Bishopthorpe’s Boer War Soldiers

On Saturday, 31st October 2009, the rededication of the Yorkshire County War Memorial for the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899 -1902), took place at the Garden of Remembrance near York Minster.  More than a century had passed since its unveiling by Field Marshal Lord Roberts who had led the British Imperial forces in South Africa.  Unlike the day of the unveiling ceremony itself, in the summer of 1905, the weather for the rededication was gloriously sunny as clergy and civic dignitaries gathered in Duncombe Place.

Boer_1The rain poured down on 3 August 1905 during the unveiling ceremony of the Yorkshire County Memorial for the Anglo – Boer War near York Minster.


This act of rededication  and remembrance reminded me of a telling paragraph written by Rev. John Keble in an edition of the Bishopthorpe Parish Magazine.  The publication date was October 1900; the South African War had started the year previously and was to last until 1902.


Of the Bishopthorpe men who followed the colours, Rev. Keble wrote:

We have received several letters from Privates G. Homer and A. Pickwell, giving most interesting accounts of their experiences in the war, and are very glad to hear that they have been preserved both from wounds and sickness.  We hope that before long we shall hear of their safe return.  Private H. Buckle was severely wounded and has returned home; we are pleased to hear that he is much better.

Apart from this intriguing piece, the few surviving parish magazines of the period contain nothing else concerning the men’s plight.  It is also frustrating that Rev. Keble did not give the names in full.

Who were these men and what became of their letters?  Did the men survive; did Private Buckle return to South Africa? Research is presently being carried out to try and discover further details but, in the meantime, if you have any information that could help, please leave a comment or email the Bishopthorpe Local History Group at:

Further information about the War Memorial can be found in:

Meurig G. M. Jones, ‘The Yorkshire County Memorial: A history of the Yorkshire County Memorial, York, for the Second Anglo – Boer War, 1899 – 1902’, in: York Historian, 12: 1995, pp 62 – 81.

Our Village Hall and the New Archive Room

Village_Hall_1Happy faces outside the Village Hall as residents await the opening on Saturday, 5th September.

The wooden hoardings have been removed from the car park; the tarmac has been laid; the paint pots, saws and drills have disappeared – the ‘new’ Village Hall is open for action!  Earlier this year the Parish Council received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to extend and improve the building and, judging from the comments I have heard, everyone is delighted at the result.  The Village Hall Committee can be justly proud of what has been achieved, in particular, Lisa Thornton who spearheaded the project with great success. Having said that, Lisa doesn’t rest on her laurels; she told me that if anyone spots anything that needs altering or correcting, then let her know.

The two-storey extension to the front has enabled the entrance area to be enlarged and now has a lift and new staircase.  A corridor running parallel with the main hall allows access to the kitchen and new toilet facilities.

Upstairs, the walls of the main meeting room are covered with a large mural depicting scenes of the village – look closer and you may even be able to recognise a few local characters!  The mural vibrates with colour and was painted by a group of enthusiastic residents. Just along the corridor, past another new toilet with baby-changing facilities, is the room once mysteriously known as the ‘carpet room’.  If this room ever had a carpet, I’ve never seen it but, from now on, it will be the Bishopthorpe Community Archive Room.

It is a little bare at present as members of the Bishopthorpe Local History Group are still sorting out furniture and storage for the collection of material that has been gathered – and which continues to grow.  When the room is straightened out, it is hoped that it will be opened to members of the public on a regular basis.  Those who wish to search for their Bishopthorpe ancestors; browse through photographs; research the history of their house or, indeed, any aspect of Bishopthorpe history, will be welcome.  There will be more news on this at a later date.

Looking back to Saturday, 5th September, the grand re-opening of the Hall took place and many villagers arrived to view the changes for the first time.Village_Hall_2

Parish Council Chairman, Stewart Harrison, opens the refurbished Village Hall.


Village_Hall_3Parish Councillor, Lisa Thornton, enjoying the Chairman’s opening speech.


Village_Hall_4Queues form on the 5th September to view the new interior.

History Group members, Freda Smith, Gweneth Marshall, Susannah Smith and Alison Rutter, turned out to “man” the Archive Room for the open day and were overwhelmed by the response.

Despite experiencing a slight hitch with her lunch arrangements, Freda was easily persuaded to write a short account of a memorable occasion:

The start of a very busy day was the dismantling of our WW2 display in Bishopthorpe Library and putting it up again in the History Group’s Archive Room in the Village Hall.

