Wapentake of Harthill (Wilton Beacon Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Pocklington - Petty Sessional Division of Wilton Beacon - Rural Deanery of Pocklington - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
Pocklington is a parish and market town, a county council electoral division, and the head of a poor law union and county court district. The parish includes the townships of Pocklington, Ousthorpe, and Yapharn-cum-Meltonby, comprising a total area, according to the Ordnance Survey, of 4,788 acres. The area of the first-named township is 2,520 acres, the rateable value £10,427, and the population in 1891 was 2,577. Colonel Charles Wilmer Field Duncombe, of Kilnwick Percy, is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The other proprietors are the trustees of Pocklington Grammar School; Mrs. Adeline Bell Lamb, Melbourne House, Rugby; John Houslay, High Catton, and numerous small freeholders.
Pocklington, at the time of the Norman Conquest, formed part of the possessions of Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. Morcar at first submitted to the Conqueror, but soon afterwards he headed the Northumbrians, who rebelled against the Norman usurpation and tyranny, and was dispossessed of all his lands. This manor was then given to Stephen FitzOdo, who had married the Conqueror's sister, and was created Earl of Albemarle and Holderness; and it was held by the successive lords of Holderness till the end of the 13th century, when it was granted by Edward I. to the Abbot of Melsa or Meaux. The convent retained possession of the manor about six years, and then exchanged it with Henry, Lord Percy, for half-an-acre of land in Nafferton and the advowson of that church. A market, two fairs, and other liberties were granted by patent in 1300, and two additional fairs were granted by Edward II. in 1325. Subsequently the lands were divided, and the manor passed from the Percys into other hands. In the latter part of the 15th and the early part of the 16th centuries, it was held by the Dolmans or Dowmans, one of whom founded the free grammar school in the town. In 1653, William Sykes, a wealthy merchant of Leeds, died, bequeathing the manors of Pocklington and Osbaidwick to Grace, his wife. The manor was purchased from the Denison family by the late Admiral the Hon. Arthur Duncome, father of the present owner.
The town of Pocklington is pleasantly situated in the vale of a considerable stream which rises near Givendale, and in its course through the parish turns several mills, and empties itself into the Derwent. The York and Market Weighton branch of the North-Eastern railway also intersects the parish, and skirts the town on its western side, where a station is erected. Pocklington stands in the midst of a rich agricultural district, and is distant 13 miles east-by-south from York, seven miles north-west from Market Weighton, 26 north-west from Hull, 27 south-west from Bridlington, and 195 north-by-west from London. It is lighted with gas by the New Gas Co., Limited, which was formed in 1886, with a capital of £8,000, in £10 shares, and purchased the rights of the existing company. New works were erected near the railway station, and fitted with the latest and most approved appliances. There is one gasholder, with a capacity of 30,000 cubic feet, which supplies the town, and also Barmby Moor and Allerthorpe. The streets. are lighted by 80 lamps. The gas is retailed at 4s. 2d. per 1,000 cubic feet. The Pocklington Water Co., Limited, was recently formed, with a capital of £8,000 in £5 shares, for supplying the town with water. The reservoir, constructed in 1890, on the south side of Chapel Hill, will hold 150,000 gallons. The market is held. every Saturday, and is well supplied with provisions. A cattle market has been recently established; it is held each alternate Tuesday, and so far it has met with great success. Fairs are held on the 7th of March, 6th of May, 5th of August, and the 8th of November, and a hiring for servants on the 9th of November. There were formerly fairs held here on other days, but they have fallen into disuse. The principal local trades will be seen by a glance at the directory which follows the account of the parish. The Pocklington canal was constructed under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, passed in 1814. It extends from Street Bridge (about a mile from the town) to East Cottingwith, a distance of nine miles, and there communicates with the river Derwent. The canal was purchased by the Railway Co., and, as a means of transport, has been almost entirely superseded by the railway.
