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Coastal guide walk UK East Yorkshire

YORKSHIRE WOLDS GUIDE

Coastal Drive

Written
by
Gwendoline Hirst ©

As you drive along the coast road from Bridlington towards Sewerby you can imagine that thousands of years ago this was under the sea that stretched as far inland as Driffield and Beverley. The chalk Wolds rose from the sea around 3000 BC and formed the spit of land to Flamborough, with the soaring cliffs of Speeton and Bempton beyond. The northern edge of the Wolds stands high above the plain of the Vale of Pickering, once a huge lake, with ancient man living on the banks. Even up to the Middle Ages it was not safe to travel alone, as wolves and other wild animals roamed the hills, hiding in the forests ready to pounce on the unsuspecting traveller. William the Conqueror, as a reward for service in the Norman Conquest, split the country up into Manors, giving his knights and relatives a piece of land on which they built their castles and Manor houses. The local people were treated as slaves and paid the Lord of the Manor for many services. Each Manor generally had a water mill at which tolls were charged, and you could be prosecuted for using another mill outside the Manor. No matter how many people were waiting to have their corn ground, the Lord always had his ground before anyone else. Sometimes a mill was given to a Priory as a gift so that they could collect the tolls for their own use. After a time windmills and horsemills were built in opposition to the Lord's mill, with nearly all villages having at least one windmill. Many of these were still in use in the early years of this century.

THE COAST

MEANDER BETWEEN BRIDLINGTON AND HUNMANBY

GRINDALE
BRIDLINGTON
SEWERBY

HUNMANBY

FILEY

REIGHTON


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MARTON

DANESDYKE

FLAMBOROUGH

SPEETON
BUCKTON
BEMPTON

When following this route L means turn left;
R means turn right; + means cross roads
You may also like to use a road map or satellite navigation


This is a round trip of approximately 30 miles travelling North along the Heritage coast to Hunmanby and back along the edge of the Wolds.

Starting from the Scarborough Road roundabout in Old Town Bridlington we will take the B 1255 Flamborough. [1] As you drive along you pass the gatehouses to the workhouse, right, built in 1847, to house the poor and destitute. The Adult Training Centre was built here in 1981. On the left is Burlington School built in 1910, for both boys and girls. Pinfold Street, right, is where stray animals would have been kept in a pinfold or enclosure. Then Great Barn Street, right, near the site of the great barn used for storage by the Priors.

At the roundabout take the 2nd exit Sewerby and at the next roundabout the 1st exit along Sewerby Road. Left is Headlands School one of the two Secondary schools in the town. Cross the railway line and, as you enter SEWERBY, [2] on the left is the old vicarage, now called Sewerby Grange, built in yellow brick in the Gothic style. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, right, was built in 1962. At one time the services were held in a barn. There are paths leading to the cliff top. The cliffs change here from boulder clay to chalk. The boulder clay formed the beach in pre-glacial times and remains of Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus and Bison have been found in it. These animals would have lived here when the land was joined to Europe, before the formation of the North Sea. In the last century remains of a Roman camp were found on the cliff top. There are several old chalk cottages along the main street and the Ship Inn, built in 1840, is down the street, right. Facing you at the end of the main street is the arched gatehouse, built in 1848, at the entrance to Sewerby Hall, originally called Sewerby House.

Sewerby Hall under scaffolding 2014 BA Education

Sewerby Hall

There has been a Manor house on the site since Saxon times. John Greame bought the Manors of Sewerby and Marton in 1714, and the family were Lords of the Manor for 200 years. He built Sewerby House on the site of the old medieval Manor House. His three storey, seven bay mansion was in red brick with stone dressings and a pediment over the three central bays. Inside were several panelled rooms and an oak cantilevered staircase. A two storey brick stable block was added later. In 1750 his son John built a very modern addition for those days. This was a privy, approached through a shell grotto. The parkland, laid out during the 1800’s, is where the oldest Monkey Puzzle trees in the world can be found. In 1807 two bow front wings were added to the house. These were two storey and painted to resemble stone. A new stable block followed in 1820, and a courtyard with an Italian style stone clock tower in 1847. H.F. Lockwood designed other alterations in 1848 when the dovecot and gatehouse were built. Before this the main road ran in front of the house, then it was decided to extend the park and realign the road to go round the park. Twelve village houses were pulled down and the people were rehoused in a terrace behind the main street. The house and grounds were bought by Bridlington Corporation in 1934 for the use of the people of Bridlington, and it was opened to the public in 1936 by Amy Johnson. After her death on one of her long distance flights her father gave her memorabilia to the Hall, and the Amy Johnson room was opened in 1956. Also on view is the portrait given to the Stricklands of Boynton Hall by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles 1. She left this in exchange for the family silver which she took to help her to buy arms for the Civil War. Bear left along Church Lane, passing the present entrance to the House, right. Also right, behind the railings, is the church of St. John the Evangelist. This was built by Yarburgh Greame in 1848, on the site of a chapel in use in 1319 and was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. Inside, the chancel has a barrel roof and the Royal coat of arms is in carved, painted stone above the chancel arch. Leys House, next door, is the old school, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and built in 1849 by Yarburgh Greame. This was closed in 1949.

Adjoining the grounds of Sewerby Hall are those of Marton Hall. Built in 1672 by Gregory Creake, it was a brick building two storeys high with five bays, panelled rooms and a carved wood staircase. Alterations took place in the 1800’s and 1900’s, and in 1912 it became a school which has since closed. R along the B 1255 Danes Dyke, with the entrance to Marton Hall right. The Greames and Creakes, as Lords of the Manor, at one time collected payment for ships which went aground on the cliffs. Bear right at the junction. There was a post mill on the corner of Jewison Lane in 1723. Flamborough Maltings was built in 1964, so continuing milling on the same site.

MARTON [3] was an Anglian settlement. The Manor, built in the 1700’s, was raised to three storeys in the 1800’s, and the red brick barn was built in 1775. Marton Grange, left, is 1800’s, and had a hydraulic ram in the brick tower.

