Withernwick Village Website
The Website for Withernwick people and anyone else



Latest News

Tales of Withernwick

The Falcon

St Alban's

Photo and Video Gallery




Pet's Corner

Hobbies, Interests & Activities

Items for Sale / Wanted

Local Services

Useful Links

About Withernwick & the Website

Contact Us & Guestbook




 Search the website
Search this site !
  search tips sitemap
Search the web !

The History of Withernwick

What we need here are stories and facts about the history of Withernwick.
I'm sure there are some local historians out there.

So let us know via the contact us page.

These links are mostly to articles on this page, but those marked * are on a different page.
Links to websites with Withernwick history The de Faucomberge's of Rise and Withernwick
The Life of Thomas Mercer - The Blind Fiddler The War Memorial
Holderness in the Stone age, Bronze age and Iron age The Hull to Hornsea Railway
East Riding Documents or History Happens Fast The Name Withernwick
The History of Withernwick school 1901 & 1911 Censuses
The Home Guard * Withernwick Althletic Sports Competition c1890 *
History of 'Ordinary' Withernwick people - Tales page * The 1834 Electoral Register
Trades of Withernwick in 1841 The Economy in Medieval Holderness
Emmigtation Abroad Withernwick in the Doomsday Book *
Poverty in Withernwick in the 19th and early 20th century *  The 1868 Electoral Register *
Life expectancy in 18th century Withernwick  

A comprehensive and detailed history of Withernwick


The Genuki Website - has some useful information - Trade Dirctories from 1823 and 1892
Names on the War Memorial and some old maps

GENUKI: Withernwick

The Archeology of East Riding and lots of other historical information - from Hull University's Coastal Observatory

A history of East Riding (from the same website as the top link on Withernwick) 

East Riding Documents or History Happens Fast!
Here I will accumulate any official East Riding documents. Why I have put them here (they are also on the About Withernwick page), is that they will remind us of how quickly history happens. In reading them you will find refences to: the village shop, the post office, the village hall, the school and Voase's butchers. You will no doubt notice many other things, so they will form historical documents that will seem all the more scary as the years pass.
The 1999 Holderness District Wide Local Plan
A Settlement Profile of Withernwick 2008
Withernwick Conservation Area 2009
The Name Withernwick
In the 11th century Withernwick was written down as Widforneuuic (1086 in the Doomsday Book). Possibly ‘dairy farm of the place near the thorn-tree’. OE with + thorn + wīc.
(If any one has a copy of the Doomsday Book entry for Withernwick, could they send it to me so that I could include it here on the website).
Emmigration Abroad

I'm sure times past were sometimes hard and so emmigration was an option taken by many. There were probably few restrictions on emmigration to wherever you wanted but almost certainly the journey would have been long and horrendously difficult. Obviously reords of such emmigrations are likely to be rare but we do know of one Thomas Hewson of the village who ended up in a town called Lacolle, in Quebec, Canada. - Click here for more information
The 1834 Electoral Register
An interesting insight into life in Withernwick in the early Nineteenth century. The 1834 electoral register shows that only property owners were entitled to vote and in the village at the time that did not include that many people; of course they were all men. It does show the important properties and people in the village at the time. Click here.
The Trades of Withernwick in 1841
The majority of people in the village at this time were described as agricultural labourers. Farming was highly labour intensive at this time and so it is inevitable that so many would be employed as farm workers. The rest of the people might be described as working in service trades, working to serve the bulk of the village of farm workers. Click here to see a list of trades and jobs in Withernwick in 1841.
Holderness in the the Stone Age, Bronze age and Iron age 
An interesting acticle on archeological discoveries at West Furze near Barmston but no doubt the area around here was very similar. So discover what the villagers of Withernwick looked like and how they lived 2000+ years ago.
Click here (to open a pdf file)
See also the Coastal Observatory website (same as above) for more general archeology of the area.
The de Faucomberge's of Rise and Withernwick
History is not something that is dead, the people who lived in the past did live, just like us, and we, in our imaginations, can bring them back to life.What was Withernwick like in the middle ages? The lives of the ordinary people can only be guessed at, but a little bit more hard evidence can occasionally be found of the rich and powerful. 

