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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Dickering - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Bridlington - Rural Deanery of Bridlington - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This ancient parish is situated on the coast of the German Ocean, and measures between its extreme points, north and south, about 8½ miles. It embraces the townships of Bridlington, Buckton, Easton, Hilderthorpe, Speeton, and Wilsthorpe. It was more extensive formerly, and included also the townships of Sewerby-cum-Marton and Grindall, covering a total area of 12,432 acres. The township of Bridlington, including the towns of Bridlington and Bridlington Quay, contains 2,520 acres of land and 41 acres of foreshore; its rateable value is £34,456, and the population in 1891 was 6,833. The principal landowners are Thomas Harland, Esq., C.C., J. A. Jameson, Esq., J.P., J. Hutchinson, Esq., T. B. Whitehead, Esq., Lord Halifax, Mr. George Taylor, Mr. J. Nightingale, and the Corporation of Beverley.
Bridlington is a place of undoubted antiquity, and may possibly have been, as some writers suggest, the site of a Roman station. A Roman road leading straight from York to Bridlington may be traced across the Wolds, and as these roads invariably led to a station or camp, it is only reasonable to suppose that there was one here or somewhere hereabouts. In the opinion of some, this station was the Prætorium mentioned by Antonius as the termination of the first iter. This was the residence of the Prætor or Roman Governor, and would consequently be a place of some magnificence, if not importance, with its temples, and baths, and other objects of Roman luxury; but though the tesselated pavement of a Roman villa has been discovered in the adjoining parish of Rudstone, not a vestige of Roman masonry has been met with at Bridlington. We may not, however, infer from this that such never existed. The sea here, according to Professor Phillips, is encroaching on the land at the rate of 1½ yards per year, and calculating this yearly detrition since the time of the Romans, the coast of the bay from Flamborough Head to Spurn Point has been washed away for a breadth of two miles, and villages, streets, houses, and fields have all disappeared. It is generally admitted that Flamborough Head was the Occellum Promontori, and that Bridlington Bay was the Sinus Salutaris Portuosus of Ptolemy. Roman coins have been found at Bridlington, but though this does not prove the existence of a camp or station, it certainly indicates the occupation of the district by the Romans.
Little or nothing has been recorded of Bridlington previous to the Norman Conquest, but we learn from Domesday Book that it was the head of the Huntow Hundred, and must consequently have been a place of some importance, as here would be held the annual Thing or Local Parliament for the Hundred. There was a church here in those early days, and, it is supposed, a nunnery also, but as no such establishment is mentioned in Domesday Book, it had evidently disappeared before the Conquest - probably during the Danish ravages. The Norman Commissioners thus enter the particulars of their survey of Bridlington : - " In Bretlinton, with its two berewics (hamlets), Hilgertorp and Wiflestorp, there are 13 carucates liable to taxation, which seven teams are able to plough. Morcar held this as one manor. It is now in the hands of the king, and there are four burgesses paying tax; there are eight acres of meadow land, and one church. The whole manor is two leagues long, and half a league broad. In the time of King Edward the Confessor, it was valued at xxxii. pounds; at present only viii. shillings. To this manor belongs the soke of these lands, Martone, Basinghebi, Estone, Bovintone, Grendele, Spretone, Bochetone, Fleustone, Stactone, Foxele, Elestolf, Galmetone, Widlafestone. In all there are 58 carucates liable to taxation, which 30 teams are able to plough. At present there are two villeins, and one socman with one carucate and a half. The rest is waste." This depreciation in annual value from 32 pounds to eight shillings tells a heartrending tale of ravage and devastation committed by the Normans.
As will be seen from the foregoing, the scribes of Domesday Book wrote the name Bretlinton, which differs but little from Bridlington. It also occurs in ancient documents as Berlinton, Brellington, and in a patent granted in 1315, Bolington; this name has become the modern Burlington, which this place is very generally called by the older natives. The connection between the two names will be readily apparent if we consider that in many old Saxon words the letter "r," and its accompanying vowels, were often transposed, thus bridd became, as we now have it, bird, and brun (a brooklet) has become burn. Bridlington would assume the form of Birdlington or Burdlington, and this by the elition of the "d" becomes Burlington. The origin of the name is still a matter of dispute among antiquarians. In the opinion of Thomas Wright, Esq., M.A., F.S.A., the eminent Saxon scholar, this name, like numerous others in which "ing" signifying children or descendants is incorporated, is a relic of Saxon clanship. The Bridlings would be the sons or descendants of Bridla, which was probably the name of the Saxon chieftain who effected a settlement here, and the chief residence of the Bridlings. The author of "Yorkshire Past and Present" offers another derivation - the Norse word berlingr, meaning smooth water - and this is certainly applicable to the bay which affords better shelter and anchorage for vessels than any other part of the coast.
The manor of Bridlington, as we have seen, formed part of the possessions of Earl Morcar, but in consequence of his rebellion against William the Conqueror, in 1072, it was confiscated by the king and given to Gilbert de Gant, a Flemish nobleman, and nephew of the Conqueror, whom he had accompanied to England. This Gilbert shared largely in the confiscated lands of the English, and at the general survey he was possessed of fifty-four lordships, situated in different parts of the country. This nobleman was succeeded by his eldest son, Walter de Gant, who received a further grant of the whole of Swaledale, from the Earl of Richmond. He founded a priory at Bridlington, and endowed it with the manor and other lands. On the dissolution of the monastery the manor and rectory of Bridlington were seized by the Crown, and granted on lease from time to time to various individuals. In the 8th year of the reign of Elizabeth, the manor was granted by lease to twelve inhabitants of the town for a term of 40 years. When 25 years of the term had expired, the lease was forfeited by the non-payment of the stipulated rental, and writs were issued against the defaulters for arrears amounting to £2,000. It was next granted to John Stanhope, Esq., upon the same terms and conditions, one fo which was the payment of £8 per annum for the maintenance of the parish priest; and four years later (1595) the lease was transferred to ten inhabitants of Bridlington for 41 years. "This lease, like the former ones," says Allen," "appears not to have been fulfilled, as James I., in 1624, conferred the manor on Sir John Ramsey, recently created Earl of Holderness, 'as a reward for the great services the earl had performed by delivering his majesty from the conspirators of the Gowries, and also for the better support of the high dignity to which he had been lately raised.'" The manor was sold by the Ramsey family, in 1633, for £3,260, to William Corbett and twelve other inhabitants, in behalf of themselves and all the other tenants and freeholders within the manor. By a deed, bearing date the 6th of May, 1636, Corbett and his associates were acknowledged joint lord-feoffees of the manor, and were empowered to call to their assistance twelve other of the inhabitants to manage the affairs of the town. When the lord-feoffees should be reduced to six, the survivors were directed to elect seven others from among the assistants, and afterwards choose so many of the inhabitants as should restore their number to twelve. The feoffees were also directed to elect one of their number annually as chief lord of the manor, in whose name the courts should be called and the business of the town transacted. The election is still continued on the 2nd day of February, and a manor court is held in the Town Hall in February and November.
The town of Bridlington, or Burlington, is pleasantly situated on a gentle acclivity, about one mile from the sea shore, which here sweeps inward in a wide curve, forming a beautiful bay. It is distant 12 miles north-east from Driffield, 30½ north-by-east from Hull, 221 south-east from Scarborough, 53 east-north-east from York (42 miles by road), and 208 from London. The Hull and Scarborough branch of the North-Eastern railway passes between Bridlington and Bridlington Quay, where there is a station for the convenience of the two places. The town consists of two principal streets, which contain a few good shops and houses; but the only building possessing any special interest is the parish church, which belonged to the priory that stood here in Catholic times.
