All posts by Michael Davison

Beverley Westwood

Beverley has four pastures, East and South East of the town, aligning the river Hull are the pastures of Figham and Swinemoor.To the East and South East of the town are the Westwood and Hurn in the form of one large pasture.

Burton Bushes abutting York Road is all that remains of what were once the extensive woodlands of the Westwood and Hurn. It naturally provided wood for building timber and heating, it also provided an excellent source of income when the Borough finances were low.  Records show that St Mary’s Church was given four oaks to repair the building in 1520.

Chalk taken from the pasture was used for the foundation of Beverley’s streets and for making lime.  The Corporation obtained a regular income from leasing out lime kilns on the Westwood until 1812.  Clay was used for brick making by local brick makers, the North Bar in Beverley town is built with Beverley made bricks.  The signs of this industry are still to be seen in the many hollows and pits that give the pasture its character.

Visitors to the Westwood will notice that there is a Golf Course and Race Course on the pasture; it is understood that the Golf course is quite challenging and popular with visitors.  The Race meetings are attracting increasing interest and it hosts several events and festivals during the year.

The wellbeing of the pastures is overseen by the Pasture Masters, a group of men elected from the Freemen of Beverley each March.  Although the Pasture Act of 1836 clarified the right of the Pasture Masters to administer and enforce their bylaws, it did not state who ‘owned’ the land.  In 1978 the courts decided that the pastures were owned by the then Borough Council; it is now ‘owned’ by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council

St Mary’s Beverley

St Mary’s

Before about 1125, the parishioners would have had their own altar and Priest at the Minster.  Between 1125 and 1150, it was decided to build St Mary’s as a Daughter church.  At this time the church consisted of a chancel, nave and tower.  The church would have been served by one of the Minster’s Canons or his deputy.  The first Vicar was appointed in about 1263 and work resumed enlarging the church by the addition of transepts, aisle, clerestory and turreted West front.

On the 29th April 1520, the tower collapsed; it is thought that it fell onto the nave, killing a number of worshipers who were attending a Sunday service. In the following ten years the tower and nave were rebuilt, much of the work was paid for by the people of Beverley.

St Mary’s has a fascinating history, linked closely with the Guilds of Beverley.  For information on the church in the community today please visit:  ST Mary’s Beverley

North Bar Beverley

Beverley has always been an ‘open’ town, unlike York and Hull.  However, in the middle years of the 15th century there were Bars at Newbegin, Norwood, North and South or Keldgate

These Bars controlled the main roads into the town.  Only North, Newbegin and Norwood Bars survived into the 16th century.   Without the walls to assist, these Bars could only be used as toll collection points, and for restriction of movement in times of plague, pestilence and local upset.

Newbegin Bar was demolished in 1790; Keldgate Bar was found to be in a very bad state of repair and demolished in 1808.

The North Bar is the earliest surviving brick gateway of its type in the country.  It was built of Beverley made bricks at a total cost to the town of £96 17s 4 ½d.  As it was replacing an earlier structure collections were made in the town towards the cost.

  • Some 20 local brick makers produced the bricks including Agnes Tiler and John Mudfysch
  • 112,300 bricks were used, costing about 3s.7d (18p) per thousand
  • A Bricklayer was paid 6d a day, a labourer 4d