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Market Place Market Place
Note the new building in the photo on the corner.
Regent Street Regent Street
Note the 'Old Red Lion Hotel'
Chapmangate Chapmangate
Note the independent chapel built in 1807 to the left.
Latest Updates
The latest news of the 'Pocklington and District Local History Group'

Past News Stories back to 2007.
Harry Hughes - "One of the Many "
8th May 2016

Harry HughesHarry Hughes DFC DFM AE and Bar FICS. "One Of The Many - A navigator in 102 (Ceylon) Squadron at Pocklington and Pathfinders".
Harry gave a very entertaining presentation with his recollections of being a navigator in the crew of a Halifax Bomber flying out of Pocklington Airfield. He was assisted by Simon Whittaker who asked the questions. Harry trained in North America and became a navigator aboard the Halifax bomber and arrived at Pocklington in February 1943. At this time the 102 Squadron was suffering some of the heaviest casualties of the war within the whole RAF. He was in Pocklington for 6 months and finished his tour. Then after a period of instructing he returned to operations with 8 Group Pathfinders on 692 Squadron, which was part of the Light Night Striking Force . They were based across the A1 from Bedford at Gravely. Station hotelOn their Mosquito aircraft they carried a 4000lb bomb with just 2 crew, mainly to Berlin. Harry mentioned his affection for Pocklington and said on his nights off he would go for a drink or two in the Station Hotel. He said he always liked to return to Pocklington as he got such a warm welcome. After the talk Harry left the church and went across the road to enjoy his first pint there for over 60 years!

Left: Harry enjoys a pint in the Station Hotel, his first there since 1943!
Phil Gilbank toasts Harry along with Harry's helper and talk assistant Simon Whittaker and Dawn.

FiveRead more about Harry's life in his book "Five of the Many" by Steve Darlow. Survivors of the Bomber Command Offensive from the Battle of Britain to Victory tell their story. This book follows the experiences of five of RAF Bomber Command’s airmen including Wellington pilot Rupert Cooling, Wellington and Mosquito pilot Jack Goodman, Halifax pilot Joe Petrie-Andrews, Lancaster pilot Tony Iveson and 102 Squadron’s Halifax and Mosquito navigator Harry Hughes.

Publisher: Grub Street Publishing; (31 Oct 2007)
ISBN-10: 1904943985
ISBN-13: 978-1904943983
Flying Man celebrations 2016
7th/8th May 2016


Flying teddies !

The History Group display
Simon Kularatne and Bernard Ross near Bernard's model of Pocklington Airfield
The history group display with the Flying Man entry in the Parish Register
The display of the Halifax bomber engine, later started up on West Green
A busy morning in the Flying Man cafe
21st April 2016

Phil opened the 2016 AGM holding the newly printed programme for the 2016/17 year ahead. He was pleased with the past year from a History Group perspective and the exciting discoveries found in the Iron Age cemetery on the outskirts of the town. Treasurer Peter Green went through the finances and announced a net deficit on the year of £35 mainly caused by the purchase of a new laptop and other costs associated with purchasing items and copies of Pocklington Parish records from the Percy Archive in Alnwick. Because other sources of income were declining, such as reduced book sales, Peter made a request for a new book to be produced to boost our income, even though our accounts showed a healthy closing balance. The election of the committee followed and a proposal from the floor was made to re-elect the current committee in one vote, which was seconded and passed unanimously. Requests were made for new additions to the committee following the resignations of Paul Jennings and Heidi Woodhouse. None were forthcoming, but if anyone does wish to step forward please contact the Chairman or Secretary.

Jane Henley2016/17 Re-Elected Committee: Chairman - Phil Gilbank, Secretary – Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Denis Moor, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. Two vacancies exists for committee members. Roger Bellingham remains Honorary President. The AGM was followed by a talk by Jane Henley on the past libraries of Pocklington (see picture) and a summary by Phil Gilbank of the current status of the Burnby Lane dig and possible proposal for a permanent display of the finds at a suitable site in Pocklington. It was followed by a review of the year by Andrew Sefton. Photographs and historical finds made during the year were shown as well as a video of a Halifax engine that was fired up at the last Flying Man festival on West Green.
The origins and history of Yorkshire dialects
17th March 2016