This priory was founded, as before stated, by Walter de Gant, in the reign of Henry I., for canons regular of the Angustinian Order. The charter of foundation, as given by Dugdale in the "Monasticon Anglicanum," runs thus "I, Walter de Gant, do hereby declare to all faithful sons of holy church, that I have established canons regular in the church of St. Mary of Bridlington, by the authority and consent of King Henry, for the good of his soul, and the souls of his father and mother, and my own soul, and the souls of my friends. I give, therefore to the same church and to its ministers, whatever I am possessed of in the same township, viz., thirteen carucates of land, together with the mills which are adjacent with the same land; I give to the church those lands also which my vassals have themselves given, viz., William, my constable, one carucate of land in Bessingby; Forno, two oxgangs in the same township; Machernus, two oxgangs in Hilderthorpe; Ralph Buck, and Joceline his son, gave two oxgangs in Easton; Ralph gave four oxgangs in Grindal; Gozo, with the permission of his son Alan, gave four oxgangs in Buckton; Malgar, four oxgangs in Righton. And, moreover, I have given to the same church, and to its ministers the canons, the church of Edenham, and another of Witham, and half the church of South Ferriby, and the church of Filey, with one mill; and the church of Swaledale; I grant also the church of Willoughby and another of Ganton, which Adelard the hunter gave, with the permission of his son, Henry. All those lands and churches, together with the lands which are adjacent to them, I grant to them free and quit from all geld; and all customs except 'king's geld,' viz., dane-geld!" Then follow the names of the witnesses, amongst whom were Thurstan, Archbishop of York, Alan de Percy, William de Percy, and Ralph de Neville. Henry I. confirmed the founder's grant, and also added two carucates of land to the endowment. Calixtus II., who occupied the pontificial chair from A.D. 1119 to A.D. 1124, gave to the canons the protection of the Apostolic see, and confirmed to Guikeman, the first prior, the grants of all the estates that had then been given to the community, or which they might "in future be able to obtain by the concession of pontiffs, by the liberality of princes, by the oblations of the faithful, or by any other just methods." The priory rose high in popular favour, and kings and nobles vied with each other in heaping benefits and privileges upon the canons. Their immense possessions, which have been enumerated by Burton, extended over a large portion of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire; and in the rural deanery of Dykering, in which Bridlington is situated, there was scarcely a township or village in which the priory had no interest either in land, manor, or rectory. The possessions forming the original endowment have been enumerated in the founder's charter, and a few subsequent grants may be here mentioned : - The manor of Acclom was given by an ancestor of William de Ros, lord of Hamlake; the manor and town of Askham, with the services of Herbert de Holderness and Richard de Arnal and their heirs, given by William de Askham; the church of Boynton, given by Galfrid the steward; the church of Carnaby, by Robert de Percy; the church of Flamborough, by William Fitz Nigel; the church of Goxhill; the church of Otteringham and the tithes of the mill, by William and Richard de Otteringham; and the church of Scarborough with all its chapels, by Henry IV. Stephen, in the 15th year of his reign, granted that the prior and canons should have all kinds of chattels of felons and fugitives within the town and precincts of Bridlington; the port and harbour of the same, with all kinds of wreck of the sea which should in future happen between Earl's Dyke and Flamborough Dyke. By this charter the prior obtained full and complete civil jurisdiction within the manor of Bridlington. King John, in A.D. 1200, granted "to God and the church of St. Mary of Bridlington, and the canons serving God there, a fair in every year, at Bridlington, to continue two days: to wit, upon the eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, and on the day of the same festival; and one market to be held there every week, viz., on Saturday. To this priory was granted the tithe of fish at Filey, and this proved an occasional bone of contention between the prior and the abbot of Whitby. The dispute was finally settled by a commission appointed by Pope Celestine III., consisting of the abbot of Rievaulx and the priors of Kirkham and Wartre, who determined that the abbot of Whitby should "never more molest the fishermen of Fiveley when they came into Whitby harbour, and obliged him to quit-claim to all right he had to any tithe from them." This, however, was not the only trouble of the canons. Their house was exposed to the attacks of pirates, who landed on the coast and carried off whatever valuables they could lay their hands on, and, in 1164, after the plunder of Whitby Abbey by the Danes, the priory was fortified with walls. and ditches. These defences subsequently proving ineffectual, a royal license was granted in 1388 to enclose the priory with a wall and gates of stone.
The convent flourished for four centuries, doing the pious work for which it was founded without let or hindrance; but evil days came in the reign of the eighth Henry. The royal voluptuary had squandered the vast wealth left him by a penurious father, and the spoliation of monasteries offered a ready means of replenishing his exhausted coffers. A visitation of religious houses was carried out by certain paid commissioners, who knew well what was expected of them by the king, and they gratified him by presenting a most deplorable picture of monastic life. There were probably some abuses, they are incidental to our human nature; one of the chosen twelve was a traitor, and amongst the vast number of religieuse it would be an astounding miracle if there were not some who disgraced their profession. But what credence can be placed upon ex parte evidence collected by paid emissaries, who were sent forth with the set purpose of discovering some plausible excuse for the suppression of monasteries. The whole proceeding was. full of injustice and antagonistic to the spirit of the law, and never again may any monarch make, with impunity, evidence so obtained a ground for the spoliation and plunder of the church The blow fell first upon the lesser monasteries, with incomes not exceeding £200 a year, as they were least able to offer any serious opposition. In these small houses, with inmates under the number of 12, there was, according to the preamble of the bill that was hurried through parlia- ment, "manifest sin, vitious, carnal, and abominable living," whilst in the larger monasteries it was admitted that "religion was right well kept and observed," it was, therefore, enacted "that his Majesty shall have to himself and his heirs. for ever, all and singular monasteries the yearly value of which does not amount to £200."
The suppression of these houses was felt most severely by the poor, who had hitherto been chiefly maintained by the monks, and by the labouring class, who were largely employed on the monastic estates. Discontents loud and deep were heard, and at last the people of Lincolnshire, to the number of twenty thousand, under the command of Dr. Mackrel, prior of Barlings, broke into open rebellion. A still more formidable rising originated in Yorkshire and spread through the northern counties. The insurgents, whose object was to restore the suppressed monasteries and convents, were led by Robert Aske, a gentleman of family, residing on his patrimonial estate at Aughton, in the East Riding. Each soldier wore on his arm a representation of the five wounds of Christ, with the name Jesus marked in the centre. This rising, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, was at first partially successful. York, Hull, and Pontefract, were captured by the Pilgrims, but the floods in the river Don frustrated their attempt on Doncaster, and they were finally overpowered by the King's army. The leaders were apprehended, and executed for high treason, and amongst them was William Wode, the last Prior of Bridlington.
