Wapentake of Holderness (North Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Brandesburton - Petty Sessional Division of North Holderness - Poor Law Union of Skirlaugh - County Court District of Beverley - Rural Deanery of Hornsea - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish comprises the townships of Sigglesthorne, Catfoss, Little Hatfield part of Great Hatfield, and Seaton-and-Wassand, covering a total area of 5,825 acres. In the first-named township there are 1,032 acres of land, belonging chiefly to William Bethell, Esq., Rise, and H. S. Constable, Esq., Wassand, who are joint lords of the manor; Thomas Bainton, Esq., Arram; John Haggas, Esq., Keighley; the Rector, in right of his church; the trustees of the late John Grainger; Major Rial, and Lady Wright. The soil is loamy and clayey; the subsoil principally clay; and the chief crops are wheat, oats, beans, seeds, and turnips. For rating purposes the township is valued at £1,296. The population in 1891 was 217, the same as at the previous census.
The earliest notice of this place occurs in Domesday Book, wherein it is spelt Siglestorne, and is returned amongst the berewicks belonging to the collegiate church of St. John of Beverley. The Conqueror gave, or re-granted, the lordship to that establishment, and the successive provosts held the manor till the abolition of the collegiate body at the Reformation. Its importance at an early period may be inferred from the presence of a church here before the Conquest. In 1314, William de Melton, provost of Beverley, and afterwards Archbishop of York, obtained a royal patent for an annual fair to be held on the eve, the day, and the morrow of the feast of St. Laurence; and he also received a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands. On the dissolution of the college of St. John, the manor reverted to the Crown, but to whom it was afterwards re-granted is not known. According to Mr. Poulson, * the ancestors of the present joint owners of the lordship became possessed of it by the escheat of a cottage, &c.
* Seignory of Holderness, page 418.
The village is well built and delightfully situated nine miles north-east by east of Beverley, three-and-a-half miles west-north-west of Hornsea, and two-and-three-quarter miles from Sigglesthorne station, on the Hull and Hornsea branch of the North Eastern railway. The church of St Laurence is an ancient structure, in the Early English style, charmingly seated amidst embowering trees; and the picturesqueness of its aspect is enhanced by the mantle of ivy that partially covers its time-honoured walls. The edifice comprises chancel, nave, north and south aisles, with a chapel and porch on the south side, and a massive western tower, containing three bells. It has undergone several restorations, but, unfortunately, not always with the best effect, and much of its original beauty has been destroyed. The west wall of the tower was rebuilt in 1763, and the north aisle in 1827; at this time a chantry chapel that stood on the north side was removed, and portions of a monumental slab, and fragments of tracery that belonged to it, have been recovered from the churchyard. The church was extensively restored and entirely re-seated in 1848, and recently the chancel stalls have been improved; a new altar, with suitable antependium and hangings, has been introduced, and the choir vestry altered and adapted to the requirements of a large surpliced choir. A new organ, by Forster & Andrews, of Hull, was erected in 1880, at the north side of the chancel, at a cost of £300; and it is intended, when funds are availabe, to expend a further sum of £100 in fitting it with three additional stops. The gallery at the west end, in which the old organ stood, has been removed. The nave is separated from the aisles by four bays of pointed arches springing from circular columns. The east window is a memorial of Frances, wife of the late Rev. W. H. E. Bentinck, rector of the parish and Archdeacon of Westminster. The subjects depicted thereon are illustrative of the various works of charity. There are two memorial windows in the chancel to the Rev. Thomas Constable and his wife, and one in the south aisle to Jane, first wife of Sir William Wright; she died in 1854. In various parts of the church are monumental inscriptions to members of the Constable, Acklom, Gibson, Richardson, and Paull families, and in the north aisle is a monument of blue and white marble, commemorating John Garnett, Bishop of Clogher, who died in 1778, and other members of the same family. In the churchyard is the stone slab of an ancient altar, some of the crosses it once bore being still visible. The church will seat 300. The registers date from 1500.
The Rectory formerly belonged to the Collegiate Society of St. John of Beverley, but has been vested in the Crown since the dissolution of that body, and is now held by the Rev. W. Dunkerley. Its net yearly value is £640, derived from tithe rent-charge and 98 acres of glebe.
The Rectory House is a commodious residence, erected in 1767, by the Rev. T. Constable, the then rector, at a cost of £1,700, and it has since been greatly improved. The pleasure grounds and gardens cover about three acres.
