Monday 25 March 2024


 It is only a few days before Easter but it is still cold and wet and however much I want to get out into the garden it is impossible as everywhere is soggy. I am hoping to start various seeds in the greenhouse but enthusiasm is hard to find when the weather is so horrible.

But local history is always there and I have been interested to follow the work of the Howdenshire Archaeological Society // who are working on the history and archaeology of Spaldington. Do visit their website and facebook page to see what they have found so far and what their plans are.

Many years ago I knew a gentleman called Bill Atkinson who, long before the days of the internet. made a study of the village. His work is invaluable today. 

My memories of Spaldington centre on visiting a shop/emporium/ shed in the village run by a gentleman called Brian Terry. My father often took my brother and myself there where you could  buy all sorts ranging from tools, nails, paint etc to wellingtons, torches and shoelaces - in fact almost anything. Of course he is long gone but I can still remember the varied contents and characteristic smell of his premises.

Over the years I have researched different aspects of the village. The early history is very interesting - the land passing from the de la Hay family to the Vavasours but the family story I wanted to mention today is what happened after the last maleVavasour heir of Spaldington died. It is a a bit complicated! Below is a shortened summary.

Thomas Vavasour 1636- 1679

Thomas was the last male heir of the Spaldington Vavasour family. He died in 1679 aged 43 and was buried at Bubwith.

The Trafford connection

Thomas' daughter and heir, Mary Vavasour, married Sir Ralph Assheton of Middleton, Lancs,  

Their eldest daughter Anne, married Humphrey Trafford, Esq on 5th Aug 1701, in Manchester. [This is the same family who have given their name to  several modern features - eg Old Trafford and the Trafford Centre]

Humphrey and Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth Trafford, who married Mail Yates, of Mail, Lancashire, and who had three daughters: Anne Assheton Yates,  Mary Yates who married Henry Aspinall and Catherine Yates who married Robert Campbell.

The three sisters

On the death of Elizabeth in 1788 the ownership of Spaldington was split into three parts.

1. Anne Assheton Yates married Henry Nooth, a Colonel in a Cavalry Regiment, who took on his marriage the name of Vavasour in 1791, and was created a baronet in 1801.  He died in 1813 at Melbourne Hall [Yorkshire]. His widow, the former Anne Asheton Yates, died  in York in 1818 aged 88.

Their eldest son, born in Dorset in 1768 was Henry Maghull Mervyn Vavasour [born Nooth] who was a career soldier. He died at Melbourne Hall  in 1838 and was buried at Bubwith.  His son Henry Mervyn born 1814 died aged 98 in 1912.

This is a picture of Henry M Vavasour taken in 1890

2.  Mary Yates

Mary married lawyer Henry Aspinall .  She died in 1794 and he inherited her third of Spaldington which included the hall and much of the land north of the village. He put it up for sale in 1809 and died in 1810.

Lord Howden

In  May 1809  the following advertisement appeared in the Hull Advertiser

FREEHOLD ESTATE, consisting of  the Spacious MANSION HOUSE, called SPALDINGTON HALL, and several FARMHOUSES, with suitable OUTBUILDINGS, and 966 acres. of Fertile LAND, in a ring fence, divided into convenient Farms. Also, ONE-THIRD part of the MANOR of SPALDINGTON.

It was bought by  eminent soldier  General Sir John Francis Cradock who also bought Grimston Hall. In 1819 he was granted the Irish title of Baron Howden of Grimston  and Spaldington. He was the only son of  John Cradock, formerly Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.

So in 1822 we read that  'The hall at this place was formerly the seat of the ancient and honourable family of Vavasour, but now the property of Lord Howden, it exhibits a fine specimen of architecture of the time of Queen Elizabeth. "

Baron Howden was granted the English title in 1831. He died in 1839 and was succeeded in the title of Lord Howden by his son, John Hobart Cradock who immediately remodeled Grimston Park as an "Italianate palace" with large pleasure grounds and a riding school.

But  Lord Howden and his wife divorced and the estate including Spaldington was sold in 1851 to fellow diplomat Albert Denison, 1st Baron Londesborough.