Following this, we all went outside for the official opening by Stewart Harrison, Chairman of the Parish Council, at 11.00 a.m.

A lot of people came into our Archive Room. We had between one and eight members of the public in our room from just after 11.00 a.m. until 3.00 p.m., when Lisa Thornton said it was time to pack up. Most of the time we were very busy, so busy that some people were unable to gain entrance. In fact, Gweneth and I did not eat our sandwiches until about 1.20 p.m. – 1.30 p.m. and only had time for a very brief look around at the rest of the Hall.

Some people identified persons in photographs whom we had not yet been able to identify, while others chatted about various points of local interest and promised to provide us with further information. One lady said our display, photographs and maps were “fantastic”. We handed out quite a few of our history trail and pinfold leaflets.

Gweneth and I went back to the Village Hall for 7.30 p.m. for the buffet supper. Champagne was offered as we arrived and photographs were taken. The food was delicious. In addition to the raspberry Pavlova there were profiteroles and apple pie for puddings. There was also a cake in the shape of the Village Hall. Stewart Harrison and Lisa Thornton made speeches and Lisa was given a beautiful bunch of flowers.

Music was played throughout the meal and “All Souled Out” played afterwards. They were very good. We went home just after 10.00 p.m., having had an enjoyable day and evening.


Photographs courtesy of Freda Smith

War Time for an Archbishop

When war was declared in September 1939, Dr. William Temple was Archbishop of York.  He and his wife threw themselves into the war effort taking in evacuees and making the Palace and its grounds available to local organisations.  Three years later, in 1942, he was translated to Canterbury.

The following extract is taken from the Archbishop’s biography, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: His Life and Letters, by F. A. Iremonger.

On Sunday, 3 September [1939], the Archbishop Temple announced from his throne in the Minster that the country was at war, and that night the first sirens wailed over the city of York.

Changes were inevitable at Bishopthorpe, and were smoothly made.  Towards the end of their time the Archbishop and his wife took to living almost entirely in the north wing of the palace; a pleasant bedroom facing south and west did duty for Temple’s study, and a small room near the kitchen, looking out on the garden, for their dining-room.  Mrs. Temple and her invaluable secretary, Miss Sinker, became adept at improvising floor (and bed) space at the shortest notice; a dozen evacuees, including some children, occupied rooms at the end of the north wing and a flat over the garage; members of the Women’s Institute made jam in the old kitchen; for a few months the drawing-room was used for A. R. P. lectures, whist-drives, and dances; the Home Guard had a rifle-range for practice in the walled garden; and the local N. F. S. did not disguise their amusement when Temple took part in a rehearsal and lay flat on his front directing the nozzle of a stirrup-pump at an imaginary incendiary bomb.

An important local achievement was the institution of the York Council for War-time Service, which co-ordinated the work of all the canteens and clubs for the troops organized by many agencies; the voluntary helpers at one of the largest of these centres were organized by Mrs. Temple and Miss Sinker who, on several nights in the week, drove nine miles to the I.T.C. at Strensall; sometimes the Archbishop, who was Chairman of the Council,  came out to the canteen to talk with the men or to hold an occasional service for them in the canteen.

Yorkshire had its full share of attacks from the air; there were two devastating raids on Hull, and one on the city of York; but it was not until they reached Canterbury that the Archbishop and his wife were to know the horrors of an air-raid at first hand.

  1. A. Iremonger, William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: His Life and Letters, (OUP, 1948) pp385-6

Karate : The Bishopthorpe Connection

Karate_1There’s a small but thriving Karate club in Bishopthorpe that has been surprising some of the more established clubs with the success its members have been getting at National Championship events.

The senior instructor at the club, Sensei Brian Williams, invited to have a look at the club and see what goes on there. The club meets at 6:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays in St Andrew’s Church Hall, so your intrepid correspondent went down to the Church Hall a couple of weeks ago to meet Brian and the team.


You’re referred to as Sensei – what does that mean?

Sensei is a Japanese title often used to address doctors, musicians, professional people and so on. It’s a term of respect and in the martial arts world it’s used to address the teacher of a class of students; it’s a bit more than that though, and also means guide. Literally it translates as ‘one who has gone before’.


Getting ready for action – some of the club members, with Brian on the right 

Everyone probably has their own pre-conceptions about Karate from films and TV. What’s it really all about?