Dr Barrie RhodesDr Barrie M. Rhodes explained the history of the invasions of this country from the Romans through the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings to the Normans. Parts of our present language was left by each of them: the Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) language became the basis for modern day English largely replacing, the previous Brythonic (Romanic) language spoken by the Celts. The later invasions by the Vikings left an imprint on Yorkshire, which was part of the Danelaw, and was the basis for Yorkshire dialects. Yorkshire was divided into ridings (from the Old Norse Thrydings) and many of its place names are of Scandinavian origin. The main contributors to Yorkshire dialects today are Old English and Old Norse/Old Danish together with a smaller contribution from Old (Norman) French. Barrie sees the dialects (or languages) as constantly evolving over time. He mentioned ‘the tyranny of standard English ’ which he maintains is only another dialect of English and says that the speakers of other dialects in this country should never regard their language as less valid than the standard. Barrie gave a passionate talk about his subject to an attentive and full room of listeners. His talk was full of humour and announced at 80 years of age he was retiring from public speaking and joked "I am at an age where I no longer buy green bananas!"

The Very Odd Invasion of Scarborough in 1557
18th February 2016

David RumbelowThe audience, of another very well attended evening, heard David Rumbelow give an entertaining talk on a very odd invasion of Scarbrough in 1557 by Thomas Stafford and his followers. He was involved in two rebellions, the first led by Thomas Wyatt against Queen Mary after concern over her intention to marry Phillip II of Spain. The rebellion failed and Thomas Statfford fled to France. Stafford took two ships from Dieppe to Scarborough with over 30 men and took over the castle.The Earl of Westmorland recaptured the castle and Stafford and his men were captured and he was beheaded on Tower Hill along with 32 of his followers.
Short Talks Evening
21st January 2016

Denis MoorThe Battle of Flamborough Head and the search for the wreck of the "Bonhomme Richard" by Denis Moor. Denis was assisted by Jo Green to tell the story of the Battle of Flamborough head that took place in 1779. A fierce sea battle took place between the French warship the Bonhomme Richard commanded by the colourful character Jean Paul Jones fighting the British fleet as part of the American War of Independence. HMS Serapis was taken and boarded by the crew of Paul Jones and following the fierce sea battle of cannons firing at close quarters, the Bonhomme Richard sunk, off the coast of Flamborough Head, after their crew had already taken possession of HMS Serapis. Denis was a keen deep sea diver in the York sub aqua club and in the 1960's was called to look at some wreckage found in fishing nets. It could not be positively identified but on the night Denis brought pieces of wreckage including an old bilge pump. A fascinating talk from a living Pocklington legend of 86 years of age!

William RichardsonThe Astronomers of the Pocklington area by Andrew Sefton. In the early nineteenth century, Pocklington and the local villages of Allerthorpe, Bielby and Seaton Ross produced contemporary astronomers, mathematicians, sundial makers and opticians and telescope makers. Using the journals of William Watson, Andrew speculated that they all used to meet at the house of William Watson in Seaton Ross where he had an observatory. Thomas Cooke made lenses and founded a large business in York making telescopes and navigation instruments. His younger brother Barnard founded an optical instruments shop in Hull still operating today. John Smith from Bielby was a sundial maker who finished his days in Stockton in the North East. William Rogerson and William Richardson from Pocklington became assistants to the Astronomer Royal in Greenwich, London. As a coincidence, the speaker mentioned he was also a founder member of the York Astronomical Society which started in 1972.
Voices from the past
Recordings of the Pocklington WW1 veterans
19th November 2015

Billy HarrisonThere was a good attendance on the evening as 'The York Oral History Society' kindly provided us access to the recordings made in 1980 & 1981 by York historan Alf Peacock of a few Pocklington residents who took part in the World War 1. Some of their stories gave an insight into the noise, terror, friendship and loss witnessed by many who took part. The first hand accounts of five veterans included Thomas Flint, Charles Richardson, Stanley Robson, Hawksworth (Oxy) Barker and Bill Harrison all from Pocklington and Nunburnholme. Thomas Flint recalled his early memories of growing up in Pocklington in late Victorian and Edwardian times. The recordings were accompanied by pictures and WW1 films. A set of unique pictures were also provided by a descendant of Herbert Richardson (who worked at Warter Priory) taken from his own camera. He took it with him to Mesopotamia and they accompanied the sound track of Oxy Barker who took part in the same campaign. To learn more about the remarkable story of the discovery of these recordings and the York Oral History WW1 project click here and to buy their book with free CD, click here. Picture is by kind permission of Peter Halkon from his book "Bill's Book" about the life of Billy Harrison published by Hutton Press.
30 Years a Pocklington news photographer
22nd October 2015