There is no evidence that Lord Howden ever lived at Spaldington and most likely tenants lived at the hall.

For example a newspaper report of 1822 reports a death  at Stanton, near Burton-upon- Trent, Staffordshire, at an advanced age, Wm. Nadin, Esq. formerly of Spaldington Hall, and father of the late Mrs. Waterworth, of Wressle Castle


Whilst under the ownership of Lord Howden the old Elizabethan hall was pulled down in 1838. It was replaced by a new building within two years which is now known as Old Hall Farm.

In 1845  Old Hall  farm was occupied by Thomas Stogdale who was renting from Lord Howden.  He was  farming 300 acres and employing 4 labourers in 1851.  He was married to Ellen and  they had two sons.

 3. Catherine Yates and the new hall.

Catherine Eleanor married Robert Campbell of Arknish House in Argyll and had two daughters Catherine and Sarah Charlotte. She was the owner and probably the builder of a new hall at Spaldington which was on her property, south of the old hall. One source suggests it was built in 1810, the year Lord Howden bought the old hall.

This house was shown on the 1852 map as Spaldington House.
It was advertised to let in 1833. The advert read

With Immediate Possession, with or without TWELVE ACRES of GRASS LAND, a very desirable RESIDENCE, comprising Drawing, Dining, and Breakfast Rooms, with suitable Lodging Apartments; also, Butler's Pantry, Coach House, Stables etc. There is also a large Orchard, and an excellent Kitchen Garden.

Catherine died in 1838, the same year as her her daughter Catherine and her sister's son Henry M M Vavasour who died at Melbourne. Also of course this was the year too that the Old Hall was pulled down.

Her surviving daughter Sarah Charlotte inherited her Spaldington property and on the tithe award of 1849 is shown as owning and occupying the house. She had married Nathaniel Jekyll of Pitcombe House in Somerset but after he died she sold up in 1830. In 1838 she was given official permission to be known solely by the surname Campbell.

She died in 1853 at Bath and left her Spaldington property to her cousin Henry Mervyn Vavasour. She left a bequest to create a charity  for the poor who lived on her lands.

In 1857 it was described as  'The present hall, the property of Sir H. M. Vavasour, and residence of Robert Goldthorp, Esq., is a large brick building, with stone dressings, erected in 1810'.

In 1857 it was described as  'The present hall, the property of Sir H. M. Vavasour, and residence of Robert Goldthorp, Esq., is a large brick building, with stone dressings, erected in 1810'.


Robert Goldthorpe did not live in the house for very long but seems to have made a good impression.

We read that in 1856 — R. Goldthorpe, Esq., of Spaldington House, has lately distributed to each widow, and to the deserving poor of Spaldington, a pair of blankets, as a Christmas-box. At this inclement season, nothing could have been more suitable. During the past year this respected gentleman presented a very handsome Bible and prayer book for the use of the established Church in Spaldington. Other charitable and local projects have met with his liberal aid and support. May he long live to enjoy the hearty good wishes of the poor and all who have the pleasure of knowing him.

He was a widower and when he remarried in 1863 he left the district, moving to Surrey where he  died in  1870.

The end of the Vavasours at Spaldington
In 1865 Henry Vavasour put his whole Spaldington estate up for sale. It was described as

THE SPALDINGTON ESTATE, including the Mansion known as Spaldington Hall, with its Gardens and Pleasure Grounds, surrounded by a Freehold Domain of 2,510 acres of superior land, divided into 12 capital farms, interspersed with woodlands and plantations affording  coverts for game, lying in a ring fence, only two miles from the Howden Railway Station, within an easy distance of the city of York, and being in a thoroughly rural district, yet of easy access from the manufacturing towns of the West Riding, particularly eligible as a residence or investment for a banker, merchant, or country gentleman.

