Wapentake of Holderness and Petty Sessional Division of South Holderness - County Council Electoral Division and Poor Law Union of Patrington - County Court District of Hedon - Rural Deanery of Hedon - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish comprises 1,834 acres of land, lying on the north bank of the Humber, near the mouth of that river. The soil is of a mixed nature, but very rich and fertile; the subsoil is clay and marl. The rateable value is £1,750; and the population in 1891 was 139.
Sir F. A. Talbot Clifford-Constable, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Burton Constable Hall, is lord of the manor, and the following are the owners of the land : - Messrs. Prickett; Capt. Bryan Holme Holme, Verno, Christchurch, Hants; Mr. John Briglin, Winsetts House; Sir James Robert Walker, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Sand Hutton, York; Thomas Charlton, The Old Hall; Snaith's exors., John Robert Grindell, Manor House; Capt. Edward Holme; St. John's College, Cambridge; Edward Skeffling; and John Marshall, Welwick.
This place belonged, at an early period, to the knightly family of De Skeffling, but it passed into other hands about the time of King Edward I. St. John's College, Cambridge, which owns about 50 acres, is supposed to have purchased this land in the time of Henry VIII. The Holme family, of Paull Holme and Skeffling, appear as owners of land here and lay impropriators and patrons of the church early in the 17th century. Their mansion stood on the north side of the church, and was surrounded by a moat. The manor house and farm are the property of Capt. Bryan Holme Holme, and are in the occupation of Mr. John Robert Grindell. In the grounds is an old mulberry tree, said to date from the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when many of those trees were planted in this neighbourhood. There is also an arched doorway built of stones, brought from Birstall Priory. The family of Bee was settled here from about the middle of the 17th century. Skeffling Hall, their residence, now called the Old Hall, was rebuilt by Edward Bee, Esq., in 1717. It is now the property and residence of Mr. Thomas Charlton, who purchased it from the Grindell family in 1890. Winsett house and farm are the property of Mr. John Briglin, the occupier. This place belonged to Thornton Abbey, and, at the dissolution of monasteries, it reverted to the crown. It was granted away by the king, and has since passed, by sale, through various families.
The village of Skeffling is pleasantly situated, four miles south-east of Patrington, half-a-mile from the Humber, and two-and-a-quarter miles from the German Ocean. The Church of St. Helen, a stone structure consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and an embattled western tower, containing two bells, dates from the 15th century. The nave is clerestoried and divided on each side from the aisles by four pointed arches of Early English character, resting on multangular pillars. The roofs of the chancel and aisles are of oak, and in one of the cross beams of the former is a beautifully carved head, said to represent a former prior of Birstall, and brought hither on the dissolution of that house. The oldest memorial is a 16th century slab to the Bilyth family, former owners of Winsetts. There are several tablets to members of the Holme family, and one to Edward Bee and his wife. He was the great grandson of Edward Bee, sergeant-at-law, who was descended from the ancient family of Bee, of St. Bees, Cumberland. The church is a venerable looking structure, but very greatly in need of repair. Capt. Edward Holme is the lay rector, and owner of the chancel and churchyard.
This church was given by Stephen, Earl of Albemarle, to the Priory of Birstall, which he made a cell to the Abbey of Albemarle, in Normandy; it was subsequently, in the reign of Richard II., transferred to the Abbot and Convent of Kirkstall, and remained in the patronage of that house till the Reformation. The original church stood in another place, and was rebuilt on its present site in 1466.
The living is a vicarage united with those of Easington and Kilnsea, gross yearly value £300, with the services of a curate, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. Henry Maister, M.A., of New Inn Hall, Oxford.
The Wesleyans have had a place of worship in the village since 1822. The present chapel is a neat structure of brick, with Sunday school attached, erected in 1870, at a cost of £300.
CHARITIES. - The Rev, John Holme left by his will, dated 1772, the sum of £75, and Henry Holme Esq., by will in 1777, bequeathed £100 for the benefit of the poor who do not receive parish relief. The interest of these sums is £6 iSs. 6d, a year.
Birstall or Burstall Priory was situated in this parish. Its origin is thus accounted for: the family of Albemarle, which had been handsomely rewarded by the Conqueror with the whole of Holderness, had founded a monastery near their ancestral home in Normandy, and had endowed it with many churches and tithes in Holderness and Lincolnshire. A prior or procurator, says Bishop Tanner, was soon after sent over here with some of their own monks to look after their rights and privileges in the churches and tithes thus acquired. At first they had no fit or proper habitation, and in 1219, Archbishop de Grey gave them the chapel of Byrstal with the great and small tithes of Skeffling for ever. Suitable buildings were forthwith erected, and a priory, or cell, ordained. As the monks were foreigners and subject to a foreign monastery, their lives here, during the subsequent and frequent wars between England and France, were subject to many inconveniences and hardships, consequent on the frequent seizure of their lands during hostilities. In 1395, the abbot and convent of St. Martin, Albemarle, in consideration of a money payment, transferred to the abbot and convent of Kirkstall in the West Riding, all their manors, lordships, lands, and possessions which they had in Birstall, Skeffling, Wythornsea, Holmeton, Thorn, Rymswell, Waxam, Frothingham, Holme, Aldeburgh, Thorp, Estnewton, Ringeburgh, Bewyke, Carleton, Linton, Edderwyke, Golden, Fosham, Pawle, Merfiete, Thorngumbald, Camerington, Skeckling, Ryhill, Newton Spital et Newton Constable, Newsam, Ravenser, Risom, and Brystwyke; and also the advowsons and patronage of the churches of Byrstall, Paule, Skeckling, Withernsea, Outhorne, and Aldburgh, and of the chapels of Merflete, Thorngumbald, Holme, Rymswell, Frothingham, Newsom, Colden, and Waxham. The priory continued till the dissolution of religious houses by Henry VIII. It stood near the Humber, but the site has been swept away by the encroachments of that river.
The manor of Birstall or Birstall Garth, some time after the dissolution of the priory, came into the possession of a branch of the Hildyard family. It subsequently passed through several hands, and was purchased early in the present century by Marmaduke Prickett, Esq., of Bridlington, and is still in the possession of this family.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.