History of the Parish


Sigglesthorne is a village in Holderness, about three miles inland from the coastal town of Hornsea, and ten miles east-north-east of Beverley, the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The given origin of the name Sigglesthorne is that it derives from the old Scandinavian and means “Sigulf`s thorn bush”.  However, a more plausible explanation is that it derives from Sigulf, undoubtedly Scandinavian, and thorp which is Middle English or Old Norse for hamlet or small village.

Sigglesthorne is one of a large number of villages which went into decline or were abandoned in the medieval period, for reasons unknown. The increasing importance of sheep to the economy is possibly the reason, with areas of arable land converted to pasture.  The buildings eventually collapsed and became overgrown.

Sigglesthorne appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the entry is as follows:

“ In Sigglesthorne, eight carucates of land to be taxed.  Land to five ploughs.  There is one plough in the demesne and fourteen villeins and five bordars having six ploughs.  There is a priest and a church, and sixteen acres of meadow. “

A carucate is the amount of land cultivated by one plough with eight oxen, which equates in Holderness to about 120 acres.  Sigglesthorne occurs in the lands of the Archbishop as a berewick, which literally infers a ` barley farm`.  A berewick is regarded as an outlying portion of a manor, and Sigglesthorne was one of the outlying lands of the church of St John at Beverley.

Sigglesthorne is an ancient parish with Seaton, Wassand, and Catfoss, and formerly Little Hatfield, and parts of Great Hatfield. The church is a rectory.  In recent years, the parishes of Rise and Bewholme with Nunkeeling have been attached to form a united benefice.

In recent times, Sigglesthorne, Seaton, Bewholme, Rise and Hatfield have become separate parishes.

As Sigglesthorne in the medieval period belonged to St John at Beverley, Seaton, Wassand and Catfoss and large areas of Holderness, were under the control of Drogo de Bevrere, who was Flemish.  He had been given large estates in Yorkshire by William the Conqueror as a reward for his military support.  William allowed Drogo to marry his niece, whom he unfortunately murdered, before disappearing abroad.  Sigglesthorne seems to have escaped the ` harrying of the north ` because of is association with St John of Beverley, rather than Drogo.  In 1069, the northern earls rebelled against William, and accordingly, large areas were laid waste.  The devastation seems to have taken many years to recover, and at the time of the Domesday book, Seaton, Catfoss and Wassand  were still very depressed areas, whereas Sigglesthorne, not affected by ` harrying of the north `, remained relatively prosperous.

In 1314, the a royal charter granted the provost of the church of St John the right to hold a three day fair at Sigglesthorne on the feast of St Lawrence. The church of St John received the tolls payable on goods sold.  The precise whereabouts of the fair in the parish is unknown. 

In 1086, there were 14 villeins and 5 bordars, in the village; a total of 19 families.  A villein was not a free man, but worked perhaps half his time for the lord of the manor and the other half working for himself on his own land.  The bordar had no land of his own and also worked for the lord of the manor, but in his own time, hired out his labour.  The population of the parish in 1086 was perhaps 100 persons.  By the time of the enclosures in 1781, the number of families in Sigglesthorne had increased by just one.

In the medieval period, Sigglesthorne had its own field system, with three open fields: East Field, and West Field, each of 350 acres, and the Gravells, some 100 acres to the north-east of the village. Two hundred acres to the south of the village were divided into 2 fields of pasture. The road running south from the church formed the divide between the east and west fields. To the north, the division lay a little more to the east, where Field House stands today.  Pasture House to the south, lay in the old pastures from which it took its name.  The right-angled bend on Rise Road to the south of the Hall and the subsequent sharp turn to the left approaching Pasture House, mark the boundary of the pasture.  Catwick Heads ran along the most westerly aspect of West Field.  Wassand Balk was the access road to East Field. 

When Poulson wrote his history of Holderness, there were five farms in the village of Sigglesthorne.  Today, although the village is surrounded by farmland, there are none, and the farmers live elsewhere.  In 1840, there were 37 cottages and ` two or three gentleman`s places `.  In 1940, the situation was essentially the same.

The situation is now much changed. Six council houses were built before the war, and 47 more have been built in The Crescent, St Lawrence Square, and East Lane since the war ended.

A further development of private housing on Springfield Lane and Bentink Lane north of East Lane has been built in the last 20 years.

In 1840, there were two taylors, a wheelwright, a blacksmith, a grocer, two shoe-makes and one ale-house keeper. Now the general store and the post office are long closed as is the pub, formerly at Scaling House.  Now most of the village inhabitants work outside the parish.

The census figures of the nineteenth century show that the population rose during the first half of the century, but peaked in 1861, and then began to fall, and continued to do so until just before WW2. 

The first ordnance survey map of 1850, reveals the roads of Sigglesthorne to be similar to those of today.  Ash Grove was the pinfold.  Behind the old joiner`s shop and the associated cottages was Jenny Green, where lay the old road which ran to the west of the church. 

Where Rise Road bends to the right, south of the Hall, lies Primrose Hill.  To the left of the bend lies was Brick Hill.  The road running from the bend to the origin of Catwick Heads was called Long Lane.