Kellington Independent Website
A study by Julie Tree, 1989
Changes which have occurred over the years in Kellington making it the place it is today.
As Kellington has a history going back hundreds of years, it is felt important to mention some of this history, furnishing a background to the main study.
The aim of this study is to enable one to be able to pin point when and why changes occurred which have made Kellington what it is today.
The long history of Kellington can be seen by the presence of historic remains such as the Church of St Edmunds and the Old Mill (now renovated and modernised for residential purpose). Even the name itself has Anglo Saxon connections - 'ington' being Anglo Saxon for 'settlement near the marsh'. The development of Kellington has been the result of slow growth over centuries.
Prior to the Norman Conquest, Kellington belonged to a rich Saxon baron named Baret or Barthr. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Baret's lands were confiscated by the king and given to one Ilbert de Lacy, Baret staying as an under tenant of land at Roall, Kellington and Eggborough. There is reference to a John de Kellington being rector at Kellington in 1185, and it was presumed that the living was appropriated by the knights Templars between 1255 and 1266. Kellington is where the knights Templars of Temple Hirst had their church and burial place. After the suppression of the Templars in 1312, the Kellington property passed to the knights Hospitallers - also known as the knights of Jerusalem, the forerunners of the St John Ambulance Brigade. The knights Templars were formed with the object of defending the Holy Land against Muslims, and its members were bound by an oath of poverty, obedience and chastity.
Following the dissolution of various religious orders, Henry VIII gave his advowson of Kellington Church to the Royal and Religious Foundation of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Cambridge, with who it still remains.
Kellington Church is dedicated to St Edmunds, King of East Anglia. It is not easy to see why this was done as Kellington does not appear to have any historical connection with East Anglia.
An important feature of the village is the church, built of limestone and standing some 26 feet above the lowest part of the village. It is approximately a quarter of a mile from the village green by footpath across two fields. There is no evidence of housing ever being built near to it. Its position is probably due to the higher ground, as the builders would want to avoid floods, and possibly to the fact that it served Beal and Roall (then much larger than now) and so was placed between the two and near Kellington.
The shell is of Norman origin, but little Norman work remains today. The lower part of the tower, nave and chancel are 13th century and the tower is thought to have begun to lean at an early stage as the angle buttresses date from around 1400.
The pinnacles were removed in the 1940's when one was found to be unsafe. In the nave the outer covering of lead was removed by thieves in the 1950's. The roofs were re-covered in 1968 with light modern materials, as it would have been too costly to replace the rotten woodwork with similar material.
As in all village communities the life centred upon the Parish Church.
diaries cover half a century of rural life under William IV and Queen
Victoria. Covering 50 years from 1831 to 1880, they include the formation
of the anti-corn law league, the Hungry 40's, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and
a golden age of farming expansion. They are valuable as they not only
quote prices but also give information about life on the farm, and working
and living conditions in the countryside. Hirst's obvious love of gossip
contrasts with the 20th century view of the Victorians being prudish and
inhibited. Samuel Hirst was a well-travelled man who took an interest
in life beyond his farm lands".
Examples of a few random notes from the diaries:
1832 - Began building
new farm house (this is now Meadow Lodge, residential home for the elderly).
Samuel Hirst died in November 1880.
taken from Directories of Towns and Villages from the early 19th century.
Electoral roles and Census figures have been studied and they indicate
a very slow increase in the rate of growth in population for the century.
1801 253 (72 houses
at this time)
The West Yorkshire County Medical Officer in a report in 1902 confirmed these figures and stated "Like several other purely agricultural townships, Kellington has had a stationary population for the last sixty years".
One wonders why the population remained stable for such a long period of time. There was no birth control available, therefore could it be due to high birth rates and high death rates, keeping figures constant?
A note in one of the directories of interest, reference was made to "up street" being the part of the village in which the church and vicarage were situated. "Down street" being the part of the village with the public houses. Even today the older residents refer to going "up the village" and "down the village".
