After extensive research, Christine Elston, from the village, wrote a booklet on the Great War (1914-1918) which was distributed to every house in the village along with the Newsletter for June 2014. I happened to see it again recently and wondered how many people still have access to the booklet – not many I thought. The village blog is the perfect medium to remind us all of those days, and to allow people the choice of reading it again, whenever they like. With Christine’s permission, we have published the first part of the book, looking at the life and times of people living in the village around 1914. This view of village life then, is fascinating, and it’s remarkable how many similarities there are with the village today. The blacksmith, the butcher and the wheelwright may have gone, however, new occupations have come in to take their place. And, so it will continue. Editor.
Walkington during the Great War was a small rural community of around 1,288 people, which included 591 inmates and 95 staff of the East Riding Asylum (later Broadgate Hospital). Life revolved around work or school, chapel, church or the ‘alternative pew ‘of the public house.
At all Hallows Church the Reverend Michael Watson Bodley Dawe was the rector living at what we now know as the Old Rectory, he and his wife Mary came from the West Country, and were looked after by a cook called Eliza Brooks and a housemaid called Sarah Williamson. His total flock was 600 people, and the rest of the population attended the two chapels in the village. At that time these were the Primitive Methodist Chapel on East End and the Jubilee Methodist Chapel on West End. (The Primitive and Wesleyan chapels did not join together until 1962).
Presiding at the school on Northgate was Mr Samuel Stafford Granger, assisted by Mr. J. R. Hayward, who would answer the call to arms in 1915, and Miss. Skingle, Miss. Mathews and Miss. Smith. Mr. Granger himself also went off to war in 1917. The Parish council led by the Reverend Dawe met at the Board School.
The inhabitants were provided with local shops run by Miss. Rose Farrow and Mr. Edward Page, Miss. Farrow’s shop was on West End this is now number 24.
The village blacksmith was Mr. Tom Bailey, and children returning home from school loved to stop at the forge at the Ferguson Fawsitt Arms to watch him shoeing horses and for a treat helping to blow the bellows.
The joiner and wheelwright Mr. Rotsey Lawson was across the road, the local builder Sam Lythe was at Kirk View up Kirk Lane. Any goods required from Beverley or Hull where collected by one of the two carriers Fred Ridsdale or John Tom Anderson. There were six market gardeners, all growing produce to send to market. A butcher Mr. Fred Willie at the bottom of Northgate would slaughter and sell his own meat and this too was a source of entertainment for children leaving school. He was assisted in this by Jim Smith who later took over from him and was known by all as ‘Butcher Jim’.
The post office was the domain of Miss. Smith, who would have been the first to receive news of the deaths of village boys.
Robert and Ralph Dunning milled corn at Walkington Mill, some of which was supplied by the local farmers Edward Bailey, John Boynton, Edward Broomfield, William Cook,(Broadgate Farm) Alfred Carter, John Dunning, David Foster(Wolds), Mrs Gardham, Edmund Hairsine (Wolds), Harry Burrell (Lions Den), Thomas Joys, George Leaper (Manor Farm), Albert Webster (Bank Farm), Lawson Wilson (Butt Farm) the Asylum farm run by Thurlow Moses and the Mathisons at Towers Farm (later renamed Northlands farm)
Poultry was raised by Fred ‘Chuck’ Richardson and John Taylor at Broadgate Cottage.
At The Dog and Duck mine host was Edward Spence, at the Ferguson Fawsitt no less than three Ashtons looked after your needs and at the Barrell Inn Mary Holmes was the beer retailer.
The tailor was Mr. Arthur Cross and Mr. George Sanderson and Thomas Anderson would make your boots and mend your shoes. Hannah Haldenby would take in your washing if you could afford to pay her and various ladies in the village would make their livings by dressmaking.
At Walkington Hall, the Chater-Fawsitts were looked after by a cook, house keeper, a groom, and gardener John Grant and his son.
Charles Marshall and George Ridsdale were joiners and most of the people living in the village would have been employed within the established businesses. The village consisted of West End, East End, Northgate and a few houses on the periphery up Kirk Lane and Townend road. There were also some outlying farms and cottages on the Risby estate. (ordnance survey map 1910 PC43/1920)
Most of the families were housed in small cottages, the majority of which have been pulled down excepting for those along East End just past the Barrel Inn and in Ivy Terrace and Northgate.
Domestic life was a hard graft, as lighting was by oil-lamps, water was drawn from wells, either in people’s gardens or from the well in Crake Wells. Heating and cooking was done on the fire range, and earth closets were at the bottom of the garden.
Walkington was not an estate village as for example Sledmere, (although the land owned by the owners of Walkington Hall amount to 1,440 acres) so the village enjoyed a more relaxed relationship with the Chater-Fawsitts, who were known as great benefactors.
In June 1914, the weather was glorious and although there had been much posturing in the Balkans and Europe, there was no thought of immediate war until the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire by Gavrilo Princip, a Serb sponsored terrorist on 28th June. This was neither predictable nor inevitable, yet within weeks millions of men would be on the march.
Many thanks Christine for all your tireless work.