Kara means empty, and te means hand, so karate means empty hands, or the art of empty hand fighting. Karate originated around 400 years ago as a secret fighting art among the oppressed people of Okinawa, Japan. In its original form it had a simple aim; to kill your opponent before he has the chance to kill you. Its success meant that the techniques were closely guarded until the relatively more civilised 20th century, where it became increasingly popular as a method of physical and mental development, and a formidable system of self defence. Karate consists of techniques of punching, blocking, striking, and kicking, combined into specific patterns called kata (forms), and applied against opponents in kumite (controlled sparring). There are a number of different styles of karate practised around the world. The style we use in the Bishopthorpe club is Wado-ryu, really a fusion of karate and jujutsu. Wado-ryu means harmony, way, and style. But don’t think that by harmony we mean pacifism; it’s a way of explaining that sometimes yielding is more effective than a brute force approach.

So how does that work in practice?

One of the key principles of Wado-ryu is the Japanese term tai sabaki, which means body-management. This means using body manipulation to move the defender as well as the attacker into the best position. The way to achieve this is to ‘move along’ rather than to ‘move against’–or harmony rather than physical strength.

What sort of people come to the club?

We’re still pretty small but that means we’re friendly, and able to spend time with everyone in one-to-one sessions if they want to. There are about 15 active members at the moment, ranging from 8 years old to the over 60s. We encourage anyone to get involved; young or old, male or female. You don’t need to be that fit to start with, and you don’t need any special equipment. Just a t-shirt and jogging bottoms are fine to see if you like it. Once you’ve got the bug though you’ll find that you want to push yourself harder, train more, and maybe get the proper gear. It’s not expensive though.


We’ve all heard of black belts, but how does the belt system work?

Beginners start with a white belt, and work towards achieving a higher grade and progressing through the colours – white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and then black. We run grading sessions about every 4 months or so. If you achieve the black belt level there’s then the dan ranking; 1st to 5th dan denote technical expertise, with 6th to 10th dan being honorary ranks.

And what belts do club members have?

We’ve got the whole range of levels. We have 4 black belts at the moment and plenty at the other levels, so anyone starting from scratch won’t feel that they’re on their own. We’ve done very well in competitions over the last couple of years, particularly at the National Karate Championships at Cheshunt. We had Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in various disciplines, notably the Fighter and Kata events. Kata are pre-defined sequences of movement that need a lot of concentration, while the fighter events are competitions against similarly matched opponents. We got a team kata bronze too.


What should I do if I’d like to find out more, or even have a go?

We’re always pleased to see new faces at our club sessions, so you can just turn up on Mondays or Thursdays at the Church Hall at around 6:30pm, and we’ll take it from there. Alternatively you can contact me, Brian Williams, on 01904 701931 if you’d like to have a chat first. Our club secretary Lesley Edwards would also be happy to talk to anyone who’s thinking about getting involved. You can contact her on 01904 700380.

Thanks for talking to Brian, let’s hope the club goes from strength to strength.

On the Home Front in Bishopthorpe

Home_GuardBishopthorpe Home Guard on parade in Main Street.


Seventy years ago, on 3rd September 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcast to the nation.  It was a momentous yet typically downbeat statement that, apparently, most of the British nation listened to, having been alerted that it would contain the news that it did.

Mr. Chamberlain revealed that he had not received a response to his demand that the German Government should withdraw their troops from Poland, by the deadline of eleven o’ clock a.m. “I have to tell you”, he continued, “that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.”

To commemorate this historic anniversary, villagers’ reminiscences and photographs showing how they buckled down to life on the Home Front, can be seen in Bishopthorpe Library.

The Local History Group delved into the Bishopthorpe Community Archive for photographs and memories from recorded interviews.  Many of them reveal the indefatigable spirit and sense of humour which carried the villagers through six years of war.

Take, for example, Miss Carol Woollcombe’s recollection of listening to Neville Chamberlain’s announcement:

“We were listening to the radio in the study.  My sisters had been to Westmorland, where my aunts and my grandmother lived and they’d met my eldest uncle. And he was one of those chaps who was either up in the attacks or down in the dumps, you know. He was very mercurial. And he got very depressed over this news and my sisters came back and they said, ‘Uncle Cecil says we must sue to Hitler for the best terms we can get.’ And my mother said, ‘What on earth is Cecil thinking of? We shall fight to the death.’

I always remember her saying that. She was going to hit him with a hockey stick, I think.”

In Bishopthorpe, like everywhere else, men, women and children on the Home Front adapted to a different way of life; they put up with shortages; saved for the war effort; “dug for victory”; “got on with everything” and “did their bit”.  They joined organisations such as the Home Guard, the Civil Defence and the National Fire Service; they raised money for Spitfires and Hurricanes; they knitted much-needed socks for seamen.

