Thursday 20 October 2016

Howden civic society

In 1979 historian Dr David Neave wrote a book entitled Howden Explored.  In it he wrote about the town as it was with its many Georgian buildings and suggested a town trail. On the back inside cover he suggested that Howden was ready for a civic society and interested people should get in touch. A society was formed and is still flourishing.

A couple of weeks ago they held their annual awards evening and I was touched and honoured to be presented with a silver salver [ I can only keep it for a year!!] and a certificate. I am fascinated by local history even though at university my tutors laughed at my interest and when I was a teacher the subject was only deemed suitable for pupils who did not have the ability to sit exams. But today local history is an accepted and popular topic of study, as is family history and I believe  they complement each other.

Howden has a long  and very interesting history ranging from its connections with the Bishop of Durham to its horse fair and the twentieth century construction of the R100 airship. I have written two books about the town [one with Ken Powls] and have been teaching a local history class for adults for over 30 years. But I have never run out of material and still find new aspects of the town to study and new photos keep appearing.

Here is my certificate

I am proud to join the other names inscribed on the salver of  those people who have worked to promote the town of Howden. It is a lovely place.

Sunday 2 October 2016

St Michael's church, Eastrington

The village of Eastrington in East Yorkshire was where I was brought up and went to school. My mother's family, the Nurses, have lived there since the seventeenth century.

So I am enjoying teaching in my local history classes about the village. I have written a book about the village history [copies still available via my website or  from Eastrington shop!!] and although I have not lived there for many years I still feel a connection when I visit.

One of the places I  particularly feel connected with is the church. The Nurse family graves, dating back to George Wise Nurse, my four times great grandfather are on the right of the main path leading to the church porch and inside is a plaque to my great grandfather, Robert Thomas Nurse who was churchwarden for many years and his wife Hannah.

Some of the chairs  near the altar were made by my ancestors and given to the church and my mother, Joan Watson often played the organ. I always feel a sense of peace as I sit in a pew and remember when I went to Sunday school or to harvest and carol services as a child.

Eastrington is a fascinating church to decipher architecturally. Parts of the church date back to Norman times and the strange faces looking down into the Portington chapel were once outside when  the chancel was the original Norman chapel.

As a child I was fascinated by the tomb of 'Judge Portington' whose feet rest on a dog which we all stroked. Other notable features are the oak pillars holding up the interior walls, brought from nearby Spalding Moor as newly hewn trees, the Ousethorpe or Athorp chapel and the interesting font cover.

A few days ago I took my new camera into the church and  tried to shoot some video of the interior. I need a lot more practice but I hope that at least you might get some impression of what a lovely old building and place of worship Eastrington church is.