The tithe map of Kellington 1839 shows the buildings in existence at that time. It can be seen that much of the building was centred on the cross roads both north and south of the village. Some of the sites of previous buildings or buildings still remaining are given below:
Church Farm House
Moving into the 20th century, Kelly Directories of the West Riding of Yorkshire listed the occupations of Kellington residents. In 1901 the listed occupations were as follows:
By 1936 the listed occupations had been reduced to:
Cow keeper, wheelwright. Miller and horse breeder having disappeared. A slow movement away from agriculture had begun.
Many of the names listed in Kelly's Directories will still be familiar to the Kellington born residents today: Baker, Cuttle, Fordham, Hilton, Jackson, Lister, Metcalfe, Moore, Pogson, Poskitt, Rhodes, Robinson, Webster and Wilson.
The outbreak of war in 1914 saw many of the local young men leaving home to fight for king and country - some not to return as is evident by the list of names on the memorial in the Church.
The windmill, mentioned in the Domesday Book and later bought by Samuel Hirst, was used for grinding corn until about 1923. First by sa s(?) and wind and from 1918 by engine.
The 1927 Directories stated "Just outside the vicarage grounds is stocks hill - a stone mound - marking the place of the old village stocks". Upon this mound were two trees, presumable the stocks fitted between them. Unfortunately this link with the past was removed in August 1954 to allow for road widening.
The same notes said the Parish Hall was erected in 1913, information disputed by the commemorative stone built into the building giving the date as 1909.
The directories also stated that the farms were for the main part owner-occupied and that the soils were light and sandy, noted for turnips and potatoes.
The rateable value of the parish was then £5,252.
In the 1920's and 1930's, the main street was much narrower, with spasmodic buildings on the west side to about half way; development then moved to the east side of the street. The houses, if not actually surrounded by fields, at least had views of the open countryside.
At the bottom of the main street, on the strip of land immediately to the east of "The Hollies" was a joiners shop and wood yard belonging to the local builder. This was later rehoused in new premises in Lunn Lane, about half a mile or so out of Kellington.
Until the 1950's the village had an extremely rural aspect. Sheep farming was quite extensive with the inevitable sheep shearing and sheep dipping. Flocks would be seen in the main street as they were moved from one field to another. Cows were taken to The Firs Farm twice daily for milking. Horses pulled carts or machinery. The threshing machines and traction engines - main street Kellington saw them all and the sight was as familiar to the residents as cars are today.
S H Baker Ltd, an old established firm in Kellington, was very progressive and up to the minute in its policies and organisation. Traction engines, threshing machines and tractors were all part of their tradition of technical efficiency.
The son of the founder of Bakers - Mr S H Baker - built himself a car of pretentious appearance in 1901-2. It was efficient and up-to-date. It was said in a newspaper at that time that it was almost the first to run on Yorkshire roads.
Bird Lane, then a narrow country lane, saw one of the first developments take place along its western side. The bungalows in Ings Lane were also part of the early development in Kellington. These small developments were the beginnings of a more built up and compact area.
The first buses running through Kellington picked up and deposited their passengers anywhere along the road, there was no specific bus stop at that time. Cars were seen infrequently and life generally advanced at a slower and quieter pace. Because of the size of the village everyone knew each other.
The village streets were kept tidy and litter-free by a 'road man' whose job it was to sweep the footpaths and tidy the grass verges.
The Wesleyan Chapel was quite well attended having regular attendees, as did the Church.
Much of the working population within Kellington was involved in agriculture, directly or indirectly. As much of the work was carried out manually in the earlier part of the 20th century, and many of the tasks hard work and unpleasant (especially if the weather was unfavourable), many hands were required to complete all the necessary work.
Before the advent of bottled milk, fresh milk was delivered by horse and trap, the milk being carried in a churn and ladled out to customers as required.
The improved roads of the early 1900's enabled carriers to run weekly services with horse and cart loaded with people and goods, paving the way for enterprising traders in the 1920's and 1930's delivering groceries, green groceries, paraffin and oil, bread and cakes, all to the door. The local shop mainly sold tobacco, sweets and a few everyday items.