( left are the coat of arms of Walter de Faucomberge)

One such family are the de Faucomberge’s who are described as Lords of Rise and Withernwick.  Here is a bit of the family tree of the de Faucomberge’s. (The Vicar of St Alban’s at the time seems to be one Roger de Holland, so we know of one other person connected with Withernwick at the time).

More about the de Faucomberge's is mentioned in the first link above.

Walter de Faucomberge, Lord of Rise and Withernwick, (born ~1140 and died ~1216). He was married to Agnes Fitz Simon (born about 1160) who was the daughter of Simon Fitz Simon (born ~1144) [ so the mother was 16 when Agnes was born].

They had a son -

Peter (or Piers) de Faucomberge, Lord of Rise and Withernwick, (born ~1175 and died  after May 1230). He was married to Margaret de Montfitchet (married after 1206), she was the daughter of Sir Richard de Montfitchet ( who seems to have been a very powerful guy! ) , Lord of Stansted Montfitchet [Click here
] and Millicent.

They had a son -

Walter de Faucomberge, Lord of Rise and Withernwick (born ~1220 and died 1304). He married Agnes de Brus (born ~1240) the daughter of Peter II de Brus, Lord of Skelton and Danby and Hawise / Helwise of Lancaster.

"25th May, 8th Edward I. 1280 No 54. 

For Walter de Fauconberg. The King to Archbishops, & c. greeting. Know ye that we have granted, and by this our charter confirmed to our beloved and faithful Walter de Facunberge, that he and his heirs for ever have free warren in all his demesne lands of Skelton, Stanghow and Mersk, Uplithum, Redker, Grenrig and Estbrune in the County of York. Provided that those lands be not within the bounds of our forest, so that no one enter those lands to hunt in them, or to take anything, which may belong to the warren, without the licence and will of him the said Walter, or his heirs, upon forfeiture to us of £10; wherefore he will...."

After which they seem to have owned land in Withernwick but became much more powerful and probably lived elsewhere (such as Skelton Castle in Northhumberland); here are some of the subsequent de Faucomberge’s. Clearly they became very powerful, note the one that died at the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and who must have been something to do with the Lords of Rise and Withernwick; and later the one who became Earl of Kent and Admiral of England.

Anastasia de Faucomberge

Born Anastasia Neville, she was the daughter of Sir Ralph Neville, of Raby Castle, Durham, and his first wife Euphemia de Clavering. A co-heir of her maternal grandfather, Sir John Clavering, of Warkworth, Northumberland, she was married (c1306) to Sir Walter de Faucomberge, heir to Lord Faucomberge, but the marriage remained childless. Her husband was slain at the battle of Bannockburn in Scotland (1314), but duing his absence Anastasia had become involved in an incestuous liasion with her father, Sir Ralph Neville, the revelation of which caused a major scandal. Neville was convicted of his crime (1313), whilst Anastasia was sent to live in retirement at the estate of WITHERNWICK, in Holderness.

Sir Walter de Fauconberg (dvpsp Bannockburn 24.06.1314) Married  Anastase de Neville (daughter of Sir Ralph de Neville of Raby)

John de Fauconberg, 3rd Lord, Sheriff of York, Governor of York then Berwick (b 1290, d 17/8.09.1349) Married. Eve (probably daughter of Sir Ralph de Bulmere of Wilton, Lord Bulmer)

 Walter de Fauconberg, 4th Lord (b 1319, d 29.09.1362)    Married  (c12.1330) Maud Patshull (daughter of Sir John de Patshull of Bletso and Pateshulle)

Thomas de Fauconberg of Skelton, 5th Lord (b 20.07.1345, d 09.09.1407) Married  (before 17.11.1366) Constance de Felton (d 05/6.1402, daughter of John de Felton)

Sir John Fauconberg of Whitton (dvpsp 20.07.1405) Married Joan Conyers (d 06/7.11.1438, daughter of Sir Robert Conyers of Ormesby)