The trees crossing either side of the road are on the top of the embankment known as DANES DYKE. [4] This double embankment, 6m high with a ditch 18m wide, is 2.5 miles long and effectively cuts off the Flamborough headland from the rest of the area. The name Danes Dyke is rather misleading, and is thought to be derived from the Celtic word Dinas, meaning fort. Although the Danes may have used the Dyke as a defence, it was constructed many centuries earlier by the Brigantes or late Bronze Age people, using flint implements. Many flakes of flint were found on the inside of the ramparts where they had fallen when the axes were sharpened. Invaders coming in from the sea must have found this a formidable barrier. A wooded nature trail through the natural ravine leads down to the beach. An Anglian cemetery dating from 500AD was found near here containing a royal grave. It had in it fifty nine graves, one unfortunate person having been buried alive as a sacrifice. The Saxon King Ida landed in the area in 557AD with an invasion fleet of forty ships, and became the king of Northumbria. There was a mansion at the southern end of the Dyke, now demolished.

So we reach FLAMBOROUGH. [5] The name is probably derived from the Scandinavian word Flan meaning “a spit of land”. Another possibility is the Anglo Saxon word Flaen meaning “an arrow head”. For centuries it was a community called “Little Denmark” with its own dialect and traditions, and much intermarriage among the inhabitants. There is a legend that the Lord of Flamborough used to pay yearly rent to the King of Denmark. After a time he decided instead to fire an arrow carrying a gold coin out to sea once a year. The village pump, right, stands opposite the Crofts, which were small plots of land used by villagers for cultivating crops for market. R along Water Lane with earthworks or mounds at the bend, showing where the manor fishponds were in 1559. R into West Street leading to Beacon Farm. A footpath leads from here to Beacon Hill where the post holes of a Bronze Age house dating from 2000BC were found along the cliffs. The people of those times lived in rectangular tents made from brushwood. This site was used by the Romans for sending signals inland, and traces of pottery from the 300’s has been found. There were three beacons here in the 1500’s sending warning to Rudston of the Spanish Armada.

Return along West Street to Lilley Lane to visit the Norman church of St. Oswald which may have been built on the site of a pagan Temple to the God Odin. It was restored in 1864 when the wooden bell turret was replaced by a stone tower. The North wall is built with cobbles, perhaps from the beach. Hanging on the wall, left, is a copy of the Royal pardon granted by Charles 2 in 1660 to Walter Strickland, a Roundhead who fought for Cromwell. Between the chancel and the nave is the wooden screen carved in the 1500’s by the Ripon School of woodcarvers. One of only two examples in Yorkshire, this probably came from Bridlington Priory. The vestry was used as a schoolroom until 1845 and has, in a frame on the wall, a pair of white paper gloves. These were traditionally used at the burial of a maiden and then left in the church. Left, in the corner of the chancel, is the tomb of “Little” Sir Marmaduke Constable, who fought at Flodden when he was 70 and was buried here in 1530. The rumour is that he swallowed a toad which ate his heart. His son Robert also fought at Flodden, and had an equally grisly fate. He took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, the revolt of Northern men who marched to London to demand the restoration of the Monasteries and a return to Roman Catholicism. He was tried for treason and dragged in chains through Yorkshire before being executed in Hull.

Continue back along West Street and turn R into the main road. On the corner of Tower Street, left, is the remains of the chalk keep of the fortified manor house, built in 1351 for the Constable family. The foundations of the hall, outbuildings and courtyard are also to be seen. Manor House Farm was probably used after the 1500’s as the Manor house. R Lighthouse Road, then R Southsea Road, leading to South Landing. Flamborough was a port from the 1300’s to the 1600’s, but the pier at South Landing was destroyed in 1551. There was also a lifeboat station here until 1938. Prince James Stuart landed at Flamborough in 1406, attempting to escape from his enemies but was captured and imprisoned in Windsor Castle for 19 years before becoming James 1 of Scotland.

Return to the + then R along Lighthouse Road. The chalk tower, left, is the old lighthouse built in 1673 by Richard Clayton, and used as a marine telegraph station in the 1800’s.

Old Lighthouse BA Education

Old Lighthouse

There was so much smuggling that the coastguard station, left, was built in 1831, and 8 keepers’ cottages were built in 1846. The beacon, left, was erected in 1988 to celebrate the 400 years since the defeat of the Spanish Armada. On the toposcope, left, is the story of the battle in the bay in 1779, when the American captain John Paul Jones attacked a British merchant convoy. The convoy commander surrendered, but had the satisfaction of knowing that the American’s ship was also wrecked in the fighting. There were so many shipwrecks in the late 1700’s that the present lighthouse was built in 1806. The builder was John Matson, who erected the whole of the building without using any scaffolding. Born in Flamborough in 1760 he was press ganged into the navy as a young man. He eventually arrived in Calcutta where he was apprenticed to an architect and on returning to England he went into partnership in his father’s building firm in Bridlington.

Matson Lighthouse BA Education

Matson Lighthouse

Return to the + and turn R North Landing. Just before the Green, which used to be a mere, turn L into Allison Lane. The Royal Dog and Duck public house, left, was built in the 1700’s. The name Royal was added after Prince and Princess Louis of Battenburg visited it in 1900. Carry straight on along the High Street, which used to be lined with fishermen’s cottages.

Bear R at the fork along North Marine Road passing The Cuddy on your left at the junction of Thornwick road.

The Cuddy BA Education

The Cuddy

The bungalow was built in 1930 for a Dutch Sea Captain Ian Deheer and focused on the one main room with bedrooms and ancillary rooms either side similar to the one room on a boat, hence the name “Cuddy”. It maybe considered similar in design to “Clouds Hill” T. E. Lawrence’s cottage home, in the parish of Turners Puddle, Wareham in Dorset, near RAF Bovington where he was stationed. Whilst Lawrence’s was stationed at RAF Bridlington Mareine workshops on Gummers landing he used the name T. E. Shaw and stayed at the Ozone Hotel opposite, now the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club. On Wednesday’s Lawrence would ride over to The Cuddy and take afternoon tea with the Captain with whom he worked and had became friends.

