It is Tuesday morning and pouring with rain. But this gives me time to catch up with my blog.
It has been a busy few days and we have been harvesting our fruit. This weekend we made fig chutney from our own figs and bramble jam [ I always call them brambles rather than blackberries as it was what we called them when I was a child and we went brambling].
The brambles were gathered from a lovely unspoiled hedgerow near Howden. When it stops raining we shall gather more - and also some of the impressive crop of sloes to make into sloe gin to warm us on cold winter evenings.
I have been talking to a friend about the area north of Howden which was, centuries ago, part of a vast wood. Station Road, Howden was Wood Lane and Brind means a settlement where the trees have been burned off.
To the west of Station Road was the deer park belonging to the Bishop of Durham and it was also where Howden's very own hermit lived at a place called Ringstone Hirst [ hirst/ hurst means a wooded hill].
The site of the hermitage, dedicated to St Mary Magdalen, was able to be identified until quite recently as a slightly raised rectangular, moated enclosure with a few stones still visible.
A little further north and west were some remote old farmhouses. One of these, Prickett Hill is now demolished but had a very interesting history.
I have not been able to find out how old the name is but do know that a pricket was the word used to describe a young male deer whose antlers had not yet branched. It would be lovely to think that this was indeed the derivation of the name of the farm and that it was in some way connected wit the deer park.
But I think it more likely that the farm was somehow connected with the Prickett family [ the spelling varies between one and two 't's] of Allerthorpe near Pocklington.
A member of the family Robert Prickett, lived at Wressle Castle in the seventeenth century and was the steward managing the Percy estate. Robert was born in 1630 and died in 1701. He and other members of his family are buried in Pocklington church. The following inscriptions are on the floor of the Lady Chapel there.
Here lyeth the body of Miss Anna Marie Prickett, daughter to Robert Prickett of Wressell Castle, Esqre, who died September yc 9th, 1661, aged 3 months.
Here lyeth the body of Mrs. Mary Prickett, wife of Robert Prickett, of Wressell Castle, Esqre, daughter to the Right Honourable Marmaduke Lord Langdale, Baron of Holme who departed this life the 4th day of September Anno Domini 1678, aged 48.
Here lyeth the body of Miss Lennox daughter of Robert Prickett of Wressell Castle, Esqre, who departed this life the 15th of Novr, 1673, aged 17 years.
Robert's wife Mary was the daughter of Sir Marmaduke Langdale who was created Baron Langdale of Holme-on-Spalding Moor by Charles II 'for his gallant services in the civil wars to the Royalist cause'.
There seems to have been some bad feeling between the Langdale and Prickett families as Mr. Marmaduke Prickett, in his will dated Sept. 28, 1652, disinherited his son Robert "if he takes to wife one of the daughters of Sir Marmaduke Langdale." But the marriage obviously went ahead.
Robert's name is inscribed, with the date 1674, on a lintel built into a length of brick walling at Wressle castle.
So this does not tell us when Prickett Hill farmhouse was built but does suggest it could have been named after the family at nearby Wressle.
I shall keep looking and see what else I can find.