When short of ready cash, farmers would offer eggs, potatoes or geese as payment in lieu. In the 1930's a day's pay for labour would be in the region of 6s/6d per day, or 32.1/2p.
Oil lamps and paraffin
stoves were used in many homes. Some houses had pumps situated in the
back yard and the occupants needed to go outside for all their drinking
water requirements. Toilet provisions were primitive to say the least,
ash pits eventually being replaced by chemical toilets.
The children for the most part walked the mile to Beal school each day where, unless they were paid for to go elsewhere or gained a scholarship, they remained to complete their education.
The post office in Samuel Hirst's time had been situated at the top of the village; it was later transferred to Ings Lane where Mrs K Patterson was post mistress. In 1936 it again moved into the main street - Mrs B Poskitt became post mistress, a position she held for 29 years.
Continuing the slow development, in 1938 a pair of semi-detached houses were built opposite the chapel, one of which had a shop attached. This is now the general store and post office.
For many years Kellington had an enthusiastic cricket team. The cricket pavilion and pitch being situated across the fields from the Firs farm.
Shooting was another popular village "sport" - rabbits, hares, pheasants and pigeons added variety to the diet.
Kellington prior to 1938 was part of the Pontefract Rural District. On 1st April 1938 it became part of the Osgoldcross Rural District Council, with who it remained until 1974 when it became part of the Selby District of North Yorkshire (when the Selby Urban and Rural Districts, Derwent Rural and parts of Tadcaster, Hemsworth and Osgoldcross rural districts merged).
The advent of war saw Kellington playing host to evacuees, children from the cities who in some cases found village life too quiet or were too homesick and chose to return home to face the bombs.
The Parish Hall was a popular meeting place and dances were held regularly, with service personnel being well represented.
For years the numbers of houses and the population figures remained stable, the first change coming in the aftermath of the second world war. A cul-de-sac development on the western side of main street saw the erection of eight timber framed houses in 1946-47. Unfortunately one pair of the houses was badly damaged by fire in 1974. A row of three traditional dwellings was erected on the site some three or four years later.
In 1957-58 The Rural District Council developed land to the east of the main street. This was a major development of some ninety-six houses, flats and old people's bungalows, together with a community centre. The development dramatically altered the village scene, almost doubling the population and bringing inevitable change to the village.
This doubling of population can be best seen by comparison: In 1822 Edward Baines reported in his gazetteer of Yorkshire that the population of Kellington was 283. By 1851 it had reached 320. The 1951 census recorded the population as being 361 and by 1961 this had increased to 606, the increase being largely attributable to the building of the council estate.
Pick Haven Garth had
a conventional semi-detached layout when this further cul-de-sac off main
street was built in 1967.
During the 1960's there was only a minimum of service employment provided by the shops, the petrol filling station and the public house. The traditional source of employment in the village was still considered to be agriculture and there were several farms situated within the village.
According to the 1966 sample census, the employed population numbered 240, and the employment distribution was as follows:
Activity % Labour
*Eggborough power station was under construction at this time, which accounts for this figure
From these figures it can be seen that the traditional agricultural employment had given way to employment in manufacturing and construction, this figure being influenced by the construction of Eggborough Power Station. Distribution and service employment also accounted for quite a proportion of the working population. The move away from agriculture was a slow process, taking years, and was part of a general change as firms became more mechanised. In Kellington, as in other parts of the country, farming no longer was the only employment available, other industries offering better wages and working conditions.
The employment opportunity near the village at that time was given as:
Distance from Kellington Location Employment
1 mile Hut Green
Vehicle sales and service & Motel and
Information taken from Village Plan. Osgoldcross District Council.
By the late 1960's Kellington was considered to be quite well located in relation to main roads, being situated between the A1 and A19 north to south routes, and being only one quarter of a mile from the A645, the major link between the Humber ports, the West Riding and Lancashire.
Kellington had two bus services through the village, the West Riding Automobile Company had four buses daily direct to Leeds and buses to Pontefract and Goole at intervals of one or two hours. South Yorkshire Motors Ltd also operated a daily service to Pontefract with services to Selby running at weekends.
