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 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.

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

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Old photos exhibition

The grass is growing and the tomatoes are ripening but I have not had time to spend much time in the garden recently. Instead I have been in Goole with my friends from the Goole History Society meeting a wide range of visitors to our exhibition in Junction.

We have over a hundred old pictures actually on display covering Goole, Howden and Snaith and the surrounding villages. We also have discs and albums of thousands more and our boast is that if you lived locally we have a picture of you somewhere. Certainly my school picture from Goole Grammar school is there!

It's very rewarding meeting people - so far from Australia, Ireland as well as from the local area. And people have been bringing in old pictures for us to copy as well as buying prints - particularly of the school photos.

We are there until Saturday 18th  and then it's time for a rest. I am then having a break until my WEA local history classes restart. Have a look at this link - if you just want to come and see what we do you'd be very welcome.

Here are a few of the pictures we have  copied this week

Old Goole coronation party Manor Road

Howden 1950s outing to Bridlington

Kilpin Lodge, home of Mr and Mrs Pilling at Howdendyke

Goole Secondary Modern group 1963

Saturday 21 July 2018

Hemingbrough and Bubwith hatchments

In my last post I mentioned that I had been church visiting and I continued the theme on Tuesday by visiting Bubwith church with my WEA groups where we received a lovely welcome, learned a lot, drank tea, ate biscuits and bought jam.

One of my students and friends [they tend to morph from one into the other!]  Pauline Stainton of Goole is particularly keen on hatchments and so I shall turn the  rest of this post over to her.....

She first explains that

 The diamond-shaped hatchment, which we see often on the walls of churches, originated in the Low Countries. The word has evolved from  the medieval 'achievement' – the shield, helm, and other accoutrements carried at the funeral of a noble or a knight. 

In Britain it was customary for the hatchment to be hung outside the house during the period of mourning and thereafter be placed in the church. This practice was begun in the early 17th century. 

With hatchments the background is of unique significance, making it possible to tell at a glance whether it is for a bachelor or spinster, husband or wife, widower or widow.  The rules of heraldry forbid to any lady, except the Queen, the use of shield, crest, motto, helmet or mantling in her own right. She is however, permitted before marriage to display the arms of her family upon a lozenge, a diamond shaped figure, sometimes called a cartouche.

Then goes onto explain her own interest.

      I have no professional historical or academic qualifications, so when I was asked recently how I knew so much about hatchments and where and when did my interest start, an  explanation seemed appropriate. 

About 20 years ago I joined the WEA on Tuesday evenings for church visits. Our tutor was the late Geoff Bell. He was a lovely gentleman  and an inspiring teacher. He was my mentor. Most of our very large group had their own interest; one lady used to drive over the Humber Bridge for every meeting just to look at stained glass. I probably chose armorial bearings because Art & Architecture were one subject at Goole Grammar School and was my favourite subject taught by another excellent teacher Mr D. C. “Angus” Turner. When I saw my first hatchment, I was speechless and that was the moment I was “hooked”.

      In the past few weeks, members of the Goole & Howden WEA local history classes have visited Hemingbrough and Bubwith parish churches, both of which have a hatchment. They are vastly different. 

To quote a church leaflet that I have in front of me, “Some hatchments were prepared under the instruction of the Heralds, but most were painted in a hurry by local craftsmen and were often incorrect”.  
That appears to be the case with the Vavasour [Bubwith]  Pilkington [Hemingbrough] examples respectively - BUT – and this is my personal opinion, to a 21st century historian, they are equally valuable.

     Hemingbrough was our first visit. The Pilkington hatchment is sited where only the angels can read it. Thankfully I can rely on my friend Gilbert Tawn who is double my height  and never leaves home without his camera. I could just read the writing at the base of the hatchment and I did wonder at the time why Dame Len[n]ox Pilkington’s name had been added. 

Pilkington hatchment in Hemingbrough church

When Gilbert’s photographs arrived, I could see a possible answer. The lady had outlived her first husband George Smith then married Sir Lyon Pilkington who then outlived her. 

The hatchment has two thirds black background  and one third white which is correct, but the hatchment maker has put the white segment in the wrong position and so it reads as, the lady was alive and had buried two husbands. The maker has also given Dame Lenox a shield, a helmet & mantling. Ladies didn’t have the trappings of war which also suggests that a Herald had nothing to do with this hatchment. 

There are three armorial bearings shown - those of  the Pilkington family, the Smith family of  Osgodby  and the Harrisons of Acaster Selby.

