Friday, 5 July 2019

Summer music

It's a lovely summer's day and I am going outside soon to  water all the plants in pots - and give some to our chickens. They are confined to barracks at the moment as we have had a fox visit and our flock is now two down.

I have been having a musical summer so far. My daughter Amy Butler and her partner Steven Goulden  aka the Saltmarshe Duo http://www.saltmarsheduo.co.uk have, in addition to their own musical commitments, organised a series of free lunchtime concerts in Howden Minster.

These are proving very popular and are of a very high musical standard. The next one is Thursday 11th July and is performed by nationally acclaimed oboist Elizabeth Kenwood. My role in the concerts is to greet people as they come in. Many have not visited Howden before and find it, as indeed it is, a delightful small town.

Last night I attended the Snaith Choral Society's summer concert in the Methodist chapel there and thoroughly enjoyed it. Amy was the accompanist and we were treated to a 4th July themed programme including works by Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

The bees are happy too now the sun has come out and are working the many lime trees around us and we have been picking redcurrants and raspberries.

It is also a time for family history visitors. I recently showed an  American descendant of the Ainley family around  Eastrington, Snaith and Kellington and have sent a  copy of my book on the history of Eastrington to California.

This morning I was visited by descendants of the Carter and Clough families, brewers and bankers, who lived in Howden in the nineteenth century. And coincidentally I have just been transcribing a diary written by Elizabeth Storry whose husband too was a banker in Howden.

Her family were friendly with the Hutchinson family at the Rectory.  Frances Hutchinson, a daughter, was an artist and we recently put on an exhibition of her works in the Shire hall.

So poor old Molly [our Labrador ] has spent some time in her bed.  What with piano and singing pupils and family historians the place is not her own - although she thinks it is.!!!!

PS The Saltmarshe family of Halifax,  close relatives of the Saltmarshe family here, got a mention on this week's episode of Gentleman Jack  - see my previous post.





Thursday, 30 May 2019

Gentleman Jack and the Saltmarshe connection

I have been enjoying the Sunday night drama Gentleman Jack based on the life of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall.

I am particularly interested in the characters of the Rawson family - Christopher and Jeremiah who were Halifax business men and bankers and at odds with Anne about her coal deposits.

What is interesting to me is that if it had not been for the Rawson family the present Saltmarshe Hall would probably not have been built.

The ancient Saltmarshe family was going through a bad patch and in the seventeenth century had had to sell much of their property.  But they were good farmers and businessmen and were slowly buying some of it back in the eighteenth century.

The head of the family, Philip Saltmarshe who died in 1796 at the age of 88 never married. His brother Arthur married in 1751 Ann Mawson of nearby Cotness. Arthur and Ann lived in a farmhouse near the river and much nearer the village than the present hall. They had one son whom not surprisingly they named Philip, born in 1753.

Saltmarshe Old Hall where Elizabeth Saltmarshe nee Rawson lived.



And on 10th May 1779 this son married Elizabeth Rawson, daughter of Christoher Rawson of Stony Royd, Halifax. The Rawsons and Saltmarshes had apparently already been in business together for some years as merchants trading with 'the Orient'

Their descendant,  the last but one Philip Saltmarshe published a book about the family in which he wrote

'To this alliance we owe in a great measure our present position. It was mostly with Rawson money or with the results of investments made with Rawson money that our grandfather and father made the  numerous purchases of land that they did and the handsome fortunes left by our great uncles Arthur and Christopher were put together when they were partners with the Rawsons in their city business'.

Philip and Elizabeth lived in this farmhouse which became known as the Old Hall and had 8 children.
Philip died in 1791 and his widow, the former Elizabeth Rawson, brought up her children and managed the estate with the help of her Rawson family.

Sons Arthur and Christopher were taken into the Rawson family business and lived at Halifax.  Christopher married his cousin Emma Rawson and Anne Lister often mentions visiting them in her diary.

Eldest son Philip, born 1780  built the present Saltmarshe Hall in 1825 aided financially by his aunt Catherine Rawson.

So it seems likely that Anne Lister and her family would have  known the Saltmarshe family well. I am going to watch the rest of the episodes and hope for a mention.

This stained glass window is in the Saltmarshe chapel of Howden Minster. The bottom right hand shield represents the Saltmarshe Rawson marriage

Monday, 20 May 2019

History of Wressle 1

I recently visited the village of Wressle - as opposed to the castle - and realised that I did not know a lot about it. Everyone - myself included - looks at the wonderful castle, reads about its illustrious history but misses out on the village itself.





An old postcard of Wressle Castle

Lords of the manor

Wressle was an estate village, owned until a sale in 1957, by the descendants of the Percy family.  It is a slightly confusing story as to what these descendants were called!