 Isabel Fauconberg (dvp) Married  (18.10.1406) John de Wilton who remarried . Joan de Bromflete (d 04.03.1408/9, daughter of Sir Thomas de Bromflete)

Joane Fauconberg, Baroness Fauconberg (b 18.10.1406, d 11.12.1490/1) Married (before 28.04.1422) Sir William Nevill, Lord Fauconberg, Earl of Kent, Admiral of England (d 09.01.1462-3)
These do seem like an interesting bunch, so if anyone knows anything about them do let me know.
To read more about the De Fauconberg's and Rise Hall - click here

The Life of Thomas Mercer

"The Blind Fiddler" of Withernwick, East Riding of Yorkshire by W. G. B. Page  A lecture delivered at the Royal Institute, Hull .
Saturday, November 15th, 1902 .
Blind Tom Mercer, or as he was commonly called by the villagers in Holderness, " Tom Massey," was for many years a well-known character as a fiddler and singing at feasts and fairs and on account of his wonderful ability for composing extempore songs. 
At one time or another he had travelled throughout the length and breadth of Holderness, from Spurn to Bridlington, accompanied by his fiddle, attending Club Feasts and Martinmas hirings,and there are many old people living at the present day who can recall with high glee the jovial days spent in their youth in dancing on the green to the merry strains of the music of his fiddle. 
Thomas Mercer was born on
April 20th, 1806
and was a native of Withernwick, was later admitted to the Skirlaugh workhouse and died on November 17th, 1858 aged 52. He is buried in Skirlaugh church yard in an unmarked grave

Click here to see a sketch of Thomas Mercer's house and a few more notes.  

The Economy in Medieval Holderness
An study of the economy of medieval Holderness. There is no specific mention of Withernwick, but no doubt the farming etc was much the same all over Holderness. The landscape was largely a damp place, full of meres and marshes and the only arable crop available would have been oats. But from the marshes and meres a thriving economy would have been built on fishing and fowling. Sheep would also have been very important in this area. This paints a very interesting vision of life in medieval Withernwick when the Lambwath would have probably been a mere much as it became in June 2007 - click here. Much of the information comes from the Chronicles of Meaux Abbey; it is hard to believe nowadays that an insignificant place such as Meaux once would have had a powerful influence over Holderness including Withernwick.
Click here
1901 Census
I have managed to copy the whole 1901 Census for Withernwick. Click on each pdf files to see the entries. The Road names are complicated and not quite as we know them now, I've called them as they are on the census but also written what we think they are now. Also there are very few house numbers or names, so many of the households are in groups but with arbitrary numbers that are not house numbers.

I have added notes in italics, for example when I have recognised a name I've come across before or when I can tell the person was of particular significance. Obviously, if you look through and recognise any names, then let me know and I will add on any details that you send me.

A quick survey of life in the village in 1901 is quite interesting but not surprising. 90%+ of working people were employed in agriculture in one way or another. Most of the rest were employed in service industries, such as shops etc; obviously people did not travel much. I have only found one person who worked far from the village and he is listed as a stoker on a "Man of War" (a battleship). Having said that, one prominent person on the Whitedale page is the Station Master, so people could get to Hull but probably rarely did so. I have only noticed a few people born outside of Yorkshire and one was born in Staffordshire which was of interest to me because Pat Pye and I are the only other inhabitants of Withernwick born in Staffordshire that I know of; indeed 90%+ of people were born within a few miles of the village, again just what you would expect for this period.
Albrough Road
- this includes Main Street.
Beverley Road - from the Falcon up to nearly as far as Whitedale. Does include LorneTerrace (but not No 4, my house).
Church Lane 
Mill Row
Near Primitive Methodist Chapel - This is High Street, there is a great photograph of High Street at just this time and, of course,
         these will be the people named in the census but sadly we will never know who is who.
North End - Including Cowden Lane
Other Establishments - The Falcon, Prospect Farm and The Rent?
Pratts Lane
South End
Tanton Terrace - Only three people