The Cuddy Lawrence BA Education

T E Shaw in the Cuddy garden

At the end of the road is the North Landing, with its high cliffs and caves with picturesque names. Was Robin Lythe’s cave named after a real smuggler who hid from the duty men and survived in a pocket of air when the tide came in? Or was he created by the writer R. D. Blackmore, who wrote Lorna Doone and also Mary Annerley, a novel about this part of the coast? Fishing has been the main industry here for centuries and fishermen in the 1200’s had to give part of their daily catch to the Manor. The lifeboat station was built in 1871 and the brick shed nearby in 1875, to house a steam engine for hauling the fishing cobles up the slope. Donkeys with pannier baskets would be waiting to take the fish to the railway station.

Return along the B 1255 Bridlington Road into Chapel Street, with the red granite monument standing at the end, commemorating the fishermen drowned whilst trying to rescue another boat in 1909. Battle of Britain fighter ace Ginger Lacy lived in Flamborough until his death in 1989. He shot down twenty eight enemy aircraft, including the one which bombed Buckingham Palace in 1940.

Turn R along the B1229 Bempton Road, then R to Filey. You will cross the other end of Danes Dyke, shown by the line of trees before reaching BEMPTON. [6] At the + turn L along Church Lane to Newsham Hill Lane bordering the deserted village of Newsham which lies in the fields, right. Legend tells us that the body of Henry Jarratt was buried in the field in 1721, after he committed suicide and was not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. The railway station stands on the right, typical of a country halt. Returning to the village you pass the mere, left, where the Lord of the Manor used to charge a fee for the washing of sheep. St. Michael’s church, right, begun in 1120, is built on the site of a Saxon church.

St. Michael's church Bempton BA Education

St. Micheal’s church Bempton

The octagonal bell tower, built in the 1300’s, has two bells, one inscribed to the memory of John de Tweng, Prior of Bridlington in 1361. The red brick chancel was built in 1829 by Henry Broadley, the rector at that time. At the corner of the churchyard, right, is the National School, built in 1854. Bempton has some unusual street names. Gillus Lane on which there may have been a guildhouse, and part of the High Street is called Jawbones. Continue up Church Lane.

At the + the road straight ahead is Cliff Lane leading to the Bird Sanctuary, with a great variety of seabirds nesting on the spectacular cliffs. There are platforms on top of the cliffs for closer viewing. The fowling rights on the cliffs were held by William Strickland in the 1500’s, but by the 1800’s they had passed to the tenant farmers on the cliff edges. They gave them to their workmen who formed gangs of “climmers”. They would be lowered on ropes to collect the eggs, as many as 130,000 in a season, which were sold in London as Plovers’ eggs, or sent to the West Riding where the whites were used in the softening of leather. Because so many birds were being shot, especially when Fairs were held, the first Seabirds Preservation Act was passed in 1869. Kittiwakes, whose feathers were used in millinery, were one of the first birds to be protected. In 1954 the birds were further protected by a new Act and climming was made illegal. There was a beacon on Standard Hill in 1829.

If you are not visiting the bird sanctuary turn L Reighton, passing, right, the Methodist church built in 1903. BUCKTON [7] is now a small village which was much larger at one time. Earthworks in the centre show where earlier houses used to be. It had a school in 1818, and a Chapel of Ease dedicated to St. Lawrence from 1293 to 1547. A Roman Catholic priest was caught hiding in a constable’s house in 1676. Hoddy Cows Lane, right, leads from the mere to the cliff top. Buckton Hall, right, is a short distance from the village.

Buckton Hall BA Education

Buckton Hall

Built in 1744 for John Robinson, it originally had four storeys and a double pitched roof. There were curved screening walls linked to outbuildings on each side, making an elegant mansion. However, a fire in 1919 gutted the property demolishing the wings, and a flat roof was added to replace the original.

Turn R into SPEETON. [8] On top of the hill, left, is the coastguard station, built in 1905.

Coastguard station and radarspeeton BA Education

Coastguard station Speeton


There was a four sailed windmill next to this until it burnt down in 1921, and the bricks were used for the first council houses. At the bottom of the hill is the pump, restored by the villagers in 1986, with the old miller’s house on the corner and the blacksmith’s next door.

Speeton BA Education

Miller's house and blacksmiths Speeton

On the right of the main street there were six chalk houses, each having a cowshed and pigsty on the other side of the road. The bricked in doorway of the old Wesleyan chapel can be seen on the corner of Chapel Lane, left. The new chapel was built further up the lane in 1923. Next to this are the foundations of a bath house used during World War 2 by the Seaforth Highlanders billeted in the village. The window sills of the cook house are still there in the wall across the lane, left.

Cookhouse Speeton BA Education

Cookhouse Speeton

Woodbine Farm is at the end of the lane, where Woodbine Willy, really called Studart Kennedy, stayed. He was a travelling pastor in World War 1, well known among the troops for always having a Woodbine cigarette in his pocket for them. The cobble lane led to the old village which has disappeared. The rocket cart pulled by three horses would go along here when a ship was wrecked, with a rope ladder for scaling the cliffs. Return to the main street and turn L to the pond, which was twice as big at one time. St. Leonard’s church is Saxon, rebuilt by the Normans in 1100.

st. Leonard's  Church Speeton BA Education

St. Leonard’s church Speeton

One of the oldest and smallest churches in Yorkshire, the font is Saxon and there are stones from a Danish altar cross in the wall. What looks like a sundial in the wall is an ancient mass clock.