Main sewage was connected in 1969 and both water and electricity supplies to the village were adequate. There was a high pressure gas main laid along Low Road, Eastfield Lane and Roall Lane, which, providing demand was sufficient to make the buying of low pressure mains and services an economically viable proposition in the future, could make gas available.
Three shops served in the community by the late 1960's, all on the west of Main street. They consisted of a newsagent, Post Office/General and Grocery store and a Fish and Chip shop built in 1961.
By now the Wesleyan Chapel was no longer used for religious worship, it was used as a storage building by a dealer.
Only the Red Lion was left to serve the community, the Plough Inn having ceased operating as a public house several years earlier in 19 .
The Parish Hall remained the venue for different groups, badminton (which had been played there since before the war) continued as a popular recreation until the late 1960's/early 1970's. The first Kellington (St Edmunds) Guide and Brownie Packs were formed in 1967, the Parish Hall being their headquarters.
The Community Centre was mainly used by the elderly of the village.
Most of the buildings were of traditional red brick with red pan tile or grey slate roofs. Viewed from the Church, the southern half of Kellington was, in the 1960's, dominated by tall trees. To the east the rising cooling towers now dominated the view, with Roall plantation - an attractive mature woodland - almost fading into insignificance in front of them. One or two areas in the village were considered to be environmentally not very attractive - one opposite the filling station and another where a row of asbestos garages, serving Manor Garth, had been erected. (County Council of WR of Yorkshire map available to back this up).
available to show:
Line A graph illustrates that the most dramatic increase in population growth came in the decade between 1951 and 1961 and was mainly due to the increased number of houses being built in Kellington (96 dwellings - Manor Garth). Since then the population has been subject to steady growth (as shown in Line Graph B).
from the 1981 census, small area statistics, shows the majority of
residents were British born, and the population pyramid C shows the male/female
Pie chart D shows the downward trend of workers in agriculture has continued. The National Coal Board, the Power Station and manufacturing are all now providing employment for residents. Pie Chart E helps to illustrate this trend.
The census statistics listed the different type of tenure as follows:
Owner occupied 158
26.55% of all households did not own a car. 18.03% of these lived in council property. Car travel was the most popular means of travelling to work, followed by bus. A number of workers walked to their place of work.
As we approach the 1990's it is easy to perceive the form of village, together with the distribution of the shops and public house, have influenced the policy to consolidate development in the northern area. Development has taken place in the south but mainly on a frontage basis, houses along the main road not on an estate, preserving the more open aspect. There are constraints on extending the built-up area in the north of the village, the wash lands of the River Aire and the consequent risks of flooding. South of Whales Lane the land is part of a crest zone and prominent from surrounding areas, thus restricting development. Land to the west is grade two agricultural land or part of the green belt.
Most of the land available has now been developed. The Bakersfield Estate now under construction being the latest in a number of small developments taking place from the late 1970's and carrying through to present day. Over the past eight years sixty-five houses have been completed.
Prior to the development of Bakersfield Estate there were two large mature trees on the land; one was removed before building commenced, causing much controversy at the time. In 1967 a report stated that this area of land could be used to accommodate one or two more shops as land was developed and more services were required. Obviously planning priorities have changed, more and more houses have been built and no new services employed, putting pressure on those shops trying to serve everyone.
As Kellington was
for centuries mainly an agricultural community, the main change - along
with the increase in the number of houses and residents - is that it is
no longer a farming community. Although Kellington is surrounded for the
most part by agricultural land, just as it always has been, farming is
no longer the mainstay of the village. Farm machinery has made it possible
for one man to do as much work as a team of men fifty years ago and in
a very much shorter time. Mechanisation has changed the landscape around
Kellington also, as it has done elsewhere. Farmers have removed hedgerows
creating larger fields to enable the machines to be used more efficiently.
Slowly and almost imperceptibly the village has undergone a great change.
The farmlands remain, the farming community has dissipated.