These insurrections hastened the downfall of the greater monasteries, and the fiat of their dissolution went forth. Bridlington was surrendered in 1538. Its net yearly income was estimated at £547 6s. 11½d., equal in purchasing power to nearly £5,000 of present money. The priory buildings, including the trancepts, central tower, and choir of the conventual church, were demolished the following year for the sake of the lead which covered the roofs. The Commissioner employed in this piece of vandalism was Richard Bellycys, whose letter to Sir Thomas Cromwell, chief secretary of state, shows how the work of destruction was carried out here and at the Abbey of Jervaulx : - " Pleasythe your good Lordshipp to be advertysed. I have taken downe all the lead of Jervayse, and made itt in pecys of half-foders, which lead amounteth to the numbre of eighteen score and five foders, and thirty and foure foders, and a half, that were there before. And the said lead cannot be conveit, nor caryed unto the next sombre, for the ways in that contre are so foule, and deep, that no carrage, can passe in wyntre. And as concerning the raising, and taken downe of the house, if itt be your Lordshipps pleasure I am minded to let itt stand to the spring of the yere, by reason of the days are so short it wolde be double charge to do itt now. And as concerning the selling of the bells I cannot sell them above 15s. the hundredth, wherein I would gladly know your Lordshipps pleasor, whether I should sell them after that price, or send them up to London. And if they be sent up surely the carriage wolbe costly frome that place to the water. And as for Brydlyngton I have doyn nothing there as yet, but sparethe itt to March next, bycause the days are now so short, and from such tyme as I begyn I trust shortly to dyspatche it after such fashion that when all is fynished, I trust your Lordshipp shall not think that I have bene no evyll howsbound in all such things, as your Lordshipp haith appoynted me to doo. And thus the Holy Ghost ever preserve your Lordshipp in honor. At York this fourteenth day of November by your most bounden beadsman. - Richard Bellycys 
The common seal of the priory has been lost, but there exists an imperfect impression of it in green wax attached to an instrument deposited among the Harleian charters in the British Museum. It exhibits two figures, male and female, seated under a canopy and attached to the same instrument is the counter seal, on which is represented the Blessed Virgin with the Infant Saviour in her arms.
Burton and Terre have collected the names of 31 priors from Guicheman, or Wikeman, whose name occurs in A.D. 1124 to William Wade or Wolde, who was executed at Tyburn, in 1537, but of these we need only mention a few of the most noteworthy. First, in point of time, is Robert, surnamed the Scribe, from his having written and compiled many great works, chiefly commentaries on various books of scripture. One of his MSS. is still extant in the Public Library of the University of Cambridge. It is a Commentary upon the Epistles of St. Paul, beautifully written on vellum, and illuminated. He was the fourth prior, and flourished about A.D. 1160. Galfrid de Nafferton, appointed prior in 1262, was summoned to the Parliament at Westminster in 1295, and his successor, Gerard de Burton, was summoned to another Parliament in 1299. John de Bridlington, who held the priorship from 1366 till his death in 1379, was a native of the place, and one of the most illustrious ornaments of learning and piety which this monastery produced. He was educated in the Priory, and completed his studies at Oxford, where he distinguished himself by his talents and acquirements. On his return he assumed the Angustinian habit, and was successively precentor, almoner, sub-prior, and, eventually, prior of the monastery. Alban Butler says of him " His patience and meekness, and his constant application to the holy exercises of prayer, showed how much his whole conduct was regulated by the spirit of God; and an extraordinary spiritual prudence, peace of mind, and meekness of temper, were the amiable fruits of his virtue." He led a life of the strictest piety, and, after his death, which occurred on the 10th of October, A.D. 1379, he was accounted a saint, but no formal bull of canonisation was issued, and no churches have been dedicated to his honour.
There have been other men of repute connected with the priory. William de Newburgh, a celebrated monkish historian, was a native of Bridlington, and received his early education in this priory; but having spent the greater part of his life as a canon in the Augustinian priory of Newburgh, he took his name from that place. His chief work was a " Chronicle of English History," which commences with the Conquest and ends with the reign of King John. This has been published by Hearne. Peter de Langtoft, who took his name from the place of his birth, was a canon here. He was the author of several works, the principal of which was a Chronicle of England, written in French verse. He lived in the fourteenth century. - (See also Langtoft Parish.) Sir George Ripley, a celebrated philosopher and alchymist, was a canon of this priory, in which, also, he received his education, and is supposed to have been a native of Bridlington. He travelled into Italy, and at Rome he obtained a dispensation from the Pope, exempting him from the devotional services and other religious ceremonies observed by the rest of his brethren in the monastery. This dispensation was granted that he might be able to devote the whole of his time and attention to scientific pursuits. Returning to his native country he retired to Boston, in Lincolnshire, and became an anchorite of the order of Carmelites. He wrote 25 books, the chief of which was his "Compound of Alchymie." He died in 1490.
The priory buildings were demolished in the spring of 1539, and, in the reign of Elizabeth, John Stanhope, Esq., the lessee, was allowed to take stone from the ruins for the repair of the pier. Some of the stone was also burnt into lime. Fortunately for the town the nave of the Priory Church had been appropriated to the inhabitants, whilst the prior and canons occupied the choir; in consequence of this appropriation the nave could not be touched by the spoilers, and to this circumstance the inhabitants of Bridlington owe the possession of their beautiful parish church. But, with the exception of this nave and the gateway of the precincts, nothing else remains of the once famous and magnificent priory.
This gateway, now known as Bayle Gate or Bailey Gate, stands about 120 yards westward of the church, and was the principal entrance to the monastery. It is a massive structure in the Pointed style, and is supposed to have been erected in the reign of Richard II., who, in 1388, granted his royal license to the canons to inclose and fortify the priory with walls and gates of stone. On the outer side is a lofty arch over the carriage-way, and beside it a smaller one for foot passengers, both of which were formerly protected by ponderous gates, the hooks of which still remain. The former is ornamented with two broad hollow mouldings, in which at intervals are placed leaves, flowers, and grotesque heads. The inner arch is also elegant in its construction, but differs in its ornamentation. The roof is a fine specimen of ancient groin-work, the ribs are of freestone, and the angular compartments of chalk. The four corbels on which the crossspringers rest represent four sitting figures, two of which wear the monastic habit, and the other two are a king in chain armour wearing a crown, and a warrior bearing a shield. Above this gateway is the gatehouse, in which the prior formerly held his courts, and now used as a Town Hall. On either side of this gateway is a gloomy apartment, the original purpose of which we learn from a survey of the priory taken shortly after the dissolution of the monastery; "Ffurste, the Priory of Bridlyngton stondyth on the Est parte of the Towne of Brydlyngton, and at the cummyng yn of the same Priory is a Gatehouse, foure square of, Towre facyon, buylded with Ffreestone, and well covered with leade. And on the South syde of the same Gatehouse ys a Porter's lodge wt a chymney, a rounde stayre ledyng up to a hye chamber wherein the three weks courte ys alwayes kept in wt a chymney in the same, and between the stayre foote and the same hie chamber where the courte ys kepte be tow proper chambers one above the other wt chymneys. In the northe syde of the same Gatehouse ys there a, prison for offenders, wt in the towne called the Kydcott." This dungeon chamber was used for the incarceration of offenders until recent years, and is still known as the Kitcote or Kittycote.