WIBishopthorpe Womens’ Institute knitting socks for seamen using special ‘oily’ wool.


If you would like to see more, then visit Bishopthorpe Library where our display will be on show until 4 September.



Library opening hours:

Monday: 2 – 5 pm

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 2 – 7.30 pm

Thursday: 10 am – 12 noon and 2 – 5 pm

Friday: 2 – 7.30 pm


Jean on February 8, 2010 11:43 PM

Thank you Linda for your most interesting articles. Carol Woollcombe was my Sunday School teacher over fifty years ago. I well remember her class and playing with plasticine and sitting in small round backed wooden chairs in the vestry on Sunday mornings.

Veterans visit to the beaches of Normandy

June 2009 saw the 65th anniversary of the D Day landings, a crucial turning point in World War II.

Among the veterans who travelled to Normandy to take part in the commemorative events was Roy Rowbotham of Keble Park South. Roy was accompanied by his son Robin, who has written a great account of their experiences exclusively for the website.

‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning… We Will Remember Them.’

June 4th 2009

An early start (well for me) saw me and my father, Roy Rowbotham, in a taxi on our way to York station to pick up the coach that would take us to France. There we met up with the group of my Dad’s mates who would be going with us to celebrate, if celebrate is the right word, the 65th anniversary of the D Day landings at Normandy. I was tagging along as an official helper.

If I wasn’t looking forward to the 15 hour journey I’m sure my Dad and his chums certainly weren’t, the youngest one there being 84 years old. We set off in hearty spirits though with a dash across country stopping off a few times to pick up the odd straggler including our guide Paul Reed.

We eventually made it to Rouen late in the evening with no time even to hit the local wine bars, although a few of the group did us proud in the bar.

June 5th 2009

An early start (again!) and we were off to Colleville-Montgomery (the latter part of the towns name being taken in honour of the famous Field Marshall). What seemed a disorganised shambles soon turned out to be a very pleasant ceremony and march past by the veterans. After the service the veterans were once again marching, this time down towards the beach of Colleville. They looked a fine bunch proudly displaying their medals and marching in time like the good old days. A fly-by by a couple of spitfires and a Lancaster made the event even more special. The march took them to a square by the beach where they received special commemorative badges given to them by the local schoolchildren – a lovely touch.


Normandy_09_2After the ceremony we hung around for a while chatting with the locals (as best we could given my atrocious French) who wanted to shake the hands of all the veterans and tell them how pleased they were to have them back. This was no empty gesture but sincere gratitude from people genuinely thrilled to meet up with their heroes. This attitude was to be repeated many times throughout the weekend from the local population.


After a brief stop for fantastically fresh baguettes in Ouistreham on we went to the next service at Caens memorial gardens – a lovely open space and fitting lasting monument to those that lost their lives in Normandy. It was a very hot day and there was no messing about from my Dad as he informed the nearest senior officer that he wanted to sit for the ceremony – said officer duly obliging, leading him and a few of our gang to the ‘best seats’. This gave me and one of my fellow helpers a chance to take a look around the museum which was excellent – recommended if you’re ever in the area.

We ended a long and enjoyable day with an evening meal in Caens before heading off back to the hotel at Rouen – where we finished off the evening in the bar, enjoying a couple of beers with some Harley-D bikers who were just finishing off a cross Europe tour.

June 6th

Off early again and this time headed for Bayeux . We built in a couple of stops to see some of the battle areas on the way and ended up in Bayeux just after 11.00. After a battle with some over officious gendarmes (eventually solved with help from one of the locals who left the poor gendarme in no doubt about the amount of respect he should show these old liberators!) we made it in to the Bayeux cemetery and a service held in the presence of Prince Charles and President Sarkozy. My Dad got to have words with Prince Charles – telling him he ‘had the set now’ as he had met the Queen last time he was here. Despite the over zealous police activity (to be expected, I guess, with such dignitaries attending) it was a touching ceremony; well organised in a beautifully poignant setting and old Charlie spent a great deal of time chatting with the veterans which they appreciated. Fair play to him.

Normandy_09_4Next stop was the Chateau La Longue, scene of German local headquarters and some fierce fighting in 1944. A memorable event for those that had been there all those years ago made even more memorable on the day as the lady of the house came to greet the party and give everyone a tour around the grounds. The old boys were truly touched by her gesture.