The male Percy line died out and the vast Percy inheritance passed through the female line to the 6th Duke of Somerset of Petworth House who had married heiress Elizabeth Percy.

Their son Algernon, the 7th duke, died in 1750 with no legitimate male heirs.

So it was agreed that after his death the Percy lands should be split. Half should go to his daughter Elizabeth's husband, Hugh Smithson, who was given the title of Duke of Northumberland - this inheritance included Airmyn.

The other half should go to descendants of Algernon's sister who had married Sir William Wyndham, who was given the title of Earl of Egremont. This half included Wressle.

Their grandson, the third Earl inherited in 1763. He was a noted patron of the arts, fathered around 40 illegimate children but left no legitimate heir. His eldest son inherited most of the property in 1837 but could not inherit the title and was known simply as Colonel George Wyndham.

Then in 1859, Queen Victoria bestowed a brand new title of Baron Leconfield on Colonel George, so the family continued to be known as Lords Leconfield. 

So if you look at the records for Wressle you might find it being owned variously by the Dukes of Somerset, the earl of  Egremont,  Col George Wyndham or Lord Leconfield.


Nineteenth century villagers

Farms [including those at  Loftsome, Newsholme and Brind] were tenanted from the estate as were the village houses and the vicar too was appointed by the Egremont family.


Most of the inhabitants of Wressle worked on the land or in associated trades. In 1823 for example  there was  Richard Waterworth,  gentleman  listed at the Castle,  John Calvert, Robert Keighley  and John Neville were  listed as farmers; Miles Hutchinson was  a corn merchant,  John Markham was the village blacksmith, Thomas Revell, corn miller and George Williamson, carpenter.

Some 15 years later in 1840  some names have changed and the village  now had  a shop and shoemakers

Miles Hutchinson, coal dealer; Robert Johnson, shopkeeper; William Markham, blacksmith; William Revell  corn miller; John Thompson, wheelwright, Thompson and Pearson, coal dealers and
William Thompson  and Charles Williamson shoemakers.

Farmers were  G Atkinson at the Grange; Joseph Keighley,  Edward Latham at the castle,
 and Jane Neville.

The church and vicars 

The present church, dedicated to St John of Beverley, was built in 1799 after the previous church had been destroyed in the seventeenth century. After this services had been held in the castle but when this was badly damaged in 1796 by a fire the lord of the manor built a new brick church.




This engraving of the castle shows it before it was badly damaged in 1796


A plaque above the church door reads

This church was built on the Site of the Ancient Parish Church of Wressell in the 39th Year of the Reign of KING GEORGE the 3rd Anno Domini 1799.

The Right Hon GEORGE O'BRIEN EARL OF EGREMONT Lord of the Manor. JOHN


BACON SAWREY MORRITT ESQR Impropriator. The REVD GEORGE ION Vicar.


Richard Waterworth of Wressell  James Craven of Newsham Church Wardens


The vicars were appointed by the Egremont family.

In 1814  Rev George Ion, vicar of Bubwith and Wressle died.

The new vicar was  Hon and Rev  Fitzroy Henry Richard Stanhope. He was married to Caroline Wyndham illegitimate daughter of Hon Charles Wyndham. But it seems unlikely that  the Stanhopes ever  lived at Wressle.  Rev Thomas Guy of Howden was his curate and appears to have been the clergyman who was responsible for the parish. Certainly he signed the registers until the late 1850s.

Interestingly when Rev Stanhope died the following, not very flattering article, appeared in the  Morning News

April 1864
Death of a Pluralist. The death of the Hon. and Rev. Fitzroy H. Stanhope, Dean of Buryan in Cornwall, and rector of Catton, and vicar of Wressle, near Howden, Yorkshire, is announced. 
The rev. gentleman, who died on Monday, was one of the most notorious pluralists. He was born in 1787, and was the fifth son of the Earl of Harrington. He was brought up to the army, but for some reason found it expedient to leave the service. Thereupon he attempted to enter holy orders, but no English bishop could be found willing to ordain the quondam officer. 

The Duke of York then interposed on behalf of his comrade, and wrote to the Bishop of Cork requesting him, so the report goes, to do what was needful in the following concise note : " Dear Cork, — Ordain Stanhope. — Yours, York." 

His Royal Highness's letter had the desired effect, and obtained the reply :  " Dear York, — Stanhope's ordained.— Yours, Cork." 

Having thus become capable of holding preferment, he was more than fifty years ago inducted into two Yorkshire livings. But in 1815 the far more valuable preferment of the Deanery of Buryan became vacant. This is an old collegiate establishment near the Land's End, comprising three livings and worth £1,000 a year. Mr. Stanhope was appointed, went down and read himself  in, and, from that day to this, has been drawing his thousand a year and has never been near the place. '



However a vicar of Wressle had already been appointed in 1857. He was Rev Isaac Brittain.  There are plans and letters relating to  the building or improvement of former parsonage house at Wressle  in the East Riding archives dating 1857-8 - it would be interesting to have a look at them.