Spaldington Hall, a modern-built residence in grey brick, with stone dressings, and slated, is pleasantly situated, overlooking an enclosure of park- like pasture, and is approached by an entrance lodge and carriage drive through ornamental plantations, lawn, and pleasure grounds ; it contains an entrance-hall, dining, drawing, and breakfast rooms, seven bed rooms and dressing rooms on the first floor, besides attics, housekeeper's room, ample domestic offices, stabling, etc.

On another part of the estate a second residence has recently been erected, in the Gothic style, and large sums have been expended in the erection and repair of the farmhouses, homesteads, cottages, and the buildings generally are of a most superior character, and in excellent order.

The Estate comprises 2,540 acres, of which about 800 are fine pasture lands and orchards, 50 acres woodland, and the remainder arable. The soil is a strong, deep loam, and tbe portions requiring it having been under-drained in the most effective manner under Government Inspection, it is capable of producing very large crop of both grain and roots, while the size and regularity of the enclosures render it especially suited for steam cultivation, and it is most accessible to good markets, the roads  and river Ouse affording every facility for the delivery of produce. Deep seams of coal exist under the whole of thia district, though at present unworked. The compact character of this Estate is favourable for the preservation of game. It is at present well stocked with partridges and hares, and has excellent covert for pheasants. The country is hunted by the Holderness and York and Ainsty hounds, and good trout fishing may be had in the vicinity.

The farms included  Fir Tree House [described above as newly erected], Town End Farm, Sandwood House Farm, Yoke Gate Farm, Sykes Farm, Warham Farm.

So next time you hear of Old Trafford or visit the Trafford Centre remember the connection with our small East Yorkshire village of Spaldington.


Friday 15 March 2024

Howden Hall East Yorkshire

It's a sunny breezy day - such a relief from the incessant rain - and although the snowdrops have  all finished the daffodils are looking good. A friend came yesterday and we walked around with her phone app identifying what birds were about. Not only did it identify the various types of tits and the wren but also a tree creeper which I know we often had but had not seen  so far this year. And we could also hear the wood pecker hammering away in the ash tree.

Last week I gave a talk at Skelton to the small history group which meets there about Howden Hall. It is well hidden behind its [listed] wall and although there is a lot of information about it in the Howden an East Riding Market Town book which I wrote several years ago with Ken Powls it was interesting to 'revisit' what I knew of its history.

Originally part of the extensive Metham lands for a time the Howden hall estate was a separate manor called Paradise [meaning an enclosure] owned by a family called Har[t]forth.  It can be traced as being in the ownership in the mid 16th century  of Peter Hartforth  who was the Howden vicar or possibly curate.  

Christopher Hartforth was the high constable in Elizabethan times and in the seventeenth century William Hartforth was the owner of the small manor of Paradise.which in in 1644 consisted of house, barn, stables, orchard, windmill and 3 crofts - about 30 acres in all. 

He sold it to the Belt family of Belby who owned it by 1702.

In that year it was sold to the Worsop family who  originated around Adlingfleet and Luddington. Rev Richard Worsop was vicar of Adlingfleet in the late seventeenth century.

Richard and Sarah Worsop were the first of the family to live at Howden. Richard died in 1723 aged 63 and is buried in Luddington. He is described on the family plaque as 'late of Howden'. His widow Sarah died in 1739 aged 77. 

The plaque tells us that they had four sons and three daughters all of whom died young, other than a daughter Sarah who married Samuel Smith a Hull merchant and died in 1740 and a son Richard. When Richard died  in 1758 aged 67 the Worsop property passed to two distant cousins, John and Hester Arthur.  Richard requested in his will that they take the Worsop name.

William Arthur [1675-1741] of Wadworth near Doncaster had married Hester Worsop in 1704. The Arthur family lived at Alverley Hall/Grange. John Arthur, as requested, changed his name by act of parliament to John Arthur Worsop.

So in July 1778 John Arthur Worsop of Alverley Grange married Sarah Mauleverer at Arncliffe second daughter of Thomas. It is said that he was a gambler and mortgaged many of his lands.

They had three children: Hester, Richard and John.  His wife Sarah died in 1790 and is buried at Luddington. He died 1818 and is also buried at Luddington.