The priory was dedicated to S.S. Mary and Nicholas, and, judging from what remains of it, was built on a scale of considerable magnificence. The Commissioners survey, alluded to above, and quoted at length in Allen's History of Yorkshire, enumerates the various chambers and outbuildings with their contents and state of repair, and also gives a brief description of the church as it stood at the Reformation. Ground plans of the whole are said to be preserved in the college of St. Omer's, and in the Vatican at Rome. The prior's lodge or residence stood against the south wall of the church between the south-western tower and the south door; the hall, 18 paces in length, 10 in breadth, and well covered with lead, was approached on the south by an ascent of 20 steps; the pillars and groined arches of the vaulted apartment below it still remain in the wall of the church. Eastward of the prior's lodge, and adjoining the church on one side, were the Cloisters. On the east side of the cloister square was the Dortor or Dormitory, a room 68 paces by nine paces, and ascended by a flight of 20 stone steps. Beyond the dormitory was the Chapter House, an ornate building adorned with images; and on the south side of the cloister was the refectory. The monastic buildings occupied the area south of the church, and the ancient burial ground lay entirely on the north side. Beyond the street which now bounds it, were the barns, stables, granary, maltkiln, &c.
The church, like those usually attached to monasteries, was cruciform in plan, with a principal tower rising from the intersection of the nave and transepts, and two lesser ones flanking the western end. There were seven bells in the central tower, "mete to be rongen all at one tyme." The choir, which was occupied by the canons, was wainscotted and furnished with stalls "substancyall and newly made after the rightly goodly fashyon." The reredos of the high altar was a piece of sculptured stone work, representing Christ at the Assumption of our Lady, the 12 apostles, and divers other images "excellently well wrought and well gilted." Between the reredos and the east end of the church was the shrine of St. John of Bridlington, "in a fayre chappel on hyghe having on ayther syde a stayre of stone for to goo and cume by." Underneath the shrine were five chapels adorned with "tables of alleblaster" and statues. Another little chapel is mentioned, and two little closets of wainscot, in one of which there was an altar. The vestry was on the south side of the choir. "It is to be regretted," says Mr. Prickett, in his History of the Priory, published in 1831, "that no ruins of the eastern part of the conventual church now remain to enable us to verify and illustrate the curious particulars of the above descriptions; nor have the casual discoveries of the foundations of walls and pillars been recorded with sufficient exactness to throw any material light in addition upon the subject." The length of the portion of the church, which has been demolished as ascertained, by measuring the distance from the farthest pillar, the foundation of which has been taken up, to the east wall of the present church, is 152 feet; and the length of the present church in the interior is 185 feet. It thus appears that the ancient church was about 337 feet in length, or about four feet longer than Beverley Minster.
The parish church of St. Mary was, as before stated, the nave of the old priory church, to which was added an eastern wall, described by Mr. Prickett as "an unsightly mass of buttresses." An arcade of nine pointed arches divides the nave on each side from the aisles. These arches rest on very fine clustered columns, consisting of twelve shafts arranged upon a quadrangular base, the four at the angles being the largest, and the eight smaller ones are placed between them in pairs. Three of the bays are inclosed with screens of oak to form the chancel. The four easternmost piers which stand within the chancel appear, by their massiveness, to be those that once supported the great central tower. There is a lofty clerestory, lighted by large traceried windows. There is no triforium, properly so called, but on the north side there is a range of arches filled with open tracery, apparently intended for one, and above there is a passage on a level with the bottom of the clerestory windows. On the south side there is a kind of gallery constructed in front of the clerestory windows, but below the transom. The north side of the church is in the Early English style, which prevailed in the thirteenth century, and the south side appears to have been built a little later, and is partly in the Perpendicular style. The west front, in which is the principal entrance, is an exquisite specimen of the latter style, excepting the north-west tower, which is Early English. The principal feature of this end is a magnificent Perpendicular window, measuring 55 feet from the apex to the base, and 29 feet across. Over the entrance is an ogee canopy, ornamented with crockets, and having within it a niche, which once doubtless contained a statue. On either side of the doorway are other six niches, each three feet high, and surmounted by elegant crocketed canopies which rise to the same height. The brackets on which the statues stood are ornamented with angels' heads. The ornamentation of the arch of this doorway is extremely elegant, and is wholly of a foliated character.
Though what remains is only a fragment of the old priory church, it seems to have been more than sufficient to accommodate the parishioners, who only occupied about one-third of the space. For three centuries succeeding the expulsion of the canons, very little effort appears to have been made to maintain it in decent repair, and what little was done was effected in a depraved taste, and detracted from the beauty of the original design. In 1846 an appeal for funds was made, and the work of restoration was commenced, under the direction of Edmund Sharpe, Esq., and E. G. Paley, Esq., architects. The nave was raised and partially re-roofed; the west window, which had been partly filled in with masonry, was opened out, thoroughly repaired, and filled with stained glass by Mr. Wailes, in the highest style of art. The interior walls and pillars were cleansed from their thick coating of whitewash and renovated, and the cumbrous galleries which disfigured the interior were removed. About the same time a handsome stained glass window, 39½ feet in height, was erected in the east end by T. G. Clayton, Esq., to the memory of his wife and son. The extent of the restoration was only limited by the amount of the funds, and much still remained to be done. On the appointment of Dr. Blakeney to the living in 1874, a fresh impetus was given to the work. His appeal for funds met with a hearty response, and the restoration of the entire west front was determined on, at a cost of £12,000. The work was carried out under the direction of the late Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A. The north porch and the north-west tower were restored by the Rev. Y. Lloyd-Greame, M.A., at a cost of nearly £3,000. The former, an Early English work, is singularly beautiful. The outer arch is ornamented with dogtooth and nail-head mouldings, the capitals with stinted foliage, and the bases of the jambs are cut in festoons. On the inner arch there are four styles of mouldings, enriched with toothed ornament. The north-west tower is also Early English to which has been added a decorated storey with a plain flat-topped parapet, supported on machicolations between the buttresses, and surrounded by an arcading. The south-west tower, which carried a paltry and tasteless octagonal turret of brickwork, erected about the middle of last century, has been almost entirely rebuilt. It is an elegant structure in the Perpendicular style, and is one of the most beautiful features about the church. There are double buttresses at the angles, in four stages, gabled and crocketed. The parapet is embattled and pinnacled. The upper storey, containing a clock with two dials, is lighted by large ogee windows. The bells, three in number, are hung in the north-west tower. The ancient doorway in the south-west tower has been preserved. It is similar to the west door, but its ornaments were in a better state of preservation. All the windows of the north aisle have been filled with stained glass, and also two windows of the north tower. The latter were erected by subscription, as a memorial of the munificence of the late Rev. Yarburgh Lloyd-Greame, at whose expense the north porch and north-west tower were restored. The chancel is paved with black and white marble, and fitted with handsomely-carved oak stalls. The communion rails are of Italian walnut, very massive in character, and have centre-gates of brass. A reredos of Caen stone was erected in 1875. It is divided into five panels by pilasters, which terminate in crocketed pinnacles. In the centre compartment is the emblem of Christ, and in the other four are the Evangelists. The pulpit was the gift of John Rickaby, Esq, in 1860, and the reading-desk was given by Mrs. Clayton in 1857. Both of these were designed by the late Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A. The brass lectern was presented by C. E. Lamplugh, Esq., of London. The old organ, given by Robert Lowry, Esq., in 1834, but subsequently altered and enlarged, has been replaced by a grand instrument, built by Charles Anncessens, of Grammont, Belgium. The total cost of the restoration was about £27,000. The font, of Derbyshire marble, dates from the Early English period.