Rev Brittain, despite his improved accommodation, resigned in 1867. The new vicar was Rev James Knight.

The following charming description of decorating the church for Christmas was in the Goole Times of December 1870

WRESSLE. The custom of decorating the modest little Parish Church of Wressle had not been overlooked this season. Though neither profuse nor elaborate, yet everything was exceedingly good taste, and harmonised well with the simple proportions of the interior. By the judicious use of evergreens, relieved with bunches of holly berries, barberries, &c., the windows had been made very attractive while the altar, the pulpit, and the font had evidently had much time and labour devoted to them. The whole, the general effect produced by the decorations was such to reflect much credit on the skill of the ladies who had undertaken the work—Mrs Knight, the Misses Byham, and Miss Goundrill. Mr Cbeesebrougb, also, had considerably enhanced the beauty of the interior by the scrolls and mottoes which he had affixed to the otherwise bare wall, and which were certainly above average specimens of that particular kind of decoration.


Rev Knight moved to 'the south of England' in 1875 and was replaced by Rev  Richard Kennedy. He had formerly been a curate at Beverley Minster. He and his wife had two young daughters Rosa, who was blind and Florence. They employed a cook, a housemaid and a kitchenmaid.


The Kennedys advertised soon after their arrival for a gardener as follows,

WORKING GARDENER wanted, married, wife take the laundry; must understand kitchen and flower garden, greenhouse and vinery; good character indispensable; a Churchman; cottage found; also washing machinery. Apply by letter, the Vicar, Wressle, Howden.

Rev Kennedy died suddenly in  1910 and villagers placed a marble cross in the church yard and to his brother Holmes Kennedy who had lived  at the vicarage too.

Rev William Henry Fearis was the vicar from 1910 to 1928. In 1911 he was living at the vicarage with his wife,  his nine year old daughter Joan, his daughter's young companion, a governess from London, a cook and a housemaid.

Rev Speck was vicar next, leaving to become vicar of Wheldrake, followed by Rev Jessup. His daughter Monica Jessup married Rev Bertram Allen Ramsker of Goole.

Rev Ramsker was at one time vicar of Drax but more recently was vicar of Snaith [ 1950 -71]. 

The Jessups left Wressle in 1939 and the new vicar was Rev Frank Trow, formerly the curate at St Paul's in Goole.


A plaque in the church commemorating Wressle men killed in World War One


The school

In 1892 we read that  'The parochial school is a neat building of brick, with master's house attached, erected in 1854 for 75 children. There are about 48 in average attendance'.
The headmaster  from at least 1888 was Joseph Warham. He and his wife had seven children all born at Wressle. After 40 years he and his wife retired to Hunmanby. He died in 1945.

An fascinating letter turned up in the newspaper files from 1909:


 Rev R. Kennedy, Vicar of Wressle, has received a highly interesting letter from Yorkshireman, Mr Foster Leek, a native of the village and old scholar of the Wressle National School, now residing in Tasmania. 

Before proceeding to Australia, Leek, who is a fine specimen of a North countryman, spent his early boyhood at the brickyard, subsequently working  at Woveley Edge Colliery. He has spent 28 years of service in the mounted and foot police of Australia and New Zealand, which have impaired neither his magnificent physique nor his innate vigour and shrewdness. 

He has established himself in what is, perhaps, one of the most charming beauty spots in the "tight little island. Previous to the advent of Leek in 1905, there was nothing but its natural rugged beauty to commend the locality. 

[ a lengthy description of his tea rooms and museum follows] concluding wit the statement that from 20,000 to 30,000 people annually visit such a paradise.

 He would like to have a Union Jack flag to hang in his museum, presented by the children of Wressle school, where he spent many happy days, and asks whether Mr Kennedy can arrange the matter. 

If so, he would like the names of the subscribers, the master's, and the Vicar's, together with any remarks, which would have framed and placed along with the flag in his museum. In return for this kindness he would send an Australian flag to be hung up in the school at Wressle, together with model of the first, house they occupied on  their arrival in Tasmania, which would gi.ve the children a. good idea of the houses the first settlers lived in in new countries, and would be an object of interest to many the unborn generations. 

Mr Leek states that he is thinking of adding a clause to his will leave £150 to the school at Wressle, to be invested, and the interest spent providing a feast and tea on Empire Day for all the children, and old men and women in the village ; and at every feast the flag to be carried round the school playground by the eldest girl in the school, and saluted by all the children. 

