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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.
A Wartime Evacuee
20th Nov. 2014

MichaelFordMemories of the Second World War at Pocklington were revived when Pocklington and District Local History Group met in their November meeting. Jim and Margaret Ainscough gave a presentation about a young evacuee, Michael Ford, who was a pupil at Hull’s Hymers College which shared Pocklington School’s facilities until the end of 1942. He maintained detailed and warm recollections and friendships of his wartime experiences right up to the time of his death in 2013, and Michael passed on everything he remembered about Pocklington to Jim and Margaret Ainscough when they were writing the book 'Pocklington at War'. For three months he was billeted in the servants’ quarters at Burnby Hall but he was bullied by the older boys. So he was sent to live with the local blacksmith. Joe Scales, his wife Elsie and their daughters Maud and Brenda welcomed Michael, as he said, as “an honorary member of the family”. They lived on Summerson Terrace, in one of the town’s first council houses. There was no electricity, only three rooms had gas lighting and it had an outside toilet. But Michael described it as “a little piece of heaven for what it lacked in material attributes it more than compensated in cleanliness, comfort and family warmth”. Michael and the family remained lifelong friends. Michael’s vivid recollections of the war included looking out of his bedroom window one moonlit night to see a German fighter-bomber flying low over Victoria Road. He wrote, “How it cleared the church tower I don’t know”! He also recalled additional prep sessions in the old Wesleyan chapel schoolrooms on Chapmangate, of other evacuee children from a deprived part of Sunderland who were also sent to Pocklington, and of being sent out to help the war effort by pulling carrots in a field off Percy Road; and his story provided a fascinating insight and tribute for Thursday night's talk. Photo shows Michael Ford in the grounds of Burnby Hall in the autumn of 1939.
The Fallen Heroes Exhibition
31st Oct - 7th Nov 2014

Pocklington's Fallen Heroes exhibition to commemorate the town's World War One heritage and those who gave their lives in the conflict got underway with a memorable opening ceremony on Friday 31st Oct. 2014, at Pocklington Arts Centre. An audience of over 150, which included several descendants of Pocklington's fallen heroes, were welcomed by the town mayor, Councillor Paul West, who then received a regimental plaque from Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore in memory of all the Pocklington men from his regiment who died fighting in the war. Gareth Hughes, head of history at Pocklington School, takes annual parties of school pupils to Flanders; and he is the author of a recently published guidebook to its battlefields and cemeteries. He set the context of the war, spoke about how his grandfather's experiences in 1914-18 first sparked his interest, and how he helps the young people he leads on the trips to try and understand the conflict. But the undoubted stars of the evening were two of Pocklington's World War One veterans who are no longer with us. Pocklington & District History Group archivist, Andrew Sefton, played an audio visual presentation that included the reminiscences of local men Billy Harrison and George Barker, who were interviewed for an aural history project in York circa 1980. Billy Harrison was born in Nunburnholme, started out as a gardener at Warter Priory, and became a well known local character and musician. He signed up at Pocklington in February 1917 and within weeks was in the front line in France. His interview was played to the captivated audience as he described going over the top with his platoon of 120 men, and how only ten survived unscathed. The fitting finale was provided by the singing of George Barker. A film was played of a memorial parade showing many of Pocklington's World War One veterans marching through the town in 1932, and Barker's moving renditions of the songs he sang in the trenches, such as 'Long Way to Tipperary' and 'Pack Up Your Troubles', were added as a soundtrack. The videos and sound tracks were running on a continuous loop in the exhibition. The exhibition closed on the 7th Nov. 2014.