There are few ancient memorials in the church, though doubtless it once possessed many. Near the entrance is a curiously sculptured stone bearing an illegible inscription and the date 1587. Another black stone slab, apparently of very early date, is covered with sculpture of an allegorical character. There appear upon it two nondescript animals of the dragon kind, in fighting attitude; below them is a narrow-necked vase with a fox on one side and a bird of some kind on the other, reminding one of Ysop's fable of the Fox and the Stork; the lower part of the stone exhibits a cat, or more probably a lion rampant. No satisfactory explanation of this curious piece of symbolism has been given.
Another stone, now preserved in the vestry, bears the following inscription in old church text : - " Hic jacet dns Robt. brystwyk quo da prior huj loci q obiit - 0 0 ano do m cccc nonagesimo iii cui aic ppiciet. de. Amen," which may be thus translated : - Here lies Robert Brystwyk formerly prior of this place, who died in the year of our Lord 1493; on whose soul may God have mercy. Amen. This stone was discovered in 1821, a little south of the church, where the transept had stood. Some workmen were employed digging up the foundations, and brought to light a stone coffin, covered by the above chalk-stone slab. The coffin contained the remains of the prior; the hair of the beard and the serge in which the body had been wrapped were still undecayed. Another stone, found about the same time, is inscribed - " Hic jacet Robertus Charder Canonicus qui obiit tesimo tricesimo quinto." A portion of the date is lost, but there is reason to believe that the year was 1535. A stone of considerable interest lies within the sacrarium. It is the ancient altar slab, 13 feet long by 3 feet 3 inches wide, bearing upon it five incised crosses, symbolical of the Five Wounds. A law passed in the reign of Edward VI. prohibited the use of these altar stones, and ordered their destruction. They were forthwith removed from the churches, and a few have been recovered which had been prostituted to the vilest of uses. Another interesting relic is an ancient stone alms box, which we believe is almost unique in England.
Of modern monuments, one only is worthy of mention. It is a handsome canopied recess, of alabaster, containing the life-sized bust of the late Rev. R. P. Blakeney, D.D., LL.D., who was vicar of the parish from 1874 till his death in 1884. He was the author of several works of a controversial character.
Chained to two wooden desks in the north aisle are the following ancient books : - Jewell's Controversial Works, Ed. 1611; Heylin's Ecclesia Vindicata, or Church of England Justified, Ed. 1681; Hooker's Ecclesiastical Politie, Ed. 1682; and Comber's Companion to the Temple, Ed. 1684. The parish registers date from the year 1564
The living is a rectory, worth £400 a year, including 66 acres of glebe, with residence, held by the Rev. Henry Woffindin, M.A., of St. Catherine's, Cambridge, who was appointed on the resignation of the Right Rev. Bishop Isaac Hellmuth, D.D., D.C.L., formerly Bishop of Huron.
At the dissolution of the Priory the impropriate rectory reverted to the Crown, and with the manor was granted on lease to various individuals, and a Perpetual Curacy was ordained, with a yearly income of £8. The manor and rectory were subsequently conferred by James I. upon Sir James Ramsay, a Scottish baronet. The rectory was sold by this family, some years later, to the Boyntons, from whom it passed successively into the possession of the Fairfaxes, Bowers, and Hebblethwaytes. The advowson was given by the Crown to the Archbishop of York, but was transferred in 1747 to the Rev. Matthew Buck and his heirs, in consideration of the sum of £200, given by him for the augmentation of the living. The present patrons are the trustees of the late Rev. Charles Simeon.
The Baptist Church worshipping here was formed in 1698, and is the oldest but one in the county. From it have been founded all the churches in the East Riding. The old chapel stood in the Bayle Gate, but was sold under the authority of the Charity Commissioners in 1873, provision being made for the preservation of the burial ground, which contains many interesting memorials of the past. The proceeds of the sale, supplemented by the subscriptions of friends in various parts of the county, amounted to about £4,000, with which the present chapel in the Quay Road was built and opened the following year. It is a white brick building, with stone and red brick dressings, in the Gothic style, and consists of nave, transepts, and tower, surmounted by a spire. There is accommodation for 500 persons.
The Congregational Church was founded, in 1662, by the Rev. John Luck, who was ejected from the Priory church for refusing to comply with the Act of Uniformity. The present edifice, erected in 1702, was restored in 1886, at a cost of about £500. It will seat 350 persons.
The Wesleyan Chapel in John Street is an attractive edifice, in the Italian style of architecture, rebuilt near the old chapel in 1884. The material used is white brick, but the cornices in front are of stone, and at each angle is an octagonal tower, with domed roof, rising to the height of 73 feet. Two entrances lead to the vestibule, within which are folding glass doors, leading to the lobbies and staircases. A gallery extends all round the chapel, and behind the pulpit is the organ loft. The woodwork is of pitchpine. There is sitting ascommodation for 600. Behind the chapel is a commodious schoolroom, and there is ample classroom accommodation. The buildings and ornamentally laid-out grounds cover three-quarters of an acre. The entire cost was £4,440, which has all been cleared off, with the exception of about £100. The designs were furnished by Mr. J. Earnshaw, architect.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, also in John Street, is a commodious structure, capable of seating 600 persons. It was erected in 1877, on the site of a former edifice, and cost £3,085, which was raised by subscription.
A Grammar School was founded here, in 1637, by William Hustler, who endowed it with £40 a year, for the free education of 20 boys - sons of poor parishioners - in grammar, reading, writing, and arithmetic; and William Bower in his lifetime founded a school for 12 girls, and, at his death, in 1671, endowed it with certain lands now producing £40 per annum, "for maintaining and educating of the poore children of Bridlington and Key in the art of carding, knitting, and spining of wooll." In later years, when carding and spinning ceased to be domestic employments, the girls were taught to knit and read, and they also received 8d. per week out of the endowment. Both these schools have been, for some time, in abeyance.
A School Board, consisting of seven members, was formed in 1879, for the united district of Bridlington, Bridlington Quay, Bessingby, Easton, and Hilderthorpe. The National School, established in 1818, and formerly held in the Gate House, is an extensive block of buildings in North Back Lane, containing separate schools for boys and girls, each capable of accommodating 195 children, erected in 1826. They are both well lighted and ventilated, and replete with educational appliances. There is an average attendance at the boys' school of 160, and at the girls', 119. The Infant School is a handsome building, delightfully situated on the Green, under the shadow of the old Priory church. It was erected in 1857, for the accommodation of 160 children, and has an average attendance of 105.
In 1886 the old Wesleyan chapel in John Street was purchased by a Committee of Trust, for an Institute in connection with the Priory church. The purchase price was £450, and a further sum of £200 has been spent in improvements. There are besides the lecture hall, which will accommodate 400 persons, a recreation room, reading room and library, committee rooms, gymnasium, and soup kitchens. The old organ from the Priory church has been placed in the lecture hall.
The Masonic Hall is a neat brick building, in St. John's Avenue, erected in 1874, at a cost of £700. The working tools are of solid silver, and were presented by the Earl of Londesborough, who was the first W.M. of this lodge.
The Cemetery was formed and laid out in 1883, at a cost of £1,300. It is situated on the Sewerby road, and covers eight acres. It contains two mortuary chapels, and is under the control of a Burial Board, consisting of nine members, formed in 1873.