The Tea Feast is be known as "Leek's Gift." Mr Leek thinks that if does this for the village where he has spent so many days it may induce other children to remember their native village when they grow and become wealthy. In conclusion Mr Leek wishes to be instructed in the Vicar's next letter how and to whom the award is to be paid on his death. He trusts that his letter will convince the Wressle children that at a child born in humble life can get on the world if he goes the right way.

Foster Leek died in 1920 but I can find no mention of his legacy!


Wressle school around 1912. Joseph Warham standing on the left and Rev  Fearis seated



 I am not sure when the school closed.


I have been finding out about Wressle - this is part one!!!  Does anyone have any more information or pictures about the village I could share?








Saturday, 20 April 2019

Flowers and history

It's  Easter Saturday and a lovely morning. But before I go outside and do a bit of gardening  I thought I would catch up on my blog. I have a little more time now as my WEA local history classes in Howden and Goole have finished until September.

Topics we have studied have been very varied - ranging from the history of Spaldington, the work of Howden artist Frances Hutchinson to the history of the fire brigades in Goole. There is a syllabus but often a chance comment leads the subject down more interesting paths!!!

I have more time too to continue cataloguing my old photos of the area - I keep collecting them onto my computer but am now trying to organise them with a view to updating my Howdenshire history website.

I receive e mails from many people about their family history and try to help them. Families I have been looking at include one of the Connor families of Howden who came in the mid nineteenth century from Ireland via Ashton under Lyne. But try as I can I cannot find anything about their Irish origins.

Another family were the Scotts who were farm workers around Howden. The lady who contacted me from Australia could not sort out which of the three William Scotts in the Howden area at the same time and of similar age was her ancestor. But with the aid of the Find my Past website where the parish registers are available I found out which he was.

William Scott married Frances Smith on May 1st 1798 at Howden. Their first child was born at Belby and subsequent children at Thorpe Lidget  [just outside Howden]. I think one of their sons, a Thomas Scott emigrated to USA and fought in the civil war there but as yet I cannot be certain.

Time now to appreciate the sunshine - and here are two pictures to welcome spring. The first is taken in the Howden tulip fields  [really!!] and I leave it to you to identify the ladies and the location.

The second is taken in my garden a few minutes ago. I was pleased to discover a patch of violets under an apple tree. The chicken amongst them is one of a recently acquired 'rescue' hen from a local chicken farm - she and her companions are keeping us in eggs and we are very happy with them.





Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Hudson Ward of Goole

I'm a bit behind with my blog posts so far this year. It seems to have been a busy few weeks and I have been researching several topics which have come up in discussions with my local history friends. We have been looking particularly at the history of Spaldington and the Vavasour family who lived there and have found a surprising amount of information.

But what I wanted to write about today was the Hudson Ward premises in Goole. This iconic building is in the process of being demolished and will be sadly missed as part of Goole's skyline.

The three cottages in Princess Street, which were used partly as offices were demolished a few weeks ago.

Recently the building showed the TimmGrain logo but before that the name Hudson Ward was prominently painted on top of the silo.

Here is a vessel moored in South Dock showing the silo and next to it on the left the original roller mill.


In February 1886 the Aire and Calder Navigation leased a half acre plot in Albert St [which included 11 tenanted cottages] for 106 years  to Thomas Francis Hudson of Conisborough, Robert Robinson and Thomas Hanley, both of Doncaster.

On this site was built  a five storey high brick building [constructed by Arnold and Sons of Doncaster. The same firm later built the second Goole water tower].

The building was designed as a roller mill to mill flour from imported wheat. The machinery was supplied by ER and F Turner of Ipswich.

It was innovative and even more so when it was equipped with electric lighting in 1889 supplied by Wilson Hartnell of the Volt Works in Leeds.  Apparently Robert Robinson had visited America in 1883 to gain ideas on mill design - using electric lighting was one of them as it was safer than gas in a flour mill.

In 1893 the partnership of  Hudson, Robinson, and Hanley was dissolved and a new company was officially registered to be known as Hudson Ward and Co. Ltd.  at Dock Mills, Goole.

The subscribers were :  Thomas Hudson, his wife Florence [nee Broadbent] , Robert Robinson [who was Thomas's brother in law and married to his sister Alice],  Thomas Hanley and his son George and John and Kate Ward.

Soon afterwards Robert Robinson retired from active partnership and eventually,  after travelling the world, returned home and became mayor of Doncaster. Thomas Hanley, who had a large mill in Doncaster too, died in 1903 so  this left the Goole mill to be run by Thomas Hudson.