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The Mayor of Pocklington Councillor Paul West welcomes everyone to the Fallen Heroes exhibition opening at the Arts Centre

Pictured before the Fallen Heroes exhibition are (l to r): Councillor Martin Ratcliffe, Deputy Mayor of Pocklington; Gareth Hughes, WWI author and keynote speaker; Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore, Army Liaison Officer from 15 (North East) Brigade in York; Rowan Blake-James, Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding; Andrew Sefton, Pocklington & District Local History Group archivist; and Councillor Paul West, Mayor of Pocklington.
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Lieutenant Colonel Graham Whitmore, Army Liaison Officer from 15 (North East) Brigade in York presents a plaque to Paul West, Mayor of Pocklington
A profile of every one of the 53 fallen heroes was on display
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Phil Gilbank and Andrew Sefton who put together the exhibition
Martin Cooper who did the original research next to the lighted candle and 53 poppies at the exhibition - one for each of the 53 Pocklington men who died in WWI.

All photographs above by kind courtesy of Roger Pattison

The Parisi
20th October 2014

Peter HalkonDr. Peter Halkon is an acknowledged leading authority on the Parisi tribe in East Yorkshire. His archaeology excavations of the Hasholme boat, led to a better understanding of a large inlet of water from the Humber named the River Foulness. The valley of the river was a centre of early Iron Foundries which cast the weapons and wheel rims for the chariots of the Parisi peoples of the wolds. These spear and chariot burials are unique to East Yorkshire and the Paris basin, with 'Par' being an ancient word for a spear. The Romans feared these warrior peoples and built a line of defensive forts surrounding the wolds from near Scarborough, round to Malton, Buttercrambe and Hayton (which Peter excavated). A full attendance in the Arts centre enjoyed Peter's accomplished delivery and stunning visuals. A memorable evening enjoyed by all. Peter's book 'The Parisi: Britains and Romans in Eastern Yorkshire' is available from all good booksellers.

Richard III and the Middleham Jewel
25th Sep 2014

Kate GilesMiddleham JewelDr. Kate Giles examined the jewel which is held on display by the Yorkshire Museum in York, and related the messages conveyed on the jewel with its possible links to Richard III of York. The story of the finding of the Middleham jewel had much intrigue, suspense, crime and mystery. The final purchase of the jewel was made by the Yorkshire Museum for £2.5 million. Kate gave a gripping presentation with one attendee saying it was the best one and half hours entertainment he had experienced for a long time.

Seaton Ross Walk
3rd July 2014

A very interesting and well researched walk in Seaton Ross, kindly both led and researched by Jane Henley, with many glimpses into the past. Although most of the houses have been either re-built or regenerated in the 19th c., many of them have fascinating stories to tell. Quite a lot of the history seems to be dominated by Wm Watson, there have been other influential residents, including the Cook family who among other things ran a mustard mill at the North end of the village. The Church is interesting, brick-built in late 18c., on the site of a former Norman place of worship. There are also 2 Methodist Chapels, both close to the Church. The walk went past an unusual 'Village Garden', with a variety of flowers, and some very good mature apple trees. The visit ended with a kind invitation from John Rowbottom to see the old mills. One was a former 5 sail windmill; now sadly a mere shell. Next to the windmill is a steam driven mill, formerly with a beam engine, now fitted with a fine example of a 19c traction engine. Although the engine is a runner, it cannot drive the mill. We all repaired back to the village hall, where cake and tea were consumed with enjoyment, whils we looked at many images of the past in the form of collections of photographs, some on the walls, and some from Andrew Sefton's Local History archive.
(Report by Peter Green.)

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Inside St. Edmunds Church

William Watson's sundial above the door
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Jane Henley explaining the history
Outside dial cottage
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The mill workings
A surviving Windmill
Pocklington in 1260
15th May 2014

jon kenny

Barbara English has carefully transcribed an Extent for Pocklington from 1260 and presented to the group copies for us to consider and discuss. It therefore developed into an interesting workshop and debate about the occupations and society status in feudal Pocklington. It was even found that a couple of surnames such as Goddard and Colley survive in the town today. Her transcription can be viewed here.
Flying Man celebrations 2014
10th/11th May 2014

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60 Flying Men, Women and Children