The afternoon was to be a different story. Without going over too much old ground (see articles and letters in The Press) the ceremony at Arromanches was disorganisation taken to the extreme. From the moment we got there no one knew what was going on, traffic was at a standstill, the car parks were over flowing and it was obvious the organisers hadn’t expected this many veterans and spectators.

Normandy_09_5The afternoon started off happily enough – the sun was shining and most of the veterans managed to get a seat in the square where they took part in a badge giving ceremony and were treated to the odd marching band. Dad even got interviewed live on the BBC! The weather took a turn for the worse which caused problems,  but another fly-by from the Spitfires and the Lancaster was greeted with great cheers and buoyed everyone up.



Normandy_09_6The ceremony itself was very good although could have been shortened somewhat to lessen the time the veterans were stood in the pouring rain. I must admit to pleasant surprise when Gordon Brown and the rest of the VIPs joined the veterans on the parade ground for an impromptu rendition of Auld Lang Syne – a very touching moment. After the ceremony, with the rain still continuing to pour down, we faced the prospect of a long uncomfortable wait for our coach – but luckily our tour guide, Paul, had a word with his friend, BBC’s Dan Snow, who then led our cold, wet and bedraggled troupe to the BBC hospitality tent where they provided hot soup and coffee for the gang. So a big thanks to Paul, Dan and the BBC!!

We missed our meal in Merville but sated our hunger in a service station on the way back to Rouen!

June 7th

This was to prove my favourite day. No deadlines to meet, no ceremonies to attend – we could take our time and spend the day visiting places the group wanted to see.

Normandy_09_7The day started off with a trip to a cemetery and the burial spot of one of the party’s (Arthur Wragg) brother in law. Our resident lay preacher Burt Barrat gave a poignant eulogy – it was a very moving and humbling experience.

After that we went on a tour around the Normandy countryside and once again were made very welcome by the locals. Lunch was taken at Pegasus Bridge, a place I was looking forward to seeing having read Ambrose’s book about the encounter, a brilliant feat of soldiering whereby troops of 6th Airborne led by Major John Howard held this key bridge over the night of the 6th June until relieved the following day (One of the members of the reinforcements was actor Richard Todd who would later play Major Howard in the film The Longest Day ). We visited the famous Gondree Cafe and the museum commemorating the battle which still houses the original bridge.

Normandy_09_8After lunch we carried on our tour. First stop was the Green Howard memorial at Crepon as we had a former regiment member (Ken Cooke) with us. This stop was also notable for the meeting of an American couple who had just driven all the way from the South of Spain to ‘meet some vets’. They took pictures of some of our mob and were obviously very moved by the whole experience.

Our final visit of the day was to a memorial to Hill 112. The Battle for Hill 112, known as the “Verdun of Normandy” was crucial for both sides in 1944 and the hill swapped hands several times until the Allies held it on August 3. The battles were hard and bloody and we were honoured to have a veteran of the battle amongst us.

And then it was time for return to the hotel, via supper in Caen. We were all tired and emotional but this didn’t stop a few visiting the hotel bar. We were off early the next morning and an uneventful trip home eventually saw us in York before midnight.

Despite the problems in Arromanches I think everyone had enjoyed the experience and found it rewarding. Personally I felt very honoured to be amongst this bunch of heroes. I was made to feel very welcomed by the whole group and it is an experience I will never forget.



BERNI HENNESSY | November 3, 2009 2:51 AM



hazel burgin | September 19, 2009 6:59 PM

Well done Uncle Roy and all your veteran friends. I was immensely proud . You restored my failing faith in mankind. Thank you.


Pasting for Parish Council

A weakened Parish Council team were put to the sword by the Ebor Players in the annual Cricket Match.

Having lost the toss for the third year in a row, the Parish Council were put in to bat, by opposing captain Lisa Thornton. Opening the batting were Jo Bewley & Liam Godfrey, minutes later Bewley was walking back to the scoreboard, victim of an excellent catch by Ben Smith (his first of 3) off the bowling of Julia Sykes, without having troubled the scorers, one of whom was her own dad who had come all the way from Doncaster. However, Bewley family honour was to be restored later.

Godfrey batted on, but was pinned down by tight bowling from ‘dancing partner’ Nigel Pendleton and was guilty of running out Malcolm Higgins with some over exuberant calling. Another partner was seen of in the form of Martin Flook who scored 4 before being caught by ‘Dame’ David Rose off the bowling of Chris Higgins. The runs were coming too slowly and Godfrey eventually succumbed for 7 having batted for 5 overs caught & bowled Smith.