1911 Census

The 1911 census is a real mess, the 1901 census was difficult with street names etc but in this one the street names are non-existant. I can only guess it was conducted on a Friday afternoon by someone who had spent too long in the Falcon. So I have only copied entries that I know something about otherwise the names are sadly meaningless.
Click here


The War Memorial

We ought to remember the previous residents of Withernwick or nearby who gave their lives for what they believed in.
I have managed to track them all down now.
To see photographs of where these Withernwick men found their last resting places - Click here
To see photos of the war memorial Click here.
To see photos of the dedication of the War Memorial in the early 1920's - Click here.
To see the entries from the 1911 census for the families of these men Click here (Unable to locate 3 of the men).
To see photos of the renovation of the War Memorial in July 2014 - Click here
It is interesting to note that a few of the men seem to have no direct connection with Withernwick and yet their names appear on our memorial; I guess we will never know why.

First World War - Click here for the full Roll of Honour of men who fought in World War 1

  • Arthur Harsley - East Yorkshire Regiment - Son of Mrs A E Harsley of Withernwick 
    9th April 1915 - Menin Gate memorial to the missing of the Ypres Salient, Ypres 
  • George Coupland - Royal Field Artillery - Son of George and Ann Eliza Coupland of Aldbrough Road.
    5th January 1916 - Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge. Click here to see a photo of George's grave.
  • Stanley Hobson Harsley - East Yorkshire Regiment, son of James and Annie Harsley of Church Lane - Click here to see a photo and newspaper cutting.
    30th July 1916 - St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg L'Avoue
  • George Herbert Dunn (Lance-Corporal) - Coldstream Guards - 16th September 1916 - Son of George and Isabella Dunn of Church Lane - Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme.
  • William Knapton - Seaforth Highlanders - 5th September 1915 - West Newton, son of Edward and Betsy Knapton - Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France.
  • George Fenby Fisher - East Yorkshire Regiment - Son of George Fisher (1855-1928) & Rosamond (Hutchinson) (1867 - 1942) - Glebe Farm, Withernwick - 3rd May 1917. Arras Memorial to the missing. He also has a memorial plaque in St Alban's church - click here to see a photo. (Thank you to Peggy Boyles for this information).
  • Herbert Whisker - East Lancashire Regiment - Mappleton - 3rd June 1917 - Son of William and Annie Whisker of  Gravel Hill Farm, Swine - Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-le Grand. Click here to see a photo of Herbert. Click here to read a diary written by Herbert.
  • Leonard Mainprize - Northumberland Fusiliers  - Son of A G and Eva Mainprize of Elm Tree House
    4th April 1918 - Ploegsteert Memorial to the missing , Ypres.  Click here to see a photo of Leonard's brother Ernest at the time of the First World War.
  • Thomas Smith - Royal Warickshire Regiment - 9th September 1918 - Son of John and Maria Smith, of Keeper's Cottage, Rise - Granezza British Cemetery, Italy.
  • Charles (Charlie) Collinson - Corporal, East Yorkshire Regiment - On memorial died in 1919 (i.e after the end of the war) - 10th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment
    Information from the East Yorkshire Regiment website Click here.
    Awards: Distinguished Conduct Medal (Second only to the VC, click on link to see description).
    Service Notes: Attested 2nd September 1914 – Medal Index Card entered Egypt 22 December 1915 - London Gazette 3rd September 1918:

    Youngest son of Mr David Collinson, Globe Inn, Ladygate, Beverley (So I'm not quite sure of his connection to Withernwick, but clearly the most decorated of the men named on the memorial. Also click on "Globe Inn" to see a description of the Globe Inn, Beverley - demolished in the 1960's and David Collison is listed there as a landlord).