 Bubwith’s hatchment has the “WOW” effect on me. Not quite true. It is also up with the angels. High above that chancel arch, to my old eyes, it’s a Pollack abstract blur, but Gilbert’s photos are excellent.

 It was made for Sir Henry Vavasour who died in 1813. When Henry’s wife Ann inherited the Spaldington estate, the couple lived in Dorset  and so the eight coats of arms on his shield are not local,  being mostly Dorset and surrounding counties.  Ann’s shield is termed as “In pretence”. She is the Vavasour’s sole heiress and being higher up the social ladder, she is superior to her husband. This is one of the rare occasions when a lady is allowed a shield.  Ann’s shield represents Spaldington history back to the De la Hay family of the 16th century. 

 It is possible that this hatchment will be re-sited a little lower in the future so local historians are in for a real treat.

Vavasour hatchment in Bubwith church.

I now know more about hatchments than before - and will look at them with new eyes. And I hope Pauline will educate me further on those in local churches.

Incidentally I came across an interesting note about Dame Lenox mentioned above. Her father Cuthbert Harrison set up a trust fund for her in 1698 just before her marriage to Lyon Pilkington. Which was just as well as when her father died the following year Lyon was able to claim all her  inheritance. He then apparently abandoned her and left her to survive on this fund. Could this have any bearing on her unconventional hatchment?

I never fail to marvel at the fact that how much you think you know about local history there is always more to learn.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Church visiting - Ellerker to Howden

As I write it still has not rained and the garden is very dry. We have been watering our baskets and the vegetables but the potatoes are very small and  so are the rasps. At least, as the grass has stopped growing, there is no need to cut it.

A couple of weeks ago we visited three local churches designed by architect John Loughborough Pearson.  This was in conjunction with  York and District Organists association who had come up with the interesting idea of visiting the churches and playing their organs.

We began at Ellerker where our friend Diana Bushby is both organist and churchwarden. This was Pearson's first church, built in 1844 and it was lovely to hear the visiting organists coaxing different sounds from the organ. We then, after lunch, visited Scorborough and South Dalton, both churches with magnificent spires.

Then last week with my WEA Howden and Goole local history groups [classes re- start in September] we visited twelfth century Hemingbrough church. One intelligent student compared the spire there with that at South Dalton.  Could there be a connection we wondered? And yes - Loughborough Pearson carried out restoration work in the 1850s at Hemingbrough before designing the Wolds churches- is that where he got his inspiration?

And finally on this  church odyssey we come to Howden. I had a busy day last Friday showing groups around our own wonderful church. In the afternoon - a very hot and humid one - I was with two parties from the Addingham Civic Society  who wondered why a small market town has such a magnificent church.

But I enjoyed most the morning visit where I talked to year 5 from Howden Junior school. They are finding out the answer to this very question - what is the connection between Howden and Durham and why kings of England and Scotland visited  to stay with the Prince Bishops at their palace in Howden.

I was very impressed by their behaviour and interest in their local church. And they found 22 of the supposed 30 wooden mice carved around the church by Robert Thompson of Kilburn - more than most visitors.

Quite a few years ago now I too sat in the church when my daughter, Amy, then a pupil at the Junior School was  involved in school events.

Time moves on and I shall be there again on  Saturday August 4th at 7.30 when, with Peter Sproston, she performs a duet concert as part of the Minster Concert Series. The grand piano on which they will perform will be on loan from Steven Goulden and I am looking forward to hearing it in the lovely acoustic of the Minster.

I shall not be counting mice that night - and neither will she!

Amy Butler, professional pianist and teacher will be performing duets with celebrated pianist Peter Sproston in Howden Minster on 4th August.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Yorkshire Post article about Howden dig

I was delighted to read in this weekend's Yorkshire Post an article by local writer Lucy Oates about the proposed archaeological dig behind the Howden heritage centre. Although no actual digging has yet taken place we hope to find some evidence of the Bishop of Durham's lodgings where bishops, princes and kings stayed in medieval times.

It seems to have been a busy few weeks which is why this blog entry has been delayed. I  have been researching more of the history of Old Goole for a talk I gave to the Marshland History group last Tuesday. There was a good sized audience to hear about the big houses there where, in the nineteenth century, Goole's 'movers and shakers' lived and entertained.

I have also written an article for the Howdenshire Magazine [out now] about Howden's banking history. Not such a dry a topic as you might imagine involving suicides, bankruptcy [literally] and emigration to Australia.

Meanwhile our garden is quite dry and some spinach plants I put in are running to seed, as is the rhubarb. Our seven chickens are laying steadily and we have already taken some honey off and have sold several jars.