Return to the main road, then R Reighton. A beacon was sited on Beacon Hill, right, now replaced by a radar station. The old school, left, is now an inn, with the schoolmaster’s house opposite. Quite a walk to school in those days. Continue R along the A 1039 Filey road into REIGHTON. [9] The Dotterel Inn, left, was built in 1820 by a member of the Strickland family and was used to accommodate the many gamekeepers who came to the area in order to shoot the Dotterel. A Dotterel is a bird rather like a plover which was once hunted for sport in this area. However, it became almost extinct, perhaps because it was apparently rather stupid, and allowed people to come close enough to shoot it. At the sharp left bend the private road, right, leads to Reighton Hall, built in the 1700’s, and still having the original octagonal brick dovecot. The two storey house with five bays was rebuilt in 1810 in rendered brick by Henry Strickland who produced a map of the East Riding and wrote “Agriculture of the East Riding of Yorkshire” in 1812. His son, Hugh, born here in 1811, was a geologist and naturalist who wrote many books. He was the grandson of Edmund Cartwright, inventor in 1787 of the first power loom, which caused the Luddite rebellion. Unfortunately Hugh Strickland was killed by a train in 1853 whilst studying in a tunnel. As you go down Church Hill the old red brick vicarage is on the right, behind the wall. St. Peter’s church was rebuilt in 1890 on the site of a Norman chapel. Before restoration the floor of the nave was cobbled, and there are still cobbles on the tower floor. In the valley, right, is the chalk manor house, and, turning L up St. Helen’s Road you pass the site of the manor fish ponds. The dried up village pond, right, may have been St. Helen’s Well, known in the 1200’s for its miraculous powers. The village pump, left, was recently renovated.

Continue to the top of the hill, then R to FILEY [10] meaning Five Leys or a clearing of forest or meadow otherwise known over the years as Fivelac, Philaw and Fiveley. The former description gives a feel of the place when the early settlers started fishing from the beach. The Romans where probably the first people to bring a settlement here when they built a signal station to warn of invasion from Saxon raiders. The discovery of a walled area 60ft (18.29m) x 25ft (7.62m) surrounding 5 large carrier stones could have been the base for the pillars to support a signal beacon. These stones now in Crescent Gardens giving the only clue as to what went on in this quite coastal area prior to the 12th century when church of St Oswald being built on what is now Church Hill overlooking the sea to the north of the town. The bay is formed of Cretaceous white sandstone cliffs and boulder clay that formed the Jurassic Coast area 154 to 159 million years ago and gave sanctuary to the dinosaurs and ammonites that roamed this area facing the North sea.

Filey Brigg Carr Naze BA Education

Filey Brigg looking towards Carr Naze

Filey Brigg or bridge is a long peninsula of land stretching out to sea with its seaward end known as Carr Naze that was occupied 3-4000 years ago by man using flint tools and because of its postion it later became the site of a Roman Signal tower. Carr Naze also marks the start of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, a Naitional Trail. The Trail is 79 miles in length, or 127 KM, from Carr Naze to where it leaves the Wolds on the Humber Estuary. The walk could take up to 6 days to complete in full, but most people just select a short distance and walk it in planed stages. Hessle Haven is the official historic start although most people start at the sculpture in the shadow of the Humber Bridge. Officially Filey and the area to Filey Brigg are outside of the Wolds.

Yorkshire Wolds Way BA Education

Yorkshire Wolds Way stone

The Spa on the north of Carr Naze, close to the edge of the cliff, has now fallen into the sea. However, the waters were taken to treat many diseases, and were probably found in the late 1900s having been very popular in the 1700 and 1800’s. The Filey Country Park, on Church Cliff Drive, was laid out on agricultural land on top of Filey Brigg in the 1970’s and covers 9 acres. A manor house near the church on farm land at church cliff was the home of the Buck family during the 1500 1600’s with only earth works remaining.

The sea and the fertile valley provided are the foundation for the evolution of this fishing village that supported both the men and women of the area. The men fishing from the bay and working the land with the help of women who became an essential part of the fisherman’s craft by making the nets, collecting the bait and cleaning it then baiting the lines for the men to use for the fishing. The bay was an important shipping lane between the Humber and the Tees and several ships were sunk in the area whilst providing the workplace for the industry of the area. The local fisherman even had a distinctive Gansey woolen sweater had their own knitting pattern so that if drowned at sea they could be recognized by their Filey pattern sweater.

A stone sea wall was built in 1893 along the foreshore promenade now called The Beach road to protect the land. Above the North and South Crescent Gardens were laid out in the 1890s and could only be used by owners and visitors of houses along the Crescent who paid a yearly subscription. In 1903 anyone who paid 3d (2½) per day, or 10s. (50p) per month were allowed to use them. A band played outside from 1860 to 1872 when a Bandstand was created on the present South Lounge stage area with a Summer House next to it which burned down in 1880. There was also open air dancing several evenings each week during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Sun Lounge was built 1961, retaining the original colonnade. After severe storm damage due to floods in 1953, when Foreshore Road was under water, and 1955 Royal Parade was opened. Below The Beach road provided access to the sea giving rise to buldings such as The Spa Saloon, originally built in 1800’s with a mansard roof, situated at 15 Beach road that later became Ackworth House Nursing and Retirement Home. The Coastguard Station is now at 27 The Beach road, but was originally in Queen Street.

Coatguard Station, Filey BA Education

Coastguard Station, Filey

There was a lifeboat in 1823 built by Robert Skelton of Scarborough stationed on the foreshore near Carrgate Hill. A lifeboat station was not built until the 1850s. Horses were used to pull the trailer carrying the boat into the sea and men rowed the boat. The Volunteer Life Saving Rocket Brigade used to fire rockets from the cliff or shore to carry a line to the ship in order to rescue the crews by breeches buoy. A powered inshore lifeboat was installed in 1966.

Life boat Station Filey BA Education

Life Boat Station, Filey

We start on The Crescent at The Cresent Gardens, both completed in the 1890’s. The gardens encompasses a walled area 60ft (18.28m) x 25ft (7.62m) with 5 large carrier stones, one decorated with a stag being hunted by a hound, and thought to be the base for the pillars that doubled as support for a beacon watchtower. The stones were discovered at Carr Naze on Filey Brigg in the 1857 and then excavated before being moved to their present site. These are the remains of a Roman Signal Station built in 395 AD and abandoned in 400 AD. Signal stations have always been integral to this part of the east coast to warn of invaders. The first known invaders were the Roman’s, followed by the Saxons and then the Vikings. The Brigg is a low-lying reef of calcareous grit, a mix of limestone and sandstone, that projects out into the north sea for half a mile, it had a bell buoy placed at its seaward end in 1871 to warn shipping as it becomes a hazard in rough weather.

