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.