First World War Help Desk

WW1_AncestorsIf you missed Ken and Linda Haywood’s First World War Ancestor Help Desk at Bishopthorpe Library in June, then you can bring your queries along to two separate WW1 events this weekend.

1) Saturday, 21 November at York Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Road, Fishergate. 10.00am to 4.00pm.  Entrance, £1. The Fishergate, Fulford & Heslington Local History Society host this event on Saturday, 21 November. There will be displays, talks, postcards, publications, WW1 uniforms & memorabilia shown by many York and district History Groups and individuals.

Talks: 11.00am: The WW1 Men of Fishergate. 2.00pm: The Zeppelin Attacks on York.

2) Sunday, 22 November at York Explore, Library Square, York.  11.00am to 4.00pm.  Entrance free. This event is part of the Explore Your Archives Week – a nationwide campaign to showcase the unique potential of archives to bring communities together and tell exciting stories.  As well as the Help Desk and York WW1 Index, Ken and Linda will also be showing the original “Chocolate Letters” – the letters sent home to thank the Lord Mayor and Sheriff for the tins of chocolate they sent to York servicemen at Christmas 1914.

Visitors will also be able to see many rare documents held by York Archive.  Visits behind the scenes at the Archive have been arranged at the following times: 11.00am, 1.00pm and 2.00pm.

Dogs on the Acaster Lane Sports Field

We have received reports of dogs being walked regularly over the playing fields situated at Acaster Lane / Ferry Lane, despite there being signs forbidding it.
The groundsman often has to clean up dog faeces before he can cut the grass for the football and cricket fields.

Dog fouling is unsightly, unpleasant and can lead to toxocariasis in humans. Toxocariasis causes serious illness and even blindness.
This is clearly a health risk for the children and adults who use these facilities and we would ask that anyone walking a dog chooses another route.
Thank you.

Vernon House Update

City of York Council has agreed to let the Parish Council manage Vernon House for the benefit of users from the village. New doors will need to be fitted before Vernon House can re-open. This is to comply with rules under the updated Disability Discrimination Act. This work will commence on 4 September and it is hoped that Vernon House will be opened again shortly after this date. The laundry facilities will also have to be removed due to current Health & Safety regulations. Further details, when we know them, will be posted on the village notice board.


It’s a small world!

Many people in Bishopthorpe will know Les Cayton who, at 92, is one of Bishopthorpe’s oldest residents and knows a thing or two about the village.  Les’s interests are many but we didn’t know that, several years ago, he rescued a boat, the Highlander, from the depths of the Ouse near to the Archbishop’s Palace.  Years later his niece, Lesley Bradley, unexpectedly met the current owners of the boat who re-united Les with the vessel.  Lesley relates the happy story below:

A completely chance encounter took place in 2013 in the Hansom Cab, York, (as was) between myself, my partner Peter, and a really nice couple from Wath-Upon-Dearne, which resulted in the reunion of my uncle, Les Cayton and his old boat the Highlander.  The pub had been very full and having squeezed in beside Stuart Prigmore and Sheila Clarke, we struck up a conversation with them.  They explained that they travel up to York each year in their boat and like to moor up for several weeks at a time.  She is a real wooden boat they said, an ex-Whitby lifeboat called Highlander, and I was amazed.  I told them that she had been my uncle Les Cayton’s boat for quite some time, back in the 50’s to 70’s and I remembered her well.


The Highlander in 1959, a few years after Les rescued her.

Stuart and Sheila have owned her for the last 22 years, and since purchasing her from the Wakefield sea cadets she has been a real labour of love.  Fortunately Stuart is a carpenter by trade, so has been able to use his skills to repair, refit, modify and keep her going.  Sheila had also delved into Highlander’s history so of course they were both keen to meet up with Les to fill in some of the gaps.  We quickly organised a get together at their mooring alongside the Museum Gardens so they could all compare notes and Les could see his old boat once again.  Les explained to them how the Highlander had actually been under water, close to Bishopthorpe Palace, when he discovered and bought her.  Fortunately, he said, this had not been too much of a problem as his brother Eric Cayton was a fireman at the time and he and his colleagues from the York fire station had hoisted her up via chains in the trees and hosed her out as “an exercise”.




