If you pass by the Sensory Garden, next to Bishopthorpe Library, don’t be alarmed if you hear the voice of the late butcher Geoffrey Dixon floating over the bushes into Main Street. Or, indeed, the voices of Ken and Joyce Baldwin, Gordon Smith and Elizabeth (Betty) Harris. For theirs are the first recordings to be placed on the Listening Post in the Sensory Garden.
In 2001 the Bishopthorpe Local History Group started an Oral History Project recording interviews with village residents and former residents. So far, almost 80 people have been recorded. To share their memories, we have set up the Listening Post which contains four edited highlights of three to four minutes each. It is intended to change the recordings on a regular basis.
Press the buttons now and you will hear Geoff Dixon remembering the problems of rationing meat during WW2; Ken Baldwin reminiscing about life in the National Service; Gordon Smith on being Archbishop Hope’s chauffeur and when the Queen lunched at the Palace during Royal Ascot; and Elizabeth (Betty) Harris tells of moving into the ‘bare and austere’ Woodman Inn in 1960 with her then husband, Don Nixon, and when Reg the pianist played himself through the floorboards during a sing-song!
On the 7 August, and with many friends present, we launched the solar-panelled Listening Post on a fine, sunny, and very enjoyable evening, with plenty of wine flowing. Elizabeth (Betty) Harris and Geoff Dixon’s nephew, Robert Dixon, joined us with members of their families. We were also lucky to have Archbishop Stephen, his wife Mrs. Rebecca Cottrell, and also their dog drop in! After exploring the Post, the Archbishop called the project “wonderfully inspiring”. All in all it was a splendid evening. So do please call in to the Sensory Garden, enjoy the flowers and the voices of times past.
We wish to thank members of Bishopthorpe Parish Council and Explore Bishopthorpe Library for their help and support with the project.
“The tumult and the shouting dies,
The captains and the kings depart….”
On Monday 24th July 2000, I was the last of the Pageant organisers on site at Bishopthorpe Palace. The previous day, many of the participants had turned up and cleared almost everything away, but the toilets, caravans, rubbish bins and generators had to wait for Monday collection.
For me there were feelings of pride at our success, relief at our avoidance of disaster and pleasure in new friendships made.
So much had been done by so many people from Bishopthorpe and Acaster over the preceding year. A grant from the Millennium Fund had been secured, use of the Palace and its grounds generously granted by our Archbishop David Hope, the script written, the parts cast, many and frequent rehearsals held. Individuals and businesses kindly loaned their equipment, their animals and their services. We had identified suppliers and contractors for insurance, security, tent, stands, bar, toilets, etc. Licences had been obtained for the use of animals, children, toilets, explosives…
There were, of course, unanticipated problems to overcome. Some were quite major such as the need for access through Chantry Lane construction works. Others are trivial in retrospect but important at the time such as my (it can now be revealed) locking out the Home Guard between scenes. (Surely their predecessors would have learned to climb over fences!) Even the last job was not destined to be easy. A generator was too heavy to be towed out of the sunken garden. A tipper truck from Chantry Lane came to our rescue.
The week itself was a triumph. The sun shone. After the first night we had full houses. The performances went well. About a thousand local people enjoyed an event in which about two hundred friends and family participated. Over £17,000 was raised for the villages.
And here are some further memories of the Millennium Pageant from Anona Dawick
I remember David Hope’s warm acceptance of our presence at the Palace, his willingness to allow us free access to the ground floor rooms and the ‘stable’ facilities and his very effective prayers for fine weather on each performance. Unfortunately the spell wore off a few weeks later when floods after torrential rain filled the Palace cellars!
I remember the humour and dedication shown by all the participants in the enterprise: actors, stage crews, costume designers, choreographers, and front of house alike.
I directed three of the episodes in the production. I was especially grateful for the help of the Manager at Murton who provided the costumes for the Roman soldiers and drilled them, marching to the chant of “sin-dek’ (Sinister! Dexter Left Right). My second scene was a 16th century scene involved a dancing routine featuring the Volta and a pavane which were coached by Sandra Smith and executed delightfully by the actors. I also loved the expressions of the maids who were peeping through a window of the Palace to watch the ‘toffs’ dancing.