Roman Signal Station pillar stones Filey BA Education

Roman Signal Station pillar stones, Filey

The oldest building in Filey is St Oswald’s church built 1100’s. It has a Stone figure built into Wallon South Aisle. The South Door is Norman. There is Priest’s door dating 1230 with a sundial nearby and a Maso Clock to show the times for mass before the Reformation. A stone alter was found on the chancel floor where it had been placed in the 1500’s during the reformation and may be from an earlier church. Two violinists and a cellist played for the services during the 1800’s.Fire destroyed the organ in 1908 and a new organ built by Bines of Leeds in 1908 at a cost of £900. Rev. Evan Williams, Curate from 1809 to 1833 lived at 33 Church Street, as there was no vicarage. He always went in and out through a window, and no women were allowed in the house. He would also sometimes start a service then say there was no sermon and go home. Canon Cooper was vicar from 1880 until 1935. He enjoyed walking and writing travel books, walking to London, Rome and many other cities on the continent.

St. Oswald's Church Filey BA Education

St. Oswald’s church, Filey

Church Cliff House, off Church Cliff Drive, on the north side St Oswald’s church, was built round about 1799 and was built on the site of a manor house owned by the high sheriff Sir John Buck from 1640 to 1641 and overlooked the sea. The house had six bays on the east and 5 bays on the south side and originally a square stone dovecot in the garden.

The first Wesley chapel, was built in Mitford Street in 1811 where the Elderly Person’s club is and was closed in the 1940’s. A new, larger chapel was built in Union Street in 1871 seating 900 people. A fire destroyed the organ in 1901 and the new organ was considered one of the best in the area. A Primitive Methodist or Ranter's Chapel was built at 3 Mitford street in 1823 and stands next to the fire station. The Salvation Army hall built was built on the site of the Albert hall in 1947 stand opposite.

Northcliffe on the end of Mitford Street has a stable block and coach house. Built in 1892 to designs by W H Brierley of York, there was a tunnel from the house to the out buildings. The Conference Hall next to the coach house was used as a Drill Hall and now scouts. An area called Clarke Asphalt was next to this where fishermen dried their nets.

Queen Street was thought to be the centre of medieval Filey and a market cross may have stood at the junction of Station Road, Mitford Street and Scarborough Road. A Saxon alter was found prior to the second wold war on the site of the parish church of St Oswald which was built about 1180 with the earliest recorded gravestone dated 1742.

Touring companies from London performed at The Grand Theatre and Cinema which had a cafe and lecture room situated at 8-10 Union street which opened in February 1911, closing in 1995 to become a vegetables preparation area, the other picture house was the Brig Cinema in Station road built in 1930 showed films until 1950 when it eventually closed to become a shopping centre in the 1970s. Now trying to find a use for its size.

Two cottages built in 1696 at 8 and 10 Queen Street became the local museum in 1970 focusing on local history and traditions. The Post Office was located at 79 Queen street from 1840 until 1850s when it moved to 11 Murray street.

The first Police station and Court house was designed by the County Surveyor Alfred Beaumont and built in 1892 by A. Moore of Scarborough at 5 Murray street were nearing completion in October 1892 with adjoining apartments for an Inspector and Sergeant and their families. Sergeant subsequently Inspector George Smith and Constable John James Long and their families were the first incumbents. The new Police station opened in an old building on John Street on the 26 March 2013.

Police station, Murray street Filey BA Education

First Police station, 5 Murray street, Filey

The first Fire engine had arrived in the town in 1891, and was located in Queen Street. The Fire station was incorporated into the Council chambers for the town. Having a tower a bell was fitted to warn of fire. A siren was fitted in 1938 that could be used as an air raid siren in the event of war. A Fire Station opened in 1935 on Mitford Street in 1935 and the present day fire and rescue services have a station there. The engine was located after the second world war at Butlin’s Holiday camp Primrose valley in 1946 and moved back to Murray Street in 1950.

The Filey Council chamber occupies 52a Queen street, the old fire station, which was built attached to the original council offices to its right hand side with a caretakers house at 52 Queen street. Then the council used these offices continually until 1967 with the exception of the war years when they were requisitioned by the Minity of Food. The council bought the premises of the Convent of the Sacred Heart to be convert into the Town Hall; located at the junction where Murray street where it meets with Cargate Hill and is entered from John Street.

Council chamber fire station Filey BA Education

Council Chamber with old Fire Station on the left, Queen Street, Filey

At the end of Queen street, where it joins Laundry Road, stood a steam engine that supplied power to the adjoining laundry. The laundry employed 100 people in the summer.

The Methodist movement arrived in the town in 1806 starting with meetings in barns and sheds and the Wesleyan Methodist society formed in 1810. A Methodist chapel was built in Providence Place in 1838 with a Sunday school the following year and the Day School in West Avenue built in 1857, followed by the building of the Victoria hall in Murray Street in 1839.

The Methodist Church Filey BA Education

The Methodist church, Union Street, Filey

The Methodist Church in Union Street was built in the Gothic style 1876 at a cost of £5,000 and known initially as the Wesleyan chapel, burnt down in 1918 and a new church built on the same site later becoming known as Trinity Methodist Church between 1930 -1975 then finally back to Methodist Church when the two congregations merged. In 1931 the Chapel spire was displaced by the effects of the Dogger bank earthquake. Further down the street was the Ebenezer Chapel built in 1918, but subsequently burnt down and not reopened until 1923. Known for their powerful preaching they brcame known as the Ranter’s and the chaple became known as the Ranter chaple.