But we must not forget the new name - John Ward. John was born at Clifton Campville in Staffordshire. In 1881 he was a miller in Sheffield living with his wife Amelia.  In 1891 he was aged 48 and was a flour milling engineer in Rochdale. By 1901 Amelia had died and John had re-married. 

He and his wife Kate and their three children John Wigfull, Nellie and William Rickett were living in Railway Street in Snaith. John was a 58 year old corn miller. Their 9 year old daughter  Nellie had been born in Rochdale but 5 year old John had been born in Goole.

But the family did not stay in the area for long. In 1911 they were living at Sheene Mill, a traditional weatherboarded watermill in Melbourn near Royston  in Cambridgeshire. The mill is now a wedding venue. John Ward died in 1915 leaving £2000. His widow Kate and son John 'Jack' continued the business. 

They may have kept their shares in the Goole firm of Hudson Ward - their name certainly lived on -  but the Wards do not seem to have had any hands on connection with the mill after they left the area.

So that leaves the Hudson family.

Thomas Francis Hudson was born in 1856 at Finningley. His father was a farmer and miller and young Thomas had, for a time, charge of a watermill at Conisborough.

Thomas and Florence had three sons - Francis Jennings,  Reginald Peace and Vernon Broadbent- all born at Goole. By 1901 the family were living at Thorne. Francis, who died in 1972 leaving £27,000, was a mining engineer but Reginald and Vernon actively took part in the Goole milling business.

Thomas  died in 1930 at Bridlington, having 'partially retired' in 1928 but was still visiting the mill once a week. He was a Wesleyan, supporting both the Goole Boothferry Road and North Street chapels. He also served as a governor of Thorne Grammar school. He was buried at Thorne after a service at the Thorne Wesleyan chapel.


The Hudson Ward tableau for the Goole 1926 centenary celebrations

In 1947  Vernon Hudson became mayor of Goole. The newspaper report reads

 Coun. and Mrs Vernon B. Hudson, of Vernon House, Old Goole, have accepted the invitation of Goole Borough Council to become the town's next Mayor and Mayoress. Coun. Hudson was elected as a South Ward representative on the Council in 1933, the year thai Goole became a borough,  He  is president of Goole Chamber of Commerce and Shipping and managing - director of the firm of Hudson, Ward and Co., Ltd., of which his father, the late Mr T. F. Hudson, was founder.  Coun. Hudson is a member of the National Association of British and Irish Millers and sits on the industrial and negotiating committees. He has also been chairman of the National Joint Industrial Council for the Flour Milling Industry. 



The German coaster Collhusen unloading at Goole. The original Victorian mill is in the background

The firm of Hudson Ward ceased trading in 1973 and the silo eventually  became part of the Timmgrain operation. The original mill was demolished ?in the 1980s and now in 2019 the silo which features in the Dambusters film has gone too.

















Monday, 31 December 2018

Last post of 2018

I'm writing this on New Year's Eve, so definitely the last post of the year. We all enjoyed Christmas - despite having seasonal colds - but now it's time to reminisce about 2018 and look forward to 2019.

It is a time to remember those we have lost including former local history class members Malcolm Corke and John Storey, both of Goole. And I shall miss talking to Peter Vessey of Gilberdyke who was so enthusiastic about the history of the Gilberdyke area and a fount of memories and stories of local people and places.

I enjoy teaching my WEA local history classes where we discuss many topics and, as my students learn from me, I in turn learn from them. The Howden class which meets in the Town Council premises includes students  aged from teens to  90s and will resume on Monday 14th January at 1.30 pm. The Goole class, which meets at 10am in the Ilkeston Avenue Community centre resumes on Thursday 17th January. Both groups are very friendly and no prior knowledge is needed.

Contact me through my website Howdenshirehistory.co.uk if you would like to know more.

I have been researching two interesting family histories recently. One was for someone with Goole connections who was keen to find whether a grandmother was originally Irish - so enabling them to obtain an Irish passport in advance of Brexit. Unfortunately it was the next generation back who had Irish roots.

The other family settled in Howden in the nineteenth century, coming from Ireland to work as many did on the land and worshipping at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church. It is hard to trace Irish families back to their homeland as often on the censuses the enumerator just wrote  'Ireland' as their place of birth.

I continue to collect old photographs often from friends who allow me to scan their originals or by buying them at postcard fairs or from the internet. It always amazes me how many still 'come out of the woodwork. But there are gaps in my collection - anyone got any old postcards of Sandholme or Kilpin for example??

But now it's time to take Molly out and pick up a few 'morning sticks' for my new woodburner. I remember my grandmother using the phrase for kindling and was pleased to see it on a board outside a farm recently in Wales.