Les_and_StuartThe two skippers: Les Cayton (left) and Stuart Prigmore meet up by the river.


There followed a second meeting in Bishopthorpe so Les could show Stuart and Sheila where Highlander had lain submerged and subsequently been moored down Ferry Lane whilst she was in his possession.  They told Les how happy and grateful they were that he had rescued Highlander all those years ago so that they in turn have had the opportunity to own and enjoy her themselves.  Stuart and Sheila continue to keep in touch, feel a part of our family now and even refer to Les as “Uncle Les”.     We now know that Highlander was built in 1908 and began her lifeboat service in Whitby as the second Robert & Mary Ellis.  She was a 10 oared “self-righter” and saved 11 lives up until 1934 (weighing in at over 3 ton that can’t have been easy).  At this point she was sold out of service to Captain Milburn who converted her into a houseboat and renamed her Highlander.  So she is even older than Les (92), has been through two world wars and is still touching lives.






Highlander_2 Les back at the wheel of the Highlander. Photographs copyright Lesley Bradley.

Phew What A Thriller

Ebor_1On a beautiful summers evening (yes they do exist) the Ebor Players were set a record score of 101 to chase in this the 10th instalment of the annual cricket match against a Village Select XI.

Village Select captain Michael Dale won the toss and elected to bat. History is against those batting first with 6 of the previous 9 encounters being won by the team batting second.  Opening for the Village were debutants Linda Welch and Mark Askew. Unfortunately it was to be no beginners luck for Welch as 2 balls later she was heading for the pavilion (bowled Rose) for a well earned drink. Askew was made of sterner stuff surviving all the Players could throw at him retiring unbeaten on 12.

Next up was Lisa Thornton who again made a personal best equalling 3 before edging a ball off Pickering to wicket keeper Dunn. Joining her at the crease was captain Mike Dale who retired on 13 but failed to get a finishing 6 as the ball dropped agonisingly close to the boundary, this would prove to be significant. It also took his aggregate score to 1 behind the overall leader Stewart Harrison who was yet to bat and curiously Dale had chosen to put him late in the order, was he putting personal vanity ahead of the team?

Debutants Tim Taylor and Clare Pitchford were next in and neither troubled the scorer both being caught out by Dunn & Hughes off the bowling of Curran & Linfoot respectively. Next up were Ben Jemison who made a solid 7 before being caught Curran off the bowling of Beadle and Nigel Pendleton an Ebor Player playing for the Village side who made a more pedestrian 7 before being caught Dunn (his third of the night) off the bowling of Schofield. We were now down to the tail and would it wag? Well there was a distinct lack of wagging from Chris Gajewizc as she batted for 18 balls (a record) without scoring before Schofield bowled her. Next up was aggregate run record scorer Stewart Harrison who made a late appearance to keep his 100% record intact but with the overs running out would it be too late? A quick-fire unbeaten 10 kept his record intact as he now has 91 runs scored across all matches, but his retirement meant a rapid rule change was required to allow last man standing Jo Bewley to bat on her own. This she duly did making 7. With extras contributing a whopping 42 the Village team had scored a record 100.

An excellent opening partnership from David Rose unbeaten on 13 and Tracey Patrick a career best 10 (who needs the more talented Patrick?) set a solid base for the Players but then a succession of quick wickets for the Village saw Hughes, from an excellent running catch taken by Jemison, Holloway & Pickering fall for low scores, swinging the balance in favour of the Village side again. But there was more to come from the Players as their middle order flourished. First Ned Curran continued his heroics from last year with an unbeaten 10 then captain Dunn contributed an unbeaten 12. Whilst scoring at one end, Dunn was ably supported by Bev Linfoot who broke the earlier set record by Gajewizc of number of balls faced without scoring a run – 21 in this case. Those of you familiar with 1980’s cricket will remember the legendary Chris Tavare, Linfoot’s effort made Tavare look like Kevin Pietersen.