The Lloyd Cottage Hospital and Dispensary, situated on Quay Road, is a red brick building, with stone facings. It was erected in 1876, from the designs of Messrs. Smith & Brodrick, architects, Hull, at a cost of £2,000, which was chiefly contributed by the late Rev. Y. G. Lloyd-Greame and his sister, Miss Lloyd. The institution is supported by voluntary subscriptions and contributions, and its benefits extend to the poor of the whole union not in receipt of parish relief. There are 13 beds.
Bridlington is governed by a Local Board of 12 members, formed in 1863. The town is lighted by gas, and well supplied with water. The works of the former were established in 1836, and those of the latter were commenced in 1865, by a company of shareholders, with a capital of £10,000. The Market, which dates from the days of King John, is on Saturday; fairs for cattle, horses, and sheep are held on the Monday before Whitsunday, and on the 21st of October, and a statute fair for the hiring of servants on the Tuesday nearest the 14th of November. A commodious Corn Exchange was erected in 1856, and a Temperance Hall in 1853. The latter is a brick building, situated in John Street, and contains a room 60 feet by 30, which is used for lectures, public meetings, &c. The Police Station, in Quay Road, is a neat building of buff brick, with red brick dressings, erected in 1881, at a cost of about £3,500. It comprises a court room, magistrates' room, and a residence for the superintendent and three constables. A neat drinking fountain stands at the junction of Hilderthorpe and Quay Roads. It is a memorial of the late Humphry Sandwich, Esq., M.D., a native of the town, who died at Paris in 1881, erected by his friends and fellow townsmen. An Agricultural Show is held yearly in July. The society was established in 1835.
Bridlington is the head of a Poor Law Union extending over 95 square miles, and including the following townships and parishes : - Argam, Auburn, Barmston, Bempton, Bessingby, Boynton, Bridlington, Buckton, Burton Agnes, Carnaby, Dringhoe, Upton and Brough, Easton, Flamborough, Fordon, Fraisthorpe, Gransmoor, Grindall, Haisthorpe, Hilderthorpe, Hunmanby, Lissett, North Burton, Reighton, Rudston, Sewerby-cum-Marton, Skipsea, Speeton, Thornholme, Thwing, Ulrome, Wilsthorpe, and Wold Newton. The total value of the assessed property within the union is £117,453, and the number of inhabitants in 1891 was 16 838. The Union Workhouse is situated on the Flamborough road, a little - distance from the town. It is a commodious building of brick, erected in 1847, at a cost of about £5,000, and enlarged since by the addition of fever and vagrant wards, and a yard for breaking stones. The various rooms and wards are conveniently arranged, and everything about the house is a pattern of order, neatness, and cleanliness. The house will accommodate 150 inmates, but there were only 40 at the time of our visit.
CHARITIES. - The bequests to the poor of Bridlington have been both numerous and valuable, and yield, at present, exclusive of £80 for the Grammar and Knitting Schools, both in abeyance, about £578. The names of Hustler and Bower have been already mentioned in connection with the above schools. William Cowton, whose will is dated 1696, was a generous donor, and William and Joseph Hudson left handsome bequests in the following century.
is a township about a mile from the old town of Bridlington, and on the shore of the beautiful and expansive bay which gives it its name, is Bridlington Quay - a mean and insignificant village at the commencement of the present century, now a small but handsome town and seaside resort, with all the comforts and conveniences which a luxurious age demands for its votaries. The streets are spacious, and are lined by many fine shops and houses. There is excellent hotel and lodging-house accommodation, and very superior catering at the North Shore Pavilion and other restaurants. The scenery in the neighbourhood, though not romantic, is highly attractive. Rocky cliffs line the bay, terminating northward in the far-famed Flamborough Head, and westward in the distance rise the rounded summits of the chalky Wolds. The sands are firm and hard, affording excellent facilities for bathing, walking, or driving; there is a good supply of bathing machines; and hot and cold sea-water baths have also been provided. About a quarter of a mile west of the quay is a chalybeate spring, resembling the spas of Scarborough and Cheltenham, but it is now seldom used for medicinal purposes.
The harbour is first mentioned in a mandate of King Stephen to the Earl of York, commanding him to "permit the Prior of Bridlington to have and to hold well and in peace the harbour of Bridlington, as Walter de Gant and Gilbert, his ancestor, held the same." It was anciently enclosed by wooden piers, which were kept in repair by the owners of the manor. Gradually the woodwork gave place to stone, and in the reign of Elizabeth, John Stanhope, Esq., the then lessee of the manor, received permission to take stone from the priory buildings to repair the piers. The expense of these repairs became at length a serious burden on the inhabitants, and in 1697 they applied to parliament for assistance. An Act was passed imposing certain duties on imports and exports of the place, and assessments on the lands in the lordship. Several Acts of Parliament were subsequently obtained for extending and repairing the piers. In 1818, under powers of an Act passed two years previously, a commencement was made with rebuilding the north pier entirely of stone, according to a plan of Mr. Goodrick; but the work progressed very slowly. In 1837 an Act was obtained for improving the harbour, and rendering it more commodious and safe as a refuge for vessels sailing northward during northerly gales. Under this Act the north pier was finished in 1842, and the south pier rebuilt and completed in 1848, the estimated cost of the two being £120,000. The harbour was further improved in 1865, by an addition of about 40 yards to the outer extremity of the north pier, after a plan of Sir John Coode, C.E., at a cost of £6,000. It now measures about 250 yards, and the south pier is just twice that length. They are both substantial stone structures, with concreted platform, surmounted by a parapet, forming delightful promenades. In 1885 the harbour was deepened to an extent of two or three feet. It is dry at low water, but, the bay being sheltered by the noble promontory of Flamborough Head, vessels can ride safely at anchor until there is a sufficient depth of water for them to enter the harbour. At low water there is seen the curious phenomenon of an ebbing and flowing spring. It was discovered by Mr. Benjamin Milne, in 1811, and flows from three-quarters flood to a quarter ebb each tide. It was struck at a depth of 43 feet, and yields water not only abundantly but of exceptional purity, which is drawn by two pumps into two large reservoirs. The management of the harbour is vested in a Board of Commissioners appointed under the Act of 1837.
The Sea Wall Parade. - To protect the foreshore from the encroachment of the sea, the Local Board, in 1866-9, constructed a sea wall, extending from the Victoria Rooms to the North Sands, - a distance of 690 feet. The plans were drawn by John Ashdown, Esq., C.E., of London, and the work was carried out by Mr. John Barry, of Scarborough, at a cost of about £20,000. About two acres of land were reclaimed and converted into a charming marine promenade, with ornamental terraces, flower beds, shrubberies, grottos, seats, and a pavilion, in which, during the season, a band discourses sweet music. Admission to the parade is obtained by payment of a small subscription.
The construction of this parade was only the initiation of the scheme which the Board had in contemplation, and in 1881, another sea wall, extending from Trinity Cut to Carr Lane, a distance of 1,000 feet, was constructed from the plans of Messrs. Clark and Pickerill, at a cost of £6,000. In 1887-8, the wall was extended from Trinity Cut 870 feet southward, and a handsome colonade erected at a further cost of £10,400. The work was completed in 1888, and opened by Prince Albert Victor in July of that year.