After his death his eldest son Richard, who had served in the 11th Dragoons,  took up permanent residence at Howden Hall.

His sister Hester Arthur Worsop had married John Parker Toulson in 1804 at Luddington. They lived at Skipwith Hall.

His brother John Arthur Worsop (1784-1851) had also served in the army during the Napoleonic wars. He married Harriet Hesse Topham in 1806 at Thwing. She was the  daughter of Major Topham of Wold cottage She died in 1810. 

Her obituary described her as having 'the most affable and engaging manners, and  that beauty and countenance, which attracted the notice of all who saw her. She died at the age of 23 years, and has left two infant daughters—as yet unconscious of their loss'.

By 1841 John was living at Landford Manor House in Wiltshire.  The house was also occupied by his son-in-law William Trollope, married to his daughter Maria, and their family. He died on 21 May 1851. 

Back in Howden the story of Richard is not straightfoward. 

Richard Arthur Worshop 

He was educated at Harrow and Magdalen College Oxford where he matriculated  in 1800 aged 19.  He, like his younger brother, served in the 11th Dragoons. So far quite straightforward.  We know he married Mary Ann Moat  at St George's Hanover Square in London in February 1819.

But it seems as if he and Mary were already married [ I cannot find the marriage] as they had at least 6/7 children already. The eldest was Sarah born in July 1812 and the youngest Valentine born in July 1819 [after the marriage]. All these children were baptised in Sculcoates, now a part of Hull.

And who was Mary Ann Moat? We know that her parents were William and Elizabeth [nee Pool] - both were living at Howden Hall in 1841 and a Mary Ann Moat was baptised in Beverley in 1792.

So did Richard and Mary have a first 'secret' marriage'? Was she 'not suitable'? Did Richard's father not approve? We shall never know.

 Richard Arthur Worsop

Mary Ann Worsop nee Moat

But what we do know is that after they moved into the hall they had a further nine children including one born in Edinburgh in 1830 where they had a house. Richard died in 1835. Mary Ann died in 1849 and the hall was then sold.

It was bought by John Banks who was a landowner and shipbuilder and  whose family also owned Brackenholme near Hemingbrough. John owned almost 400 acres and a shipyard at Skelton near Howden.

John Banks and his wife Sarah nee Tennant had had 10 children - seven girls and three boys. Their son James died in 1874 at Wressle castle,  Sarah died in 1877, John died in March 1778 aged 82 and only a fortnight later their son John also died.

John's obituary is below.

John Banks, of Howden Hall.— We regret to report tho death of Mr. John Banks of Howden Hall, which took place on Tuesday. Mr. Banks was one of the oldest inhabitants of ihe town, and  was well-known and esteemed throughout the entire district. He commenced life in comparatively humble circumstances, and raised himself to a position of affluence. ln addition to his Howden estate, he was also a large owner of property in Goole, Selby, and otber places. He was 82 years of age

His memorial and others to the Banks family are in Hemingbrough church.

Then on 28th February 1879 John, son of James, who was only 25 died.

After this the whole of the Howden hall estate was put up for sale in October 1879

Important Property Sale.—On Thursday week, Mr. Robert Brown offered for sale by auction, at Bowman's Hotel, the Howden Hall estate, late the property of Mr. John Banks which included a number of houses, and 137 acres of land. There were in all 27 lots, of which Lot 21, the most important, comprised “the hall, outbuildings pleasure grounds, grass land adjoining:—in all, 55 acres. This was offered subject to the life interest of the Misses Banks and a charge of £3000. The highest bid was £3,600 by Mr. J. Hawke, but the lot was withdrawn. 

Several of the detached dwelling-houses were sold at £400, or rather over; some of the smaller lots were sold at fair prices. The bidding for the land was of a very much less spirited character, only one field being bought at the sale, the price being £200. Several small plots of  ground  sold remarkably well, one of about  three quarters of an acre being knocked down for £260. Mr. Henry Green was solicitor for the vendor, and the attendance was the largest ever known at a property sale at Howden.

