ACOMB: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of the Ainsty of York - Rural Deanery of Ainsty - Archdeaconry and Diocese of York.

The parish and township of Acomb or Akeham, anciently called Ascham, is situated on the south side of the river Ouse. At the time of the Domesday Survey, we find that St. Peter's church, York, had Acho (Acomb) as a manor. The Rev. John Mount Barlow, Ewhurst vicarage, Surrey, is lord of the manor. The manorial rights comprise Acomb, Holgate, and Clifton, The area of the township is 1,427 acres, of the rateable value of £11,588 2s. 3d., and the population in 1881 was 1,581 souls. The principal landowners are the lord of the manor, George Ellis, Esq., Westfield, and J. Jackson Barstow, Esq. The soil is of a sandy, gravelly nature, and the air salubrious. The village is situated on the Wetherby road, about two miles from York Minster. The main part is in the form of a triangle, and is the old portion; while the new streets, to the south-east of this triangle, form the new portion, and consists largely of cottage property, principally occupied by employees of the North-Eastern Railway Company. The population has increased rapidly the last ten years, and the building operations now going on indicate a further considerable increase.

The church is dedicated to St. Stephen, and occupies a slightly elevated position at the north side of the village. It is cruciform in shape, with tower and spire at the west end containing three bells, and is built of Tadcaster stone. It consists of chancel, nave, and north and south transepts. The east window is in memory of the late Mr. Hall, and given by his widow to perpetuate her husband's memory. This beautiful window, the work of Savers and Barrard, of London, was unveiled January 26th, 1890. It is in three lights, containing three tiers of figures representing the principal incidents in the life of our Blessed Lord. A new organ, by Denman, of York, was opened on Palm Sunday, 1889, at a cost of £230. On a brass over the entrance to the vestry is the following inscription "In the year 1889 A.D. this vestry was erected over the family vault of Col. Wm. Hall, by the kind permission of his only surviving daughter. Within the vault rest the remains of Mr. Hall, born July 7th, 1771, died Nov. 28th, 1856; Frances, his wife, died March 28th, 1841, and three of their children, Jemima, died May 20th, 1816, Wm. Lawrence, died Aug. 14th, 1830, Elizabeth, died Feb. 7th, 1832." There are tablets in the church to the memory of the following families: Smith, Barstow, Etridge, Webster, Hall, Pickford, Baker, Hodgson, Weatherhill, Wilson, and Armytage; also to two servants of the late Sir Chas. Slingsby. The pulpit is of oak, and the seats of pitch pine. At the west end is a gallery, which until the erection of the organ was used as a choir. On the south side of the chancel is a marble tablet bearing the following inscription:- "On the 1st of February, 1830, a ground plan of the church and chancel, together with the porch of the chancel, also a gallery plan, was taken down during that year in the north side whereof where had been an entrance into the church, several stones were discovered of Saxon architecture, four of which at the Rectory at Acomb Park are fixed over the entrance door on the west side of the house. On the 17th March, 1851, the porch of the Saxon chancel was taken down, and in right of the grant of King James I., dated July 15th, 1609, the sole owner and impropriator, James Earnshaw Baker, in whose possession is the grant of the king, erected the present chancel, which was finished on the 11th Sept., 1851, in the 14th year of the reign of Queen Victoria." In the south transept is the following on a stone tablet:- "This church was rebuilt and enlarged in the year 1831, by which means 338 additional sittings were obtained, and in consequence of a grant from the incorporated society for promoting the enlargement and building and repairing of churches and chapels, 212 of that number are hereby declared to be free and inappropriated for ever. John B. Graham, minister. Geo. Lloyd, John Wikeley,. Robt. Hick, churchwardens." At the west end of the south nave are two. benefaction boards, which read as follows:- "To the church and poor of the parish of Acomb. Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble. - Psalm xli., v. 1." John Beck, by his last will gave out of certain lands in Knapton, 10s. annually towards the repairs of this church for ever. Another benefaction board at the west end of the nave reads: "Extract from the will of Mr. Wm. Ellis, late of Acomb, gent., deceased. Will dated March 18th, 1871. I give and bequeath to the minister and chuchwardens of the parish of Acomb the sum of two hundred pounds, to be by them invested in their names as soon as possible after the receipt of the money, in or upon government security. And I direct that the minister and churchwardens for the time being of the said parish of Acomb, shall at or about Christmas annually, pay or apply the interest or dividends to be obtained from such investment, either in money, coals, flour, clothing, or other necessaries, at their discretion, and in such sums or proportions as they shall think proper, unto and amongst the deserving poor resident within the said parish of Acomb."

The living is in the patronage of the lord of the manor, the Rev. John Mount Barlow, Ewhurst vicarage, Surrey, and is valued at £200, derived principally from glebe. The present vicar is the Rev. Robert Percy Trevor Tennent. Part of the Knapton township is in Acomb parish. The vicarage is situated at the west end of the village, and was built in 1882.