Christ Church was erected in 1840, and in 1843, under powers of Lord Blandford's Act, a district was allotted to it, which was extended in 1870, and now embraces the Quay, Hilderthorpe, Wilsthorpe, and part of Auburn, comprising a population of over 5,000. The edifice is in the Early English style, and is said to be, if not the first, at least one of the first churches designed by the late Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A. The cost, exclusive of the site, which was given by the late John Rickaby, Esq., was £2,300. The church was enlarged in 1851, and a spire was added to the tower, and a clock and peal of six bells placed in the latter in 1859. The plan comprises chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and tower with spire. The whole structure is light and elegant. Four pointed arches springing from octagonal pillars divide the nave on each side from the aisles. The roof is open to the timbers and plastered between; and at the restoration in 1886, some imitation woodwork was added. At the same time the interior was re-seated with open benches of pitch pine. The total cost of this restoration was between £700 and £800. A new pulpit of Caen stone was presented by the ladies of the congregation in 1887. The organ, built by Lloyd and Co., of Nottingham, was the gift of Joseph Gee, Esq., in 1847, but has since been enlarged by public subscription. There is a marble monument on the north wall of the chancel to the memory of the Rev. James Thompson, M.A., of Lincoln College, Oxford, who died in 1885, having held the living 44 years. The church will accommodate 700 persons, and nearly 400 of the sittings are unappropriated. The living is a vicarage, gross yearly value £140, including 11½ acres of glebe with residence, in the gift of the rector of Bridlington, and held since 1885 by the Rev. John Roe, L.Th., surrogate of York.
Adjoining the chancel on the north is a church room, called Wycliffe Room, built in 1884, at a cost of £600, raised by public subscription. It is neatly furnished with pitchpine benches to seat 200 persons. On the wall is a marble tablet inscribed as follows : - "In memory of Mrs. Mary Riby, of Bridlington Quay, who died 6th May, 1883, aged 74 years. She gave the interest of £500 consols to be applied towards the expenses of Divine Worship in Christ Church, and a considerable portion of the cost of erecting this room was defrayed by a bequest from the same Benefactress."
Holy Trinity Church, situated on the Promenade, was built in 1871, by subscription, but the cost was mainly borne by the late Rev. Y. G. Lloyd-Greame, M.A., of Sewerby House, who also presented the church with a peal of three bells. The total cost was about £7,000. It is in the Transitional Early English style, from the designs of Messrs. Smith and Brodrick, of Hull, and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and tower surmounted by a spire. The east window of the south aisle is filled with stained glass, representing the Resurrection. it is executed in the very best style of art by Messrs. Hardman, of Birmingham, and was the gift of the Rev. C. Forster, M.A., a former incumbent. It cost £160. The organ was built by Messrs. Forster and Andrews, of Hull. There are 900 sittings, all of which are free and unappropriated. The parish was formed in 1874, out of the ecclesiastical parishes of Bridlington, Christ Church, Bridlington Quay. and Sewerby, and contains about 1,000 inhabitants. The living is a consolidated chapelry in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. William George Halse, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge. It is endowed with £86 a year, but with the exception of this endowment the income is dependent upon the offertories.
St. William's Catholic Church is an iron structure situated in Wellington Road. The site was purchased in 1885, for £480, and the church was erected the following year at a further cost of about £300. It will seat 250 persons. In the vestry is the old tabernacle which belonged to the altar of York Cathedral before it was burnt by Jonathan Martin. The church is supported principally by the contributions of visitors during the season, and an annual sum guaranteed by certain members of the Boynton family. The mission was established about thirty years ago, and till then there had been no resident priest in Bridlington since the Reformation. The priest in charge is the Rev. Patrick Connery.
The Congregational Church, on the Promenade, originally erected for a skating rink, was purchased in 1878, and almost entirely rebuilt and enlarged in 1879, at a total cost of nearly £4,000. It is a commodious building of brick, with dressings of stone, and fronted with white brick relieved by dressings of red brick and stone. Above the centre is a small turret. A gallery is carried all round the interior. The organ is by Messrs. Lowe, of Sheffield. The church will seat over 700 persons, and was erected from the plans of Mr. J. Earnshaw. At the rear is a lecture room.
The Wesleyan Chapel, in Chapel Street, is a large and handsome structure, erected in 1873 on the site of an old chapel built in 1770. The outer walls are of white brick, with stone dressings (except the front, which is of stone), in the Italian style, relieved by columns of the Corinthian order. A gallery is carried round three sides. The interior fittings are of pitch-pine, and will accommodate 1,100 persons. The plans were furnished by Mr. William Botterill, of Hull, and the total cost amounted to about £7,500. An organ, by Mr. Denman, of York, was added in 1877, at a cost of £400.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Chapel Street, is a substantial building with a red and white brick front, after the Italian style, erected in 1878, on the site of a previous chapel, at a cost of £3,486. There is accommodation for 800 worshippers. Below the chapel are a Sunday school and five vestries. The circuit embraces Bridlington, Flamborough, North Burton, Thwing, Rudstone, Thornholme, Haisthorpe, Bempton, Sewerby, Wold Newton, and Fraisthorpe.
The United Methodist Free Church, on the Promenade, was erected in 1872, on the site of a former edifice, called the Reform Methodist Chapel. It is a neat brick structure, with a stuccoed front, and cost, including some cottage property at the back, £3,000, It will accommodate about 500. Behind the chapel is a spacious Sunday school.
The Salvation Army Barracks is an attractive-looking building in Wellington Road. It was erected by the Albert Temperance Society in 1876-7, at a cost of £2,000, and called the Wellington Hall. Subsequently it was purchased by "General" Booth. There is accommodation for 1,000.
The School in Quay Road was erected for a Church of England school in 1880, and afterwards taken over by the School Board and enlarged. There is accommodation for 240 children.
The Wesleyan School, in Chapel Row, built in 1840 and enlarged since, has accommodation for 213 children, and an average attendance of 162. It is mixed, and under the care of a master.
St. Anne's Convalescent Home is an imposing structure of brick, with stone dressings, in the Gothic style, pleasantly situated within its own grounds on the Flamborough Road. It was erected in 1878-9, from the designs of Mr. Earnshaw, at a cost of £5,000. There is accommodation for 140 patients, who are under the care of a lady superintendent and a staff of nurses. The Home is supported by voluntary contributions. The income for the year ending December 31st, 1889, was £1,580, and the number of patients admitted during the twelve months was 661, of whom 250 were males, 333 females, and 78 children. In connection with the institution is a neat iron church (St. Anne's), furnished with chairs to seat 250.
The Victoria Rooms, comprising saloon, picture gallery, news and billiard rooms, refreshment rooms, &c., &c., were erected by the Sea Wall Parade Committee in 1848, at a cost of £8,000. The building is in the Tudor style, with an embattled tower, and was erected from the designs of Messrs. Worth and Frith, of Sheffield.
Bridlington Quay Recreation Grounds are situated in Oliver's Lane, and are the property of a Limited Company formed in 1884, with a capital of £500. The grounds cover an area of about four acres, and comprise twenty splendid tennis courts, two cricket grounds, &c., &c., and round the grass level runs the noted cinder track, upon which the Yorkshire Cyclists' Meeting is held annually, on Whit-Monday. This cinder track is 21 feet wide, and a quarter of a mile round; there are two straights of 120 yards each.
The Sailors' and Working Men's Club, Cliff Street, was established in 1865, and twelve years later the club premises were very considerably enlarged., at a cost of nearly £750. There are news, reading, and smoke rooms, a concert room, billiard room, and rooms for other purposes. It is under the management of a committee of 21 members.