In April 1881  Miss Ann Banks aged 45 was living alone in the hall  with a cook and a housemaid. But in September that year at Howden she married Henry Blanchard Anderson a timber merchant a few years older than her whose business was at Howdendyke. Henry and Annie lived lived at the hall until her death in 1897.

Henry died in 1899. His obituary reads

Mr H. B. Anderson, of  Howden Hall, died suddenly yesterday morning the age of 71. Though a native Fimber. near Driffield, he had for over forty years been resident Howden, where he successfully carried the business of a timber merchant. He was a Justice the Peace for the Riding and chairman of the local Conservative Association. For some years he was churchwarden.  He was a Past Master of St Cuthbert's Lodge of Freemasons.

Both Henry and Ann were buried at  Hemingbrough.

In early 1900 the hall was advertised for sale but had no takers.

A report from February 1900 reads that 

at the Station Hotel, Hall, on Thursday afternoon, the Howden Hall Estate was offered for sale by public auction. The auctioneer entertained the company to whiskey and cigars, and then spent half-an-hour in endeavouring to induce a bid, but was reluctantly compelled to declare the sale closed without one offer having been made

The contents were put up for sale in March 1900

Mr. JAMES GLEW is favoured with instructions from the Exors. of the late Henry Blanchard Anderson, Esq., J.P, to SELL BY AUCTION, on Thursday, March 29th, the Valuable Furnishings. Pictures, Electro-plate, Glass, etc., in the Drawing Room, Dining Room, Breakfast Room, six Bedrooms, Bath Room, Box Room, Entrance Hall, Wine cellar, Pantries, Passages, Office, Kitchen, Scullery, Garden, Greenhouse, Yard, etc. 

There is no mention here of the ballroom which is there now. A bit of a mystery as to who had it built and why?

Howden Hall painted by local artist Frances Hutchinson

By 1901 Mrs Elizabeth Wilkinson was living at the hall. She was a 45 year old widow of independent means. Also there was her 17 year old niece Dorothy, a cook, a house maid and a kitchenmaid. Mrs Wilkinson was, before her marriage, Elizabeth Chaplin whose family were large landowners in the Bubwith area. She  had married John William Wilkinson, fourth son of the vicar of Bubwith. He had died in 1899.

Mrs Wilkinson lived at the hall until her death in 1943. She maintained her interest in the Bubwith area and seems to have lived quietly in Howden.

In 1903 for example she gave new carved oak choir stalls to Bubwith Parish Church. The work, which cost about £200, was carried out by Messrs. Jones and Willis, of Birmingham, under the supervision of Mr. M. Wilson, of Sheffield, and included two prayer desks for the clergy.

After the death of Mrs Wilkinson the Howden hall estate was bought by James Edward 'Jimmy' Mortimer and his wife Mary. They had moved from Knedlington manor and he  was something of an entrepreneur having previously owned the Howden airship station.

But soon after moving from Knedlington he died in 1946. His widow Mary died in 1951 leaving the hall to Dr and Mrs Mackenzie of Newport.

The Yorkshire Post reported in May 1951 that 

A doctor and his wife of Newport, East Yorkshire, are undecided whether to occupy Howden Hall, with 52 acres of parkland and gardens, together with two cottages and outbuildings, left to them by the late Mrs. Mary Mortimer, who lived there until last February. Mrs Mortimer left £51,287 (net £50.130, duty paid £7,713). Dr. James M. McKenzle and his wife were both friends of Mrs. Mortimer, whom the doctor had attended for the past three years. Mrs Mortimer's husband died about four years ago. shortly alter they went to live at the Hall. Mrs. McKenzic told "The Yorkshire Post" last night that Mrs. Mortimer had hinted that she might leave the Hall them, but it was not confirmed until after her death. Dr. McKcnzie has been practising the Howden district for about 25 years. 

The Mackenzies remained at Newport and later sold a large part of the estate to the East Riding council who built a new secondary school on the site.

The hall itself has had other subsequent occupiers - bank manager Mr  Harrop and latterly Peter White and his family.