The church, which stands in the centre of the town and is dedicated to All Saints, is an ancient cruciform building of stone, in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, comprising chancel, with two chapels on the north side, clerestoried nave, aisles, transepts, south porch, and a lofty embattled tower with pinnacles, at the west end, containing five bells. It was repaired and re-pewed in 1852, and during the past 14 years it has undergone extensive restoration, at a cost exceeding £2,000. A row of cottages which encumbered the west end of the church has been purchased and pulled down. The south porch has been rebuilt, and in the foundations were discovered fragments of the original Saxon church. The font - a piece of Norman work, consisting of a square basin of fossil marble on a circular pedestal - has also been thoroughly renovated. The nave is separated from the aisles by pointed arches springing from massive columns. The capitals of the columns on the south side are plain, but those on the north side are adorned with some very grotesque carvings; and the capitals of the piers supporting the tower are ornamented with grotesque heads much larger than life. The chancel, the oldest part of the edifice, has several finely carved stalls. The east window is modern, but in harmony with the general style of the church. It consists of five lights, which were filled with stained glass by the late Admiral Duncombe. A new pulpit of oak, richly carved by Messrs. Elwell, of Beverley, has been recently erected at a cost of 100 guineas, in memory of the late Dr. Wilson, of Pocklington. The chapel of St. Nicholas on the north side of the chancel, founded and endowed as a chantry by Archdeacon Dolman, the munificent benefactor of the Grammar School, was restored in 1890, and adapted for its original purpose as a chapel for the scholars attending his school. In making the necessary alterations a massive slab of stone, much broken and decayed, was found five feet below the surface. It bore the letters I. D., the initials of his name (John Dolman), and marked the resting place of the founder of the school. He ordered that no monument should be erected to him, desiring that his school should perpetuate his memory. There are several monuments and objects of interest within the church; amongst them is a handsome mural monument to Thomas Dolman, Esq., who died in 1589. It was restored some years ago by the late John Dolman, M.D., of York, and consists of three compartments of black marble. In the centre one is a recumbent effigy of the deceased, accompanied by his wife, the sole heiress of a member of the ancient house of Vavasour. In the other compartments are the figures of their eight children kneeling - the sons on one side, the daughters on the other. The whole is surmounted with the arms of the Dolman family quartered with those of the Vavasours. Another monument is to the memory of Robert Southebee, of Pocklington; it bears an inscription, with the date 1594, and ending with the pathetic exclamation :- " O vita, misero longa, fælici brevis." In the north transept is the monument of the Denison family, former lords of the manor. On this tomb are three elaborate pieces of old oak carving, purchased on the Continent by the late Robert Denison, Esq., at a cost of £1,000. The large central piece represents the Crucifixion, that on the right Jesus bearing His cross, and that on the left the Descent from the cross. These exquisite carvings are supposed to have been executed by Albert Dürer, or one of his pupils, and are placed in glazed compartments. Whilst the workmen were preparing the foundation for the new-pulpit a marble slab was discovered, bearing an incised floriated cross, and an inscription to the memory of the Lady Margaret Easingwold, prioress of this place, which had probably been brought from some neighbouring convent after the dissolution. Near the slab was a skeleton, with an abbey token, about 500 years old, fast in the socket of the eye. At the west end of the church is a beautifully carved cross, which was found by the sexton in 1835, whilst digging a grave in the churchyard. It is supposed to have stood on the site of the cross erected here by Paulinus, near the beck in which he baptised his converts, and beside which the earliest church was erected. On the arms of the cross are sculptured the Crucifixion, and the figures of an archbishop and John Soteby holding a model of the church in his hand - a portion of which he, as lord of the manor, had rebuilt. There is a Latin inscription requesting prayers for the soul of John Soteby. He was probably an ancestor of the Southebee before mentioned. There are 600 sittings. The registers date from 1559.
The living, anciently a rectory, was appropriated to the deanery of York, and a vicarage ordained in 1252, which was endowed with the small tithes of the parish. It is in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. John Henry Wicksteed, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford. Present nett value £266, including 25 acres of glebe, with residence.
The Catholics of Pocklington were without any place of worship from the Reformation till the beginning of the present century, when a small chapel and house for the priest were erected in 1807. The chapel was rebuilt and the presbytery enlarged in 1863, from designs of Messrs. Hadfield, of Sheffield. The style is Gothic, and the plan comprises an apsidal sanctuary and nave. There are two double-light stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, and one in the nave. The latter is a memorial of the late Dr. Dolman, of York, whose ancestors were lords of Pocklington. The total cost, including the erection of the school, was about £800. The mission is at present under the charge of the Rev. Edmond James Hickey.