Second World War - Click here for the full Roll of Honour of men who fought in World War 2

  • Cecil S Graham - (click here to see a photograph and click here & click here to see a photo of him as a young boy) - Captain, 7th Bn., York and Lancaster Regiment who died on 15 November 1942. Rangoon Memorial, Burma.
  • James Frederick Stephen Norman - SS Dahomian (belonging to the United Africa Line), Merchant Navy - Son of Frederick and Lucy Norman - 19th September 1943 - Takoradi European Public Cemetery, Ghana. 
    The SS Dahomian was finally sunk by U-Boat U-852 on the 1st April 1944 off Cape Town, South Africa; (the story of U-852 is nothing to do with Withernwick but is very interesting, click on the link). James Norman did in fact die due to contracting a tropical disease.
  • Alfred Ireland - Royal Artillery - Son of Arthur and Sarah Jane Ireland of Hull
    20th April 1944 - Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy. Probably killed during the battle to take the Winter Line, a defensive line setup by the Germans while retreating from Italy.
  • Eric Watson (some confusion - HMS Kenya on memorial HMS Kongoni in official records) According to www.naval-history.net (for 18th Feb) his death is recorded there as drowning, a one-off incident rather than a ship sinking. HMS Kongoni was a onshore naval station, near Durban, South Africa, associated with the South African Airforce which explains where he is buried. There seems to be no reference to HMS Kenya (a large cruiser), so that must be a mistake on the memorial. Click here to see a photo of Eric as a school boy in 1928.
    Son of Charles and Phyllis Watson, wife of Helen Watson
    18th February 1945 - Stellawood Cemetery, Durban, South Africa

For more records on those killed in wars visit

For more records of the East Yorkshire Regiment - Click here   

The History of Withernwick School

Pupil population of Withernwick school 1892 onwards

Education in Withernwick was provided from about 1823, it is likely that part of St Albans church was used in these early days. The present building was first used about 1846. School attendance was voluntary until 1880 when it became compulsory until the age of 10 and voluntary until the age of 13.
The Masters house was built in 1865.

Some specific events:
In October 1895 Mr and Mrs Wright were appointed on a joint salary of £100 per annum, rising by £5 annum depending on HMI reports.
On 12th October 1934 the village was first officially supplied with electricity. 
At 11.50am On 8th July 1940 the pupils heard a plane overhead in trouble and then saw three men parachuting down. The plane crashed into fields beyond Aldbrough - the three German men were rounded up by 2.30pm, I guess that disturbed lessons a bit.
On 12th September 1993 at about 9pm the building was broken into and a fire started. The school was not restored and opened until 5th January  1994, in the mean time the pupils were taught in the village hall.

The graph below shows the number of pupils attending Withernwick School, the trend is fairly obvious and self-explanatory. Although it's not obvious what happened in 1964 as to why the number of pupils dropped to 13.
The final number of pupils in the school on its closure in 2004 was 9.
The history of the school does reflect the history of the village as a whole. In particular the dramatic drop in the proportion of children living in the village as shown in the graph below, this is also shown in several of the photographs on the photo gallery.
Memories of Withernwick School in thr 1960's - Click here
School Dinners in the 1970's and 1990's  - Click here
Exerts from the School Log - 1892 to 1996, including Scholorships, Epidemics and Attendances - Click here

Also interesting are the various epidemics that have occurred in the village over the years, health care as improved equally dramatically over the years. Obviously some things in life have changed for the better!
Reasons for 'mass' absences

1893 20-30 absent due to influenza
1896 46 absent due to measles
1905 School closed for 5 weeks due to scarlet fever
1911 31 absent due to whooping cough
1939 12 absent due to chicken pox
1941 23 absent due to air-raid!
1944 35 absent due to mumps
1945 25 absent due to chicken pox

Head teachers of Withernwick School

1846 Thomas Palmer
1851 William Sherrington
1859 Edward Nelling Earnshaw
1861 Godfrey Budworth
1872 John Jordan
1879 Robert Harris
1892 John Midgeley
1893 Edwin Close
1896 Ernest Colton Wright (died 9th Sept 1929, memorial in St Alban's)
1929 Ella L B Scott
1931 Emily D Medforth (see picture on photo gallery - click here)
1963 David Trow
1970 Clifford Turner (see picture on photo gallery - click here)
1982 Margaret Collinson
1995 Stephen Graham
???? Patricia Fernery (anyone know what year she started?) (see picture on photo gallery - click here)

Life Expectancy in 18th Century Withernwick
We have recently aquired two extensive family trees that consist largely of people born in Withernwick during the 18th century (click here to see the tree of the Leaper, Jackson, Runton and Riby familes, click here to see the tree of the Palmer family). They give nearly 60 people for whom we have a year of birth and an age at death. This is a relatively small sample but it is good enough to draw some consistent conclusions from. The graph below shows the results; more results will be added as they become available.