The National schools (mixed) are near the church, and were erected in 1848, by the then lord of the manor, G. F. Barlow, Esq. They were enlarged in 1873, and again in 1886, and are, at present, too small for the requirments of the parish; and it is in contemplation to again make additions to the premises during the present year (1890). Number of children on the books is 340; in average attendance, 270; and accommodation for 280. The staff consists of the master, Mr. Richard Wastwidge Brooks, with four assistants and two pupil teachers. There are no free scholars. The old school, on the Green, was closed in 1883. The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1878, is a good building, in red brick, in the centre of the village. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel, of brick, at the north end of the village.

The kennels of the York and Ainsty Hunt are situated between Acomb and Askham, about three-fourths of a mile from the former place. They are leased from Mr. George Ellis, of Westfield, Acomb. Edward Sycett Green, Esq., Knavesmire Lodge, is the master of the hounds, and Arthur Wilson, huntsman. The two whips are William Gray and Harry Eastaby. The pack consists of 50 couples, and is reckoned to be the finest in Yorkshire, the master sparing no expense to improve the condition of the hounds. During the season, hunting is carried on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and occasional byedays. The following is from the records at the kennels

1841-4. - Ralph Creyke, Esq., master; William Danby, huntsman.
1844-53. - S. Bateman, Esq., master; William Danby, huntsman.
1853-69. - Sir G. Slingsby, master; William Orvis, huntsman.
1869-71. - Sir G. 0. Wombwell, master; Peter Collinson, huntsman.
1872. - Hon. Egremont Lascelles, master; Tom Squires, huntsman.
1873-78. - Colonel Fairfax, master; Trueman Tuffs, huntsman.
1879-82. - Captain Slingsby, master; John Hillidge, huntsman.
1883-85. - H. D. Brocklehurst, Esq., master; G. Gillson, huntsman.
1885. - E. C. York, Esq., master; G. Gillson, huntsman.
1886. - The Committee, masters; G. Gillson, huntsman.
1887. - E. L. Green, Esq., master; A. Wilson, huntsman.

These last are still master and huntsman.

York Waterworks. - In the year 1682, during the reign of Charles II., waterworks were first established in the Sendal tower, in York. A pumping engine, worked by two horses, was placed in the tower, by means of which a scanty supply of water was furnished the citizens every week. The mains, at that time, were the trunks of trees, hollowed out and fastened together, and laid down in the streets. This went on for nearly a century, when the works were purchased by Colonel Thornton, who made considerable improvements in the service of the water. At his death, a steam engine was introduced by his son, who enlarged the building and introduced hot and cold baths in a house adjoining the tower. In 1799, another company was formed, the tower was raised, and iron mains substituted for wooden pipes. At this time, one half the people got water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the other half, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, for two hours only, and then the water was just as it came from the river. In 1846, a new company was formed, and secured a site at Acomb Landing, a few yards higher up than Clifton Scope, on which they erected a commodious building, and placed in it two powerful steam engines for pumping water from the river. Outside the building, were provided reservoirs, filter beds, tanks, conduit pipes, and other apparatus for raising the water from the river, and afterwards lifting it to the high service reservoir on Severns hill, to be thence distributed to the city. The new system was a marvellous improvement on the old; a constant supply of purest water was always at hand, and ready to flow, by its own gravity, to the highest houses in York.

The subsiding reservoirs are capable of holding 2,500,000 gallons of water. Each of the old engines can raise from the river into the subsiding reservoirs above 2,000,000 gallons in twelve hours, or can supply to the upper reservoir 800,000 gallons of filtered water in the same time. In 1868, an additional filtering bed was constructed, and made circular in shape, with a diameter of 63 yards. Three of the four filter beds are generally in use at one and the same time. About 62,500 gallons of water are filtered every hour. One filter bed is cleaned per month, or oftener, if required. The present consumption of water amounts to over 2,200,000 gallons daily. In 1876, the company obtained an Act of Parliament to extend their works. A new engine and boiler house have been erected, of brick with stone dressings. Two powerful engines have been placed in position, of 40-horse power each, and both are provided with a filter water pump, and also a river water pump, capable of raising from the river each 931,600 gallons per day of twelve hours, and sending the same amount of filtered water daily into the service reservoir on Severus hill, for the supply of the city. The two engines, combined, are therefore able to send 1,863,209 gallons of pure water per day for the use of the citizens. In addition to this, it must not be forgotten that the old engines are still employed.

CHARITIES. - Mr. William Pardus, by his last will, gave to the poor £1 15s., to be paid out of the profits of the beck close, on every Good Friday. Mr. George Earby gave, out of certain lands in Holgate, £2 12s., to be distributed in bread, every Sunday. There were also some smaller amounts for the needy of the parish.

KNAPTON is a township in this parish and partly in that of Holy Trinity, Micklegate, York. Its estimated extent is 840 acres, the rateable value £1,056, and the population 104. It is included in the poor law union of Great Ouseburn. The landowners are Andrew Montague, Esq., Ingmanthorpe Hall, who is also lord of the manor; William Attlay, Esq., Whitby; Francis Sharp Powell, Esq.; Col. Tilford, Micklegate, York; and the trustees of York Blue Coat School.

The village consists of about 20 houses, and stands three miles west of York and one mile from Acomb.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.