Phil Gilbank, the 2014 Jester, accepting the challenge of Thomas Pelling's memory
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Pocklington Super Heroes
The 'Flying Man' Cafe
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The History Group display
Bernard Ross's impressive Airfield Model
The Pocklington Church Plate
25th April 2014

Phil GilbankNot a History Group event but notable historical news. Phil Gilbank showed and talked about Pocklington's church plate treasures. All Saints has a marvellous collection of church plate of the 17th,18th and 19th centuries that includes some outstanding examples of the work of leading 17th century silversmiths. Many pieces of the church plate have a fascinating story to tell, and Phil related some of these stories, including the silver chalice that has a connection to Bing Crosby, and a brass alms dish from the 1880s with links to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. He is seen holding the special chalice that Phil discovered was made by a renound York Goldsmith John Plummer who actually was from Pocklington. The Chalice has the arms of the Belt family and dates from the 17th century.

The AGM and Town Crier
24th Apr 2014

jon kenny

Jo Green was re-elected for the chair and outlined the objectives of the group and concluded on another successful year. Treasurer Peter Green also showed a healthy situation for the finances of the group.
2014/15 Re-Elected Committee: Chair & Secretary– Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Phil Gilbank, Dennis Moor, Paul Jennings, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. Roger Bellingham is Honorary President. The AGM was followed by an inspirational talk by Geoff Sheasby (Pocklington Town Crier) on the history of Pocklington Criers and a photographic review of the year including the "World Premiere" of the oldest film of Pocklington in existence. It was recently discovered and has been transferred to digital format. It was filmed on 20th November, 1932, and shows soldiers and the Pocklington Cadets marching in Barmby Road and Railway Street, on a WW1 Memorial Parade.
The Rise and Fall of the Dolmans
20th Mar 2014

jon kenny

Pocklington school is 500 years old this year and it was appropriate that the story of the school founders, the Dolman family, be told in the school library. An old boy Phil Gilbank gave a comprehensive review of the rise in fortune of the Dolman family and their downfall caused by their devotion to the catholic faith, and usually backing the losing side in any conflict. Chris Rock created some super illustrations to accompany the event.
Community Archaeology
20th Feb 2014

jon kennyJon Kenny is community achaeologist for the city of York. His role is to involve local communities into taking an active role in the participation of researching and excavating local sites of interest. He has a number of local groups participating and gave examples at North Duffield, Bilborough, Stockton, Strensall, Broughton, Hessay, Hornington and Copmanthorpe. The possibilities for Pocklington were discussed and there seemed to be interest expressed. If you would like to get involved please contact the committee members. Link to York Community Archaeolgy Website.

Member Short Talks
23rd Jan 2014

1960 film
Short Talks open evening (Above is a still from the cine film taken in 1960)

1. Peter Green and Mike Skelton - "Rocks of Ages"
Considering the East Riding has mostly chalk and soft limestone, what did the locals use to build the churches? Mike and Peter gave us a talk on where the stone was sourced from, how it was transported and how it was used and how the masons applied their own masons mark.
2. David Rumbelow - "A formidable Tudor lady"
David talked about Joan Ackworth, who was lady of Pocklington Manor, and colourfully presented the life and times of the tudor court of Henry VIII in which she lived and participated.
3. Phil Gilbank- "Harry Wood MM, VC – the tragic hero".
Phil stepped in to give the talk about a most fascinating man Harry Wood from Newton on Derwent, whose life story almost sounds a work of fiction. He won the Military Medal for heroism in the first world war, only to return later to win the Victoria Cross for bravery, and then by a wicked twist of fate to die of shock in 1924 when he saw his wife run down in a car accident.
4. An Old Film of Pocklington and Woldgate School around 1960 by Robert Sefton.

Andrew showed his brothers 9.5mm cine film of Bishop Wilton village life, Pocklington and Woldgate school, recently scanned by the Yorkshire Film Archive.