Lifeboats. - The first lifeboat was purchased in 1806, by subscription, and in 1866 it was replaced by one named "John William and Francis," presented by R. Whitworth, Esq., of Manchester, and placed under the management of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Shortly afterwards Count Batthyany presented one of a different design, and named "The Harbinger," to the Committee of the Sailors' and Working Men's Club. On the 10th of February, 1871, there occurred a storm of almost unprecedented fury, when more than 20 vessels were wrecked in the bay, and more than 50 lives lost almost within reach of the shore. Both boats did good service, notably "The Harbinger," and were the means of saving many lives that must otherwise have been lost. "The Harbinger" had at last the misfortune to capsize, and six out of the nine brave fellows that manned it were drowned. Many attributed the disaster to the build of the boat, and the Rev. Y. Lloyd Greame, of Sewerby House, with his usual sympathy and generosity, undertook to provide one that should be built in accordance with the ideas of the fishermen of the place. This boat is named "The Sea Gull," and is under the management of the Committee of the Sailors' and Working Men's Club. It is kept in a house in Cliff Street, built at the expense of the same Rev. gentleman. "The Harbinger," for which no boathouse was provided, is worn out with exposure to the weather.
The Scarborough and Hull branch of the North-Eastern railway passes on the west side of the town, and the station, approached from Quay Road, stands about midway between Bridlington and the Quay.
The most notable historical event connected with the little port is the landing here of Henrietta Maria, the queen of Charles I., with the arms and ammunition which she had procured in Holland by pawning the Crown jewels. She arrived on the 20th February, 1643, under the convoy of the famous Admiral Van Trompe, having very narrowly escaped the squadron under the command of Admiral Batten, who had been sent by the Parliamentary party to intercept her. Batten's ships were lying in the Tyne expecting the arrival of the queen, but the little fleet which conveyed her was obliged, in consequence of contrary winds, to seek the shelter of Bridlington Bay, and, after remaining at anchor three days, entered the harbour. When the news of her arrival reached Batten, he immediately sailed for Bridlington, and, drawing up his vessels in front of the quay, commenced a heavy cannonade, which lasted till the ebb of the tide obliged him to put out again to sea. Some of the shots penetrated the house in which the queen had taken up her abode, and her majesty, with the Duchess of Richmond and other ladies of her retinue, was compelled to rise from bed and seek safety behind the banks of the Gipsey Race, which empties itself into the harbour. The house in which the queen lodged, says the Tourist's Guide to Bridlington Quay, is still standing in Queen's Square. Her majesty remained nearly a fortnight at Bridlington, and then departed for York.
Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, was a zealous adherent of the unfortunate Charles I., and for his fidelity was rewarded with an English earldom, under the title of the Earl of Burlington. This title is now borne by the Duke of Devonshire.
A naval engagement took place off the coast here on the 21st of September, 1779, between a hostile squadron under the command of the notorious freebooter Paul Jones and two British men-of-war, the "Serapis" and the "Countess of Scarborough." Jones had four vessels carrying 124 guns. The " Serapis" with 44 guns, under Captain Pearson, and the "Countess of Scarborough" with 22 guns, under Captain Piercy, were convoying a fleet of Baltic traders which had taken refuge under the batteries of Scarborough Castle. The fight commenced shortly after the moon had risen, and so near to Flamborough Head that the shots grazed the cliffs, which were, at the time, crowded with anxious and terrified spectators. The engagement lasted several hours. The English vessels struck, and Paul Jones, after driving about for nearly a fortnight, reached Texel with his prizes.
LOCAL WORTHIES. - We have, in a previous page, alluded to some names of note in connection with the priory. We may here mention another native of Bridlington who acquired considerable fame. William Kent, the subject of this notice, was born at Bridlington, in 1684. He was bred a coach painter, and worked for some time at his trade, employing his leisure in portrait painting and the higher branches of the art. In 1710 he went to Italy, to study the works of the great masters, and there made the acquaintance of the Earl of Burlington, through whom he obtained considerable employment, and received the appointment of architect and painter to the king. He was, however, a very indifferent painter, and his portaits are said to be very unlike those whom they were intended to represent. He also attempted sculpture, and Shakespeare's monument in Westminster Abbey was his work. His fame rests solely on the improvement he effected in landscape gardening, indeed he may be regarded as the originator of the art. Walpole writes "Mahomet imagined an Elysium, but Kent created many." He died in London, in 1748.
BUCKTON is a township in the parish of Bridlington, containing 1,984 acres of land and 35 acres of foreshore. The rateable value is £2,657, and the population, in 1891, was 141. Mr. Joseph Jackson is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The hamlet stands about 3½ miles north of Bridlington. The place formerly belonged to the Foulis family, by one of whom Buckton Hall was built in 1744.
EASTON is a township in this parish and comprises an area of 734 acres of land, belonging chiefly to Sir Charles William Strickland, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Boynton Hall. The soil is wold land, resting on chalk. The whole township is divided into two farms. The rateable value is £812, and the number of inhabitants in 1891, was 32. The hamlet stands about one mile west of Bridlington.
HILDERTHORPE is a township in this parish and lies on the coast. It is separated from Bridlington Quay by the harbour. It contains 455 acres of land and 89 acres of foreshore. George Wright, Esq., Bessingby Hall; Wm. Otley Jarratt, Esq., C.C., Hilderthorpe Lodge; and Col. Godfrey Rhodes, Westow, are the principal landowners. There are many small freeholders. It is a rising place, as shown by the yearly increment of population, and rateable value. In 1856 the population of Hilderthorpe with Wilsthorpe was 147, and the rateable value, £652; and at present the rateable value of the former place alone is £6,060, and the population, in 1891, was 1,736. A Mission Chapel, dedicated to St. Paul, has been erected by Miss Lloyd, of Stockton Hall, York, and the sum of £1,000 was bequeathed by Mrs. Harcourt, of Bridlington Quay and York, to provide ministerial help in the new district. The edifice is a neat structure of iron, capable of seating 350 persons. Spacious schools were built by the School Board in 1882. They are situated in West Street, and are for boys and infants.
This place is mentioned in Domesday Book as a hamlet belonging to Bridlington. It is spelt by the Norman scribe Hilgertorp, and in the foundation charter of Bridlington it is written Hildertorp. The author of Yorkshire Past and Present says the name signifies Hilder's thorp, from Hulder, a war goddess amongst the Norsemen, but there is much more probability in the suggestion of Mr. T. Holderness, in the Leeds Weekly Mercury supplement, that Hilderthorpe derives its name from Hildigeirr, one of the old Norse vikings - the Domesday spelling omitting the "d," and the charter omitting the "g."
WILSTHORPE is a small township, containing 276 acres of land, comprised in one farm, the property of Sir Charles William Strickland, Bart., who is also lord of the manor. Its rateable value is £267, and population 16. The township is slowly, but gradually, diminishing in extent, in consequence of the encroachments of the sea. Within the memory of persons still living a carriage road along the coast, with a strip of land from 10 to 20 yards broad, has been washed away; and of the hamlet only one house remains, though it is evident from the discovery of foundations that there were more formerly. The name occurs in Domesday Book as Wiflestorp, which gives us a clue to its origin. Vifil, or Wifil, was a personal appellation among the Norsemen, and that was, probably, the name of the Scandinavian chief, or viking it may be, who, relinquishing his roving life upon the sea, established himself here in the thorp he had built.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire (1892)]
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.