Ranters chapel Filey BA Education

Ranter’s chapel, Filey

The Ebenezer Chapel closed through lack of support in 1975 when the two congregations merged and is at present used as flats. Methodism came to Filey in 1806 with meetings held in sheds and barns. A society was formed in 1810 with a chapel built in Providence Place thee following year. The Victoria Hall was built in 1839 and burnt down in 1918 and was replaced by shops in Murray Street. A first aid post was built against the wall of Trinity Methodist Church school room during the war years.

There was a bath house on the corner at the junction of Murray Street and West Avenue in the 1800’s where the chemist’s shop is opposite the Methodist church.

Where Murray street meets with Cargate Hill and entered from John Street, are two villas that become a convent occupied by the Sister Charity of our Lady of Evron who had arrived in the town in 1900 to establish the of Convent of Sacred Heart in 1904/5. The two recently recently built and enlarged villas had become South Cliff Villas which they subsequently opened as a Girl's High School in 1904 that remained open until 1967 when the sisters of evron left the town and the School closed to became the Evron centre and concert hall, named after the "Sisters of Evron" from Evron near LeMans in western France, which also houses the council offices and Visitor Centre.

Convent school Filey BA Education

Convent school, Filey

The building was built in 1898 and was used as Council offices up until 1974 when Urban District Councils were abolished and Filey's assets handed over to the Scarborough District Council who governed Filey. Filey Urban Council became Filey Town Council with reduced powers paying rent for the council chamber and offices. The council then bought The Convent of the Sacred Heart on Cargate Hill, entered from John Street in 1967 and to use them as the Town Hall and council premises. The Council offices were vacated in the 1967 when the council bought The Convent of the Sacred Heart which was run by the Sisters of Evron was still used by them 1974 and used bye them as the Town council premises up until 1992 when it bought back and renovated its original offices in 1993. In 1992 the council bought back its original Council chamber, offices and fire station in Queen street and after renovation opened them again on the 25th of May 1993.

Filey was considered quite an upmarket holiday destination from 1870s to World War 1. Wealthy visitors took lodgings for the summer from the South of England and the Continent with members of the Royal family also enjoying the social life and surroundings. Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, daughter of George V stayed in the 1930’s with her sons who went on early morning fishing trips. She also opened the Royal Parade in 1955.

Orchestral concerts were held at the bandstand in the Crescent gardens and pierrot’s performed on the beach in the late 1800’s and continued until the 1940’s. With Aerial flights and flying feats being performed on the beach at Primrose Valley what more could the visitor want.

Yorkshire Light Aeroplane Society, formed in 1909 asked permission to use Filey Sands for landing and take off their aeroplanes. The sands were also the testing ground for aircraft from the Blackburn Aircraft Company based at Flat Cliffs, Primrose Valley. An aeroplane with engine designed by Rupert Issaeson flew into a woman on the beach, lifting her onto the wing and into the cliff. She sued and was awarded £175 damages. However, in 1912 Robert Blabckburn, founder of the company, wrote to the council for financial assistance, which they could not give, and the company moved. In 1905 the Yorkshire Automobile club also used the beach for a speed trial over 2 miles on the beach using the Royal Crescent Hotel as a venue for a dinner. The Light speed and achieved was 72 mph. The first pilot and passenger to lose their life in a aeroplane in England was on Filey sands at Mr Blackburn’s flying school in 1910/11.

New building began in the town in the 1830s, and with the arrival of the railway in 1846 more people started to visit the town prompting a need for accommodation. A National School was built in Scarborough Road in 1874, replacing a church school built in 1839 that closed in 1988. A Secondary School was built on Muston Road in 1961.

Cliff House 40 Belle Vue Street was one of the earliest buildings in 1842 and had sea views. Charlotte Bronte stayed at Cliff House in 1849, and rumor has it did not like the room in 1852 and so did not return, it is said that the singer Jenny Lind, ‘Swedish Nightingale’, also stayed in the same house. Cliff House is soon to be called Charlott's, that boasts a 200 year old vine in the conservatory. The Belle Vue Hotel, built in 1860’s, stood opposite.

Filey Cliff House BA Education

Cliff House, 40 Belle Vue Street, Filey
The Bronte era

Amongst others to visit the town were Frederic Delius, the composer, born in Bradford, who came as a boy with his family and stayed at number 24 The Royal Crescent, Miss Hurd’s boarding house in 1876, 1877 and again in 1897 when it was run by Mrs Collet, now part of the Hylands Retirement Home. Dame Myra Hess, the pianist, and Dame Madge Kendal, the actress, had a house called South Crescent Villa, built 1850, that subsequently became the White Lodge Hotel. Pre 1914 it became popular with dignitaries of the Church, members of the Government, MPs, Peers of the realm and the Mountbatten family who came to stay with their families. The Lodge was known as Kendel House in 1918. In 1896 after a visit to Filey, The Lodge on The Crescent was bought by the actor manager Mr William Hunter Kendal Grimston, otherwise known as Mr William Hunter Kendal (1843-1917), of 12, Portland Place, London, and his wife the well-known actress Dame Madge (Margaret Shafto) Robertson GBE 1848-1935.

Filey Whie Lodge BA Education

The Lodge, The Crescent, Filey

Houses along The Crescent were built from the 1840’s when no’s 8 - 14 were completed through to the 1890’s when number 38 was built. The Crescent Hotel was built in 1853 and the houses had cast iron balconies. The houses were bisect as single homes, but later being joined to become hotels.

Filey Osbourn House BA Education

Osbourn House, Filey

The two World wars brought changes and innovations to the town. During World War 1 many hotels and boarding houses were used to house troops with Osborn House, on The Crescent used as a convalescent home for soldiers. The car park in the Station Avenue was built in the 1930s was used as a parade ground during the second world War. The World War 2 brought evacuees from Hull and Hartlepool to be billeted in the area, with the families receiving 8 shillings (40p) per week for each child. Occasionally mines would break loose from their moorings in the shipping lanes and explode on the beach or against the cliff with a cafe on the Brigg was destroyed in this way. A Vickers Wellington aircraft crashed in a field where Filey School in 1940, and several aircraft crashed in the area, and in 1941 the laundry in laundry Road was destroyed by bombs. A block house was built in Glen Gardens and now provides a viewing platform after being covered in earth.