Roger PattisonRoger Pattison gave us a unique presentation of life and events in and around Pocklington for the last 30 years as a Pocklington newspaper photographer. Roger explained his first interest was in music and was in various local folk groups and bands in the 1970's. One of the first bands was 'Prussian Blue' formed out of the recording studio at Bishop Wilton with Dick Sefton. See their first TV appearance at 'Look North' TV studios in Leeds in 1973 by clicking this link. His next band had a photo shoot in Burnby Hall Gardens for the cover of their first record single which was recorded at Pollen Studio in Bishop Wilton. He explained it sparked his interest in photography and the developing of photographs in his own darkroom. From there the Pocklington Times asked him to take photographs and when they folded he joined the Pockington Post as their freelance photographer. Roger took photographs of every event including; mayors, cake stalls, fires, car crashes, fund raising events, school events and recorded old buildings and shops long since closed or demolished. Three videos were shown of the three decades accompanied by his own background music that he created himself, made for an unforgettable evenings entertainment.
The Roman Roads of Yorkshire
17th September 2015

Mike Haken1Mike Haken gave us an outstanding talk, that had the audience of 50 enthralled from beginning to end. MH4He called into question our understanding of Roman roads with a humorous and very knowledgable lecture. He also demonstrated how some historical facts and figures should be questioned because of the research he and his team have done. An excellent evenings entertainment.
Outside events and walks
16th & 25th July 2015

A walk around Burnby and Hayton (16th July)

Burnby WalkThe evening started with a tour around Burnby church. Although there is no mention of the church in the Domesday book, It is first mentioned in an account of the first rector Roger de Fiskerton in 1288. Over the centuries the church has been altered and restored on many occasions. An interesting village walk followed which included the home constructed by the jockey Simeon Templeman from proceeds of his Derby win on Bloomsbury in 1839. Thanks to Lesley Craven for showing us around Burnby Church and to David Nicholson for walking us around Burnby village.

The group then moved to Hayton to convene in the old school room where items of village history were laid out to view. Some old illustrations of the old Hayton Hall were visible and the school room built on the old entrance way to the old Hall. A tour of St. Martin's church ensued with a look at the corbel stone heads and the remains of a medieval wall painting. Finally the evening was rounded off by a look around Hayton mill which was the family home of the Etty family. The father of the famous York painter William Etty was the miller there. Thanks to John Green for showing us the Old Mill and talking on the Etty family, to Peter Green for the tour of Hayton Church and to Mick Bettison for explaining about the village history in general at the village hall.


"Pocklington church stone" by Richard Myerscough

Richard MyerscoughA small group was led around Pocklington church on the 25th July by Richard Myerscough to look at the origins of the stone in Pocklington Church. The tour was so fascinating that we plan for him to give a talk in a full group meeting. Richard intends to write a book on the origins of the stone of East Riding Churches.

Burnby Hall followed by Magna Carta
18th June 2015

GeraldineTwo talks:

'Burnby Hall Gardens its history and heritage; past, present and developing the future", by Geraldine Mulcahy-Parker, Burnby Hall's Heritage Lottery Fund project officer. Geraldine explained part of her her agenda, is an aural history project interviewing local people with memories of Major Stewart, as well as an HLF bid to repair the lakes and restore the Edwardian potting sheds. Volunteers are needed to help with the project, please contact Burnby Hall if you wish to participate.


"Pocklington & The Great Charter - local links to Magna Carta 800 years on" by Phil Gilbank

phil magna carta

Phil investigated all the many local links to the creation of one of history's most famous and significant documents the Magna Carta signed at Runnymede in 1215, and the talk complemented many of the events running up and down the country to commemorate the 800th anniversary.

The 100 days of Waterloo
21st May 2015

Godfrey Bloom gave an entertaining and informative talk on the Battle of Waterloo to commemorate 200 years since the battle took place. His knowledge of every aspect of the battle and the tactics used by the opposing forces of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington with Blücher was demonstrated to an attentive audience in the Rugby Club venue. Godfrey's delivery without the use of any notes or visual aids was an impressive presentation from an accomplished public speaker. Picture shows Phil Gilbank introducing Godfrey to the history group audience.
Godfrey Bloom
Tom Sayer- "I was there"
10th May 2015

TS1Tom Sayer aged 93 is stepping down as Chairman of the 102 Squadron Association and decided to talk to the people of Pocklington about his experiences of being a WW2 Bomber Pilot and how he flew out of Pocklington Airfield as pilot of a Halifax bomber plane. Simon Kularatne (whose father was also a pilot who flew out of Pocklington) interviewed Tom. He gave a remarkable account of his training in Canada, his bombing missions, his many close calls for him and his crew. They were shot on many occasions by enemy fire, and then after surviving over 30 missions, moved to training glider pilots in readyness for the D-Day landings. Tom's often moving account of his life as a pilot in wartime Pocklington gave a vivid account of the period and will leave a lasting impression in the memory of all the large audience in attendance in Pocklington Church.
Flying Man celebrations 2015
9th/10th May 2015