Catherine Bruce was joined at the crease by debutant Ian Jemison, unfortunately 1 ball later he was heading in the opposite direction. Things were looking a little dire now for the Parish Council as no one was making a score. However Bruce battled on was now joined by another debutant 73 year old Barbara Bewley playing her first ever game of cricket and a late replacement at that. She hung around before being cruelly run out. Captain Stewart Harrison now joined the fray. Shortly afterwards Bruce departed caught Dunn bowled Tim Bruce (any relation?) Harrison was joined by another debutant Richard Smyth for the Parish Councils most fruitful partnership of the evening. Finally, the runs began to flow as Harrison got his eye in and scored an impressive 13 before having to retire (for the uninitiated any batsman scoring 10 or more has to retire.) Smyth also appeared comfortable, hitting a boundary and was joined by Cayley Godfrey who scored a personal best 2 before being caught by Smith off the bowling of Curran. The innings ended with Smyth being out on 7 caught Dunn bowled Patrick. Andrew Dunn carrying his bat having failed to trouble the scorers.

With extras, (as usual the highest scorer) the Parish Council had scored a record 69, but would it be enough?

The Ebor Players began in good style with openers Tim Bruce & David Rose starting well, despite being pinned down to some extent by tight bowling from Malcolm Higgins & Martin Flook. Then the Parish Council struck with Ian Jemison bowling Rose for 2. Bruce marched on and eventually retired on 10. Julia Sykes now occupied the crease and after 2 singles was bowled by Cayley Godfrey (her first ever wicket.) However help was at hand in the shape of debutant Steve Patrick and Ben Smith, a quick flurry of boundaries followed and both players retired undefeated on double figures. It now looked like a formality for the Ebor Players. Dunn junior and Diane Curran now occupied the crease with only a few runs needed when Curran was bowled by our oldest player Barbara Bewley. This only delayed the inevitable and new batsman Sarah Pendleton and Dunn moved the score ever closer to the winning line.

In what turned out to be the last over Dunn Senior was bowling to Dunn Junior and despite hitting his wicket twice with some devily deceptive bowling, the bails stayed intact, so not out. Dunn Junior ultimately had the honour of hitting the winning runs via a boundary.

So a convincing victory to the Ebor Players with 5 overs to spare and for the loss of only 3 wickets. They now lead the series 3.1.


Parish Council

J Bewley c Smith b Sykes 0

L Godfrey c&b Smith 7

M Flook c Rose b Higgins 4

M Higgins RUN OUT 0

C Bruce c Dunn b Bruce 4

I Jemison b Smith 0

B Bewley RUN OUT 0

S Harrison RETIRED 13

R Smyth c Dunn b Patrick 7

C Godfrey c Smith b Curran 2

A Dunn NOT OUT 0

Extras 32

Total 69

Ebor Players

T Bruce RETIRED 10

D Rose b Jemison 2

J Sykes b C Godfrey 2

S Patrick RETIRED 12

B Smith RETIRED 14

A Dunn NOT OUT 9

D Curran b B Bewley 1

S Pendleton NOT OUT 3

Extras 18

Total 71

Allotment Holders Party

If you happened to pass by Acaster Lane allotments on Sunday afternoon you might have wondered what was going on – flags, food, and lots of people milling about without a garden fork in sight. Well it was the allotment holders summer party, which had been advertised with a poster on the gate as ‘2 til 4, if wet cancelled!’.

Well at 2 it was dry, so as new allotment holders we turned up with a bag of sausage rolls, a bottle of wine, and the hope of getting a few tips about the broccolli (it’s all gone to seed this year).

We were greeted by an enthusiastic group of gardeners who had also taken an optimistic view of the weather and brought along tasty cakes, pizza, quiches and the like – not a sprout in sight.

After getting to know everyone we got down to the serious business of exchanging hints and tips, and discovered that for some reason carrots don’t seem to like growing in Acaster Lane. Does anyone know why?

The weather then took a turn for the worse and tried to deter us with heavy rain and even the odd rumble of thunder. But allotment holders are made of stern stuff and we held the line and partied on. We were still there when the rain stopped and at 4 o’clock when things ended we made a soggy exit, the new owners of a gooseberry bush, a basil plant, and as much rhubarb as we could carry – plus a load of new friends.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s party, and thanks very much to all those who helped to organise the event. Here are a couple of photos taken before the flood…

allotment_2 allotment_1

The Pinfold – A Movable Beast!

Pinfold_1The modern ‘pinfold’ was built on the site of an earlier structure which was demolished in 1968. But before this, in 1829, a new pinfold was built across the road.