My third episode featured a performance by our previous vicar. It was based on the flood of 1892. and John Bettridge designed an ingenious boat constructed over his own trailer so it could be wheeled over the imaginary flood water to enable the Rev John Keble and two church wardens to disembark up the Palace steps. Several weeks later they would have needed a real boat!
The Millennium Pageant was certainly a wonderful occasion which enabled the whole village to come together and co-operate in so many ways. Fortunately the performance was professionally filmed so we still have the video to bring it back to life. My thanks to everyone involved.
Pageant memories from John Bettridge
THE PAGEANT PROPS TEAM
My involvement in the pageant started when a note dropped through our letter box inviting people in the village to help in various ways. I had recently set up a workshop in our barn with some woodworking machinery and I replied to say that I could probably help make some props and scenery. A reply arrived to say that before volunteering I should be aware of the list of props required – this included: 15 Roman soldiers’ uniforms complete with shields and swords; an assortment of staves; a large medieval chair (or throne); a Roman altar (portable); an effigy of an archbishop; 100 flaming torches; ways to simulate explosions (off stage); Army Bren guns and rifles for the Home Guard scene; and – particularly challenging – a boat to hold 3 people which could move across the tarmac in front of the palace.
It was clear that we would need a team of people to tackle these projects, so we got together a group of 6 enthusiasts with appropriate skills including John Lynch (builder) and Lin Taylor who had lots of relevant artistic skills. We had many meetings at our house to plan our work and do the research – for example, none of us had any idea what a portable Roman altar looked like – and the internet was not as widely used as it is today.
Making the boat was a challenge. Thankfully, Ian Jemison (Jemison Engineering) who lives very close to the palace, came to our rescue by making a metal front end (complete with wheel) to be joined on to my old wooden car trailer; this provided an excellent base on which a pretend wooden boat could be built. All this took time and my wife and I remember finishing the woodwork on the boat and painting it just a few hours before the dress rehearsal!
Luckily, we found a professional company which could supply the Roman soldiers’ uniforms and the flaming torches for the procession. A local military museum lent us the Army Bren guns and rifles. We set up a store for all the props and equipment in the Palace basement but looking after the guns and rifles was more of a challenge. We imagined the headlines in the press if some had gone missing – perhaps “arms cache in Archbishop of York’s palace raided”, so I found myself (with a helper) walking home after performances to store them in our house. A few neighbours were somewhat surprised to see guns on the streets of Bishopthorpe late at night.
Working as a props team turned out to be not only rewarding and good fun but also a way of making new friends. It showed us the value of having a community project which was sufficiently challenging to bring us together to work as a team.
Postscript. When Bishopthorpe Main Street was flooded a few months after the pageant, I remember a neighbour standing in about 3 feet of water, calling out to me “have you still got your boat?”
Pageant Ale – courtesy of Martin Dudley
Could this be the last surviving bottle of Pageant Ale? Did you try it? When did you drink your last bottle?
There are more personal pageant memories in the public Comments section of this article.
If you don’t currently see these comments then Click Here to view the full article including the comments at the bottom of the article.
The memories and comments on this page show some individuals’ experiences of the Pageant and its aftermath. Many others took part in and enjoyed that week in 2000. I hope the recollections published here will provide for posterity some flavour not simply of what happened but of how village life was affected. You are still welcome at any time to add your comments, to help complete the picture.
One important fact still needs to be emphasised. Our Director, Andrew Dunn, worked almost full time on the project for months, helped and supported throughout by his wife, Romy. Sadly, Andrew is no longer with us, but it is to him that we should dedicate these reminiscences. Thank you, Andrew!
P.S. when the Village Hall re-opens, any written memories of the event can be handed in to the Bishopthorpe Community Archive. We also have the facility to record memories for the Archive if anyone wishes to contact us through email@example.com
First performed in 1928, The Bishopthorpe Play, (later Pageant) was written by Canon Perkins and set against the historic backdrop of the Palace. It aimed to represent, in theatrical form, the long and colourful history of our village, including the very first Roman settlers, the trial and execution of Archbishop Scrope in the thirteenth century, and the village of Charles I in the seventeenth century. Since then there have been performances in 1930, 1954, 1956, 1965 and 1970 when it is alleged the then Archbishop had an unplanned part in the scene helping “riotors” gain access to the Palace. Nothing was heard of the pageant for nearly 30 years and indeed the 1988 publication, Bishopthorpe Remembered, speculated, “Will it ever be seen again?” Well, thanks to the efforts of the late Andrew Dunn and the generous co-operation of Archbishop Hope, it was, and complete with a new scene representing the village in the Second World War.
