PocklingtonHistory.com Railway Street (Circa 1880)
> 2017 AGM
> Titanic Yorkshire Links
> Burnby Lane Dig - Update
> Pocklington Local History Group
  18th May - Thomas Cooke Optical   Instrument Maker from Allerthorpe    ** n.b. venue & date change

> Pocklington Local History Group
  29th Jun Barmby Moor Evening Walk

> Pocklington Local History Group
  21st Sep - Alfred Summerson - local   lad made good

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.
20th April 2017

The Chairman Phil Gilbank went through the agenda of the 2017 AGM and was pleased to announce this was our 10th year since the History Group was started. He announced the newly printed programme for the 2017/18 year ahead. He was pleased with the variety of topics covered in the past year by the History Group perspective and emphasised the window of opportunity for the town in creating a heritage facility for the town following the discovery of the Iron Age cemetery in Burnby Lane and also the newly discovered Chariot and horses. He announced the creation of a new organisation in the town called the 'Pocklington Heritage Partnership'. This is a body to investigate the possibility of creating a heritage facility with the initial objective of preserving and keeping the Archaeology finds in the town. Peter GreenIt is a partnership of the History Group, Pocklington and Wolds Gateway and the Town Council. In addition the committee also contains a range of experts including a representative of the archaeology team, Peter Halkon (Iron Age expert), Pocklington School and local businessmen interested in helping the project. More detail will be announced later once fully established. Treasurer Peter Green then went through the finances and announced a surplus on the year of £610.99. Peter was happy with the state of the group finances and showed a healthy closing balance. The accounts summary is available to review on request. 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 standing down of David Rumbelow. John Brown (Gateway) and Geoff Sheasby (Town Crier), volunteered and were proposed and seconded as additions to the committee. A further proposal was made to amend the constitution to allow the appointment of honorary life members as a recognition for their contribution to the history or heritage of the town. Denis Moor was proposed as honorary life member and the motion was unanimously passed,

Chris Bond2017/18 Re-Elected Committee: Chairman - Phil Gilbank, Secretary – Jo Green, Treasurer – Peter Green, Archivist/Webmaster – Andrew Sefton, Committee – Denis Moor, Chris Bond, Jane Henley (representing the villages), Paul Jennings, John Brown Geoff Sheasby and David West. Roger Bellingham remains Honorary President. The AGM was followed by talks by Peter Green on the history of Pocklington Bowling Club, Chris Bond on Pocklington Church research and a summary by Phil Gilbank of the current status of the various archaeology sites in the town caused by the house building. It was followed by a review of the year by Andrew Sefton. Photographs and historical finds made during the year were shown including a set of photographs of the airfield in the war, photos released by the York Evening Press and two newly discovered photographs of soldiers mentioned on the WW1 memorial in the town.
The Titanic and its Yorkshire connections
23rd March 2017

TitanicThe meeting at the courthouse on 23 March was a fascinating talk on the Titanic, brought to us by Sheila Dixon. While we were given a background on the brief history of this famous ship, Sheila concentrated on local Yorkshire connections. The 4th Officer was a young man from Hull, who by a series of good luck and agility managed to survive the disaster, unlike some 1500 who perished in the freezing sea. Sheila also gave us very interesting accounts of two other Yorkshire survivors, these were both passengers, one of whom dressed himself in a fur motoring coat and a lifejacket before jumping into the sea. Our speaker described an era of competitive ship-building, and hugely successful shipping companies, such as White Star, Cunard's, and a more local company, Wilson Line. Titanic was built in N Ireland, at the Harland and Wolfe company. She set off as a three funnel ship, but because the competitor ships all had four funnels, she was equipped with a dummy fourth one, purely as a visual attraction. Titanic was an almost fantastically luxuriously equipped vessel, with beautiful dining and seating arrangements, with some of the staterooms and bedrooms almost defying description. Its loss must have been a huge blow to the confidence of the industry, with the sinking of this stellar ship, and the loss of so many helpless people. Sheila Dixon wove the stories of some of the individuals into the bigger picture of a disaster of huge magnitude, which is still a source of interest 100 years later. Jo Green gave Sheila a vote of thanks. Report by Peter Green.
Burnby Lane Iron Age Dig
8th February 2017

Burnby1A full house in the Oak House Arts Centre heard a presentation by Paula Ware, the managing director at MAP Archaeological Practice, give an update on the finds and research ongoing into the discovery of the remarkable iron age cemetery on Burnby Lane. It is 2 years since her previous update and the site is still providing information and finds. So far 174 burials have been found and 86 square barrows. The finds include mostly Iron age people buried with their possessions including spears, shields and even a sword has been found. These indicate a warrior race and on some skeletons there was evidence of violent deaths through combat or execution. Jewelry, bangles and necklaces of Amber and bright coloured beads and brooches of coral and copper were found on the female remains. Later burials on top of the Iron Age burials were Anglian, and samples have been sent away for analysis and dating evidence. These finds have generated much work and future research for the archeologists. Peter Halkon was on hand to answer questions being a recognised expert on the people of the Parisi or Arras culture. The site has been raised to the status of national importance and ranks alongside others found in the area of Arras, Wetwang, Rudston, Danes Graves, Burton Fleming and Garton Slack.

