Monthly Archives: July 2020

27th July, 2020 Flies.

The picture above shows a species of fly called Voria ruralis and was scanned from a website titled ‘Nature Spot, recording wildlife of Leicestershire and Rutland’. The v.r. may be seen in flower meadows and on waste land in the summer months and is fairly common in parts of the Midlands and Easter Counties south of the Humber. It is mainly black in colour and is covered with long bristly hairs, probably not the prettiest of flies but then ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

At this point I need to come clean about my lack of knowledge about flies of the British Isles but clearly some people in the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland are as the above website includes close-up photos of 306 (as counted by myself so not to be assumed as correct) varieties of flies ‘in two dipteran sub-orders’ of ‘higher flies’ (therefore not including species such as crane-flies, midges and gnat, these classed as lower orders – less complex). I counted 56 categories within the two ‘sub-orders’, so there is a lot to learn if flies are your thing.

The experience that set me off on this train of thought was while sitting on a park bench a few days ago at just before 10pm I was watching a few swallows feeding on the wing (have not seen any official figures but from casual observation there seems to have been far fewer swallows and swifts this year), these followed by the first bats feeding on the wing before light faded to darkness. With ‘feeding on the wing’ they were twisting and turning in the air to follow and ‘get’ insect prey that may well have been flies.

Flying insects are essential to the food chain of these birds and bats. Swallows, martins and swifts migrate (some to Southern Hemisphere) as the life cycle of many local flying insects comes to an end.

(to be continued)

22nd July, 2020 Saltmarshe 3, Point of view 20b.

Todays picture is also scanned from Susan Butler’s booklet (s.p.b.s) and shows the front of Saltmarshe Hall (north facing). There is no publication date in the booklet so not sure when ‘The present’ was. Clearly the Hall once had quite extensive parkland (emparked) north of the Hall itself but now the remaining mature trees of the once parkland are but ‘islands’ in the arable field(s). Brocklesby Hall is a larger still example. However, field headland windbreaks and small plantations still give the area a wooded character.

O.S. map evidence for this parkland seems somewhat confusing. The one inch First Series map for 1820s/30s (s.p.b.) shows no evidence of parkland north of Saltmarsh Hall but does show small emparked areas for three nearby halls Cotness, Metham and Yokefleet. However, the equivalent map for 1903 (Sheet 16, s.p.b.) shows parkland north and north-east of Saltmarshe Hall as being rectangular in outline and extensive. Today’s plantations are clearly remnants of this early 20th century parkland (there is , by the way, a roadside public right of way through the once parkland from the road outside the Joiner’s Cottage, s.p.b.). So, taking the evidence from the 1830s map at face value, was Saltmarshe Hall parkland a very late example of emparking?

Yokefleet, also by the R. Ouse bank and east of Saltmarshe, is a more defined estate village. The Hall, not visible from the road or from the Humber bank footpath, was built in the late 1860s and, as might be expected of that date, is comprised of mock-Gothic detailing. Most of the estate cottages are of the same era and style. Two Gothic gate-lodges are clearly visible beside the road through the village, built of red brick with diaper work and some stone detailing. An early 18th century Home Farm suggests that the Victorian Hall had a predecessor(s).

When walking the Humber bank footpath in the area an avenue of evergreen trees is passed leading from the Hall to the bank, suggesting that the Hall may once have had a river jetty.

Point of view 20b – The middle class and working class have merged in the sense that from surgeons to farm workers and all between are in work to sustain a lifestyle and pay their bills. Few unskilled labouring jobs remain, almost all work requires training whether at degree level (and many degrees nowadays are vocational) or through varying levels of in-service training.

So is there a ‘lower class’? Certainly, and it gets larger by the day, where the aim is to stave off destitution whether through state benefits or crime. A ‘free’, commercial political state rests on an underclass with the ‘potential’ to raise themselves up.

So is there an upper class still? In terms of obscene disproportionate personal wealth and income there certainly is. But this is based on money and investments, the landed gentry may be rattling around penniless in their crumbling halls. This class is very much spawned by the global economy where one person might accumulate more wealth in a day than some working people, and certainly underclass persons, might get in a lifetime.

But then all is well, because we all want to be like the oligarchs.

21st July, 2020 Saltmarshe 2, Point of view 20.