This is Bob Brooks of Eastrington. He is standing outside Kirkdene and is holding a wasps' nest. He was a beekeeper and hated wasps. I wrote about him in my latest article in the Howdenshire Magazine



This is Carlisle Street in Goole. Originally taken as an illustration for a feature advertising the varied shops in the street for the Goole Times it shows the Con club, now closed and the Tower cinema, now demolished



Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Remembering the fallen at Skelton

There were many poignant moments on Sunday 11th November as we commemorated the Armistice which ended the First World War. In Howden there was a piper at 6am, in Asselby a coach and horses and the commemoration there included not only the war dead of Asselby and Barmby but those many farm horses who died in the mud.

I attended the beacon lighting at Skelton on the riverbank and found it very moving. A large group of villagers gathered on the road to hear Steven Goulden read a poem - Tribute to the Millions- which was being read at the same time in communities all over Britain.

Names of local men who had been killed were then read by Sgt Phillip Markland.

Above is the list of names of the men killed from Howdendyke, Kilpin and Skelton



This was followed by the last post played by Imogen Snowden on the trumpet. 



Imogen playing the Last Post. Picture by Chris Goulden of Golden Media Productions

As the evocative final notes died away we stood in silence in the dark  listening only to the lapping of the water in the river. No noises of the 21st century interrupted the quiet and there was space to remember these young men who had probably often walked the same road where we stood.

Then the beacon on the riverbank was lit by Jimmy Tipping.

Lighting the beacon. Picture by  Chris Goulden of Golden Media Productions

A member of the extended Tipping family, George Henry Tipping, appears on the list shown above.

George was the only son of Jackson Tipping and his wife Mary who lived at Skelton. He had been in the army for seven years when war broke out and had served with the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshires in India.

He returned to England in December 1914 and early in 1915 he embarked for France. He was then sent to Egypt and then Salonika. In 1918 he was sent back to England suffering from malaria and whilst convalescing was sent on guard duty to Immingham Docks.

But in June 1918 he volunteered again for active service and joined the 4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment in France. He was admitted to hospital suffering from malaria again but when he was recovered joined the 11th Battalion East Yorkshires and was killed aged 33 on August 15th 1918 whilst on patrol.

He was mentioned in despatches for conspicuous gallantry in the field. His name appears on the  Ploegsteert memorial.

The beacon then burst into life - hopefully coinciding with others all over the country.

Villagers watching the beacon at Skelton 11th November 2018.  Picture by Chris Goulden of Golden Media Productions

After watching it for a few minutes everyone adjourned to the Scholfield Memorial Hall further along the riverbank for welcome hot drinks and specially prepared food including 'trench cake' - best with tea we found!!

'We'll meet again'  in the Scholfield Memorial Hall.   Picture by Chris Goulden of Golden Media Productions


The evening concluded with community singing of war time favourites. I feel those villagers of Kilpin,  Howdendyke and Skelton in 1918 might have approved of the event. And well done to Kilpin Parish Council.





Saturday, 10 November 2018

Henry Watson of Nafferton

I am writing this on 10th November, a day before the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War.

There are many commemorations planned and I have been looking at local men from Eastrington, Howden, Gilberdyke, Newport and Barmby on the Marsh who were killed.

But in this blog post I am going to write about my grandfather Henry Watson. He was my father's father. I never knew him as he died quite suddenly when I was a baby. My father, who was born in Driffield and brought up in Nafferton, spoke of his father a lot and with great affection.

Henry was born  on 1st May 1887 at Flixton, near Scarborough. His father, Henry Sylvester Watson was a blacksmith who worked on farm machinery and who eventually worked as engineer at Nafferton Waterworks.

Young Henry grew up and served his apprenticeship as a grocer. While working for Hall brothers in Nafferton he met their niece Amy Hall  of Driffield who was to become his wife.

He joined the 5th East Yorkshire cyclist regiment as a territorial  on 7th Jan 1915 at Driffield. He was then aged 28 years 8 months and was 5ft 4 inches tall. He was sent for training at Roos.

On 4th December 1915 he married Amy Hall at All Saints Church Driffield. He was posted to France and in 1917 t was transferred to the  4th Reserve Yorkshire and Lancashire regiment. He was part of a trench mortar group  and fought with them at Loos and Arras.

Henry and Amy's son, my father, Douglas Lloyd Watson was born on 22nd November 1917 at 13 Church Street, Driffield, the home of Amy's parents.

On April 10th 1918 Private Henry Watson was hit by a bullet near his right eye and by a piece of shrapnel in his lower back. He also breathed in mustard gas.

Private Henry Watson, my grandfather


He was taken to the 83rd general field hospital at Boulogne and then later to the King George Hospital in London.

He recovered from his injuries although his eyesight was affected and he lost his sense of smell. He was given a small pension and  after the war had a grocer's shop in Nafferton.