Few of us will forget those lovely summer nights of July playing to packed houses which included the Archbishop and the Lord Mayor of York. But more importantly, just as in 1928, it brought the community together forging new friendships and providing great fun for those who had acted before and those who had not, and ultimately helping to leave a lasting legacy, in the form of funds which have since been used to help various village groups and activities.
As Liam quoted – “Will it ever be seen again?” It should be noted that, if anyone wishes to take up the reins, the Bishopthorpe Community Archive in the Village Hall houses extensive material relating to the Millennium Pageant, this includes administration and funding documents, photographs and ephemera. An eighth pageant- will it ever be seen?
PAGEANT ALE: This may be an unlikely request, but – does anyone have a bottle of Pageant Ale they can donate to the Archive?
It was not a simple process for an Archbishop of York to move into – or out of – Bishopthorpe Palace. This enormous building did not come fully furnished and each new incumbent was expected to supply the premises with fittings and furniture to suit themselves. Take, for example, Dr. Charles Longley who, in 1862, had only been Archbishop of York for two years when he was translated to Canterbury. He did not want the furniture he bought for Bishopthorpe and offered to sell it to his successor, Dr. William Thomson. If he did not want it, it would go for auction. The Archbishop-elect found it difficult to make up his mind. It would save him a great deal of expense moving into a large, fully-furnished house and, after all, as he wrote to Zoe his wife, “… we could replace dull carpets, etc. by degrees.” He continued, “But what is still more important, we should avoid the most serious evil of an auction in the house, which would pull it about and soil it terribly.” However, after sending a “good man down from London” to inspect Longley’s property, Thomson decided to forgo his offer and put up with an auction. And so, following extensive advertising in the press, the sale of goods began on 5th January 1863, and lasted for a further five days. The public flocked to the Palace to view and bid for the contents of each room. The array of dinner wagons, chairs made from mahogany, rosewood and walnut, sets of rich crimson satin Damask window curtains, four-poster and French bedsteads with chintz hangings was stunning. Also on sale were “superior copper articles” from the kitchen and furniture from the servants’ dormitories.
Soiled or not, the Palace eventually became home to the Thomson family where they lived for twenty seven years until the Archbishop died on Christmas Day, 1890. Having lived in one place for so many years, and having a wide range of interests, Archbishop Thomson had collected a prodigious number of items. Despite his misgivings about Longley’s auction, that was how his sons and executors decided to dispose of their father’s possessions. In March 1891, and with dealers arriving from London, the sale began at the De Grey Rooms in York with the 6,000 volume library. This first part of the auction took five days to complete.
A further day at that location was devoted to an array of Dr. Thomson’s miscellaneous effects which reflected his interest in photography and science: A large microscope, two telephone transmitters, map measuring instruments, glass-plate cameras, printing frames, negative boxes and other equipment for a dark room which suggests the Archbishop may have printed his own photographs. To this eclectic collection was added 1,000 ounces of silver, old coins, watches, and the cellar of choice wines. That day’s sale alone totalled £889.
The venue changed to the Palace for the next seven days. Numerous vehicles were engaged to convey visitors between York and Bishopthorpe where the items to be sold were displayed in the many rooms. These included two grand pianofortes, a harmonium, and an extensive wardrobe of linen, blankets and counterpanes; outside were carriages, harnesses and greenhouse plants. Biddings were reported to be exceedingly brisk and “fancy prices were realised.”
Whether, on this occasion, the “evil of an auction” left the Palace in a fit state for Dr. Magee, Archbishop Thomson’s successor has, unfortunately, not been recorded.
Linda Haywood, Bishopthorpe Community Archive
Auction Catalogue courtesy of Explore York Libraries & Archives. Reference: EPH/2/2620
Thomson, Ethel H., The Life and Letters of William Thomson, Archbishop of York, [London, Forgotten Books, reprint, 2015] pp 62-63.