The Congregational chapel was rebuilt in 1879, at a cost of £1,000. Attached is a house for the minister, and behind a cemetery, now closed. Minister, the Rev. Alexander Farries. The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1864, on the site of the old one, is a handsome structure of red brick, with stone dressings, in the Grecian style. In front is a portico supported by six Doric pillars. A gallery runs round the interior, which enables the building to accommodate 700 persons. The total cost was £2,300, which was raised by subscription. There are two houses for the ministers, one on each side of the chapel, which were built at a further outlay of £1,000. There are three resident ministers. The Primitive Methodist chapel was rebuilt in 1865, at a cost of £1,200. It is a handsome structure of pressed bricks, capable of seating 550 persons. Attached is a Sunday school. There are three resident ministers.
The Free Grammar School was founded by John Dolman, or Dowman, in 1514. This generous benefactor, to the inhabitants of Pocklington, was the son of the lord of the manor, and brother of the vicar of the parish. He was educated for the church, and took his degree of Doctor of Divinity and Doctor of Laws, and was appointed Archdeacon of Suffolk. In 1514 he obtained a license to found in the church of Pocklington a fraternity, or "Guild of the Name of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Nicholas," for a master, two wardens, and a number of brethren and sisters. He also obtained permission to grant lands, &c., of the yearly value of 20 marks (£13 6s. 8d.), to the said Guild, for the maintenance of a learned man to teach grammar to all scholars resorting to Pocklington for such instruction. All such religious societies were abolished in the 1st of Edward VI. (1547), but fortunately through the exertions of the founder's family, the property originally left to the Guild was preserved for the benefit of the school. In 1552 the endowment was transferred to the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge, and the school was re-constituted under the patronage of that college. There are no statutes, but the Act orders that a "discreet and well-learned man" be appointed as master, and the usher, or assistant master, had to possess the same qualifications. The master and usher formed a corporation, called the "Corporation of Master and Usher of the Free Grammar School of Pocklington." The revenues of the school arise from lands situated in various parts of the East Riding, which now produce about £1,200 a year. The benevolent founder died in 1526, and devised by will certain lands in Yorkshire and Derbyshire to the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, for the purpose of maintaining in the college five scholars from this school, those of his name and kindred to have the preference.
The Rev. T. Shield, B.D., who was appointed master in 1807, succeeded in considerably augmenting the trust, and commenced the re-building of the school and master's house, which were eventually completed in 1848, by the Rev. F. J. Gruggen, M.A. During Dr. Baskett's mastership the school appears to have been in a flourishing condition, and was attended by 40 or 50 scholars. A few years later, according to the Report of the Public Schools Commissioners, "there were only two or three town boys attending, and no aliens ;" and the report goes on to say: "The lower school-room was made use of as a saw-pit and barn; that the master had not attended for the last 12 months; and that the usher being deaf, the children had necessarily been sent to other schools."
In 1875, the school was entirely re-organised by the Endowed Schools Commissioners, who removed the patronage from St. John's College, and appointed a local governing body of 14 members. Under the Cambridge University Act, there are four Dolman Exhibitions, of £40 a year each, tenable for three years, open to any boys who have been educated for two years in this school. There are exhibitions at other colleges open to boys from this school, and also several scholarships of various values, tenable at the school for boarders and day boys. Great improvements and additions have lately been made to the school buildings. There are two boarding houses belonging to the Trust; one under the management of the head master, and the other under that of the master of the modern side. There are at present about 100 boys in the school, and the number is increasing.
The original seal of the ancient guild is still used as the seal of the school. It is circular; in the centre is a figure of Our Saviour between the Blessed Virgin and St. Nicholas; beneath is the founder kneeling, and around is the legend Sigillum Commune Fraternitatis Nominis Jhesus, Beatæ Mariæ, Sancti Nicholai de Pocklyngton. (The common seal of the brotherhood of the name of Jesus, the two boys from this school who have won for themselves imperishable fame - Daniel Sykes, Esq., the eloquent and distinguished statesman, and William Wilberforce, the philanthropist, through whose exertions slavery was abolished throughout the British empire. His first letter on the slavery question was penned whilst still a boy at this school. It was written to a York newspaper, and therein he denounces "the odious traffic in human flesh."