In fact I took some to the Hobbies Exhibition in Goole on Saturday which had been postponed from when we were inches deep in snow earlier in the year. This time we had the doors open as it was quite warm. Despite its being half term there were plenty of visitors asking about such topics as the course of the Old Derwent, Marsh End in Howden and Goole ships.

On Friday we are welcoming 30 members of the East Yorkshire Local History Society to Saltmarshe and giving them a talk, lunch and opening our museum to them. We are  always happy to take group bookings and this year hope to have regular openings for passing visitors as well as by appointment. Just contact me through my website

This cupboard in our museum dates from when the cottage was built - 1763- just after George III became king
Later this month, on 28th June at 2pm,  I am giving a slideshow [ Powerpoint really but does not sound the same somehow!] in the Heritage Centre. I am going to show old pictures of Howden and explain how the town has changed over the years. Admission is free but donations to the centre funds will be welcome

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Howden and the Old Derwent.

On Monday evening I went to a meeting about the proposed archaeological dig on the land behind the present Heritage Centre, formerly the HSBC bank.

During the presentation there was some discussion about the route of the Old River Derwent . It has long been a topic of interest amongst local people as the course of the river has changed frequently over the centuries.

As early as 959 AD a land grant refers to the boundaries of Howdenshire as being  "From the Ouse up to Wilbaldes Fleet, from Wilbaldes Fleet to the dyke, along the dyke to the Derwent, from the Derwent to the right to Caerholm, from Caerholm along the dyke all about the wood to the Foulney, along the Foulney to the Old Derwent, along the Old Derwent again to the Ouse.

All these reference points are watercourses and it is interesting that even then there was a Derwent and an Old Derwent. But very confusingly what we know today as the Old Derwent is probably what was in 959 just the Derwent!!

What we do know is that here in Howden there is a watercourse now called the Old Derwent running through the town. In fact it is probable that it was its existence that decided the first Anglo Saxon settlers to build their village along its banks. Hailgate was built alongside the river which is why it curves gently [it takes its name from halh meaning bend].
The river was bridged at three places in Howden - so we had High Bridge, Halebrigg [bridge]  and another somewhere on Pinfold Street/ Bridge gate. The river was then 6 feet deep and 12 feet wide.

The Manor House of the bishops of Durham was built a few metres from the bank of the river and bishops, princes, kings and queens travelled in barges along Ouse and then along the Derwent to Howden.

By 1399 a 'New Derwent'  had been cut - we now call it Howden Dyke - and boats could access Howden  from the Ouse, turning off at Dykesmynn [ myn means mouth].

Sadly after the Reformation the bishops lost their wealth and both the church and the Manor House fell into decay.

After the "New Derwent' was cut parts of the river silted up and gradually the Derwent took the course we know today. The Old Derwent  through Howden became more of a drain. It  was also used as a watersource - and as a public sewer and still runs underneath parts of Hailgate as well as alongside The Ashes.

So fast forward to the nineteenth century when I found this reference in the Leeds Times newspaper.
of 23rd March 1867.

The Town of Howden, in Yorkshire, has been for some time past suffering from a severe visitation of fever, caused, it is supposed, by the unclean state of the Old Derwent, which is used as a public drain.

 The Wesleyan Day School, which abuts on the sewer, has been closed in consequence of the epidemic. Mr. Fielding, the master of the school, and a number of the pupils have died, and a great portion of the remainder suffered severely,  one medical man having no fewer than thirtyseven cases under his care at one time. 

It is expected the inhabitants will take steps to remove the cause of the outbreak, which, if they do not, will doubtless be aggravated during the summer.

On Tuesday a purse of ten sovereigns was presented to Isaac Winter, the driver of the railway omnibus. Winter has lost his eldest daughter from fever, and the remainder of his children having also suffered from the same complaint, the money was subscribed by a number of the inhabitants as a mark of their sympathy with him in his bereavement.

The Wesleyan school was at the end of Flatgate and after its closure was for many years used as a garage. I looked up Mr Richard Fielding, the master who died. He was 40 years old and left a wife and family. He had only been at Howden for three years, coming from a job at Tollerton.

Newspapers record many other problems with the Old Derwent and I believe it is still a bone of contention as to who is responsible for it. Meanwhile tales abound - the boat dug up near Elizabeth Homes when 'deep drainage' was put in,  a similar tale of a staithe  being revealed in the Market Place, the salmon seen by drinkers at the Cross Keys.
Anyone know any more?