It has not been easy to discover how the people of Bishopthorpe celebrated Victory in Europe in May 1945. Despite the many interviews which have been held with residents by the Bishopthorpe Local History Group, the end of the Second World War has hardly been mentioned. While the war, as a topic, featured throughout the recordings, interviewees first remembered how life was lived: When war broke out: “We were going brambling. We just continued, it meant nothing to us.” (a young Ken Baldwin); the Home Guard, “…he fell asleep stood up one day. He was that tired.” (Lily Foggin on her husband, Reg); Rationing: “Dear Mr. Dixon, [the butcher] he was marvellous. He kept us going all through the war, you know. Phoebe, our maid, once said, ‘Well, that’s been round the Knavesmire a few times’. The joint! But he was awfully good.” (Carol Woollcombe); and the Black-Out: “There used to be somebody about on their bike shouting, ‘Will you put that light out, please’. Yes, some people used to do it for a bit of fun, not knowing the seriousness of it. But we got over that, all of us.” (Audrey Bastard)
In May 1945 a good many villagers were not to be found in Bishopthorpe. Several were in the services spread throughout the world; some were still prisoners of war; some still fighting, for the war was not over until 15 August when Japan surrendered. It was this situation which led York City Council to take a subdued view on how to observe the end of hostilities with Germany. It was thought more appropriate that this should be a time of thanksgiving rather than celebration. However, for more than five long years, life had been hard for people at home and it was time to let their hair down.
On Monday 7 May, tension was in the air as everyone waited for an official declaration that Germany had surrendered. The announcement was not made due to US President, Harry Truman, accommodating demands made by Stalin. The Yorkshire Gazette reported that the citizens of York used their time to decorate the streets on a lavish scale and the evening was spent partying with Canadian, French and British servicemen. Two days holiday had been granted; most pubs managed to have supplies available and full advantage was taken of the fact that they remained open until 11.30pm.
The following day, Tuesday 8 May, rain fell throughout the afternoon and the city was strangely quiet. Then, at three o’ clock, Mr. Churchill made the historic announcement that the German forces had signed an unconditional surrender. Most people would have heard him on the wireless and, with the weather clearing, joyful crowds thronged the streets singing, shouting, and dancing to amplified music in Exhibition Square. Crowds jammed into Duncombe Place to see the floodlighting of the Minster while the bells pealed for the first time since war began.
Many Bishopthorpe residents would have gone into York and joined the excited revellers. But those who stayed behind enjoyed the village festivities too. The only two people who provided their memories of VE Day were Margaret Smith, nee Cox, and Eddie Waite, both of whom have since sadly died. Margaret, whose father was a sergeant in the Home Guard, told us of the bonfire on the school field where the Junior School now stands. “I remember going up on to the railway bridge to see the bonfires round about.”
Eddie Waite, a choir boy at St. Andrew’s at the time, also remembered with glee the same bonfire on the school field: “The RAF from Acaster made it with old ammo boxes. They also had wonderful rockets – military rockets – to set off. Unfortunately, one landed on Mr. Hutchinson as he was walking home down Copmanthorpe Lane and set his mackintosh on fire. Another rocket landed on Mr. Drury’s hen house and set that alight, but all the hens survived.” Eddie didn’t tell us how Mr. Hutchinson fared but, we hope he survived without injury!
We always welcome memories at the Bishopthorpe Community Archive. When lockdown has finished, please call in on any Monday afternoon 2.30 – 5.00pm, upstairs at the Village Hall or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In August 1919, Bishopthorpe celebrated the peace following the First World War. The Yorkshire Gazette reported the event in some detail describing how the children sat down at tables outside The Ebor and enjoyed a sumptuous tea. They also received a souvenir of the occasion – a decorated Peace Mug. Now, after many years, one of the original mugs has come to light.
Our late, well-known butcher, Mr. Geoff Dixon, was interviewed in 2001 by members of the Bishopthorpe Local History Group as part of their Oral History Project. During the recording, Geoff revealed that he remembered the ‘Peace Tea’. He was only five years old at the time and recalled a lot of people attended and that Mrs. Walter Paver organised it. He surprised his interviewers when he told them that he still had the Peace Cup, as he called it, and searched it out to show it to them.
Earlier this year, I happened to read the transcription of that interview and wondered if the mug or cup, was still around. Sadly, Geoff died in 2009, and so I went to see his nephew, Robert Dixon, in the butcher’s shop. Robert told me, yes, he had the mug at home and would find it for me to photograph.
