Wapentake of Holderness (Middle Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Hedon - Petty Sessional Division of Middle Holderness - Poor Law Union of Sculcoates - County Court District of Hedon - Rural Deanery of Hedon - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish includes the townships of Preston and Lelley. The former contains 6,032 acres of land, and had, in 1891, 948 inhabitants. For rating purposes it is valued at £9,531. The soil is warp, clay, marl, and gravel, and the subsoil clay. The chief crops are wheat, beans, oats, and seeds. Sir Frederick Augustus Talbot Clifford-Constable, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Burton Constable, is lord of the manor, and the principal landowners are Mr. David Parkinson Garbut, George Dickinson, of Roos; E. G. Cautley, Esq., the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the Brethren of Trinity House, Hull; the East Riding Racing Co., C. R. F. Lutwidge, Esq., Tunbridge Wells; William Shillito, Preston Field; Mr. H. J. Atkinson, Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart., Sledmere; The Assets Co., 2, Queen Street, Huddersfield; C. E. Blundell, Esq., Norwood, London; R. Briggs, Esq., Sunderland; H. A. Rastell, Esq., Miss Mary Wilson, Preston; T. Tomlinson, Preston; T. J. Smith, Esq., Preston; the Hull Dock Co., the Exors. of Messrs. Crust & Wray, Henry Pickering, Malton; John Burnham, George Brocklebank, Preston; Ralph Burnham, Grimsby; T. Priestman, Hull; John Emerson, C.C., Hedon; and John Stephenson, Preston.
Preston was an important ecclesiastical centre before the Norman Conquest, at least we may so infer from the significant name of Priest's town, contracted into Preston, bestowed upon it by our Saxon forefathers. It is mentioned in Domesday Survey, which, after enumerating the occupants of the land, says, "there is a priest here and a church." As Hedon does not occur by name in that invaluable record, it was probably included in this manor. Stephen, Earl of Albemarle and Lord of Holderness, gave the church and tithes of Preston, with its chapels of Hedon, to the Abbey of St. Martin, near Albemarle, in Normandy; but the manor has never been alienated from the fee, and has descended to its present owner as lord of the seigniory. In 1229, Archbishop de Grey appropriated the church of Preston to the sub-deanery of York, which he had instituted in his cathedral church.
The village, which is large and well built, stands on the Hull and Hedon old road, seven miles east-by-north of the former town, and one mile north of the latter, which is the nearest railway station. The church of All Saints is an ancient edifice, of stone, consisting of chancel with north aisle, nave, north and south aisles, and a massive western tower with pinnacles, containing three bells. No remains of the church mentioned in Domesday Book are to be found in the present structure, the oldest parts of which are the piers on the north side of the nave. These are late Norman or Transitional, whilst those on the south belong to the Early English period. It is very probable that the church became too small about the commencement of the 13th century, and having determined to widen it, the pillars and arches on the south side were taken down and re-erected a little further south, in the style then prevalent. The chancel was rebuilt in 1870, by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the rest of the church was thoroughly restored in 1882, at a cost of £2,000, raised by subscription. All the windows are glazed with plain glass, but contain some fine old tracery, discovered during the restoration. The pulpit was presented by F. A. Hutchinson, as a thank-offering for the recovery of his wife; and the carved oak chair within the altar rails is a memorial of John Taylor Dickinson, presented by his widow. The font is hexagonal and ancient; the upper part of the shaft is ornamented with a carved oak leaf pattern. The chancel is separated from the chapel or aisle on its north side by two arches. In this chapel a chantry was founded and endowed in 1347, for a priest to pray at the altar of St. Mary the Virgin for the soul of Robert de Pickering, &c. The chapel is now used as a vestry and organ chamber.
During the progress of the restoration the workmen discovered, beneath the east arch on the north side of the nave, a number of pieces of beautifully-carved alabaster. These were carefully collected, and showed by the position and condition in which they were found, that they had been purposely broken, probably by the furious reformers, who, in their fanatic and iconoclastic zeal, despoiled the churches of wall paintings and sculptured ornamentation which succeeding generations have not been able to replace. They are believed to have been portions of what is known as an Easter sepulchre. These receptacles were sometimes permanent, but more frequently they were erected for the occasion, and are still in use in the Catholic and Greek churches. Patrington church retains its Easter sepulchre in a fairly perfect state of preservation. The fragments of alabaster found in the church of Preston seem to have belonged to nine slabs or panels, none of which are perfect, but eight of them are sufficiently complete, says the Rev. J. R. Boyle, who arranged the broken pieces, "to enable us to determine with cetainty the subjects they represented." Very few fragments of the ninth slab have been recovered; and another piece of sculpture representing a bishop, found at the same time, did not, in all probability, belong to the Easter sepulchre. Two of the slabs represent the Resurrection of Our Lord. In each the Saviour is depicted in the act of stepping from the tomb, which is represented as an oblong sarcophagus or coffin, placed in an inclined position. In one there are three sleeping soldiers, in the other only two remain. Another panel depicts the nativity of the Saviour. The slab which is most complete represents our Saviour and the Blessed Virgin seated upon one throne. Their faces are slightly turned towards each other, and the Virgin's hands are clasped, as if offering an intercessory prayer. Another slab, of which only the fragments of a small portion were found, represents the sacrament of baptism; on another is depicted a priest at the altar, offering up the sacrifice of the mass, and sacramental confession appears to be the subject of another panel. All the fragments are preserved in a glazed case, bearing the following inscription on brass : - " The above alabaster carvings, supposed by some to be the remains of an Easter sepulchre, by others an altar piece, were discovered during the restoration of this church in 1880, buried near the pulpit. - E. Evers, M.A., rector."
