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Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.

Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Ouse and Derwent - County Council Electoral Division of Heslington - Poor Law Union and County Court District of York - Rural Deanery of Bishopthorpe - Archdcaconry and Diocese of York.

This parish comprises the townships of Gate Fulford and Water Fulford. The former contains 1,373 acres of land adjoining York, and since the extension of the city boundaries in 1884, 403 acres of the township are included in the city. The rateable value of this is £14,234. There are 970 acres without the city, of which the rateable value is £4,024. Captain William Henry Key, J.P., who is lord of the manor; Major Edwin William Sandys, R.A., J.P., William Hotham, Esq., Mrs. Fenwick, and Frederick L. Mawdesley, Esq., J.P., are the principal landowners. The population in 1891 was 6,479. The parish lies on the eastern bank of the Ouse, amidst some rich pastoral scenery. The soil is loam and sand, and the subsoil gravel, which is largely used in the repair of the road. In one of these gravel pits several Roman sepulchral remains were discovered in 1813. From its proximity to York, Fulford must have frequently experienced the horrors of war when the enemy beleaguered the venerable city. It was here that the English army, under Earls Edwin and Morcar, intercepted the forces of the rebel Tosti and Harald Hardrada, his Norwegian ally, who had disembarked their army at Riccall, and were advancing on the city of York. In the battle which took place the English burst through the lines of the enemy, but a fresh body of troops arriving from the ships, they were completely overwhelmed by numbers and suffered a severe defeat. A few days later the victors were almost annihilated at Stamford Bridge.

In the time of Edward the Confessor the manor of Fulford, which contained ten carucates of taxable land, belonged to Earl Morcar, but the Conqueror gave it and an immense tract of Yorkshire to his kinsman Alan, Earl of Brittany. Subsequently it was granted to St. Mary's Abbey, York, and it remained in the possession of the brethren of that house till the dissolution of monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. It has belonged to the family of the present owner since the early part of the 17th century.

The village of Gate Fulford is a suburb of York, and contains a large number of handsome villa residences. Fulford House, a last century building, is the seat of Major Sandys, R.A. (retired), J.P., who inherited the estate on the death of his great uncle, Colonel William Richardson, in 1861. Gate Fulford Hall is the residence of Mrs. Fenwick, and Fulford Park of William Hotham, Esq. The old church of St. Oswald, situated near the river, is now in a dilapidated condition, and used only as a mortuary chapel for the old churchyard, which is still the burial ground for the parish. The new church was built in 1866, at a cost of nearly £5,000. On the 13th February, 1877, it was partially destroyed by fire, the tower only being saved, and it was rebuilt the following year at a cost of £5,106. It is a handsome edifice, of stone, in the Decorated Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, and a western tower surmounted by a lofty octagonal spire, containing a clock. The pulpit is a very fine piece of work, in stone and marble. The nave and aisles are seated with open benches of pitchpine, and the chancel with choir stalls. The east window, of five lights, is filled with beautiful stained glass, representing various incidents in the life of Our Lord. It is a memorial of the Rev. Samuel Key and his son, Charles, a lieutenant in H.M. Indian army, who died in 1866. There are three stained-glass memorial windows in the north transept, and the same number in the south aisle. There is also a large brass to the memory of Robert Fenwick, Esq.

The living is a vicarage, in the gift of William Henry Key, Esq., worth £70 per annum, and held by the Rev. Windham Beresford-Peirse, M.A., Oxon. There is a commodious Vicarage House, built in 1878, pleasantly situated in its own grounds a short distance from the church.

The Wesleyan chapel is a plain building of brick, erected in 1845. A Reading Room and Library was built in 1874, by the late Robert Fenwick, Esq., and is let to the parish at the nominal rent of 1s. per annum.

A school was founded here in 1771, by John Key, Esq., who endowed it with property which, with other subsequent endowments, now produces about £20 yearly. The present school premises were originally erected by Miss Cholmley, in 1844, for a girls' school, but have been twice enlarged since and converted into a mixed one. It will accommodate 200 children. There is also an infants' department with accommodation for 70.

Between the village and York stand the shaft and base of an ancient stone cross, which is said to have been erected to mark the temporary market place in use during the prevalence of the plague in the city. In 1604, when the great plague was raging, the country people brought their produce hither for sale, and the purchase-money was passed through water before being received. This cross is mentioned in the will of Bryan Palmes, of Naburn, sergeant-at-law, who died in 1511, and directs that the four Orders of Friars whom he appoints to sing Placebo, Dirige, and Requiem Mass for his soul, shall meet his body on the burial "at the Crosse betwixt Fullforth and Yorke and bryng it to my Parish Churche."

The portion of the township now included within the city boundaries contains the Retreat Lunatic Asylum, the York Barracks, and the Cemetery, which are consequently not included in this volume.

Charities. - The following bequests are mentioned on the Benefaction Board in the old church:- Mrs. Mary Key, who died in 1781, left £100 to the school, and £150 to the minister and churchwardens in trust, the interest thereof to be applied as follows: one guinea to the minister, for holding a public service and preaching a sermon on Good Friday morning yearly; the same also for performing service on Holy Thursday, and the. residue of the interest to be given in bread every Sunday to the poor of the parish. Mrs. Katharine Key, sister of the above, left £100. John Redman, Esq., of Water Fulford, gave £45, the interest thereof to he distributed in bread. Mrs. Eleanor Bailey left £10 for the same purpose. Rev. Thomas Mosley left £5 to the poor. Mr. William Smith, groom of His Majesty's Chapel Royal, gave £35 to the poor of the parish. Mr. George Waite, in 1806, left £10, the interest to be distributed in bread to the poor of Gate Fulford. Miss Cholmley, by will dated 1868, left £10 per annum in the three per cent. consols for the benefit of the school; and John Smith, of Kingston-upon-Hull, left, by will dated 1873, the sum of £100 to the incumbent of Fulford, to be applied by him for the benefit of the parish.

WATER FULFORD is a small township containing 437 acres of land lying on the bank of the Ouse. The rateable value is £866, and the population in 1881 was 39. The township consists of Fulford Hall, two farms, and a few cottages. The land belongs chiefly to Captain William Henry Key, J.P., whose seat is Fulford Hall, an ancient mansion picturesquely situated on the east bank of the river. The family was originally settled at Long Leadenham, in Lincolnshire, which manor was granted to an ancestor of the present Captain Key in the year 1538. They have been resident here since the early part of the 17th century.

Many Roman antiquities were discovered here in 1770 and 1771, consisting of urns, pateræ (goblets), bones of animals curiously disposed, a flesh fork, brass needle, &c., some of which are preserved at Fulford Hall.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire (1892)]


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