Mills and Milling - Holgate Windmill
21st Nov 2013

Holgate"Mills and Milling" by Helen Hoult and Richard Green of the Holgate Windmill Preservation Society. Helen and Richard explained the Society was formed in November 2001 and the society has raised almost £400,000 towards the restoration of Holgate windmill in York. Having almost completed the restoration, the society is now in a process of transition from 'preservation' to 'operation' of the mill. They explained the restoration process, the mechanics of the working mill, how it is open to visitor groups and how it won the award of 'Roundabout of the Year'!
Books, cards and flour were brought for purchase and a very successful night in the Arts Centre Studio with good attendance.

East Riding Emigration
24th Oct 2013

emigrationEast Riding emigration was the topic for the talk and was held in Melbourne Methodist Church and was given by Susan Butler of Howdenshire History. Susan gave a few examples from the area on Emigration to Australia and Canada. She read the letters of correspondence between family members in the East Riding and those who had emigrated to Canada. Some were from her home village of Eastrington about which Susan has written an excellent book. A good attendance enjoyed the evening in an excellent venue for the event. An article on Emigration appeared in the Pocklington Post for 24th October 2013
Pocklington Parish Registers
26th Sept 2013

Pocklington Parish RegisterAn evening of discussion and study on the Pocklington Parish Registers started our winter programme. The workshop got underway with a presentation by Andrew Sefton who looked at the location of the records, availability of records on the internet, and an examination of our own group resources. Volunteers for transcription were asked for and a thorough discussion took place on whether this would or not be worthwhile to do as commercial organisations are already scanning the registers to put them on line.

Fangfoss to Bolton Walk
11th July 2013

fangfossboltonwalkThanks to Steven Oliver of the Fangfoss and Bolton Local history group, and a fine evening of weather. We were given the benefit of Steven's expertise when we visited St. Martin's church in Fangfoss, past the old Chapels, and then into Bolton to view the site of the Chantry Chapel and the old Manor house, which were excavated and reported some years ago. A fine display of the work of the group in Bolton Chapel was accompanied by refreshments. The walk back to Fangfoss concluded with a nice refreshing pint in the Carpenters Arms.

Warter Priory talk
23rd May 2013

Warter Priory TalkThe last talk of the season was held in the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Centre at St James Church, Warter and had an attendance of over 100 people! It was given by Peter Smith of the Snape Local History Group. Peter was born in Warter where his father was assistant estate manager for nearly 40 years. He gave an excellent talk on the history of the Priory in two parts. The first half covered the original priory founded by Augustinian monks in the 12th century and destroyed in 1536 in the reformation. Part two used some evocative old photographs of the later Victorian building also named Warter Priory and vastly extended and improved by the Wilson family into one of the most impressive East Riding buildings with over 100 rooms and extensive gardens. Peter's personal photographs of the destruction of the priory in the 1970's were particularly distressing, but an important historical record.

17th Century Token hand over
12th May 2013

BB hand overA four hundred year old piece of Pocklington's history was handed over to the Pocklington & District Local History Group by local resident, Brian Penter, at the recent Flying Man Festival in All Saints. After the Civil War in 1642 there was severe inflation in England, and small change was in desperately short supply. With the government unable or unwilling to do anything about the problem, a number of larger tradesmen created their own 'trade tokens' - small denomination coins that were used for local everyday transactions. Mr Penter handed over to the group archivist Andrew Sefton an example of one such local token produced by leading Pocklington citizen, Barney Buttery, in 1666. bb 300600Buttery was a wealthy Pocklington businessman and maltster who lived in one of the town's biggest houses up until his death in 1669. The copper alloy trade token has 'Barney Buttery, His Half Peny' on the obverse side, with a motif of three interlaced flowers and 'BB, 1666 Of Pocklington' on the reverse. The token came into Mr Penter's possession when it was put into a collection box in the 1970s, and after taking care of it for over 30 years he has now decided to donate it to the history group's archive. The Pocklington & District Local History Group is always willing to give advice and support to anyone who wants to preserve a part of the town's history. However, it is just as keen to record any local items or features for the group's digital archive by photographing or scanning them and returning them safely to their owners.