The living is a rectory in the gift of the Archbishop of York, worth £270, including 20 acres of glebe, and held by the Rev. Edwin Evers, M.A., St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, and surrogate. There is a commodious Rectory House, built in 1867.
An acre of land was given by the rector for the churchyard extension, and the cost of fencing it round was defrayed by a voluntary rate. It is situated about half-a-mile from the church, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Beverley, in October, 1889.
There are chapels in the village belonging to the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. The former was built in 1814, and the latter in 1822, and rebuilt in 1867.
A School Board, consisting of five members, was formed in 1875, and the present commodious school, with master's residence attached, was erected in 1887, at a cost of about £2,000, for the accommodation of 130 children. The school is mixed; average attendance, 115.
The United Ancient Order of Druids have a hall in the village, erected in 1876, at a cost of £400. It will seat about 400 persons, and is also used for public meetings, entertainments, &e. The "T. W. Flint Lodge," which was established here in 1862, has a membership of a little over 300, with funds and effects valued at £2,260.
The Racecourse of the East Riding Racing Company is situated in this parish, on the road from Hedon to Hull. It covers about 240 acres, and races are held three times a year. The first meeting was held in July, 1888.
CHARITIES. - Thomas Helmes, in 1618, left the sum of £400 for the poor and the support of the parish school. With this money was purchased 21 acres of land. Thomas Rand, in 1700, left £160, and four tenements for as many poor persons; the interest of the money to be applied to the repair of the houses, and the overplus to be given to the ocoupants of the four Bede Houses. The money was laid out in the purchase of 35 acres of land, which now lets for about £70 a year. John Marshall, in 1803, bequeathed £200, the interest to be distributed in bread; and William Hardy, by will dated 1727, bequeathed a rent-charge of £2 12s. a year, to be distributed in a dozen of white bread to the poor every Sunday. This has been discontinued for many years.
These charities are now administered according to a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, sealed 14th February, 1890. This scheme sets forth that "the four almspeople shall be poor persons of good character, who shall have resided in the parish for not less than three years next preceding the time of their appointment, who shall not, during that period, have received poorlaw relief, and who, from age, ill-health, accident, or infirmity, shall be unable to maintain themselves by their own exertions - with a preference for those persons who, being otherwise qualified as aforesaid, shall have become reduced by misfortune from better circumstances. There shall be paid to each almsperson (or pensioner) such a stipend - being not less than 5s. and not more than 7s. per week - as shall be fixed or determined by the trustees. The trustees may,if they shall so think fit, out of the income of the properties subject to the payment of the stipends, pay to a medical officer, to attend the almspeople and to supply them with medicines, &c., a yearly salary of not exceeding £4. The trustees are also directed to make payment, for the benefit of either the poor of the parish of Preston generally, or such deserving persons resident therein as the trustees shall select for the purpose. Also, in granting prizes or rewards, not exceeding in value £1 in any one case, to children who have attended school for not less than two years; in the payment of the school fees of poor children who have attended school for not less than five years, and are exempted by the Inspector's certificate from the legal obligation to attend school; and in the maintenance of exhibitions, each of the yearly value not exceeding £15, There are nine trustees of the charity, viz., (ex officio) the rector, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor, two co-optative, and two representative.
LELLEY is a township containing 792 acres of land, belonging to Mr. Joseph Thompson, of Turmer Hall, Ganstead; W. H. Wilson-Todd, Esq., Hanlaby Hall, Croft, near Darlington; Francis R. Pease; Samuel Hutchinson, and T. Appleby King. The soil is similar to that of the rest of the parish. The rateable value is £926, and the population in 1891 was 116.
The township has always been attached to the seigniory, though the present lord paramount of Holderness and lord of the manor (Sir F. A. Talbot Clifford-Constable, Bart.) has only about one acre of land over which he exercises manorial rights. The village is small, and stands about two miles north-east of Preston, and three miles north-north-east of Hedon station, on the Hull and Withernsea branch of the North-Eastern Railway. There is a small Wesleyan chapel here, built in 1859.
There was formerly a hospital for lepers in this township, founded, in the reign of King John, by Alan FitzOsbern. "It was dedicated," says Tanner, "to the Holy Sepulchre, for a Master or Prior, and several brethren and sisters, lepers." It was endowed by Alex. de Tunstall and other benefactors, whose gifts were confirmed by Edward II. It was dissolved in the 26th year of Henry VIII., and its revenues, then valued at £13 15s. 1Od. per annum, confiscated by the Crown. In 1553, the site was granted by Edward VI. to Robert Constable, Esq. There are no remains of the hospital now to he seen, but coins are occasionally turned up in digging on the spot, and some years ago an ancient seal, with the legend, "The seal of Master Simon, of the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary," was found here.
Lelley township is in the Poor Law Union of Skirlaugh.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.