The National School is a good building of brick with stone dressings, erected in 1867, at the sole expense of the late Archdeacon Bentinck, for the accommodation of 109 children. There are about 75 in average attendance. Adjoining is a house for the master, built in 1861. The Yen. Archdeacon, who died in 1868 having held the rectory for 60 years, left by will the sum of £1,600, the interest thereof to be applied for the purpose of placing boys and girls at, and for the keeping up of the schools at Sigglesthorne. This money is invested in consols, and yields £50 4s. 0d. per annum. He also left a further sum of £100 for repairing the girl's school at Sigglesthorne, and the infant's school at Seaton, and £50 for the repair of his tomb, - any balance remaining to be given to the poor. * The school is also endowed with £400, left by Marmaduke Constable, Esq., for the instruction of 15 poor children of the parish, to be nominated by the owner of Wassand or the rector of Sigglesthorne.
* The Archdeacon's personal property was sworn under £80,000, and he left to various institutions, societies, &c., in different parts of the country, the aggregate sum of £30,850, free of probate duty.
Sigglesthorne Hall is the seat and property of Major Riall, J.P., who purchased the property in 1888. It is a handsome mansion in the Italian style, built by the late Sir William Wright soon after the estate came into his possession. It is embosomed among trees, and surrounded by shrubberies and tastefully laid- out gardens and pleasure grounds.* Richard Villiers Sankey Riall, Esq., J.P. Major (on retired pay), late East Yorkshire Regiment, is the fifth son of the late Phineas Riall, Esq., J.P., D.L., of Old Conna Hill, Bray, cc. Wicklow. Mr. Riall, who was born in 1846, married in 1887, Lily, daughter of the late J. S. Harrison, Esq., J.P., DL., of Brandesburton Hall.
* The hall and estate are now, February, 1892, advertised for sale.
The Manor House is a modern building of brick, erected near the site of the old one. It is in the occupation of Mr. William Taylor.
The poor have the dividends of £400 stock left by M. T. Gibson, Esq., of Sigglesthorne Hall, in 1833; the rector and churchwardens for the time being are trustees.
CATFOSS, is a township lying one-and-a-half miles north-west of Sigglesthorne, and four-and-a-half miles west of Hornsea. It contains 1,084 acres of land, belonging wholly to William Bethell, Esq., of Rise, who is also lord of the manor. The soil is various, in some parts clay, and in others gravel; and the subsoil is gravel and clay. Wheat, barley, oats, mangolds, and turnips are the chief crops. About one-third of the land is laid down in rich pasture. The rateable value is £979, and the number of inhabitants 55, who reside in scattered houses.
It possesses no other historical interest beyond its mention in Domesday Book. The Fauconbergs were owners of the place as early as the reign of Edward I., and in the time of Edward III. Agnes Fauconberg conveyed it in marriage to Fulco Constable, of Fresmarsh, and it remained in the possession of their decendants through many generations. It was afterwards purchased by the Bethells, of Rise, and still remains with this family.
HATFIELD MAGNA, or in English speech GREAT HATFIELD, is a township containing 1,489 acres, partly situated in the parish of Sigglesthorne, and partly in that of Mappleton. The soil varies from light to strong land, with some sand; the subsoil is clay and sand; and the chief crops are wheat, oats, and peas. The land belongs to several proprietors, of whom the principal are William Bethell, Esq., who is lord of the manor; W. H. H. Broadley, Esq., Welton; Colonel Haworth-Booth, Hullbank Hall; H. Strickland-Constable, Esq., Wassand; and Mr. Robert Jackson, of Great Hatfield. The township is valued for rating purposes at £1,312, of which sum £73 10s. is assessed on the portion of the Hull and Hornsea railway lying within the township. The population at the last census was 147. The tithe payable to the rector of Sigglesthorne amounts to £14 8s.; to the vicar of Mappleton £6 8s. 10d.; and to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, £76. The township is in the County Council electoral division of Skirlaugh.
The manor belonged at an early period to a family that took its name from the place. One of them, Thomas Hatfield, was keeper of the privy seal and secretary to Edward III., and afterwards Prince Bishop of Durham. From this family it passed by the marriage of an heiress to the Constables, of Catfoss, and subsequently came into the possession of the Bethells.
There was formerly a chapel here, dedicated to St. Helen, which was destroyed by an accidental fire about 175 years ago. It probably owed its foundation to the Hatfields, many of whom were buried within its walls. On a flat stone marking the site of the chancel is an inscription to the memory of Christopher Constable, Esq., who died in 1640. Not a fragment of the chapel remains, but the chapel-yard is still used as a place of interment by some of the old families. It is a pitiable sight to see this little "God's Acre" without wall or fence to separate it from the surrounding land, and protect it from the incursions of cattle and pigs.
A little to the south of the chapel is the old hall - or rather all that remains of it - once the seat of the lords of Hatfield, and now converted into a farmhouse. In various parts of the farm buildings may be seen window-sills and other stones from the old chapel of St. Helen.