Pictured by Jim Smith are three gentlemen putting the world to rights while contemplating the Old Derwent at the Flatgate end of Hailgate. Behind them is the gas works

Goole in Colour

It is still local history weather by which I mean that it is not gardening weather. Every time I think spring is on the way it rains. The daffodils keep picking themselves up but is certainly too wet to prepare a bed for potatoes. So much for the tradition of planting them on Good Friday.

I am looking forward to attending a preview event in Goole Museum on Saturday afternoon. My friend Pippa Stainton of Time Travel Restorations is putting on an exhibition of her work entitled Goole in Colour which will be open to the public from Tuesday April 17th.

There are over 30 images of Goole which Pippa has restored, sometimes from very damaged black and white originals so that now we can see what Goole may have looked like in Victorian and Edwardian times. She has also researched the background to many of the pictures so that visitors can learn more of the circumstances in which the photograph was taken.

Shown here is the first page of an article in Howdenshire Magazine in which I  have written about the history of Old Goole and illustrated it with some of Pippa's pictures. I have written about the Empson family who were living in Goole in the 16th century and who built the present Goole Hall to replace their much older house. They later built Grove House, shown below, which became the home of John Bennett, entrepreneur and shipowner.

Friday 30 March 2018

Easter - and Howden heritage

Today is Good Friday - and it's cold. Particularly cold here as we have very little oil and when I ordered more I was told that as the Easter weather forecast was so bad everyone had had the same idea and so we could not have a delivery until after Easter. So it's back to lighting the Rayburn and barrowing logs - I suppose we are lucky to have an alternative heat source.

Last night I went to a meeting of the Howden Heritage Centre committee. It is just a year since we opened and now the whole ground floor is ready for use. The display area is bigger, we have a meeting room, a workroom, an oral history room - and somewhere for volunteers to make tea! We are now looking at putting on some fund raising events and some talks.

One of the interesting projects is an archaeological dig in the back garden of the centre. This building was of course for many years a bank but back in medieval times it was probably part of the Bishop of Durham's Howden palace. The banqueting hall survives but the Bishop's Lodgings and private chapel were very near if not within the garden. We have permission to dig some trial trenches so looking forward to  seeing what's underneath.

Sunday 4 March 2018

Winter weather

I expected to be writing today about the Goole Hobbies exhibition but last week we saw out the end of February with a blast of Siberian weather. So plans were thrown into disarray with a concert at Doncaster I was planning to attend cancelled, as was my Thursday morning history class and Saturday's annual hobbies exhibition in the Leisure Centre.

But compared with other parts of the country we got off lightly with about 6 inches [ in old money!!!] of snow at the most. Worse in fact were the biting winds from the east - we had to block up the extractor fan with cling film to stop the icy blast entering the kitchen. Today the snow here has almost gone but it is a cold rainy day. But on the positive side the snowdrops are visible again and the daffodils are springing back upright.

It seems some time since I wrote of rural, rather than historical events so here is a brief update. Our downstairs cloakroom light stopped working and we had to remove part of the ceiling to get at the wiring. Also removed was an old wasps' nest from some three years ago.

Here is a picture of it - and of the garden and Molly before and during the snow.

The wasp next removed from the roof space. Wasps only use their nests once

Molly in the snowdrops before the 'big freeze'

The bees are safely eating fondant until the warmer weather comes

Molly - and a chicken - exploring the snow

Friday 2 February 2018

Old Goole history

It's the second of February - a month traditionally known as February fill-dyke. It is wet outside, our pond is full and the sky is glowering but it is winter and it could be worse. On the plus side our snowdrops are beautiful this year and some of the daffodils are in bud. Our eight chickens are laying well and the three beehives have survived the cold - although we are keeping an eye on them.

My two WEA history classes are going well although this term we are studying different topics. In Howden we are in medieval times and had a fascinating talk on Monday by a visiting speaker and ex- student about Howden around 1400.

I am also looking forward to a proposed archaeological dig at the rear of the new heritage centre, formerly the HSBC bank. The area was part of the Bishop of Durham's Lodgings and so should prove interesting.

In Goole we decided to look at Old Goole, a part of the town which has a separate identity and some very proud inhabitants. It even has its own Facebook page!

Many people seem to think that Goole popped up out of nowhere in the 1820s when the Aire and Calder Navigation Co. opened their canal and that there was little history before that. We are finding that the original Goole was thriving before the upstart New Goole and had a long history - although maybe not quite as illustrious as Howden's!

We are researching the histories and inhabitants of Goole Hall, Manor Cottage, Field House farm, Grove and Bleak Houses, the churches, chapels and schools. We are also trying to build a timeline of when the streets were built.