PhilPhil Gilbank explained how the history group and local Council are keen to make sure the finds stay in Pocklington and to this end the history group will lead the feasability study into placing them on permanent display in the town. They will not be released from the researchers for at least 5 years. Please keep watching this website on how you can contribute or show your support for the project in the future.

Below: Paula answers questions from the packed Arts Centre audience.


Short Talks Evening
19th January 2017

North GrimstonAlways a most interesting evening with four speakers and an excellent turn out with the room filled to capacity. Phil Gilbank introduced the four speakers starting with Lizzie Dealey, Project Officer. She explained about a new project, 'A Gem in the Landscape', that has been supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund for the development of the Pocklington Canal. It includes dredging the Canal to help the wildlife environment and work to renovate the bridges along the canal. Many events are taking place and volunteers are welcome to get involved. More information is from canalrivertrust.org.uk or facebook.com/PocklingtonCanal. Next was Scott Dyson who wrote a Dissertation for his degree in history on the 'Norman Borough of Poclinton'. Scott was interested in the period between the end of the Romans and his proposed probable start date of the town which was around 900 A.D. Scott thinks the reason for the settlement in the town was religious with the location of the church on a Pagan worship site. A lively question session followed. Scott was followed by Sue Bond who has studied and photographed the fonts of East Riding Churches. The different types were discussed with very many of them having very early carvings of religious topics like the last supper, the crucifixion of Christ, the saints, animals and birds. Memorable images and a topic very worthy of study. Last up was Phil who had studied 'The Pocklington rugby player who became Argentina's first soccer captain'. Phil is a recognised expert on the history of Pocklington rugby having written a book on the subject. He led us through a fascinating journey of research undertaken mainly on the internet in his quest for James Oswald Anderson (1872-1932), who was a Pocklington rugby player born in Buenos Aires to British parents. He played football for Lomas Athletic Club in Argentina between 1895 and 1902, participated in the first official game of Argentina’s national football team against Uruguay in 1902 where he scored one of six goals for his team, was an early President of Argentine Rugby Union between 1904 and 1905 and later played cricket for Hertfordshire between 1906 and 1911.

Lizzie Dealey Scott
Lizzie Dealey, Pocklington Canal Project Officer is introduced by Phil
Scott Dyson on early Pocklington
Sue Bond Phil Gilbank
The fonts of East Yorkshire Churches
The Pocklington and Argentina Rugby player by Phil Gilbank


WW1 - The battle of the Somme
10th November 2016

Phil GilbankPhil Gilbank, chairman of The Pocklington & District Local History Group introduced the commemoration of events of a hundred years ago with a World War One talk and exhibition in Pocklington Arts Centre that focussed on the tragedies and heroics of local men from across the district during the Somme offensive of 1916. Gareth Hughes, head of history at Pocklington School and the author of a guidebook to the WWI battlefields, gave a talk entitled ‘The Somme: futile tragedy or birthplace of victory?’. Hughes is a noted expert on the Somme and has taken numerous parties of schoolchildren on visits to the battlefields. The evening also heard ‘Voices from the Past’, short recordings and readings of local men who served in the trenches. Andrew Sefton had re-edited some of the recordings of soldiers from Pocklington and surrounding villages recalling their experiences; while David Rumbelow read some extracts from a diary by John Brooke who fought throughout the conflict. Brooke was a Pocklington plumber when he joined the 5th Yorkshire (Green Howard) Territorials in August 1914. He was sent to France in April 1915 and was plunged straight into the battle of Ypres. Keeping a diary at the front was prohibitGareth Hughesed in case it fell into enemy hands, but Brooke had a remarkable memory for detail and wrote a retrospective log of his wartime experiences, including life in the trenches and in no-mans land at the Somme and meeting up with friends from back home. He was still at the front when the war ended in November 1918, being repatriated and returning to Pocklington to start up in business again in The Pavement in early 1919. Paul Bennett, the bursar and clerk to the governors at Pocklington School, read from another unique account of fighting in the trenches. Bennett went to see the Imperial War Museum WWI exhibition in London in 2014. He purchased an exhibition brochure, written by leading author, Sebastian Faulks, of ‘Birdsong’ fame, and was amazed to find the brochure prominently featured a letter to one of his predecessors as clerk, local solicitor, Alfred Summerson. The letter was sent back to Pocklington by a soldier called ‘Harry’, but attempts to discover his full identity have not yet succeeded.