The village consists of a few scattered houses, situated three-and-a-half miles south-south-west from Hornsea, and half a mile from Sigglesthorne station, on the Hull and Hornsea branch of the North-Eastern railway. A mission chapel was erected here in 1888, at a cost of £300, exclusive of the site, which was given by William Bethell, Esq. Service is held on Sunday afternoons by the rector of Sigglesthorne. There is also a small cbapel belonging to the Primitive Methodists, built in 1860, at a cost of £96. Local tradition avers that Hatfield was once a place of some importance. There is, however, no external evidence of this, except an ancient stone cross that stands at the junction of three narrow roads. The shaft is 5ft. 4in. in length, and is ornamented on each of its four sides by foliated carving, resembling vine leaves. At the corners of the base are the mutilated figures of couching lions. The total height of the cross is about nine feet
The poor of the township have a rent-charge of 40s, left by William Day.
HATFIELD PARVA, or LITTLE HATFIELD, is a township in two farms, containing 976 acres, lying about two-and-a-half miles south-east of Sigglesthorne, and four miles south-west of Hornsea. Colonel Lloyd Greame, of Sewerby, near Bridlington, is lord of the manor and owner of the whole township, except the portion occupied by the railway and 13a. ir. of glebe land. The soil varies from light to strong; the subsoil is clay and sand, and the chief crops are wheat, oats, beans, and seeds. About one-fourth of the township is in pasture. The rateable value is £925, of which £223 is assessed on the railway company. There were only 27 residents at the last census. Sigglesthorne railway station is in this township. Its original name was taken from the place, but as there was another Hatfield near Doncaster, its name was changed to prevent mistakes. The township is in Skirlaugh electoral division.
SEATON and WASSAND form a joint township, containing 1,745 acres. The land belongs to several proprietors, of whom the principal are H. S. Constable, Esq., Wassand; H. T. Bateson, Esq., Hornsea; H. W. Bainton, Esq., Beverley; and W. P. Maw, Esq., Seaton. The soil is various, the subsoil clay and sand, and the chief crops are barley, wheat, oats, turnips, and clover. The rateable value is £2,172, and the population 358. The tithes were commuted in 1839, for a rentcharge of £245.
The village of Seaton is pleasantly situated about three miles west from Hornsea - whereat is the nearest railway station - and one mile north-east from Sigglesthorne. It has been much improved during the last 50 years, chiefly by the late John Maw, Esq., who took great interest in the general advancement and prosperity of the place. A reading room was established in 1885. A public room, for missions, classes, &c., has been erected by Mr. P. W. Maw; and a recreation ground, provided with swings, has been appropriated for the use of the children of the village. In 1886, the same gentleman allotted 33 cottage gardens, and, in 1888, he set apart 12 allotments, ranging from two roods to an acre in extent, which are much appreciated by the villagers. There are chapels for the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists: the former was erected in 1810, and the latter in 1837. An Infants' School was built, in 1840, by the late Ven. Archdeacon Bentinck, and it is partly supported out of that gentleman's endowment. It will accommodate 60 children, and is attended by an average of 23.
There are two charities, amounting to 8s. a year, and a piece of land called "Whin Common," containing 2a. 3r., left for the purpose of growing whins to serve as fuel for the poor of Seaton, and to be used by them solely for that purpose.
WASSAND, is a distinct manor and estate containing about 400 acres, situated two miles south-west from Hornsea. It anciently belonged to the Abbey of Meaux, and about the beginning of the 16th century it was in the possession of St. Mary's Abbey, York. In 1530, it was purchased by Dame Joan, widow of Sir William Constable, of Caythorpe, Knt., and is now the property of Henry Strickland Constable, Esq.
Wassand Hall, the seat of this gentleman, is a fine mansion in the Italian style, erected in 1813, by the Rev. Charles Constable. It stands in a well wooded park, at the west end of Hornsea mere. The lawns, pleasure grounds, and gardens are of considerable extent, and are tastefully laid out.
The remote ancestor of the Constables was Roaldus, Constable of Richmond. The Wassand branch are descended from William Constable, Esq., of Caythorpe, youngest son of Sir Robert Constable, Knt., of Flamborough. Henry Strickland Constable, Esq., the present owner of the estate, is the third son of the late Sir George Strickland, Bart., who in 1865, assumed the name of Cholmley, by Mary, daughter of the late Rev. Charles Constable, of Wassand. He married in 1860, Cornelia Ann, daughter of the late Colonel Dumaresq, and has besides other issue, a son and heir, Captain Frederick Charles Strickland Constable, J.P.
The family has held a distinguished position in the county from a very early period. From a list compiled by Mr. Hockney, it appears that between the years 1206 and 1701, the Constable family furnished 28 High Sheriffs to the county.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.