History had played a part in the the towns war stories with Henry the eighth (1491-1547), in building up local defense groups, decreed that all men under 60 should practice archery after church on Sunday. The Filey butts were between Church Hill and Ravine Hill. A beacon 1/2 mile west of Filey School on Beacon Hill was lit as an early warning against invasion by the Spanish Armada ships in 1558. Then a battle in 1779 between the American fleet of John Paul Jones and the British fleet commanded by Captain Richard Pearson, who was escorting merchant ships along the coast, was watched by hundreds of people on the cliffs. Filey was quite isolated until the middle of the 1700s as the main road did not pass through it. The roads were only built in the early 1800s after enclosure of the common lands, which had previously used the 3 field system, leaving one fallow every 3 years.

To accommodate the increased congregations, a Zion Church was built on West Avenue in 1857, with a replacement was built in 1871 on a site with stone provided by the Hunmanby Lord of the Manor Admiral Mitford, who died in 1870 before the St. John’s Church of the Evangelist was finished, designed by the unexciting, but dependable architect C. Hodgson Fowler in 1200s style opened in 1873. In 1970 this was altered due to falling attendances and made small, with a church hall.

St. John's Church Filey BA Education

St. John’s church, Filey

An iron church, probably constructed of ironstone, had been built further south on the eastern side of West Avenue in 1857, before being replaced in 1871 when St John’s church was built as a chapel of ease to accommodate the growing number of worshippers.

In West Avenue on the corner of Clarence Avenue stands 1 Clarence House built as a girls boarding school in the 1800’s and from 1871 it was headed by Elizabeth Ware then run by sisters Lucy Martha and Margret McMallum between 1881 and 1891. In the 1930’s it became a hotel then during the second wold war it became accommodation for French Officer Cadets who were trained there. Then on the 1st February 1946 it became a CHA (Countrywide Holiday Association) Youth Hostel and drained of resources it closed on 15th September 1958 and has now become flats.

1 west avenue Filey BA Education

Clarence House, 1 Clarence avenue, Filey

The Town’s Library was built at Southdene in West Avenue in 1933, and was converted into house when the library moved to its purpose built new home in Station Road on the 11 April 1995.

Southdene road is home to the Filey Sea Cadets, with its impressive British built deck gun outside, To it seaward side once stood the Southdene Pavilion that had hosted variety shows and a Repertory Company, but now is the site of the tennis courts and croquet lawns.

Glen Gardens Cafe stands on the site of Ravine Hall, demolished in 1970’s. This was originally Ravine Villa, built by Henry Bentley of Bentley’s Yorkshire Beers in 1837. In 1889 Edwin Martin, a Huddersfield mill owner, bought the villa, and the road became Martin’s Ravine. The lodge is in West Avenue with the drive leading to the house.

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at 23 Booklands, Filey was built by Sawdon Bros. in 1908 to designed by Father E. Roulin, who was the first priest. The premises were enlarged in 1961.

St. Mary's Church Filey BA Education

St. Mary’s church, Filey

To leave the town turn left from West Avenue into Station avenue then right at the island into Station Road continue to the island on to the Scarborough Road to Bridlington

As you leave the town another association is Butlin’s Holiday Camp Filey. Although not in the town it bears the town's name Filey. Billy Butlin began building work on the Filey Butlin's Holiday Camp in 1939, situated on the seaward side of A 165 Moor road south of Primrose Valley about 2 miles south of Filey on the Scarborough road. It was taken over by the RAF at the outbreak of war and became RAF Hunmanby Moor. At the end of the war in May 1945 half of the camp was handed back and with the help of 400 RAF workers and finally reopened as a holiday camp on the 2nd of June 1945 It covered 400 acres with an initially capacity for 1500 holiday makers and by the late 1950’s it was catering for catering for 10,000 holiday makers with 1500 staff. A railway branch line was added in 1947 to bring visitors straight to the camp railway station alleviating the need to travel to Filey railway station this branch line it closed in 1977. A chair lift appeared in 1961 taking visitors from the half mile from the centre of the camp to the cliff top and beach. It finally closed in October 1983 in a shock announcement due to lack of holiday makers. The entertainment was first rate with top artists and sports people at the camp. Charlie Drake, the comedian was one of many who started their careers there as one of the legendary Red Coats who was also was a boxing instructor there in 1950s aND Des O’Connor was another Redcoat with many top sports personalities like to Rowe twins table tennis players. Big Charlie, an 8 ton Indian male elephant was brought from Aye to Filey and he gave rides round the camp, but had to be put down when his mahout died as he became difficult. Ballroom Dance festivals were held at the camp with music supplied by the Joe Daniels Hot shots for the top competitors attending.

Continue to the top of the hill, then R into the main road the B1229 Scarborough Road to HUNMANBY [11] derived from the Danish name Hundemanbi meaning ‘The farmstead of the houndsman’. Perhaps packs of hounds were kennelled here to hunt the wolves on the Wolds. Spread out below you, right, is Hunmanby Moor, and the old Butlin’s Holiday Camp opened in 1948. These wet low lying fields or carrs were drained in the 1800’s to make farmland. Donkeys laden with contraband went from Butcher’s Haven to the village along the smugglers’ route across the carrs.