Home Farm was sold in 1987 and the farmhouse converted into a residential home for the elderly. This home provides employment for only one or two of the indigenous population.
Two of the old farm houses on the Tithe map of 1839 are now private residences; they are Manor House Farm and Broach Farm, both situated in the south of the village - as are The Firs and Eastfield Farm.
Kellington Manor built in 1892 as a private house for Mr J Poskitt, farmer, was in 1985 converted into a nine-bedroom hotel with three lounges and a restaurant. Named "Squires" its then owner, Mr D Arnold, had high hopes for its success. He built a bungalow in the garden connected to the old coach house and planned to build chalets. He is noted to have said that there was need for this type of development in the area. Mr Arnold has since sold the property after running it for just over a year. The new owner who took over in 1986 ran the business as a pub and restaurant only.
Situated next to "Squires" is a bungalow, home base for window cleaning services, industrial and private.
The old vicarage, which can be traced back to Elizabethan times, was mentioned in the Glebe Terrier in 1777 and had an extension built in 1814 under the Gilberts Act of 1776 which lent money to repair or extend ecclesiastical residences. The vicarage was sold in 1986 and is now a privately owned guesthouse.
A small new development in the paddock behind Manor Farm, known as Manor Farm Close and built in 1980-81, is where the new vicarage is situated.
Kellington became one of the first parishes to have a Deaconess, who was inducted on 1st December 1987. Mrs Lydon was able to conduct baptisms, funerals and weddings but not celebrate Holy Communion.
Primary school children no longer face the long walk to Beal school each day. The new primary school, built in 1977 on a site to the east of Manor Garth, now accommodates children from Kellington and the surrounding area. Secondary school education is catered for at Sherburn High School, pupils travelling the twelve miles to school by private bus.
Children now attend a playschool in the village, held in the Parish Hall, which also provides the base for the Youth Club, the Women's Institute and various other functions including Brownies and Guides as it did in the 1960's. The Parish Hall also served as the Polling Station for many years until recent times when the new school took over this job.
A great amount of money is required both for the upkeep of the Church and the Parish Hall, and some of the more recent inhabitants do not have the ties with, or the interest in, village life that was evident in the past.
With regard to the Community Centre, the age limit has recently been lowered to help boost attendances and keep up attendance figures, preventing its closure.
No new shops have been built. The corner shop is now a newsagent and grocer, the Post Office and General Store has changed hands several times, as has the fish and chip shop.
The Red Lion public
house was extended to incorporate two adjoining cottages in the 1970's,
presenting an attractive appearance. Moving with the times, the Red Lion
has recently begun to serve meals.
In many respects the village has taken backward steps. The loss of garage and petrol pumps in 1978 was quite a disadvantage to many residents. There were doctors surgeries in the village up until the 1970's, but these were closed and local residents have to travel to Knottingley or Eggborough. Another loss to the community due to retirement was that of the butcher who, with his father before him, had been in Kellington from 1913 to late 1986 providing door to door delivery of meat and poultry. Kellington no longer has a policeman living in the village.
In 1972 the Osgoldcross Council gave the ultimate population of the village in accordance with their plans, as being in the region of 1100 persons. The Selby Council figure of population for 1988 gave the total as 1010. The regulated development now being adequately fulfilled.
Today's residents are employed in a wide range of trades and professions. Within easy reach of Kellington, employment is provided by Kellingley Colliery and the Selby coalfield, the power stations at Eggborough, Ferrybridge and Drax, Plasmoor, Croda and Rockware Glass. Service employment in the village remains at a minimum and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future. Only a small amount of labour is required for employment within the village at the shops, the two pubs, the school and the home for the elderly.
With regard to transport, Metro trains run on the Leeds to Goole line as they did in the 1960's. A two-hourly bus service also runs between Whitley Bridge and Pontefract, with the odd service running to Selby at the weekend. Bus services will continue to play an important part of life in Kellington as there will always be some sections of society such as children and old people who do not own or have access to a car.
Unlike the 1960's, gas is now available to the newer housing estates in the village.
