R. R. Leonard and Son, of Preston, near Hull. Good prices were, on the whole, realised. A big figure was obtained—l30gs.—for a filly foal, Nunnery, by Polonius—Fragility. Mr. W. Tubbs, London, became the purchaser.

Mr. Burdett-Coutts, speaking at a public luncheon in the Shire Hall, said since he bought Candidate from Mr. Moore, Polly Horsley from Mr. Reckitt, Lady Lyons from Mr Brough, and Primrose from Mr. Quiller Kirby, he had pretty steadily favoured Yorkshire in providing himself with the bed rock of his stud.

 This led him to make oue or two remarks about the present condition of the horse-breeding industry, and he spoke from a long experience, not only as breeder of horses, but also as a seller of the finest article in London. There had been great boom, followed by a great panic and people were tumbling over one another to get rid of their horses. He thought that the retreat was somewhat precipitate, and that horse breeders were parting too hastily with what they could not regain for many years.

 He believed the fear the motor-car was overdone. It should recognised that the new invention which people who liked travel with their body shaking like a jelly fish, or their nose full of petroleum, was not entitled disturb, terrify, and interfere with the safety of life and limb, nor the comfort of those people who chose to follow the old method of progression. But the motor-car had undoubtedly come to stay, and his object was to inquire what wculd be the real effect on horse breeding. In his opinion, there would always a place for the very fine harness horse, which—he did not say to flatter them—was best seen in Yorkshire. People who liked to have horses, and who had the money pay for them—would have them. What would those people do, and where would they if people in Yorkshire gave up horse breeding altogether? "

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

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