Anyone willing to have a Pocklington artefact or photograph copied for posterity should contact the history group.

Flying Man celebrations 2013
11th/12th May 2013

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Good attendance considering the weather

Jumps and rides in the Pavement
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The Parish Record entry for the flying man
The history group display
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Not a flying man but a flying girl!
A wet day for climbing a tower!
Visit of East Riding Local History Society
27th April 2013

Visit of ERLH SocEast Yorkshire Local History Society visited Pocklington and were given a tour of the town by the Pocklington and District Local History Group. Watson's sundial, the school, Pocklington Arts Centre (the Oak House), the Feathers, the course of the beck and a visit to Pocklington Church was the itinery for the visit. Picture right in Railway Street.


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David Rumbelow gives a guided tour of the church.

The visit finished with tea and cake in the Old Court House, and a vote of thanks by the visitors.
AGM & mini talks
18th April 2013

Jim Ainscough AGM 2013Jo Green gave a summary of a very busy and successful year for the group, followed by the treasurers report from Peter Green showing a healthy closing balance. Andrew Sefton administered the election of chair in the absence of President Roger Bellingham. Jo Green was re-elected and presided over re-election of the existing committee. One of the committee has resigned (Heidi Woodhouse). Election of two new committee members took place, they were Jane Henley and David West. The mini-talks then commenced with Phil Gilbank who tried to untangle the confusion over the history of the Pocklington Manors, Jim Ainscough (pictured right) gave a fascinating short account of the life of George Harsh, the American murderer sentenced to the electric chair, who survived to serve as a RCAF tail gunner and claimed he met Churchill at Pocklington. Andrew Sefton again concluded the meeting with a slide show of interesting photographs donated in the last year. 2013/14 Committee: Chair & Secretary– Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Phil Gilbank, Dennis Moor, Paul Jennings, David Rumbelow, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages) and David West. Roger Bellingham is Honorary President.

Bishop Wilton Film Night
21st March 2013

BW Film Night 1Another superbly attended evening. Old films are a reliable guarantee of good attendance. The evening started with a film taken by Robert Sefton in and around Bishop Wilton in 1959/1960. Shots were shown of the Sefton family, harvesting on their farm, Bishop Wilton Show, Bishop Wilton Sunday School outing to Scarborough, shots from the top of Pocklington Church, Leeds Railway station and the Yorkshire Show.

This was followed by a series of films from Yorkshire Film Archive of soldiers gathering in York prior to the first war, egg collection, Market Weighton Station, Pocklington Penny Arcade. Everyone enjoyed the evening and the feedback has been very positive.
Pocklington School Archives
21st February 2013

Loco BitterAngie Edwards kindly set out, in the school's library, artifacts, documents and photographs from the school's archive of memorabilia. They included the school seal (shown here) which dates from the 16th c., old record books, issues from the school magazine 'The old Pocklingtonian', the old Cocking bell from the 17th c., and documents linked to William Wilberforce who attended the school. Our thanks go to Angie and the school for their hospitality in providing a most interesting evening for our group.
Howden Airship Station
17th January 2013

Howden AirshipKen Deacon is the acknowledged expert on Howden's Airship Station, and has written books on the subject. Ken gave a very interesting illustrated talk on the history of airship station with illustrations of the layout of the site which had living quarters, large hangers and even it's own railway line. It was the location for the manufacture of the R100 airship designed by Sir Barnes Wallis. The airship station closed in 1930, and today there is little evidence left of the airship activities that once took place there.
Past News Stories
News Stories from 2012
News Stories from 2011
News Stories from 2010
News Stories from 2009
News Stories from 2008
News Stories from 2007