Henry Watson outside his shop in Nafferton


In a strange twist he joined the ARP in 1939 and whilst undergoing training was given a canister of mustard gas to smell.  He was certain he would not be able to smell it as he had had no sense of smell since 1918. But to his surprise  as he inhaled it his sense of smell returned. This story made all the newspapers and I even found a version of it in an Australian paper.

Also in 1939 my father was called up to serve in another war. He survived  Dunkirk [ I don't know the details as he would never talk about his war experiences] and three years in North Africa.

After the war he settled in Eastrington, my mother's home and taught countless generations at Howden schools.

My father Douglas Watson who survived the beaches of Dunkirk and three years in North Africa before returning home and teaching  at Howden Council and later Howden Secondary schools.


So when I stand on the river bank at Skelton tomorrow night I too will remember all those who served in both wars and,  as well as those who did not return,  I will remember  those, including my own family members who returned but who were thrust from ordinary Yorkshire lives into the horrors of war.











Monday, 8 October 2018

Howdenshire in the Domesday book

I recently received a message from a former Howden resident publicising a forthcoming exhibition at the British Library.  Opening on 18th October and running until February it is an exhibition of manuscripts  including the original and rarely seen Domesday book.

https://www.bl.uk/events/anglo-saxon-kingdoms

Of particular interest to us here in Howden is that the book will be open showing the page listing the ownership of the manor of Howden.

This is a great boost to the Howdenshire area as the Domesday book covers a large area of England and Wales and so  it is wonderful that we are singled out like this as the book features 13,000 places.

It is written in Latin and makes great use of abbreviations [ eg TRE meaning tempore regis Edwardi or  In the time of King Edward] but I thought I would put a version here online, based on my own notes that I have put together. I am not a Latin scholar so used the Phillimore edition which shows both the original and a transcript on opposite pages to show what we can learn from the local entry.

This is the Howden entry. I think you can identify place names and the word Dunelm [ Durham]  for example fairly easily



Domesday book 1086 [Phillimore edition]

 Land of the Bishop of Durham

In Howden 15c with the outliers: Hive 1c; Ousethorpe 1.5 c; Portington 2c and 3b; Cavill 2c and 3b; Eastrington 1c; Kilpin 3c and 2b, Belby 3c and 2b; Yokefleet 0.5 c, Cotness 0.5c Saltmarshe 6c; Laxton 1c; Skelton 3c and 2b; Barnhill 1c; Thorpe 1.5c; Knedlington 6c; Asselby 1c; Barmby 1c; Babthorpe 2b. Between them all 51 carucates and 6 bovates taxable; 30 ploughs possible. King Edward had this manor. Now the bishop of Durham has it.

In the lordship 1 plough; and 65 villagers and 23 smallholders who have 16 ploughs; 3 freemen with 2 ploughs. In the manor is a priest and a church. Woodland pasture 3 leagues long and 1 league wide. The whole manor 6 leagues long and 2 wide.

Value TRE  £40 now £12. All the outliers are waste.

To the manor belongs the jurisdiction of these lands:
Eastrington 5c; Belby 0.5c Knedlington 1c; Asselby 4c; Barmby 5c; Babthorpe 3c and 2b; Barlby 1c.
Between them all 19 carucates and 6 bovates taxable; 10 ploughs possible.
Now there are there 4 freemen and 3 smallholders with 2 ploughs. The rest waste.

In Belby 1c and 6b taxable; 1 plough taxable. Muli had 1 manor there. Now the bishop has 1 smallholder there. Value before 1066 20s

Land of the count of Mortain

In Asselby Thorketill had 1 manor of 1 c taxable. The jurisdiction of this is in Howden. Nigel has there 1 man with 2 oxen and 5 fisheries paying 2,400 eels.

Some notes

This is the basic entry - there is a little more in the claims section and the summary.
A league was twelve furlongs.  A furlong is 220 yards.

One  c is a carucate, from the word caruca meaning plough and was the amount a plough team of eight oxen could plough in a year.

A  b is  a bovate  and was the amount one ox could plough in a year or one eighth of a carucate.

It is difficult to translate this into acres as of course how much a team could plough depended on such local factors as the type of land. A bovate could vary between six and 30 acres and therefore a carucate anything between 48 and 240 acres.

Locally all of Howdenshire, which had belonged to King Edward, now belonged to the Norman bishop of Durham. The terrible retribution for Northern attacks on Normans  - ‘the harrying of the North’ [1069]  explains why a lot of Howdenshire was descibed as 'waste' and of less value than it had been.

But having been back in Norman times it's time to return to the present and take Molly for a walk in the autumn leaves. 


