HARPHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


Wapentake of Dickering - Petty Sessional Division of Bainton Beacon - County Council Electoral Division of Beeford - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Driffield - Rural Deanery of Bridlington - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.

This parish and township comprises 2,168 acres of land, belonging principally to William Herbert St. Quintin, Esq., J.P., of Scampston Hall, who is lord of the manor, and Sir Henry Somerville Boynton, Bart., Burton Agnes Hall. The Soil is chalky loam, the subsoil chalk, and the chief crops wheat, barley, oats, and peas. The rateable value is £2,310. The population in 1881 was 244, and in 1891, 208.

The manor was given by the Conqueror to an ancestor of the present owner, and for many centuries it was the chief residence of the St. Quintin family. Their mansion stood on the west side of the churchyard, and, though it disappeared long ago, traces of the fishponds are still visible. The Bruces had also some lands here.

The village is situated about five miles north-east of Driffield, and one mile north of Lowthorp Station, on the Hull and Scarborough branch of the North-Eastern Railway. The church is an ancient stone edifice in the Early Gothic style, but "disfiguered by the churchwarden improvements of the last century or two." It comprises chancel, nave, north chapel, south chapel, and a massive western tower containing three bells. The chancel was rebuilt by William St. Quintin, Esq., in 1827. The north chapel or aisle is appropriated exclusively to a mortuary chapel for the St. Quintin family, and in the windows are represented, in stained glass, the pedigree and armorial bearings of twenty-eight successive St. Quintins, from Sir Herbert, Knt., of Skipsea and Harpham, who died in 1080, to Sir William, who died in 1777. These windows were executed by Mr. Peckett, of York, at the expense of the last baronet, who died in 1795. There are also numerous monuments and inscriptions here and in the chancel belonging to the same family. The most beautiful of these is the monument of Charlotte, wife of Sir William St. Quintin, and daughter of Henry Fane, Esq., who died in 1762. It is placed on the east wall of the chancel, over the communion table, and exhibits a full-length figure of Grief, leaning on a pedestal, with an inverted torch, and two profile likenesses - one of Sir William and the other of his deceased lady. The monument is of white marble, and was executed by Wilton. In the north chapel are two very fine brasses: one bears the full-length effigies of a knight in armour and his lady, under a canopy. The inscription, part of which is still legible, shows that it is the monument of Thomas de St. Quintin and Agnes, his wife, who died about A.D. 1420. On the other brass is the full-length figure of another Thomas St. Quintin (A.D. 1445). There are here two massive stone coffins, but there is nothing known of their history. Of modern monuments, the largest and most beautiful is one in table form, of black marble, the slab resting on six sculptured figures. On the top is a brass plate, on which are engraved the effigies of Matthew Chitty Downes St. Quintin, late Colonel 17th Lancers (second son of William Thomas St. Quintin, Esq.), and Amy Elizabeth, his wife (daughter of George Henry Cherry, Esq.). He died in 1876. The font is a beautiful piece of carved work. The church is well proportioned, but the present roof is much lower in pitch than the original one,. which somewhat detracts from the exterior view. The registers date from the year 1590. The living is a vicarage, united to the rectory of Burton Agnes.

The National School is a brick building, with accommodation for 100 children, and an average attendance of 60. It is mixed, and under the care of a mistress. A small Reading Room was established in 1886, and is supported by the contributions of the members.

There are two wells in the village : one is called St. John's Well, from St. John of Beverley, who, according to tradition, was born here; the other is called the Drummer's Well, from the following legend. Centuries ago, when the lords of manors furnished their quota of men for service in the army, one of the St. Quintins, whilst drilling his little body of retainers, pushed - but whether intentionally or accidentally is not said - his drummer boy into this well, where he was drowned; and the story runs that on the death of any of the family, the drummer boy may be heard beating his drum at the bottom of the well.

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


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1892.

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