One relic from the past, hunting, the traditional pastime of the landed gentry, still takes place in and around Kellington. Once an accepted form of sport, in Kellington it now takes place amid much controversy. Not all of today's residents being in favour of this type of 'sporting' activity.
Kellington can no longer boast a village cricket team and apart from the youth club and pubs there is little to do. Vandalism does take place, the bus shelters receive special attention and litter abounds.
It can be seen that Kellington has undergone a great deal of change during this century. From an agricultural community it can now be considered to be a form of commuter dormitory - people living there but travelling out to work, both in local areas and areas much further afield.
The community spirit of the past has been lost. At one time everyone knew everyone else and were interested and concerned in their wellbeing. Today the community is segregated, not held together by a common interest.
It could be suggested that the change in Kellington was not primarily due to changes in agriculture but to post war housing development and the development of the coalfields and the power stations, the longstanding and newly introduced industries, all of which in turn attracted more people to the area instigating even more housing development.
It is necessary to stress that life in a community the size of Kellington changed very slowly. Long periods passed with little or no change taking place at all. The changes that did take place were at first unobtrusive, creeping into the framework of village life and being absorbed by it, so that residents hardly noticed the change. It was in the late 1950's when change became more apparent, one could not fail to notice a development of some 96 dwellings, indicating the speed at which unsympathetic change can take place, and how markedly the village scene can be influenced by one new development. This development, together with the subsequent development of most of the other potential sites, can no longer be absorbed into village life. The whole atmosphere is now totally different as the large increases in housing and population have inevitably led to change.
In future it is necessary to ensure that the village is not allowed to degenerate into blocks of housing estates which are an unattractive feature of urban development.
Farrar H 'Selby, The First Three Hundred Million Years' (1987) Maxiprint
Lawless P et al 'The Contemporary British City' (1986) Harper and Row
'Notes on the Architecture and History of Kellington Parish Church'. No reference to publishers, author or date.
'Osgoldcross Rural District Official Guide'. Rural England series. Century Press Ltd. No date.
'Osgoldcross Rural District Official Guide and Industrial Handbook' (1966-67 edit). Directory Publications Ltd.
SelbyDistrict Councils Official Guide. Burrow & Co Ltd. No date.
Disappointed to find that the maps I had been sent showed many discrepancies. The 1907 map shows Barrington Garth which was not built until and also developments on Ings Lane and Bird Lane which should not have been there. The 1987 map does not show Pick Haven Garth or the situation of the new Post Office, Plough Garth, Manor Farm Close or the bungalows along Main Street. Obviously I have been sent an unamended map.
West Yorkshire Country Records office and the Archive Reference Library at Balne Lane provided information from trade directories, electoral rolls and maps.
Contacted North Yorkshire County Council who clarified situation about missing documents. It is due to the change of boundaries and a lot of information being thrown out or misplaced. Received a map of Kellington, which also had discrepancies. Appears to be very hard to find exact maps of an area for a specific time, they either have amendments on them or they don't.
Visited Mr K Bryan, Clerk to Kellington Parish Council, supplied me with a register of electors for 1986 and information regarding various council properties and interests.
Mr Van Riel at Pontefract Museum was extremely helpful in providing Tithe maps, newspaper cuttings, etc.
Visited Mrs Connie Briggs several times throughout March and April. A local historian, she gave me valuable information on not only the very early history of Kellington but also more recent data.
Many thanks to Julie for allowing this study to be published on this website.
The charts and graphs referred to in the text will be added later.
There are 2 dates mentioned by Julie which I would query - maybe other viewers have clear memories.
Julie says mains drainage came to Kellington in 1969. Our bungalow was completed in May 1971, and included a septic tank, which was emptied twice before mains drainage reached us [and the Red Lion - remember the Elsans?]] so it would have been late 1971 or possibly 1972 by then. Was some of the village connected at an earlier date?
Kellington School actually opened in November 1979, though was probably at the design stage in 1977.
If anyone else made detailed studies of any aspect of life in Kellington - in any period - and would be willing to allow it to be published on this website, please email me.