The National schools, consisting of two departments, mixed and infants, with master's house, were built in 1854, at a cost of £1,444, exclusive of the site, which was given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who were then owners of land in the parish. There is accommodation in the mixed school for 160 children, and an average attendance of 141; and in the infants' for 70, and there are 45 in average attendance. Several free scholarships have been founded at the school in memory of the late Dr. Wilson. The Catholic school (mixed) in Union Street, was built in 1877, for the accommodation of 60 children; average attendance 41. The Wesleyan schools, with master's house, in Chapmangate, were erected in 1852. There are two departments - mixed and infants - having accommodation for 170, and an average attendance of 106.
The Oddfellows' Hall, Union Street, built in 1839, will hold 250 persons. It is let for pnblic meetings, lectures, &c. The Literary and Philosophical Society hold their meetings here. A Cottage Hospital was built at The Grove in 1880, in memory of the late Thomas Wilson, Esq., but after an existence of ten years, was closed and converted into a private dwelling house. Near it is the Wilson Memorial Reference Library.
Pocklington Union comprises 47 parishes and townships, embracing an area of 158 square miles. The total rateable value is about £130,000, and the population in 1891 was 14,579. The following places are included in the Union :- Allerthorpe, Barmby-upon-the-Moor, Bielby, Bishop Wilton-with-Belthorpe, Bolton, Buckthope, Burnby, Catton High, Catton Low, Cliffe North, Cliffe South, Cottingwith East, Everingham, Fangfoss, Fridaythorpe, Full Sutton, Givendale Great-with-Grimthorpe, Goodmanham, Harswell, Hayton, Huggate, Kilnwick Percy, Kirby-Underdale-with-Garrowby, Londesborough-with-Easthorpe, Market Weighton and Arras, Melbourne, Millington-with-Little Givendale, Newton-upon-Derwent, Nunburnholme, Ousthorpe, Pocklington, Sancton-with- Houghton, Scrayingham, Seaton Ross, Shipton, Skirpenbeck, Stamford Bridge East, Storwood, Sutton-upon-Derwent, Thixendale, Thornton, Thorpe, Waplington, Warter, Wilberfoss, Yapham-cum-Meltonby, Youlthope-cum-Gowthorpe.
The Union Workhouse, situated in Burnby Lane, is a commodious building of grey brick, erected in 1852. There is accommodation for 113 inmates. A hospital capable of receiving 30 patients, was added about 15 years ago.
The Cemetery, situated in West Green, covers about two acres, and contains two mortuary chapels.
OUSTHORPE is a small township containing 330 acres, belonging to Mrs. Adeline Bell Lamb, of Melbourne House, Rugby, and Colonel Duncombe, of Kilnwick Percy. The township is divided into two farms; the rateable value is £560, and the number of inhabitants 17. There are traces of a large moated mansion.
YAPHAM CUM MELTONBY are two hamlets forming a joint township and chapelry containing 1,830½ acres. The land belongs to several proprietors, of whom the principal are James Richard Singleton, Esq., Bishop Wilton; Henry Abbey, Pocklington; Francis Riccall, Millington; Henry Jewison; Colonel Duncombe, Kilnwick Percy; William Dixon Petch, Skelton-in-Cleveland, and the Feoffees of the "Poors' Charity, The soil is good loam, sand, and gravel; subsoil, clay and gravel, and the chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, and turnips. The rateable value is £2,729, and the population in 1891 was 191.
The village of Yapham is small, and stands on an open green, two-and-a-half miles north-by-west of Pocklington. The chapel, a small, plain edifice, was partially rebuilt in 1777-8. It consists of chancel and nave, with a western turret, containing two bells. The living is a curacy annexed to the vicarage of Pocklington. The great tithe, amounting to £365, belongs to the dean of York. The chapel lands, now styled "Yapham-cum-Meltonby Church, School and Poor Charity," were left partly by one John Beal, or Belsom, and others, upwards of 300 years ago, and partly awarded at the inclosure of the common in 1773. The estimated extent of the charity land is 124 acres, producing an income of £143 a year. By an arrangement with the Charity Commissioners the income is thus expended :- one-fourth is applied to the repairs of the chapel, one-fourth is distributed amongst the poor, and the remaining two-fourths are applied towards the support of the school, which belongs to the Charity Trust. New premises were erected in 1875, for the accommodation of 45 children. The Wesleyans have a chapel here, built in 1865.
Meltonby village consists of a few farms and cottages, situated two-and-a- half miles north of Pocklington.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.