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Wapentake of Holderness (North Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Burton Agnes - Petty Sessional Division of North Holderness - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Bridlington - Rural Deanery of Hornsea - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish lies on the coast between Atwick and Ulrome, with Beeford for its western boundary, and comprises the townships of Skipsea, Bonwick, Dringhoe-with-Upton and Brough. The total area, exclusive of sea shore, is 4,072 acres, and the population in 1891 was 341. In Skipsea township there are 1,477 acres of land under assessment; rateable value, £2,317, and number of inhabitants 341. The soil is a strong deep clay with some sand, the subsoil is clay and gravel, and the chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, turnips, and clover. Sir F. A. T. Clifford-Constable, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Burton Constable, is the owner of the manorial rights, and holds a manor court annually in October, at the Board Inn. The land is mostly copyhold, subject to arbitrary fines. The principal landowners are Sir James Robert Walker, Bart., Sand Hutton, York; the Archbishop of York; the trustees of John Mainprize; Mrs. Ombler, Mr. George Mason Gale, Atwick; Mrs. William Myas, Jonathan Foster, Miss Isabella Frost, Atwick; Matthew Stephenson, Rudstone; Mrs. Mary Gray, and Mr. Goodlass, Skerne. There are a great many small land and property owners.
The township lies on the coast and has lost a considerable portion of its former extent from the devastating action of the sea upon the soft yielding strata of the cliffs. There was formerly a mere or lake here, from which the place received the terminal part of its name, the first syllable being evidently the old Saxon scip, a ship. It is mentioned in a document in 1298, wherein it is declared that Robert de Chester, rector of Skipsea, had the "tithe of fish in Skipsea Marr." The mere disappeared long ago through the drainage of the district, but its site is easily traced by the boggy nature of the ground. Skipsea is not noticed in Domesday Book, the place being probably, as Mr. Poulson suggests, included in the manor of Cletune or Cleeton. The manor has never been detached from the seigniory, the lords of which still possess the manorial rights. Drogo de Bevere, the first Norman lord of Holderness, erected a castle here, but of this more presently. The village probably sprung into existence in consequence of the erection of the castle, and for the convenience of the inhabitants a church was built, to which parochial privileges were early attached. This church was given by Stephen, the third lord of Holderness, to the abbey of Albemarle in Normandy, from which it was subsequently transferred to the abbot and convent of Melsa or Meaux. In 1339, Edward III. granted to Skipsea a weekly market on Thursday, and two fairs yearly to be held on the feasts of St. Thomas the Martyr (July 7th), and All Saints (November 1st), and the three days following each.
The village stands about three-quarters-of-a-mile from the sea coast, on the road from Bridlington to Hornsea, 5 miles north-north-west from the latter place, and seven miles south-east from Burton Agnes station, on the Hull and Scarborough branch of the North-Eastern railway. The church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is an ancient edifice of stone, in the Early English and Perpendicular styles of architecture, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch, and a western tower, containing three bells. The chancel was rebuilt in 1824, by J. Gilby, Esq., the lessee of the impropriator and patron; the original windows were replaced. The nave and chancel were restored in 1865-6 under the direction of Mr. James Fowler, architect, of Louth, at a cost of upwards of £1,500, and other improvements have since been made at a further outlay of £500. Miss Mary Dunn Crook, who died in 1886, bequeathed £100 for the repair of the church, which sum has been expended in repairing the tower. The nave is divided from the aisles by four pointed arches resting on octagonal columns. At the restoration the old piers of the south arcade were replaced by new ones of Bath stone, which approaches most nearly in colour and texture to those of the north aisle. The roofs are open and boarded, that of the nave being waggon headed. The font was the gift of the late Archdeacon Long. In the floor of the tower are two ancient tomb slabs, one of which appears from the cross still discernible to have been an altar stone. There are very few monuments. The registers date from 1720. The living is a vicarage, valued in the Liber Regis at £9 16s., present gross yearly value, £300, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. Robert Thompson, M.A., of Pembroke College, Cambridge. The tithes were commuted for land at the enclosure in 1765. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are the lay impropriators. The living was originally a rectory until its appropriation in 1309 to the abbot and convent of Meaux, who were to provide the vicar with a mansion house and a salary of £10 a year.
The Wesleyans and Congregationalists have chapels in the village. That belonging to the former body was rebuilt in 1836; the latter was erected in 1875, at a cost of £600. It is a Gothic structure, consisting of a body with dwarf transepts, built from the designs of Mr. Stork, architect; Mr. Bayes, of Beeford, being the contractor. There are Sunday schools in connection with both chapels.
A National School was erected in 1845, but it is now in ruins. The Wesleyan School, built the same year, and enlarged in 1872, was opened in 1874 as a day school. In 1875, a School District was formed, comprising Skipsea, Dringhoe, Upton, Brough, Ulrome, and Bonwick. The school is under the management of a parochial committee of 12 members, and is supported by a voluntary rate, Government grant, and school pence. There are 105 children on the books, and 78 in average attendance.