To your right is the broad sweep of Filey Bay with its golden sands that once formed a natural flying ground where early aircraft designs were tested out. It all started in 1910 when J.W.F Teanmere of Scarborough applied to Filey Urban District Council for permission to used the sands as a base for aircraft to take off and land, although most of area used came under the jurisdiction of Bridlington Rural District Council and the beach and land was owned by the Lord of the Manor of Hunmanby. The permission was granted and the Northern Aerial Transport Company Limited was formed and began operating a flying school. On the flat cliffs between Filey and Primrose valley a bungalow and hanger with a concrete slipway down to the beach were built. Two Bleriot monoplanes were brought from France by sea and rail to Filey railway station and taken via farm trallers to the hanger where they were reassembled. Flying started on the 25th July, 1910 with John William House as the first pilot. Robert Blackburn who was born in Leeds in 1885, a qualified engineer with an interest in flying, who had formed the Blackburn Aircraft Company, agreed to rent both buildings for 10/– (50p) per week each, after seeing an advertisement in the magazine "Flight" on the 22nd October, 1910. This enabled him to assemble his second aircraft design “the Light Monoplane” which was made in his Benson Street workshop in Leeds. The two Bleriot’s were taken to the Leeds factory for an overhaul allowing the hanger to accommodate two Blackburn Mercury 1 monoplanes for assembly. Pilots did not have to be licensed at this time and a new self taught pilot Brentfield C Hucks, who had gained experience at Hendon and in America, joined the Blackburn Flying School to test fly the new Blackburn Mercury designs. Hucks qualified flying in front of officials of the Aero Club and was awarded his certificate number 91 on the 18th May, 1911 after crashing during the examination, something he continued to do. He remained as chief Flying Instructor and made a number of notable flights between Filey, Bridlington and Scarborough, but later achieved fame as the first person to perform a loop the loop and fly upside down in an aircraft in England. The next chief Flying Instructor was Hubert Oxley on the 3rd of September, 1911 who brought in many innovations to the design of the Blackburn aircraft and tested the Mercury 111, but he did find time for "Joy Riding" from the Primrose Valley Aerodrome to take Yorkshire's first lady passenger Miss Cook, a local resident for a flight. He crashed and was killed with a pupil Robert Weiss on the 6th December, 1911 being succeeded by Jack Brearley. The Blackburn Flying School closed and moved to Hendon in September, 1912 in the hope of getting military contracts after a request for financial assistance to Filey Urban District council was turned down. The hanger was used for military storage until 1921, when it was demolished for re-erection on land at Hunmanby Railway station, leaving the bungalow and the concrete slipway to be blown up by the army in 1940.

Beyond stretches Filey Bay, ending in Filey Brigg, a spit of land said to be the Devil’s attempt to split the North Sea in two. From ancient times until 1930 the Lord of the Manor performed the “javelin ceremony” when, once a year he threw a javelin into the sea in Filey Bay, to establish the local fishing rights. In 1846 Jenny Lind, the singing “Swedish nightingale” visited Graffitoe Farm, left, by mistake. The story goes that she should have visited Field House, but arrived at the wrong farmhouse. A chariot burial was excavated near the railway station, right. New Road, left, was built in the 1800’s to connect the upper and lower roads into the village. The gatehouse to the Hall, left, was built in 1829 to imitate a monastic ruin, using stone from Filey Brigg. Turn R along Sands Lane, over the level crossing, the L along Sheepdyke Lane. Low Hall, right, was the Tudor Manor house, built in the 1500’s for the Lord of the manor. This became the workhouse in 1785. At the end of the road is the pinfold for stray animals, with the lock up built in 1834 next to it. This has separate cells for men and women and was often used after the fairs, which had been held since the 1200’s.

Pinfold and Lock up Hunmanby BA Education

Pinfold and Lock up Hunmanby

Turn L into Stonegate, then 1st L into Hungate Lane. The doctors’ surgeries are modern, but the doctor in the 1850’s was Dr. Pritchard, who came to an untimely end by hanging for poisoning his wife. He liked to be seen at church, but would ask his groom to call him out during the sermon so that he could miss the rest of the service. The Old Forge is right, with next to it, the supermarket which was a chapel. Turn R into Bridlington Street. On the left is the market place, now called Cross Hill, with the old market cross standing on the green. At the top, left, through the gates, is the Methodist chapel, designed by B. W. Blanchard and built in 1958. The Wellington Stage coach would have called at the White Swan Inn on its way between Hull and Scarborough, as well as the mail coach from Scarborough to London which started in 1834. In the 1800’s the proprietors were George and David Bourdass who owned a stud of Hackneys. One of these was a famous horse called “Denmark” and another was “Danegelt” which was sold for 5000 guineas. Running alongside the churchyard, right, is the old cobbled road, Church Walk, now tarmaced, leading to the old vicarage, Wrangham House, which is now a hotel. Built in the 1600’s it was enlarged in 1803 by the vicar, who became Archdeacon Wrangham. Over the years he had collected a priceless library of books on all subjects, and had to enlarge the house to fit them all. After his death the library was split up and sent to different museums.

All Saints’ church restored in 1844, has a Norman font and chancel arch. Round the walls hang sixteen hatchments, the black, lozenge shaped shields, painted with the coat of arms of the Lords of the manor. At one time they would be hung over the entrance to the Hall for a year after the Lord of the manor died, after which it was hung in the church. The road at the side of the church would have been the moat for the castle, built by Gilbert de Gant in the 1100’s. Bear left up Castle Hill then L Hall Park Road. On the left is Hunmanby Hall built by the Osbaldeston family in the 1600’s, replacing Low Hall as the manor house. In the early 1800’s Isaac Leatham, steward to the Osbaldestons, prepared an agricultural report on the East Riding. The Hall was sold in 1927 to the Methodists and became a girls’ boarding school, now closed.

Straight on at the + Grindale. Bartindale Farm, left, is on the site of the deserted village of Bartindale, one of the 3000 deserted medieval villages already found in the British Isles. One main reason for depopulation was the Black Death in the 1300’s, another was the introduction of sheep farming instead of arable farming, perhaps due to poor soil conditions, so that less farm labourers were needed.

L at + Bridlington, passing, right, the deserted village of Argam, and through GRINDALE [12] both described in the Northern Drive. Continue to the junction of the A 165 Bridlington. Turn R to return to the Scarborough Road roundabout, having explored another part of “Mother Nature’s Patchwork Quilt.”. © GMH

If you enjoyed that try another Yorkshire Wolds Guide


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