Whilst Linfoot was occupying the crease the score was creeping along but the Players were beginning to run out of batsmen. Matt Taylor joined the fray scoring steadily, and was joined by Alex Schofield after Linfoot was finally removed off the bowling of Dale who was becoming a bit desperate as he saw his sides record total slowly being reeled in. With Taylor now assuming the passive role, Schofield hit 2 boundaries to edge the score ever closer. He was on 9 with only 1 batsman due in, 6 needed to win and he duly obliged with a well struck 6 to get the Players the 101 needed and victory with an over to spare.

So victory to the Ebor Players to tie the overall series 5.5 and at the presentation one of their band was heard to say ‘I’ve never won a sporting medal before’ not sure this counted as a sporting occasion but the sentiment was right.

A big thank you must go to Bishopthorpe Cricket Club for allowing us to use their facilities and good luck to them as they chase trophies across a number of fronts.


Village Select won the toss and elected to bat.

Village Select XI

L Welch b Rose                                                 0

M Askew Retired                                                             12

L Thornton c Dunn b Pickering                    3

M Dale Retired                                                  12

T Taylor c Dunn b Curran                                               0

C Pitchford c Hughes b Linfoot                    0

B Jemison c Curran b Beadle                                        7

N Pendleton c Dunn b Schofield                 7

C Gajewizc b Schofield                                   0

S Harrison Retired                                                            10

J Bewley NOT OUT                                                           7

Extras                                                                                    42

Total                                                                                      100


Ebor Players

D Rose Retired                                                  13

T Patrick Retired                                                               10

P Hughes c Jemison b Thornton                 1

P Holloway RUN OUT (Welch)                     0

P Pickering b Taylor                                                         2

N Curran Retired                                                              10

A Dunn Retired                                                 12

B Linfoot b Dale                                                0

M Taylor NOT OUT                                                          9

A Schofield NOT OUT                                      15

Did not bat; C Beadle

Extras                                                                                    30

Total                                                                                      102

The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe : Arthur Holt

In the course of my research into the men whose names are inscribed on our village War Memorial, it occurred to me that it would be a worthwhile commemorative project to highlight their names on this website and in our parish magazine, Link, in the month which marks one hundred years since their deaths.   The previous man who died was Richard John Lumley in October, 1914.   As well as spending a few moments thinking of these men and their families, I hope that you find the details of some interest.

Ken Haywood HOLT, Arthur Private, 1796, 5th Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment. Died on the 3rd July, 1915, in the United Kingdom, age 23, from illness.

Buried in Bishopthorpe Churchyard. Remember him.

Explore Your First World War Heroes

The centenary of the First World War years has set many of us exploring the role our relatives played during those years of conflict.  Although access to online digitised records has maWW1_Ancestorsde the search easier, not all our questions are answered.

If your WW1 ancestors are proving to be a challenge, come along to Bishopthorpe Library on Wednesday, 17th and Saturday, 20th June, when Ken and Linda Haywood will be holding a First World War Family History Help-Desk Event.

Ken and Linda, who have been helping researchers for many years, will bring several finding aids and sources of information with them.  In particular, they will have the City of York World War 1 Card Index.  This invaluable Index lists the details of more than 10,000 men and women from the city who served with the Forces.

The research assistance applies both to those who survived the war and those who did not.

Bring your details and Ken and Linda will do their best to help you find what Great/Gran or Great/Grandad did in the war.

To make your search even more enjoyable, coffee and home-made cakes will be provided by the Library at a small charge.

Bishopthorpe Library:  Wed. 17th June (10.00am to 12.30pm & 2.00pm to 5.00pm) and Sat. 20th June (10.00am to 12.30pm)

Chairman’s Report 2015

Annual Parish Meeting held 28 April 2015

Report of Chairman for Financial Year Ended 31 March 2015

I would like to thank Cayley Godfrey, our Clerk, for bringing all our meetings together, making sense of our discussions, producing minutes, maintaining our financial records and still remaining sane! This year-end has been particularly busy for Cayley because we have been randomly chosen for a full external audit which involves further work over and above our routine annual accounts.

I would also like to thank all the other residents of the village who undertake various tasks around the village including Keith Thornton, Caretaker of the Village Hall; Marie Addinall, Village Hall Bookings Secretary; Linda Holland and Margaret Christie who open and close the Sensory Garden and Becky Clarke who opens and closes the Keble Park Play Area. I would also like to thank the volunteers who help out on various committees along with local contractors who undertake all kinds of work for us and are also prepared to respond at a moment’s notice when we have the occasional emergency.