 This week we looked at Field House Farm and its orchards and fruit growing past [anyone know anything about that?] and also at the original Old Goole School. It was held  in the old St Mary's Church and had some very well-read and enthusiastic masters. We think it was associated with the Hook and Goole Charity.

But by the 1870s it was being run as a National School  and was not in a good state. The blame  was laid at the door of the Vicar of Goole, Dr Bell.
In 1875  it was visited by Goole doctor Parsons in his capacity as Medical Officer of Health and other townsmen. A report in the Goole Times on 29th January 1875  describes the visit.

In the course of the report the state of the school and school-house were commented upon, the former being ill-ventilated ; the school yard needing draining and asphalting, while the house was low and needed ventilation. There was a case of scarlet fever there. 
Dr. Parsons said the house was in a nice situation, but had no back windows, so that it was as badly ventilated as a back to back house. The Chairman said the master and his wife looked as if they were just recovered from some malignant disease. They were in an emaciated state, and looked exceedingly feeble. 
The very poultry were huddled a corner of the yard which was a square piece of puddle, and looked too as if they were recovering from scarlet fever, although it happened to be a beautiful morning. There were 30 to 40 children in the room and the atmosphere was stifling. 
Mr Bowers : Not a single window would open. 
Dr. Parsons : I have spoken Dr. Bell about it, but he declines to do anything. 
Mr. England: I cannot understand how he gets the Government grant. The Government inspector cannot know what he is about. 
The Chairman : It no use setting this sort thing down to prejudice or saying we have any object to gain in making such a report. We have every wish to take a fair view, and cannot come to any other conclusion. 
Mr. Bowers : It is a disgrace to any civilised town. 
Dr. Parsons : Dr. Bell said it would cost too much; he should not do it. I will report to you again on the matter. 
The Chairman : Thank you. Do not you think there should be proper playground ? 
Dr. Parsons : There is a yard. 
The Chairman : But it is one piece of puddle. You could not put children there. 
Mr. Clegg : The school was very badly lighted.

The master, John Brayshaw wrote an indignant reply [which I have edited]

In  your last issue you gave a  report of the Church School, Old Goole in which they state that the school-house is low and badly ventilated.
This house consists of four rooms and scullery. The room on the floor is the living room  There are three rooms on the second floor, one used as a sitting room, the other two as bedrooms, the height of all three 8 feet 9 inches.  Each of these rooms has a window  fitted with sliding sashes opening both top and bottom. 

With regard to the health of the first and second master I can  state that I am the only master of this school, and I don’t recollect being ill of any fever, contagious disease whatever, either malignant otherwise, and it appears to that if there was any malignity in the matter all, it must have been in the person who looked at  me and came to such a glaringly false conclusion ; but I thank God that I am in perfect health, notwithstanding the efforts of the medical officer of health to persuade me to the contrary. 

On the day these people paid their unauthorised visit to our school  81 chiIdren were present and not merely 30 or 40 as was stated, and with regard to the ‘'stench”— not a very polite expression, by the way—l have no doubt that the person who said ho felt it, came strongly disposed find everything wrong, but we are not obliged  to consider his judgment the best in such matters.

As regards the School —It is certified to, by the Education department, as being equal the reception of 112 scholars. The ventilation by windows being considered dangerous from direct draught upon the children, there is a ventilator above, and grates all around the base of the school building, there is grate in the centre of the room, near the stove, from which comes current from the side grates, and with proper attention there can be no risk to health.

The yard has two drains one on each side, and the cause of the wet state which was then viewed by these people, was on account  of the late severe frost and afterwards wet weather, but was  remedied as soon as the weather became settled. 

Every care has  been used in not allowing children connected with houses in which there were fever cases to attend at school. 

To take any notice of the sensational remarks made about  my wife and the fowls would only give an importance to matters that they do not deserve. I would venture to say in respect to the medical officer, that I think little more experience of reality would be of great service him in his office. 

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, JOHN BRAYSHAW, 3rd February, 1875. Master of the School.

John Brayshaw however did not stay much longer at Goole. He was originally a wool comber from Keighley and I think he probably returned there. I cannot find records of him in 1881 and wonder whether his health might really have not been very good.

 The Old Goole Board schools were opened in 1878 and most Old Goole children would attend there. The National School remained open for a time and there was a new master, John Prentis by 1881. John was a widower with three adult daughters. He married at Goole later that year and by 1885 he too had left, to become the master of the Kell Bank school at Malham.

I must admit that reading about the schoolhouse it was probably a wise move!!!

 Above the old St Mary's is on the left. The farm house in the background is still there as you leave Old Goole.
Another view. The church/ school was demolished in 1957.