SPROATLEY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


Wapentake of Holderness (Middle Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Aldborough - Petty Sessional Division of Middle Holderness - County Court District of Hedon - Poor Law Union of Skirlaugh - Rural Deanery of Hedon - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.

Sproatley is a parish and township comprising 1,372 acres of land. The surface is level, the soil clayey, and the subsoil clay. Wheat, oats, beans, and peas are the principal crops. The rateable value is £1,841, and the population in 1891 was 325. Sir F. A. Talbot Clifford-Constable, Bart., J.P., D.L., of Burton Constable, who is lord of the manor, and Dr. Kendell, of Thornhill House, Walton, Wakefield, are the chief landowners.

In the time of Edward the Confessor Sprotele was owned by three Englishmen named Basine, Forne, and Tor, who had here four carucates of land to be taxed; but their lands were filched from them by the Norman intruders, and given, with the rest of Holderness, to Drogo, who transferred them to Roger, his vassal. Soon afterwards the manor came into the possession of the de Veres. A family which took its name from the place and another named Gilt possessed lands here. In the reign of Philip and Mary the heirs of Sir Ralph Bulmer, Knt., held a third part of the manor of the Earl of Westmoreland. The Constables also owned a portion of the manor, and eventually obtained the entire lordship.

The village is situated on the Hull and Aldbrough road, seven miles north-east by east of the former place, and three-and-a-half miles north from Hedon station, on the Hull and Withernsea branch of the North-Eastern railway. The old village stood on the south-eastern side of the church. Sproatley had its church (St. Swithin) at the time of, or soon after, the Norman Conquest. It was certainly in existence as early as the reign of Henry I. (1100-1135), when it was given by Ralph de Gousle and Walter de Ver to the priory of Bridlington, with which house it remained till the Reformation. This old Norman edifice, having become very much dilapidated, was taken down in 1819, and a new church of white brick was built on the site. From an architectural point of view it was but an unworthy successor of the early church, and was disfigured by many incongruities. This building was taken down to below the window-sills in 1885, and rebuilt in the Perpendicular style, at a cost of about £1,500, and was re-opened in June, 1886. The plans were supplied by Messrs. Smith and Broderick, architects, Hull, and the church, as now restored, is a handsome edifice consisting of chancel, nave, north porch, and a western tower, with battlements and pinnacles. Three arches on each side of the nave support the high roof. The gallery at the west end has been removed, and the organ, an old instrument, built by "Father" Schmidt, placed at the north side of the chancel. The east window, of four lights, is filled with stained glass, by Clayton & Bell, of London, representing the "Agony in the Garden," the "Crucifixion," the "Descent from the Cross," and the "Resurrection." It was erected in 1888 by Mrs. Wall, in memory of her late husband, who was curate and rector of the parish for 38 years. The nave is furnished with open seats of pitchpine for 270 persons. The tower contains a peal of eight tubular bells, presented by the late rector, the Rev. Charles Joseph Wall, M.A.

When the foundation of the present church was being dug two ancient tombstones were found two feet below the surface. One was broken in pieces; the other, now placed under the communion table, bears on it, incised, a kind of pastoral staff, and over it a chalice, above which is a paten, with portions of the host. A hand proceeding from one side of the stone is represented in the act of taking the host from the paten. Above is inscribed in Longobardic capitals " ICI GIT WAVTER CHAPELAVN T KAHINGAM PRIEZ PYR L'AME. Another ancient tombstone, in good condition, is preserved in the floor of the chancel. It is of black marble, with a Latin inscription to George Cave, Esq., of Sproatley, who died in 1696. On the west wall is a brass to the English family of Hull, who presented the font to the church. In the churchyard are the base and part of the shaft of the old village cross, removed hither about 40 years ago,

The living is a rectory, valued in the Liber Regis at £7 0s. 10d., now worth £260 a year, with residence, in the gift of D. B. Kendell, Esq., M.B., who purchased the advowson from Sir Talbot Constable, and held by the Rev. Samuel Howard Hall, M.A., Cambridge. The tithes were commuted at the enclosure in 1762 for a rent-charge of £105. There are 79 acres of glebe.

The Wesleyan chapel is a small plain edifice, built about 85 years a go, and endowed with the interest of £20, left by Mrs. Deborah Harman.

The school, with master's house attached, is a handsome and commodious building of brick, with stone facings, erected in 1868, on a site given by the late rector. It is mixed, with a department for infants. There is accommodation for 130 children, and an average attendance of between 80 and 90. It possesses an endowment, left by Mrs. Bridget Briggs by will dated 1733. The testatrix bequeathed her share (two-thirds) of several small farms near Sheffield, for schooling and apprenticing poor children belonging to the parish of Sproatley. One of the farms was sold some years ago, and the proceeds invested in consols. The income from this endowment is about £300 a year. Free education is given to 14 boys and 14 girls, who receive £5 each on leaving school, or when they are put to some useful employment, and an additional £5 after the first year of service, provided they have conducted themselves well during that time. The school is further endowed with £9 yearly, the interest of £200 left by John Raines, Esq., in 1805. The rector, churchwardens, and overseers of the poor are ex-officio trustees, and the vicar of Hull has a voice in the appointment of the master.

The Police Station for the Middle Division of Holderness was erected here in 1849, on a site given by the late Sir Clifford-Constable, and was transferred to the East Riding constabulary in 1857. It contains a Court House, in which petty sessions are held monthly. The police force for the division consists of one superintendent, one inspector, two sergeants, and 10 constables.

The poor of the parish have 20s. a year left by an unknown donor out of a farm at Lelley, in the parish of Preston, and the rent of two acres of land at Fitling, left by Elizabeth Berier in 1686. There is also an endowment of eight acres of land in the parish, left by an unknown donor, for the benefit of the parish clerk. It is now let at a rental of £14 a year.

In a field adjoining the churchyard is a boulder stone, about five feet in diameter, and embedded several feet in the ground. Whence the erratic block came we do not know; it has evidently travelled some distance, as there is no rock of the same geological formation within many miles of Sproatley.

[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.