Thursday, 24 July 2014

Visit to Sheriff Hutton church and castle

It is still hot weather and I think some of our group felt the heat on Tuesday on our visit to Sheriff Hutton. We met for a meal at The Highwayman in the village and then made out way to the church. Here the churchwarden gave us an interesting talk about the families associated with the church and I was particularly pleased to see the representation of the 'sun in splendour', used as a badge by Edward IV following the appearance of a parhelion before his victory at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461. This was there because of the Neville family connection with Sheriff Hutton.

And of course we were all fascinated to look at the alabaster tomb of a boy of about 11 who is said to be the son of Richard III. He was wearing a long, belted robe and a coronet. The features of his face were mainly gone but many believe him to be a representation of Edward of Middleham, Prince of Wales and only legitimate son of King Richard III. Edward, who had been invested as Prince of Wales in a lavish ceremony at York Minster in 1483, died the following year, at Middleham, of tuberculosis.

His parents, King Richard and Queen Anne [Neville], were then in Nottingham. It is suggested that they came north to Sheriff Hutton, and the body of their son was brought to meet them. Then, according to legend, he was buried in the church, not beneath where the effigy now rests but  on the opposite, southern side of the church, in the ancestral chapel of the Nevilles, his mother’s family.

The evidence is strong and many supporters of Richard III visit the church and lay white roses on the tomb. After a quick cup of tea most of us walked to the castle, passing the motte and bailey site on the way. The present remains, now in private ownership are very impressive and we enjoyed looking around although some of our group were so keen to get out of the heat that they explored a dungeon where cows gathered for the same purpose. Their shoes bore considerable evidence when they emerged.

We braved the A64 York ring road on our way home and made it  just before the heavy teatime traffic began. A thoroughly enjoyable day  - and thanks to Carole K for organising it.

An old postcard view of Sheriff Hutton church



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Visits to Broomfleet and Ellerker churches

This always a busy time of year as the garden fruits ripen, we go on visits and this year, to make it more interesting, I have had a horrid cold.

The garden is both a joy and a challenge at the moment. If I wished I could probably spend every waking moment outside cutting the grass, weeding the onions and clearing duckweed from the pond, just to mention a few jobs. But to be honest I am happy to let it escape a bit and to appreciate the potatoes which, despite the weeds, are producing a good crop and the rasps which we are eating raw, jamming and making into pies.

There are lots of interesting creatures around at the moment too - I have seen several toads, we have house martins (although sadly one of their nests fell, killing the occupants) and there has been a marauding fox.

But probably the most unusual sight was one morning last week when, having coughed my way through the night, I wanted nothing more than a cup of tea. I carried the kettle to the sink and blearily registered that there was a black something moving in the bottom. On closer inspection I identified it as a bat. I managed to cover it with a tea towel and, despite its hissing, I carried it out and put it on a seat out of the sun. It seemed uninjured and soon disappeared. I did take a picture of it before it went but I am not sure what type/ variety? it was. Bats are not uncommon here but I prefer to see them swooping around outside in the dusk, not making me jump in the kitchen. To borrow from the Victorian poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Come into the garden, Maud - bats belong outside in the dark.

"For the black bat, night, has flown'


Today I have visited both Broomfleet and Ellerker churches with my WEA history groups. I always enjoy these outings where students from different groups and classes come together for the afternoon. Both churches were designed by John Loughborough Pearson; Ellerker in 1843-4 and Broomfleet in 1857-61.

We were lucky to have two excellent guides.

John Waudby at Broomfleet  is a local historian who has written two books, one about Broomfleet and one about the Market Weighton drainage board. He told us about the church and about how the former vicarage was built using local Broomfleet bricks.

Diana Bushby at Ellerker is the newly-appointed churchwarden as well as the organist. She has done a lot of research recently into  the history  of St Anne's which she shared with us in an entertaining talk. Particularly fascinating was the story of the Levitt window which commemorates

Richard Marshall and Thomas and Anne Levitt, and was erected by Norrison Marshall Levitt  'grandson of the first named  son of Thomas and Anne aforesaid. 1897.'


She untangled for us the complicated family connections of the Levitt and Marshall families which led to the existence of two Norrison Marshall Levitts living at the same time in the Ellerker area.

The NML who commissioned the window was born in 1819. His father was Thomas Levitt and his mother was the former Ann Marshall, daughter of Richard.

The second NML was born in 1831, the son of Hannah Levitt, Thomas's sister.  Hannah became pregnant by Norrison Marshall, Anne's brother. Unfortunately before they could marry Norrison, who was around 25, was struck by lightning while on his way home from Hull. Both he and his horse were killed instantly.

Hannah gave birth to twin boys. She called them Marshall Norrison Levitt and Norrison Marshall Levitt. Sadly Marshall died but Norrison survived.

Confused? We were a little and so we adjourned to Ellerker village hall where we enjoyed welcome tea and biscuits.



The east window at St Anne's church, Ellerker, commemorating the Levitt family

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