With thanks to Robert, the mug has now been recorded for the Bishopthorpe Community Archive and is displayed here for all to see. The mug, which is now over 100 years old, is in good order without a chip or crack in sight. The gold rim is just a little worn showing that Geoff must have occasionally enjoyed drinking tea from his memento.
On one side of the mug the colourful illustration depicts the Admiral of the Fleet, David Beatty, and Field Marshal Douglas Haig, commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front. Sitting serenely between them is Britannia.
On the reverse the dates of both war and peace are recorded:
“Commenced Aug 4th 1914
Armistice Nov _1th 1918 (Note the number ‘1’ has faded.)
Peace Signed June 28th 1919″
To read further details about the 1919 peace celebrations in Bishopthorpe, follow the link here:
Regretfully, the Bishopthorpe Community Archive which is housed at Bishopthorpe Village Hall, will be closed until further notice, owing to the COVID-19 crisis. In the meantime, if there are any Bishopthorpe history-related queries you are burning to have answered, please email us at email@example.com
Just to cheer you up in this gloomy lock-down period here, from the Archive, is a reminder of a more convivial time when people were able to to gather together to enjoy themselves. The following colourful images are of the festivities which took place in the village in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
It was a grand day, the whole village turned out – they were in a mood to party. Bunting and flags were spread across Bishopthorpe’s Main Street, trestle tables were piled high with food, and a place was found for Mrs. Walter Paver’s special “Peace” cake which reached three tiers high. Children and adults dressed in a colourful array of fancy dress costumes portraying Charlie Chaplin, Irish colleens, admirals, nurses and soldiers. This last was a reminder that the war remained fresh in the mind for many.
Hostilities in the terrible 1914-1918 war had ceased at the Armistice on 11 November 1918 but, officially, the war did not end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June the following year. To mark the end of the war the government decided that Peace should be celebrated nationally with a public holiday on 19th July 1919. On that day thousands of people gathered in London and watched 15,000 allied troops take part in a victory parade.
London was not the only city to rejoice. In York a water carnival was organised with events taking place throughout the day. The press reported that “animated scenes were witnessed on the river”. Animated indeed as hundreds watched displays and swimming contests taking place between Lendal and Scarborough Bridges. This was followed by a water polo match and great excitement was caused by high diving performances from a parapet on Lendal Bridge. The Minster bells pealed for an hour at noon and again in the evening; shops, businesses and the Mansion House were gaily decorated, flowers were used in abundance. Parades marched through the streets and bands played on the Knavesmire and river-side walks.
A peace festival for York children was postponed until the summer holiday in August. Likewise, many villages and towns held their own peace celebrations during that month. Bishopthorpe schoolchildren were granted an extra week’s holiday and therefore the village’s own peace celebration was held on Tuesday, 19th August. The children enjoyed their tea sitting at tables set on the highway outside The Ebor Inn. Each child was presented with a specially decorated Peace mug, a bag of sweets and nuts and a slice of Mrs. Paver’s cake.
This was not only a jamboree for the children. At six o’ clock about 200 adults sat down to a “sumptuous repast”. As well as the fancy dress competition, numerous races were held including “Cockerel” races for married men, married women and children. Later in the evening Rex Johnson, who had won the slow bicycle race, revived in time to play piano for the dancing. The party concluded with a good display of fireworks.
Bishopthorpe Community Archive
The Yorkshire Post: Mon. 21 July 1919, p10
Yorkshire Gazette: Sat, 23 August 1919
Archbishop of York’s School Log Book 3: 24 July 1919
Last year, Ken Haywood published his book, The Lost Men of Bishopthorpe, about the lives – and deaths – of the men on the local War Memorial from both conflicts.
In a talk at Bishopthorpe Methodist Hall, Ken will be concentrating on the men who served during the First World War. In doing so, he will describe some of the problems he encountered and use practical examples which, in turn, may help with your own WW1 ancestry research.
The talk starts at 7.30pm at Bishopthorpe Methodist Hall on Tuesday, 16th October 2018.
Hosted by Bishopthorpe Local History Group. Free to members. Non-members welcome: £3.50, including light refreshments.