Flying Men, Women and Children

A Halifax Bomber engine was fired up on West Green. Pocklington hears the sound of a Halifax Bomber engine again.
Inside the Church
The 'Flying Man' Cafe
The History Group display
John Nottingham and Bernard Ross discuss the Airfield Model
23rd Apr 2015

AGM 2015Jo Green kicked off the 2015 AGM for the 8th successive year. She outlined the objectives of the group and concluded on a very successful year. She surprised the group by announcing her resignation from the chair but adding she was willing to take the role of Secretary. Treasurer Peter Green showed a healthy situation for the finances of the group, but added a cautionary note that the group should increase it's income by raising the door entry fee, because other sources of income were declining, such as reduced book sales. A vote was taken to canvas opinion on the possible increased charge. Jo proposed Phil Gilbank as her successor and was seconded by Andrew Sefton, who gave a vote of thanks to Jo for all her past work over the last 8 years leading the group. Our president Roger Bellingham presided over the change. (Picture shows Jo Green handing over the Chairman's role to Phil Gilbank).

2015/16 Re-Elected Committee: Chairman - Phil Gilbank, Secretary – Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Denis Moor, Paul Jennings, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. One vacancy exists for one more committee member. Roger Bellingham is Honorary President. The AGM was followed by a review of the year by Andrew Sefton and Phil Gilbank. Photographs found during the year were shown as well as 3 old films. *Update* - Heidi Woodhouse has agreed to rejoin the committee on the vacant committee seat.
Burnby Lane Iron Age Dig
19th March 2015

A packed audience in the Oak House listened intently to the startling news of an exciting discovery of an Iron Age cemetery in Burnby Lane on the site of the new housing development being built there. David Wilson Homes kindly arranged the update evening for the people of Pocklington with the cooperation of the town council and Pocklington & District Local History Group. Phil Gilbank introduced the evening and Paula Ware from MAP Archaeological Practice Ltd explained the exciting finds. Geophysical surveys were undertaken and 14 trenches were initiated. So far they have found 38 square barrows and 82 burials and they are still excavating the site. Burnby Lane has to be placed in importance alongside other iron age sites such as Arras, Burton Fleming, Garton Slack, Wetwang and Rudstone. These seem to be Parisi people as spears and a sword has been found and burial rites seem to be in line with others found on the wolds. The bodies are generally in a crouched position facing east but some face west and some have been buried in wooden coffins. They have some grave goods including brooches, bangles, pots and weapons. Because of what they have found, the site has now been raised to international importance. Many questions were asked and one member of the audience asked for a forum where updated information can be shown. This website will provide updated information whenever it is released.

Burnby Lane Dig(1)
Flying Man 2014 (2)

Phil Gilbank introduces the evening

Paula Ware presents the finds
Flying Man 2014 (3)
Flying Man 2014 (4)
The history group's biggest ever attendance
A skeleton found on the site
Flying Man 2014 (5)
Flying Man 2014 (6)
Jo Green and John Brown examine the finds
Much interest in the finds
Two Talks
19th February 2015

Hunt 1970sphil winePhil Gilbank and Andrew Sefton stepped in at short notice after a talk cancellation to give two short talks that they had already given to other groups in the area. The first was "Pocklington history & Wine" followed by "Bishop Wilton through time - including old film clips". Phil gave an amazing number of links to wine and Sherry with both Pocklington and Kilnwick Percy. This included "Croft Original", Harveys Bristol Cream and Gonzalis Byass and the Vavasour wines. Andrew Sefton followed with a brief history of Bishop Wilton followed by some old film of Bishop Wilton taken in 1960 and the 1970's by his brother Robert.

The Wolds Wagoners
22nd January 2015

The Wagoners are a fascinating topic with recruits drawn from all around this locality. Sue Cartledge presented on how the local men's horse skills were utilised for the national good by Mark Sykes of Sledmere. The old court house was full to capacity and everyone appeciated Sue's excellent presentation with many audience members having family connections to the Yorkshire Wagoners’ Special Reserve.
wolds wagoners
Past News Stories
News Stories from 2014
News Stories from 2013
News Stories from 2012
News Stories from 2011
News Stories from 2010
News Stories from 2009
News Stories from 2008
News Stories from 2007