Friday, 21 September 2018

Autumn leaves - and Barmby fallen

Autumn has arrived with a vengeance. Last night the wind howled, the house shook and the power went off. This morning the ground is carpeted with leaves and twigs and the plastic garden chairs have been retrieved from very near the greenhouse. One very large ash branch has fallen but luckily has done no damage.

I have restarted my local history classes this week in Howden and Goole. We are going to look at some of the names on the various local war memorials as we get nearer to November 11th -  one hundred years since the First World War ended.

One family - about whom I have written a longer piece in the forthcoming edition of the Howdenshire Magazine - is the Middleton family who lived at Howdendyke. There were six sons - four served. One - Thomas William - was discharged wounded and three were killed.

The Howden war memorial in St Helen's Square, unveiled in June 1920

I have been looking too at the names on the Barmby on the Marsh memorial. This memorial was originally in St Helen's church but since the closure of the church it now been relocated into the chapel.

It lists both  the men who served and those who were killed. I have been trying to research these names but would be grateful for any further information or pictures. I shall eventually put it on my website as part of a Barmby Marsh history page.


John Lancelot Arminson

George Boyce

William Bramley

Jesse Bramley

Tom Bramley

Richard Collins (killed in action) As yet I have not found anything about him

Fred Cook

Harold Cook

Harry Cook

Stanley Coop (killed in action)

Private 10/501, 10th (Service) Battalion (Hull Commercials), East Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds 2nd July 1916, aged 21. His mother was Edith Coop

His name also appears on the Crowle memorial

Born in 1895 at Clapham Common, London, Stanley was the youngest son and one of four children of Isaac and Edith Coop (nee Sanderson).  His father was an accountant from Dewsbury.  Sometime in the early 1890s he opened up a London office and the family were living there when Stanley was born.

In 1902 the parents separated with Edith and the children moving to Yorkshire to live with her aunt at Barmby. Isaac was ordered to pay £1 a week maintenance but rarely did so but ‘had plenty of money for drinking’. He was summoned before the magistrates at Howden twice for non-payment, the second time in 1909 gaining him two months in prison.

Stanley was seriously wounded on 4th June 1916, suffering gunshot and shrapnel wounds to his back, left leg, and left knee joint. Taken initially to the 93rd Field Ambulance, he was evacuated the same day to No 23 Casualty Clearing Station and from here to No 10 General Hospital, Rouen. His family were notified by telegram that he was in a serious condition and that they were encouraged to visit. Unable to afford the fare to France, the Army issued them with a travelling permit.

Stanley died of his wounds in 10 General Hospital, Rouen on 2nd July 1916. He is buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

Albert Conway

Willie Corney

James Douglas

Alfred Eastwood .

Willie Fox

Robert Lloyd Falkingham

Willie Hutton

James Herbert Holland

Thomas Edward Holland

William Johnson

Thomas George Jackson

Wilfred Joy

Frank Joy

David Joy (killed in action)

David was  the son of Jesse Joy who was headmaster of  the school at Barmby and brother of Wilfred who was also later headmaster. David married Minnie Everatt in 1905 and they had two daughters Enid and Jessie. Before the war  they lived at Sand Hutton where David was head master of the village school. He was aged 35 when he was killed.

George Johnson

Alfred Leighton

Charles Leighton

Ernest Leighton

Arthur Leighton

Harold Leighton

Arthur Lowery

Christopher Lowery

Arthur Lofthouse

William Lofthouse

Clifford Plaster (killed in action)

Sidney Clifford Plaster also appears also on the Asselby section of the Howden war memorial. His father was a joiner  and Clifford was a gardener before he enlisted at Grantham on August 26th 1914. He was in the 9th battalion of the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment.   He was killed in  the Gallipoli landing on 7th August 1915 aged 18

Leonard Pridmore

Malvrin Pridmore

George Parkinson (killed in action)

George William Parkinson was  born at South Duffield 1884. In 1911 he was a farmer in Barmby  and listed with  his mother and brother and sisters.

He enlisted at  Howden, originally in  the East Yorkshires but later served with the  22nd battalion Northumberland Fusiliers  [Tyneside  Scottish]. He was killed  on 9th April 1917

Craven Parkinson

Cecil Pygas

George Clifford Sugden .

James Edward Spetch (killed in action)

He was a joiner. His parents ran the Langrick Ferry. He was aged 26 when he was killed.
It is sad to read that when after his death his property was returned to  his father Joseph at Langrick  it consisted simply of 2 razor strops.


This Mrs Rebecca Spetch, nee Sails, the mother of James Spetch. She regularly rowed to Selby to take goods to market.

John Shaw

William Tomlinson

Lazenby Tomlinson

Eric Vincent Talbot

Charles William Widdowson

John Henry Wilson

George Wilson