Bishopthorpe abounds with many unusual and curious stories. Did you know, for example, that after the Second World War, Bishopthorpe used to organise large ‘Open Shows’ which attracted great numbers of exhibitors and thousands of spectators? The coconut-shy was a huge attraction as coconuts were a treat rarely seen since before the war. Did you also know that, following the snow storms of 1947, the great thaw caused a house boat to be stranded in the middle of a field? This left Bishopthorpe Parish Council with a headache which lasted for several years! Finally, did you also know that, in 1842, numerous people crossed the river by the Bishopthorpe ferry to reach a prize fight on the Fulford shore? The vicar’s curate helped to get two policemen across the river from the vicarage lawn. Unfortunately, the constables were then assaulted while trying to break up the crowd.
All kinds of stories were discovered while researching the late Robin Hill’s Bishopthorpe photographs which were taken during the 1940s and early 1950s. Robin ventured into Acaster Malbis and captured a few scenes there as well as aiming his lens across the river towards Naburn. He also enjoyed collecting old postcards of the area.
Robin (1924 – 2004) lived in Myrtle Avenue, Bishopthorpe, and attended the local school. He married in 1956 and, four years later, left with his wife Barbara to work at the Edinburgh City Museums. Scottish publisher Richard Stenlake unearthed Robin’s two albums of photographs and postcards and asked members of Bishopthorpe Local History Group to research some of them and write up the many intriguing stories which lay behind the images. The resulting book, Bygone Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis & Naburn, has recently been published and is available at York bookshops.
Available in Bishopthorpe at Bishopthorpe Library or Bishopthorpe Community Archive (on Monday afternoons, upstairs at the Village Hall, 2.30 – 5.00pm). Price £10.95.
Also available in York bookshops: Waterstones in Coney Street; the little apple bookshop in Petergate; Fossgate Books in Fossgate.
If you are not local, copies can be bought by post from Linda Haywood, 39 Acaster Lane, Bishopthorpe, York YO23 2SA. Cheques made payable to Bishopthorpe Local History Group. Price £10.95. Please add £2.00 post & packing.
In August and September 1914, men rushed to join the Forces thinking that the war would be over by Christmas. Two years later, in December 1916, another Christmas approached, but there was still no sign of an end to hostilities. The thousands of casualties resulting from the catastrophic Battle of the Somme, which lasted from 1 July to 19 November, would be seared into the consciousness of the nation for generations to come.
Under the circumstances it may seem surprising that, despite the horrors of war, life carried on as best it could at home in Blighty. Diversions were probably a welcome relief to grieving people. On the 12th December 1916, the York and Ainsty Hunt provided one such distraction at Bishopthorpe Palace. The local press reported that it was a rare and picturesque setting. The York and Ainsty Hounds had never before assembled within the grounds of the Archbishop’s home. Adults and children alike gathered in great numbers to enjoy the spectacle. They watched as hounds raced up and down the steps of the Palace entrance where Archbishop Lang greeted his guests.
But the war remained very much in evidence as numerous khaki uniforms mingled with hunting pink. Lady Furness was in command of what was considered to be the largest field of the season and included many officers who were in training at home or on leave from the front. A large proportion of those present were wounded soldiers from local hospitals. Some had arrived on foot, others by traps and motor cars lent by the local gentry.
The meet also gave the opportunity of welcoming home, Captain, the Rev. Arthur. S. Crawley, Vicar of Bishopthorpe and Chaplain to the Archbishop. Rev. Crawley had recently been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty; he was acting as a stretcher-bearer while bringing in wounded soldiers under heavy shell-fire. (In 1918 he was also awarded a bar to the M.C. for similar acts of bravery.) Accompanied by his wife, Rev. Crawley, who was home on leave, received hearty congratulations.
After the customary glass of sherry, the field headed for Askham Bog. The sun shone through heavy clouds as the hunters cantered down Back (now Church) Lane followed by cars and traps. The chase covered ground from Dringhouses to Copmanthorpe and Askham Bryan with more than one fox found – and lost – which meant a return to Askham Bog. Apparently, there was brilliant hunting by Steeton Wood and the hounds made the best of the scent and raced on to Colton coming to a check at Bolton Percy.
The Yorkshire Herald suggested that “…the khaki division had a great time, and the gallant heroes home on leave will have something to remember when they return to the trenches.” We can only hope that some returned to ride with the hounds after the war.
Source: The Yorkshire Herald: 13 December 1916, p8.