To coincide with the evening was a World War One exhibition of photographs, memorabilia, newspaper articles and stories from across the district open from Thursday 10 November to Tuesday 15 November in the Arts Centre studio.
George Hudson, The Railway King
21st October 2016

George HudsonGeorge Hudson walked into Pocklington Station in 1847 to review his newly opened railway station. The railway line was laid between Market Weighton and York for the transportation of goods and passengers. Historical actor Chris Cade gave a very entertaining talk and presentation of the life of George Hudson 'The Railway King', dressed in costume and acted out with audience participation how George had started from humble roots to become and amazing entrepreneur who created many of the north's railway network and stations, only to fall in later life in debtors prison with many people losing tGh2heir money by buying his shares in the railway companies and for them to eventually become worthless pieces of paper. It was appropriate for the presentation to be held in the Sports Hall which is a lucky surviving remnant of the old railway line, whereas the old station at Market Weighton was demolished and now a housing estate. Pocklington station gained a second life as the sports hall for Pocklington school. An exhibition of old photographs was put on display and were moved to the Oak House Arts Centre for a weeks further display.

A little bit of Pocklington in Detroit
22nd September 2016

John Kent and Phil GilbankJohn Kent from Surrey has researched his wife's ancestors (the Lamb family) and discovered a group of around 40 adults from Pocklington and district who emigrated to near Detroit in Michigan, USA in the nineteenth century. He researched them and has produced much information on the emigrants. It included the families of Lee, Vaux, Lamb, Walker, Ackley, Houghton, Hunt and Watson. They arrived in the period between 1830 - 1845 and by 1860 there were more than 40 adults and 50 children from the Pocklington area that settled in 'Leesville', Detroit, so named after Charles "father" Lee from Pocklington. Phil Gilbank gave a superbly delivered talk on the families, reasons for emigration, the place where they emigrated to, and the difficulites they encountered. The skills they brought with them were very useful and included farming, wheelwrighting, blacksmithing, brick making, all very useful skills in the new world and the settlers and their offspring soon prospered. Their settlement of Leesville became swallowed up as a suberb of Detroit as the city rapidly expanded. A publication is being considered to bring this research together and publish the findings.

Pocklington Church stone
16th July 2016

RMRichard Myerscough is an expert in origin of church stone, and gave us a church tour explaining about which pieces of stone were Birdsall Calcarious Grit, Redcar Mudstone, Late Jurassic Hildonley Limestone and which pieces were most likely robbed from other buildings in the area. The high status and rare Hildonley was also used by the Romans and Monastary buildings. Richard pointed out stones in the wall of likely Roman origin and the remarkable amount of stone in the floor of the church which was of high status Hildonley. The large numbers of repairs and rebuilding evidence were found over all sections of the outer walls. Magnesium Limestone from West Yorkshire was also found in the Eastern end wall of the church. A very fascinating tour of the church, which opened up many possibilities for further research. A good attendance in association with the Friends of Pocklington Church with all proceeds given to the church funds.

A walk around Nunburnholme
24th June 2016

Nun1Following the EU referendum it was a nice relief from all the political debate to enjoy a pleasant evening's walk around Nunburnholme led by local historian Ann Hill and Peter Wilkinson whose family has lived in Nunburnholme for 250 years. Ann showed us some of the old buildings around the village and their vernacular history. Most of the old buildings like the school and old post office are now private residences. Peter (pictured left on the bridge) showed us the bridge that was built by his GG Grandfather, which bears his name from 1862. We were told stories from Peter about his life in the village working in various farms 6am - 6pm, Nun37 days a week milking cows and earning £11 per week. We were shown the old long house which still remains in the village. The buildings and some local archaeology was studied by a Nunburnholme Community Heritage Nun4Project which cooperated with the University of Hull and Dr. Peter Halkon to make a study of the village. It was funded by the National Heritage Lottery fund and the Ferens Educational trust. The results of their study were shown on display in the church after the walk when refreshments were taken. Some members climbed the very narrow staircase to view the impressive 6 bells which were installed in the Edwardian period. A very enjoyable evening and our thanks were given by Phil Gilbank to Ann and Peter with all funds raised (almost £50) donated to the church.

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 assistants Simon Whittaker and Dawn Duffield.

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 resignation of 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, Paul Jennings, 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.
Past News Stories
News Stories from 2015
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