The old black-and-white photo above is scanned from Susan Butler’s booklet (s.p.b.). It shows the west end of the hamlet of Saltmarshe with the centre-entrance, end-stack Joiner’s Cottage standing beside the lane and attached to it a single-storey centre-entrance, centre-stack old cottage (surviving but no longer lived in). Although not visible, the Hall stood/stands beyond the woodland in the middle distance. The flood-bank of the River Ouse is a public right of way (as it is for most of the way up to York) and as the Hall stands near the Ouse bank the south front is clearly visible from the bank pathway.

The single-storey cottage is an increasingly rare example of a ‘baffle-entry’ cottage ground-plan with its free-standing central fireplace (usually built of brick to reduce fire risk) with a fireplace on either side, one heating a ‘parlour’ the other the ‘service room’. If the cottage had a sleeping room in the loft stairs might be built up the side of the central fireplace. On entering through the central entrance there might be partitions on either side with doors, one to the parlour the other to the service room. The Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Preservation Group (this may not be their exact title) seeks to study and preserve modest historic buildings and cottages (some years ago members came to study 51, Fleetgate in Barton which although not having a baffle-entry ground-plan does retain an early brick central fireplace and stack).

Although the Joiner’s Cottage was clearly an estate cottage with its ornate bargeboard and ‘rustic’ front porch the Saltmarshe family do not appear to have imposed a standard estate cottage design, other estate cottages (once) having varying features.

Interestingly the First Series one inch O.S. map for the area (my copy being Cassini Historical Map, 1824-1858, sheet 106) shows a cluster of lanes leading from Laxton south to Cotness Hall and Saltmarshe while the 1903 map (Cassini again) shows the lanes still existing but only one coloured orange to denote a road. The modern map (Landranger sheet 106) shows just that one road now existing the others lost to post-Enclosure arable fields. A common story.

(to be continued)

Point of view 20 – It has been clear now for some years that the old class divisions accorded to British society – working, middle and upper – no longer reflect the reality (although its hard to not cling to them as easy points of reference). Do we then have a classless society or do we need to revise our terminology? (to be continued)

20th July, 2020 Saltmarsh, Point of view 19.

Yesterday afternoon decided, as it was a fine day, to put aside domestic and family ‘things to do’ and just wanted to be beside water but not at the coast (not on a fine Sunday afternoon in July) and a bank-top bench beside the River Ouse just came to mind as an ideal spot. Use to walk the Saltmarshe, Yokefleet, Laxton, Blacktoft area of Wallingfen regularly but not now for a while (although attended a East Yorkshire Local History Soc. trip to Saltmarshe couple of years ago and think I wrote it up as a blog). Having grown-up on the edge of the Fens of west Norfolk I know that, despite ruthless commercial development, fenlands (or more correctly ex-fenlands) can provide much solace and, somehow, the first such aspect to come to mind is a quietness, providing no engine is audible, so-much-so that it wraps around one like a blanket.

Apart from one local resident on his sit-on mower, of course, reducing the grass to near extinction, the Ouse bank didn’t disappoint. Of course the occasional cry of the ‘pee-wits’, the calls of a small group of greylag geese flying onto a river-side mudflat and the occasional circling gull were welcome sounds. Incidentally the plovers had formed two quite large flocks, a thing normally seen just in winter.

In its day Saltmarshe was a classic ‘closed village’ (or estate village) community with Laxton as its neighbouring ‘open village’. The short village history (cover shown above) can be bought from the ‘Joiner’s cottage’ standing next to the point where the Hall’s parkland (or once parkland) was entered.

With no church Saltmarshe must (presumably) be part of the parish of Laxton and indeed in Pevsner’s ‘York and the East Riding’ Saltmarshe Hall is included in Laxton’s description (rather surprisingly the only Saltmarsh building included). Susan Butler (see above) also writes of the Hall and outlines the family history of the Saltmarshe family (surname) who lived in the Hall and its two predecessors for many, many generations, but not today.

(to be continued)

Point of view 19 – It has been a definite positive out of the pandemic to see lots of people out in the parks working-out on the outdoor gyms, group circuit training, playing cricket, football and volleyball using portable net and stands. It really has been testimony to the value of open green, public spaces as well as, with the ‘lockdown’ an opportunity for parents and children to spend more quality time together released from the pressure, temporarily, to earn a living.