Two years ago, when I wrote a history of the Bishopthorpe pinfold for the Millennium Trust, there was one thing that puzzled me:  Was the pinfold always in the same place?

Bishopthorpe was first surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1846 and the resulting map published five years later.  On that map, the pinfold is shown near to the entrance to Copmanthorpe Lane.  The OS re-surveyed the village in 1891 and this revealed the pinfold tucked into the end of a field – i.e. where the modern, lottery-funded structure is now situated, between Appleton Road and Copmanthorpe Lane.

Pinfold_2The 1846 OS Map showing the pinfold built outside Ann Challenger’s orchard in 1829 (where the Methodist Church is now situated).






The position of the pinfold surveyed in 1891.  This one probably replaced the pinfold (seen above in 1846) that Archbishop Thomson demolished in 1865. 


At first, I questioned the accuracy of the 1846 survey, but the position of the pinfold at that time was corroborated by another plan produced in the same year by the proposed London & York Railway.  I was mystified – why would it be necessary to demolish a brick pinfold and rebuild it a few metres away?  I had no answer, but unexpectedly discovered some further information.

Last summer, while researching the Bishopthorpe Manor Court Minute Book, I found that the pinfold had, indeed, been rebuilt in a different position.  At a court dated 26 October 1829, an item caught my eye:  A “new” pinfold was erected in front of Ann Challenger’s orchard – but it was there “under sufferance”.  The overseer had to pay her two pence per annum as “an acknowledgement that it is to be removed when she may require”.

The orchard in question was the long field in which the Methodist Church and the semi-detached houses in Sim Balk Lane are now situated.  Whether Mrs. Challenger ever requested the pinfold to be removed is not recorded, but one was taken down some years later by the Lord of the Manor, Archbishop Thomson.

However, Dr. Thomson’s “appropriation” of the site of the pinfold for his private use was met with some indignation.  At the manor court leet held on the 28 October 1865, twelve local jurymen told the Archbishop’s steward that “great public inconvenience” had been experienced by the removal of the pinfold.  After all, where would the pinder enclose straying animals that caused a nuisance?  The jurymen trusted that the Lord of the Manor would “obviate such inconvenience in future by causing another Pinfold to be erected in some convenient place within the Manor”.

It can only be presumed from these two entries – for there are no others concerning the pinfold – that the pound which Archbishop Thomson pulled down was the one situated outside Ann Challenger’s orchard.  Unfortunately, it is not known why the Archbishop should have removed such a useful structure at the cost of upsetting the Bishopthorpe householders.

Eventually, another pinfold was built and it is likely to be the same one that appears on the 1891 survey.  This pinfold remained in situ until 1968 when the Parish Council deemed it an “eyesore” and had it demolished.

In 2007, the base of this pinfold was unearthed and the new, lottery-funded structure was built within its foundations.  Bricks made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were discovered.  The earlier bricks suggest that they were re-cycled from a similar structure built some time before 1829; but where that was situated is anyone’s guess.

Linda Haywood


York Reference Library: Ordnance Survey Maps published 1851, 1893.

Borthwick Institute: Manor of Bishopthorpe: CCAb 12/Bis: Minute Book, 1829 – 1911.

York City Archives: (Railway Deposited Plans) DP 2/31, Part 3, Sheet 93; DP 2/33a, Book of Reference, Part 3: Bawtry to York.


Jean on August 5, 2009 9:20 PM

Most interesting article Linda. The pre-1968 Pinfold was a favourite place for sitting and watching the traffic both motorized and foot in the “five road ends” area of the village. It, being a little taller than the current pinfold appears to be, afforded a little shelter from the wind which was often welcome.

You mention the term “Pinder” do you have any information on this post, who held it and the last time it was occupied?

Linda on August 12, 2009 5:52 PM

Hello Jean – Thanks very much for your comments.

Regarding the pinder – this was an official position held by a tenant of a manor. He was the keeper of the manorial pound or pinfold where straying animals were held until a fine was paid for their release. The tenants were obliged to carry out a number of unpaid duties for the lord of the manor. Other official positions were the constable and affeerer (he assessed the amount of a fine). These officials were elected annually at a manor court.

Having said that, some villagers continued in the post for several years. They were substitutes for the men who were officially elected, and were usually paid a small sum by those men in return for carrying out their duty. The Bishopthorpe Manor Court Minute Book mentioned in the sources above, lists the officials.

