Sunday 21 July 2013

Airmyn and Hook churches visit

Last week,  members of my WEA history groups and also members of the Holme on Spalding Moor history group, visited two local churches.

We began by visiting Airmyn church where local expert David Galloway explained the history of the church to us.  The church is dedicated to St David, an unusual dedication in Yorkshire and is believed to be the second church on the site.

We then visited Hook church, St Mary's, where, before the opening of Goole parish church in 1848, the many inhabitants of the new town of Goole came to be 'hatched, matched and despatched'. A small and simple building Hook is today once again a village church.

The churchwardens here were very welcoming and we all enjoyed the tea and delicious cakes. Inside the church is a plaque recording its restoration in 1844.

This was reported in the Leeds Intelligencer of May 1844 as follows:

The small church at Hook, near Goole. has undergone considerable repairs and restorations both internally and externally, which have been executed in a simple effective, but characteristic manner under the direction of Messrs Hurst and Moffatt, architects of Leeds and Doncaster.

 Much care and attention has been paid to having every part correctly restored, an aim in which they have been ably seconded by the Rev. J. Paley, the Incumbent; and aa a whole this little edifice may be pronouneed a model of what a parish church ought to be in a rural district.

 The necessary funds have been obtained partly by rate and partly by contributions but chiefly from the liberality of T. H. S. Sotheron. Esq., M.P. for Wiltshire and one of the landed proprietors of Hook.

An old postcard view of Hook church

Percy Jeeves of Goole - new book

In an earlier post I mentioned meeting the biographer of Percy Jeeves, professional cricketer whose name was used by P G Wodehouse for his famous butler.

Percy Jeeves was brought up in Goole and learned his cricket there. I read and enjoyed an early draft chapter of the book which describes Jeeves' life in Goole and the matches he played locally.

The book by Brian Halford is now published and I am including here a link to a review  from the Birmingham Post

Next year in particular when we all remember those from Goole and area who lost their lives in the First World War Percy Jeeves will be in our thoughts.

Friday 12 July 2013

The Birks family and Goole Fields mill

I have recently been finding out more about the Birks family who were millers in Goole throughout most of the nineteenth century.

Thomas Birks, son of John was a farmer until 1815 when he became a miller at Goole. I think that he may have taken over what was formerly known as Broadbents' mil, a smock mill which stood on the riverbank where Goole docks is today.

He had to move in the 1820s when the Aire and Calder Co. began building their new canal and docks exactly where his mill stood. So he moved to the other side of the Dutch River and built a new windmill near what we now know as Old Goole, on Goole Fields. It is still there.

Sadly Thomas died in 1828 leaving his widow Hannah, nee Colbridge to run the mill.  She eventually married William Greenfield, also a miller but he was killed when he took hold of the moving sail and was carried up in the air before falling to the ground.

But by then Hannah's son, Thomas Gilderdale Birks was old enough to take over running the mill. He continued milling until in his turn his son, another Thomas Gilderdale Birks took over. This third Thomas was particularly interested in the natural history of Goole Moors.

He was an enthusiastic member of the Goole Scientific Society and its recorder of botany. He studied the algae of Goole and Thorne moors and was a founder member of the British Mycological Society, and the Yorkshire Naturalists Union.

In 1883 he was offering 'Andromeda, the three Droseras, pllujarla, and many other rare flowering plants, characeae, algae, diatoms, desmids, micro- fungi, plants for freshwater aquaria and well-mounted slides in exchange for books on natural history, cabinets, slide boxes,
or apparatus.'
Anyone interested was invited to reply to Thomas Birks, jun., Old Goole Mill, Goole.

By 1899 he had moved from Goole to become the manager of the Cleveland Flour mills but still returned to Goole to study the moors. In 1911 he was living in New Southgate, Middlesex, a corn dealer and shopkeeper.

In 1911 both William Gawtry, a waterman and William Phillipson , a jobbing gardener gave their address as the Mill House, Goole Fields.

If anyone can add any more to the history of either the Birks family or the mill I should be pleased.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Saltmarshe Hall visit

Since my last blog post I have been on holiday and returned to a garden which looked more like a field.  The grass had grown amazingly and the grasscutter would only chug through it very slowly. As for the vegetables they are temporarily lost in a sea of sow thistle, chickweed and goosegrass. But when I look carefully I think they are growing well.

Molly has been in kennels for the first time and did not like it.  It took her three days to wag her tail properly and accept that she was safely home with her friend Poppy the cat.

Last week I took a group of students and friends to Saltmarshe Hall for a visit. The new owners, the Whyte family, have been there around a year now and were very welcoming.

We were able to look around the formal rooms, dining room, drawing room and library, all accessed off the magnificent hallway with its cantilevered staircase. We then were able to explore part of the former servants' wing and the cellars and the beautiful gardens.

If I am honest I think that the most popular part of the visit was when we looked at the servants' bedrooms, left as they had been probably 60 years ago with the original wallpaper and bedsteads. Maybe it was because most of us felt that our ancestors would have been servants rather than part of the much richer family who lived 'upstairs'.  Shades of Gosford Park perhaps?

Tonight I have tried to deal with two wasps' nests, one in the roof of  the part of the house where I am sitting now typing and one a only few feet away from  the house and near our picnic table. I have sprayed them with a foam bought from our local diy store and await the morning to see whether it has worked.

This bedstead is in the former servants' wing at Saltmarshe Hall

This view shows one of the several cellars on which the hall is built.