As I said, Cayley maintains our accounts and during the past financial year we have spent £58k out of an income of £59k so we are managing to keep within budget.

We have continued to waive the rent for the village hall for the local Brownie Group and Bishopthorpe Playgroup/Tots to enable them to use it free of charge.

We have also provided £300 to the History Group to allow them to purchase of a new computer and we part fund the use of Ferry Lane facilities for the local Play Group and Football and Cricket Clubs.

Our current reserves are approximately £40k. We have therefore agreed to maintain the precept at the current level of £28k for the next financial year. One change next year to our accounts will be the start of a separate fund to allow for replacing major items within the Keble Park Play area and we intend to start this fund off with £5k.

Overall we will continue to maintain a reserve of approximately one year’s precept and by purchasing relevant insurance we believe we are fully covered in the event of an exceptional occurrence within the next financial year.

We started the financial year with a full complement of 10 on the Council but due to family reasons or work commitments Gillian Clifton and Mike Elsworth both resigned during the year and I would like to send my thanks to both for the time they served the village.

We have operated during the last few months of this financial year with 8 councillors but will be joined by Mark Askew after the election on May 7th.  We are still looking for a further councillor to bring us up to full complement for the next financial year – so if you know anyone who would be interested please ask them to speak to one of the current councillors.

Perhaps I should also mention that we are unpaid volunteers trying to maintain and improve the way of life of their friends and neighbours in the village to the best of their abilities – that’s my get-out if we have done or do anything you don’t like!

So what do we do?

We hold monthly meetings and these may be attended by residents to ask for help or clarification about some issue in the village and, as all Councillors live in the village, we are often asked questions during normal village life along with receiving letters requesting clarification or help on numerous subjects. Hopefully, the vast majority of queries have been taken on board and the issue is resolved it to the satisfaction of all concerned.

We have a achieved a good attendance record for our monthly meetings but of course these meetings only form a small part of what we do with several supporting committee and one-off meetings as well as meetings with third parties. And, of course, none of us are afraid of rolling up our sleeves to plant trees, mend fences and gates, rake over the bark and sand surfaces in the play area or undertake any of the other one-off tasks that come our way!

Our routine meetings review:

  • Planning Applications
  • Management of:
    • The Village Hall
    • Ferry Lane Pavilion and Sports Field
    • Allotments on Acaster Lane and Appleton Road
  • Support for the Young, Disabled and Elderly of the Village

Specifically during the past year we have had plans drawn up and are in the process of receiving quotes to upgrade the changing rooms and showers in the Sports Pavilion on Ferry Lane.

Successfully negotiated an agreement to move the Post Office from Main Street into Maynews on Sim Balk Lane.

Helped to co-ordinate the improvement to the Council Houses on Beech and Maple Avenue.  This work has resulted in an offer to upgrade the kitchen facilities in Vernon House free of charge by the contractor Keepmoat.  Along with this we have potentially negotiated a charging solution with City of York Council to ensure the long term future of Vernon House.

We also maintain links with other Parish Councils, City of York Council and various organisations to ensure we are compliant with both existing and new legislation.

This has included a requirement to allow anyone to record either sound and/or vision of all Parish Council meetings – why anyone should want to do so defeats me – but the process is now in place.

All in all I believe we have had another successful year and look forward to the future where we can further develop plans to maintain and improve the village in which we all live.

Stewart Harrison


A Brief History of the Bishopthorpe Postal Service

 Glynn_Drummond_POThe Post Office

Post Master Glynn Drummond outside Bishopthorpe Post Office in Main Street, just a few months before he retired.  (September 2014)


When Glynn Drummond announced he was going to retire as Bishopthorpe Postmaster, a tremor passed through the village. No one wished to lose the Post Office. However, as we now know, the P.O. has re-opened at the newsagent in Sim Balk Lane, and a collective sigh of relief was heard for miles.