For example, in the 1860s, Edward Hutton continued to be recorded as the pinder for some years. It is interesting to note that Mr. Geoff Dixon (born in the village in 1914) was told by his great aunts that Mary Hutton was the last ‘key holder’ of the pinfold. Mary’s father was Edward Hutton. How long she continued to act in this capacity is not known; she died in 1926 aged 82. If the 20th century seems rather late to need the services of a pinder, then remember that many villagers kept pigs in piggeries in their back gardens. An escaped pig was a nuisance to all.

If you wish to read more about the history of the pinfold, see the Archive section.

Jean on February 9, 2010 12:07 AM

Great information Linda, Thanks.

Mr. Woodburn who was the village postmaster kept a “Back Garden Pig” and I would guess that this was as late as the 1960s. We helped to feed the pig(s). Bill Gatenby would come around on Sunday morning and empty the “pig bin” from our back garden where my parents had dutifully placed all the scrap food and peelings for the week. Bill had been the village policeman I believe and in retirement this was one of his little jobs. What Bill got from the deal I don’t know, but we received a bag of Terry’s mishapes (reject chocolates) each Christmas.

Fresh Air and Fun!

Spring is in the air and local Clubs and Societies start to think of annual outings – at least they used to do!  In the late 1940s, the Acaster and Bishopthorpe Fishing Club would hire a bus and take a summer away day for a picnic and – what?  They look a bit over-dressed for a spot of fishing!  Mrs Lily Foggin, who donated the following photographs to the Archive, told me that on these outings her husband Reg, “Left me with the bairns – well, I wasn’t interested in fishing.”

Foggin_Reg_Day_OutReg Foggin can be seen seated in the centre row, third from the right.  Next to him on the right are Eric Barton and Arthur Schofield.  Does anyone know where this photograph was taken?

To be fair, Mrs. Foggin did get away from the bairns occasionally. However, the ladies, of course, followed more cultural pursuits!




Mothers_Union_1947In 1947, the Bishopthorpe Mother’s Union enjoyed a trip to Fountains Abbey.  Mrs. Foggin is standing on the left in the striped skirt.

Mothers_Union_1952Sporting their Sunday-best outfits, the Mother’s Union visited Ripon in 1952.  Mrs. Lily Foggin is kneeling in the centre, front row, with Beatrice Fountain and Elsie Cox. Standing behind in a white suit and clutching a smart bag, is Mrs. Irene Thackrah. They all seem to be relishing their precious day of fresh air and fun!


Can you provide more information about these photographs?  Just add a comment below.

Parish Council Well and Truly Dunn

Competing for the Dunn Cup the inaugural darts match between the Ebor Players & Parish Council took place recently at the Ebor Inn.

Darts_2009Played on a match play format with a best of 5 rubbers, first up were the ladies  doubles  with Chris Gajewicz & Diane Curran representing the Players and Cllr. Catherine Bruce (ex Barclays Bank darts team) & Clerk Cayley Godfrey representing the Council. After a fine 100+ start from Cllr. Bruce the Players eventually ground them down to secure victory in a close fought match. First blood to the Players.

Next up in the Mixed Doubles were David ‘The Dame’ Rose with Bev Linfoot against Jo Bewley & Cllr. Andrew Dunn. Another close match ensued, the Players needed 11 to finish with Mrs Linfoot duly obliging. 2.0 to the Players.


Mens Doubles next to the tune ‘where have all the young men gone?’ not gone to London but defected to the Parish Council, the Players were represented by Lisa Thornton & Tracey Patrick reprising their Rank & Phile role from last years Panto. Opposing them were the Parish Council Dream team of Chairman Stewart Harrison and Tom ‘Traitor’ Davis. However dream team or no they were soon put to the sword by Thornton & Patrick showing that they ‘weren’t in trouble’ at all to take an unassailable lead for the Players.

The remaining two singles matches were for pride only with Julia Sykes against Cllr. Bruce. Sykes forgot which game she was playing with a most aggressive follow through (service style) which saw her trip over the ocky at one stage (you needed to be there). Nevertheless, despite an unconventional style and in a very close match she triumphed to give the Players a 4-0 lead. A whitewash beckoned.

Up steps team captain Liam Godfrey against No 1 seed Cllr. Chris Dale to uphold the honour of our elected representatives. After early exchanges the match was delicately poised Godfrey needing 5 and Dale 10. The latter holed out on 10 to prevent the whitewash.

An enjoyable night was had by all, thanks must go to the Ebor Inn for hosting the event and providing food, and the Parish Council for being such good sports.