As we might expect it clearly shows a high level of infant/child mortality. This was probably a fact of life in the 18th century, diseases that we no longer know anything of would have taken a fearful toll at times; there is even a prominent cluster around 1780. But what is also clearly noticeable is that if a person reached adulthood and developed some strength and immunity there was a good chance of living to a good age; the oldest person was one Robert Palmer (1736-1836) who reached 100 years old. People in the village at the time generally had jobs with a high degree of physical exercise, they probably had a fairly healthy diet and they would have mostly had access to clean water. It still does however paint a picture of a life where people live with death as an almost everyday occurence but it may have still been preferable to living in a town. During this period the industrial revolution will have begun and would have, for example, drawn Withernwick people to Hull; as with many such times, they will have certainly discovered that the streets there were not paved with gold.
The Hull to Hornsea Railway

It as now been about 45 years since trains ran from Hull to Hornsea. But the service would have once been very important to the people of Withernwick, even they they had to travel to mile or so to get to Whitedale station.

Dr Beeching obviously didn't consider the line viable and hence it closed.

I guess many of us now think, with hindsight, that that decision was shortsighted, maybe now a link direct into the centre of Hull would be an economical and well used option.

Anyway here are some nostalgic photos of the line when in use. The above one shows a relatively lengthy train approaching Hornsea Station, probably loaded with holiday makers heading to the seaside in the days before package holidays to Benidorm.

The photo on the right is of Hornsea Station in c1910. Obviously well used, as the photo shows. The station does of course survive, but now turned into houses.

The photo on the left shows a 'modern' diesel multiple unit waiting at Hornsea Bridge Station. This station is now much more difficult to visualise from the site as it is today. The bridge as gone as has all vestige of the station itself. The only evidence are the embankments which still survive on each side of the modern day roundabout.

Click here for a timetable for the line from the LNER days between 1923 and 1948.

Today, of course, the railway route has now become a cycle path between Hull and Hornsea. Due to the unhilly nature of Holderness there were very few bridges between Hornsea and Hull to maintain. No doubt, however, there were a lot of level-crossings to annoy drivers, particularly on the A165.

Many of the station buildings do survive as they make convenient and useful houses. The photo on the right shows the buildings at Whitedale Station, where 45 years ago + we might have been standing waiting for the 10.30 to Hull!

The line originally opened in 1864 and finally closed for passenger traffic in 1964 and for goods traffic (to Hornsea Bridge) in 1965. The station masters from 1871 to 1911 from the censuses are:
  • 1871 - John Newton
  • 1881 - John Newton
  • 1891 - John Gree Jackson (John Grice Jackson on Bulmer's 1892 Dirctory [see Genuki website at top] which is a more likely name.
  • 1901 - John Burniston
  • 1911 - Albert Nelson Train ( a true name, he was actually John Witty's grandfather) Click here to see a photo of the Train family in 1912.
If you wish to know more about the Hull to Hornsea line here are a few links to start you off.

A great collection of photos ont eh BBC Humber website.

The Wikipedia entry gives a conscise history of the line.

This website is great for photos and description of Britain's Disused stations - this link takes you to all the stations on the Hull to Hornsea line

The Hornsea Old and New website has lots of nostalgic photos of Hornsea, this link takes you to the railway part and has lots of photos, posters, fliers, tickets and timetables.
Here is a Youtube link to a video of the Hull to Hornsea railway in the 1960's. it does look well used which makes its closure all the more disappointing (sadly it does not explicitly show Withernwick)