A Parochial Library was established in 1889. It contains about 300 vols, of standard works. The building was originally erected as a Rechabite tent.
BONWICK, is a township containing 773 acres, divided into two farms, lying about two miles south from Skipsea. The soil is mostly clay, with some sand; the subsoil is clay; and wheat and oats are the principal crops. Rateable value, £590. Mrs. Dawson, of Clevedon Place, Brighton, is owner of the greater part of the soil. Mr. Jeremiah Lamplugh, of Skipsea Hill, has 46 acres of land, and there are 30 acres of glebe belonging to four parishes. The tithe, amounting to £20 4s. 3d., is payable to the Archbishop of York.
Bonwick is included in the Brandesburton County Council Division, and Skirlaugh Poor Law Union. Its population at the last census was 16.
DRINGHOE, UPTON, and BROUGH form a joint township containing 1,705 acres; rateable value, £1,850; and population in 1891, 156. The soil is various. The general crops are wheat, barley, oats, and peas. Charles Pickering, Esq., of Hornsea, is lord of the manor, having recently purchased the manor house and farm from Hugh Bethell, Esq., the late owner. The other proprietors are Mrs. E. Frost, Woburn Place, Russell Square, London; the trustees of the late Francis Taylor; Mr. George Hopper, South Cliff, Scarborough; Mr. George Lamplugh; the Archbishop of York; Mr. Christopher Pickering; and Mr. Peter Gofton, Pockthorpe. The tithe, amounting to £29 5s., belongs to the Archbishop of York.
Dringhoe is returned in Domesday Survey as a soke belonging to the manor of Cletune. William le Gros gave two carucates of land here to his falconer, Gilbert de Calz. This land remained for two or three centuries in the possession of his descendants, whose name was subsequently variously written, Cawz, Caunce, and Cance. The Abbot of Meaux had 377 acres of land here at the dissolution of the monastery. The Dringhoe estate was subsequently in the possession of the Acklam family, and at the sale of their lands, in 1785, the manor house and farm were purchased by Mr. Bethell, and recently sold, as above stated, to Mr. C. Pickering. Dringhoe Hall and estate (containing 433 acres, but since divided), were purchased by Mr. Lamplugh, grandfather of the present owner. The Hall, formerly the residence of the Acklams, is a venerable ivy-covered building, surrounded by pleasant grounds. The hamlet of Dringhoe consists of several scattered houses, situated about one mile north-west of Skipsea.
UPTON, is a hamlet which has probably taken its name from its position on slightly elevated ground. It consists of two farms. Upton House is the residence of Mr. Thomas Hopper.
BROUGH, or Skipsea Brough, is a hamlet on the road leading from Skipsea to Beeford, about a quarter-of-a-mile from the former place. Here was the castle of Drogo de Bevere, the first Norman lord of Holderness. It stood upon an artificial mound, 500 yards in circumference, steep and difficult of ascent, and protected at the base by a rampart and ditch, about 20 paces broad. The outworks form a crescent, extending about half-a-mile. They consist of two ditches, with a rampart between, varying in height from 20 to 80 or 90 feet. Between the inner bank of these outworks and the ditch encircling the mound is a space measuring about 230 paces. On the top of the mound stood the "donjon keep," but nothing now remains except a piece of wall, six or seven feet thick, built of cobble stones from the beach, and cemented together by mortar as hard and impenetrable as the stones themselves. Drogo married the Norman Conqueror's niece, but having poisoned her he fled the kingdom. It was long a popular belief that the ghost of the poisoned lady haunted the ruined walls. In consequence of the rebellion of William de Fortibus, in the reign of Henry III., the castle was demolished in 1220 by order of that king. Whether this demolition was complete or only partial is not known, but no attempt appears to have been made in after years to rebuild it, as Burstwick became the future residence of the family and the head of the barony.
Tradition says that a duel was fought here on the ramparts between two brothers, during the civil wars, and it is a popular belief that no grass will grow on the spot where the combatants stood. In a garth close by the roadside are still shown four deeply indented footmarks:"E'en yet the marks of their sad fight are found, E'en yet their footsteps print th' unhallow'd ground: No grass e'er clothes it, and no plants adorn, Save the keen thistle, and the savage thorn."
Some ancient British remains have been found in the neighbourhood. Hythe was a hamlet in this parish, destroyed by the sea before the commencement of the 15th century. It would appear from its name to have been a small port or haven. The abbot and convent of Meaux derived an income of £30 yearly from the tithe of fish at this place.
CLEETON, was formerly a hamlet that has now disappeared. At the time of the Domesday Survey Cletune was a manor, stated to have been five miles in length. It had previously belonged to Harold, and was valued at £32 in Edward the Confessor's time.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.