It would, indeed, have been a great disappointment if the Post Office had closed down, bearing in mind that a postal service has operated in Bishopthorpe for 171 years. On 6th January 1844, just four years after the introduction of the Penny Post, the Postmaster General decided to establish an “official Post” for the residents of Bishopthorpe and surrounding area. A foot messenger set out from York Post Office each day at 6.00 a.m. delivering letters to the receivers of mail at the Mount, Dringhouses, Middlethorpe, Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis and across the ferry to Naburn. He returned to York with the day’s collection by 6.00 p.m. having reached Bishopthorpe at 4.45 p.m.

During the first two years, deliveries were also made on Sundays, much to the disapproval of certain inhabitants. It was not stated if Archbishop Harcourt’s influence prevailed but, following a communication sent to the Postmaster General, the Sunday post was withdrawn. The service was not re-instated until 1912.

The foot messenger was paid 14 shillings a week and the receivers, £4.00 per year. Letters were not delivered to individual properties, only to the receiving offices. These collecting points were located in existing businesses such as blacksmiths’ and wheelwrights’ workshops. The proprietors looked on this as a lucrative side line – not for the small P.O. allowance they were paid, but for the extra custom it brought through their doors when villagers called in to post or collect their letters.

PO_1899The building on the right of this photograph is now known as Chestnut Cottage, but it used to be divided into two separate buildings.  The left-hand side was the Post Office for at least fifty years until 1899.  The telegraph wire can just be seen jutting from the chimney stack.

The Sub – Post Mistresses

Unfortunately, the identity of Bishopthorpe’s first receiver is not known but, by the time the1851 Census was taken, Mrs. Jane Dobson, a widow, received mail at the house we now know as Chestnut Cottage in Chantry Lane. Mrs. Dobson died in 1865 and her successor was another widow; Mrs. Ellen Hawkridge, who supported her family by dressmaking. She lived near The Woodman but later moved into Chestnut Cottage.

Mrs. Hawkridge served the community for more than thirty years but not without trial and tribulation. During that time she coped with the new telegraph service which was connected to her premises in 1889.   Five years later a burglar smashed his way into the office stealing just £2 because Mrs. Hawkridge had already taken the week’s proceeds into York. When she retired in 1899, Archbishop Maclagan unsuccessfully appealed to the Postmaster General to provide her with a pension. However, sub-postmasters/mistresses were not considered to be full-time employees and therefore not eligible to receive a pension. There were no exceptions.

Gertrude Johnson set up the next sub-post office in the extension at the side of her brother’s house in Main Street [now no. 50, next door but one to The Ebor]. In her time, the business grew more complex: she dealt with insurance, savings, money orders, an express delivery service and, from 1908, the state pension. Her sister, Evelyn, served as the telegraph clerk which was just as well; in 1901, the Postmaster General offered the Parish Council the use of the telegraph at night, “in cases of urgent necessity.” The Council accepted the proposal at a charge of 10 shillings [50p]. Fortunately, all this extra work eventually earned Miss Johnson a half-day’s holiday on Saturdays, but not until eight years later.

In the 1920s, Joseph Bulmer merged the Post Office with his grocer’s shop in Main Street, eventually moving into the property we are familiar with, next door to The Marcia (see Glynn, above). After many decades, the Post Office has moved again where we hope it will continue to serve the people of Bishopthorpe for a long time to come.

Linda Haywood


Post Office Archives: Post Office Minutes: Post 35.

Bishopthorpe Parish Council Minutes.

1851 Census: HO107/2354/ f350, p2.

Slater’s Commercial Directory, 1855.

Wm. White’s Directory, 1867.

Steven’s Directory, 1881.

Yorkshire Gazette: 5 May 1894, p7.

After 171 years, Bishopthorpe Post Office Survives Closure Threat

Bish_POGlynn Drummond photographed in front of Bishopthorpe Post Office, Main Street, which closed in February 2015.


When Glynn Drummond announced he was going to retire as Bishopthorpe Postmaster, a tremor passed through the village. No one wished to lose the Post Office. However, as we now know, the P.O. has re-opened at the newsagent in Sim Balk Lane, and a collective sigh of relief was heard for miles.

It would, indeed, have been a great disappointment if the Post Office had closed down, bearing in mind that a postal service has operated in Bishopthorpe for 171 years. To read about the history of our local postal service, see the article in Local History.