Illustrations from: A History of the York and Ainsty Hunt by William Scarth Dixon (1899)
The small butcher’s shop, with its pleasant blue and white painted frontage situated in the centre of Main Street, is a familiar Bishopthorpe landmark. The butcher’s business, R. H. Dixon & Sons, has served the local community (including a number of Archbishops) for more than a century. Many people still remember Mr. Geoff Dixon who had worked in the shop all his life and died in 2009 aged 95 years.
It is not well known, however, that the business was started by a young butcher, George Scholey who arrived in Bishopthorpe about 1869. George was born in 1849 at Kelfield, the son of Robert Scholey, a farmer. In 1873 he married his cousin, Annie, and brought her to his home, in Bishopthorpe. The couple had eight children: six girls and two sons. Unfortunately, the two sons and one of the girls died in infancy.
Among the local farmers who would have called upon George to slaughter their beasts for market, was Alfred Dixon. Alfred tenanted Moor Farm in Moor Lane, Bishopthorpe. He and his wife, Eliza, and two young children, arrived in Bishopthorpe from Barkston Ash during the 1870s. No doubt the Scholey and Dixon families knew each other well and their children grew up together. Almost inevitably, the eldest son of the Dixon family, Robert Henry, married Edith Annie, the eldest of the Scholey sisters.
The young couple married at St. Andrew’s Church in 1907. Sadly, Annie’s father, George, had died only the previous year leaving Robert Henry to run his father-in-law’s butcher’s shop. Robert lost his own father, Alfred, in 1892 and, with his younger brother, Percy, helped their mother, Eliza, to run Moor Farm. Percy, who was born in Bishopthorpe in 1881, continued to run the farm well into the twentieth-century.
Robert Henry and Edith Annie Dixon settled into George Scholey’s large house, known as Walnut House, situated in the grounds next to the butcher’s shop. The couple had two sons, Arthur and Geoffrey; both boys having been given the middle name of Scholey. The two brothers followed in their relatives’ footsteps and became butchers. Geoffrey did not marry, but Arthur married Hilda Agnes Sandberg in 1942 and it is their son, Robert, who to this day, continues to provide the village with excellent fare.
Bishopthorpe Local History Group is grateful to Mr. Robert Dixon for giving his permission to scan and display family photographs.
With the Tour de France currently in full flow it brings to mind that, in the past, cycling races were a popular pastime in and around Bishopthorpe – albeit in a more modest way. In August 1886, Mr. George Anderson, landlord of the Woodman Inn, promoted a cycling handicap which attracted cyclists from a number of local clubs. The first two heats were decided earlier in the month and the final race was to be run over a distance of one mile from Tadcaster Road to Bishopthorpe. However, for some unknown reason, the race started at dusk and one or two competitors were stopped by policemen for not carrying lamps. Needless to say, some confusion arose. However, the contest seemed to finish happily enough – probably at the Woodman Inn, where Mr. Anderson presented silver medals to the winners.
Last weekend the Junior School held its second successful Scarecrow Festival. Members of the Bishopthorpe Local History Group decided to join in and put a scarecrow outside the Village Hall where the Community Archive is held.
We chose to make a scarecrow of William Dalrymple Maclagan who was Archbishop of York between 1891 and 1908. We didn’t mean any disrespect by producing an effigy of an Archbishop but thought it was very appropriate to place this particular churchman outside the Village Hall. It was through Archbishop Maclagan’s generosity that a Reading Room was built on the site in 1898. At first, the building was only intended for the men of the village in order to provide them with an alternative place of leisure and keep them out of the pubs!
In 1904, the Archbishop conveyed the building and site to the people of Bishopthorpe and it eventually became a Village Hall for everyone to use.
We had great fun making ‘Archbishop Maclagan’ and telling everyone about the history of the Village Hall. Many people thought that we managed to capture the Archbishop’s likeness. We’ll leave it to you to see if you agree.
We see stained glass in our cathedrals, churches, pubs and homes, but how much do we know about it? At the next open meeting organised by the Bishopthorpe Local History Group, Master Glazier, Ian Tomlinson, will let us into some of the secrets of the trade.
In his talk, “Stained Glass – A Mystery Trade”, Ian will explain how glass is made, how the windows are held together and constructed, show us both old and modern tools, and the methods used in medieval times.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 at 7.30pm in Bishopthorpe Methodist Church Hall.
All are welcome. Members of the Group: free. Non-members: £3.50 to include light refreshments.