15th July, 2020 Conclusion to last 45 blogs.

The last 45 blogs, written between 5/04/’20 and 14/07/’20, were compiled under the heading ‘Hull’s once out-of-town settlements’ and comprised;

Sculcoates, 19 blogs between 5/04 and 14/05,

Newland, 9 blogs between 19/05 and 3/06,

Drypool, 9 blogs between 10/06 and 26/06,

Southcoates, 3 blogs between 29/06 and 2/07,

Marfleet, 3 blogs between 7/07 and 9/07 and

Stoneferry, 2 blogs between 14/07 and 15/07.

Information relating to Myton has been dealt with previously.

These following 10 blogs under the heading Hull Museums Publications/Pickering Park.

If Hull’s process of suburbanisation can be considered to have had two waves then the 20th century wave includes the suburbs considered as such today – Hessle, Anlaby, Willerby, Kirk Ella, Cottingham and Sutton (although strictly speaking Southcoates, Marfleet and Stoneferry could be included in this category). The 45 blogs listed above then comprise Hull’s first wave of suburbanisation. Hull’s third wave of suburbanisation is fast encroaching upon the still separate settlements (just) of North Ferriby, Swanland, Skidby, Wawne, Swine, Ganstead and Hedon. It was predicted back in the 1960s that Hull and Beverley would merge ‘by the end of the century’, this has not happened but it may be that all they got wrong was the timescale. As each stage of this suburbanisation has happened piecemeal it has left Hull with no prospect of a ‘green belt’ so that gardens, public parks, cemeteries (especially disused), linear green ‘corridors’, such as the route of the Hull – Hornsea disused rail-line and the banks of Barmston Drain, recreation grounds and the like all become all the more important to preserve.

Some of the above communities were dispersed, Southcoates and Marfleet for example, before being overtaken by urban sprawl so surviving evidence of their rural past is rare. Some had identifiable village communities and facilities, Drypool and Sculcoates for example, but with any surviving evidence being rare. In all of the above there has been an attempt to revive a sense of community related to historic units by the creation of ‘neighbourhood teams’.

The argument rumbles on about whether the Stage Two suburbs of today should remain in a separate local authority, however it is a fact that they are suburbs.

14th July, 2020 Stoneferry 2.

Above is the same map extract as on the previous blog.

The name Stoneferry would suggest, at first site, a simple origin, taking the two components at face value. Ferry, one of a number across the River Hull centuries ago, necessary as otherwise the River formed a barrier to regional trade between Holderness and the western half of the Hull flood-plain and the Wolds beyond. As previously stated, these would most likely have been rope, or chain, and raft ferries. For centuries there were only two bridges over the River, ‘North Bridge’ Hull (see blogs on Drypool) and one over a headwater feeder stream at North Frodingham. But why ‘stone’? The ferry could not have been made of stone, and what stone would have been moved on the ferry? It seems that the first recorded use of the word ‘stone’ in the place-name was in the 15th century, before that there were various records of the place-name with ‘stan’ as the first two syllables, but a meaning of this term does not seem clear.

There seems to be no record of a church at Stoneferry, a settlement that was, presumably, in the parish of Sutton (maybe Wawne, am not able to research this at present). Stoneferry would have been on the road that linked Drypool with the significant medieval settlement of Sutton, and with Hull once ‘North Bridge’ was first built in the 16th century (see Drypool blogs).

Bacon’s Plan of Hull (see above) shows that even by 1906 there was still no bridge over the River Hull linking Clough Road, Sculcoates/Newland with Ferry Lane, Stoneferry.

On the opposite side of the River Hull to Stoneferry in 1906 stood Hull’s Water Works – which I forgot to mention in my Newland section of blogs. The large-scale filtering beds and reservoir purified (or were meant to) water supply for Hull extracted from the River, this explaining why a road off the eastern end of Clough Road is called Reservoir Road, a name otherwise enigmatic. This was not Hull’s only source of water – as with most towns the history of Hull’s water supply is a story in itself. Ken. MacMahon in his History of Hull dealt well with the issue, including supplies from the spring-line of the Yorkshire Wolds.