The Story of York City Walls

Well-known York City Guide, Ivan Martin, will be giving the following illustrated talk:

City_WallsFrom Defence to Tourist Attraction: The Story of York City Walls on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 at 7.30pm Bishopthorpe Methodist Church Hall Hosted by Bishopthorpe Local History Group – everyone welcome. £3.50 including light refreshments.

The Wagoners’ Memorial, Sledmere

This striking First World War memorial, situated near to Sledmere House on the Yorkshire Wolds, tells the story of the pole wagon drivers who signed up to Sir Mark Sykes’s Wagoners’ Special Reserve.

Wagoners_MemorialJoin members of the Bishopthorpe Local History Group at an open meeting to hear Dorothy Nott’s illustrated talk:


“The Wagoners’ Memorial, Sledmere: A Sense of Place”


Tuesday, 24 March 2015 at 7.30pm. Bishopthorpe Methodist Church.   £3.50 to include light refreshments.

Chairman’s Notes March 2015

Bishopthorpe Parish Council Elections – Thursday 7 May 2015

  • Do you want to improve our village?
  • Have you any ideas or projects that could benefit the people who live in our village?
  • Would you like to work with like-minded people?
  • Are you able to spare one evening a month?

The Parish Council is not political but comprised of Bishopthorpe residents who are doing their best to maintain and improve our village.  If you are interested, why not come along to our Parish Council meeting on 24 March and discuss with the current councillors what the Parish Council does?

Then, if you would like to join us submit your nomination for the forthcoming election before 4pm on 9th April 2015 to the City of York Council Electoral Services Manager.

For further advice see the City of York webpage, contact any current councillor, or drop a note into the letter box on the Village Hall.

Vernon House – Temporary Closure?

I am writing this article in early February and have just read that City of York Council are putting forward a proposal to build six bungalows on three sites in Maple Avenue in Bishopthorpe.  The proposal includes the suggestion that Vernon House may be demolished to make way for 2 bungalows with a further 2 on the land currently used for parking opposite Vernon House and a final 2 on land at the junction of Maple Avenue and Beech Avenue.

As you are probably aware Vernon House was closed in early December by York Council due to health and safety concerns and it has now been established that the building will require significant investment before it could be re-opened for public use.  However, Vernon House is well used, mainly by the elderly in the village, for various clubs, societies and get-togethers.  During the current closure some of these activities have been put on hold until the expected re-opening of Vernon House as other venues are unavailable.

There was to be a meeting of the City Council on Tuesday 10 February about the development of these 6 bungalows along with a further 40 houses in York.  The Council’s cabinet is to be asked to agree to spending £25,000 on a feasibility study of the sites and this will include community consultation and necessary preparatory work.

It was pleasing to note that the City Council has already recognised the importance of Vernon House to the residents of Bishopthorpe as their current communication and consultation strategy includes community involvement and it is expected that there will be a public meeting to review the proposed plans with the right to agree, put forward amendments or object to the whole or part of the proposal.

It is accepted that further housing is needed in York but surely not at the expense of valuable assets such as Vernon House.

Parish Council Meeting

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on 24 March in the upstairs room of the Village Hall and all residents are welcome between 7:00 and 7:15 to put any questions or queries to the council.

Stewart Harrison

St Patrick’s Weekend Beer Festival

Bishopthorpe Sports and Social Club will be holding their fourth annual beer festival on the weekend of Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd March.


Welcoming the connoisseurs at last year’s festival.

There will be 2 ciders and 12 real ales on offer all at £3 a pint or try 1/3rd pint for just a pound.

The festival starts at 6pm on the Friday with the York blues band “Up In Smoke” featuring Michael Johnson from Bishopthorpe playing later in the evening.

Saturday kicks off at 12 noon until midnight with all the days sporting action on the TVs and big screen.

Bishopthorpe Club has won the York CAMRA Club of the year award for 2015, and a specially brewed beer called Hatrick will be available to celebrate the third year in a row that the Club has won this award, which will be presented on Saturday afternoon by representatives from York CAMRA.

Come down and enjoy the craic and sample a few different beers at the same time.