Here is a very brief history of our village.  At the end you will find references to more information.

Nafferton is a large parish where the East Riding wolds meet the Holderness Plain. There are evidences of human habitation over the last eight or nine thousand years. Archaeological evidence includes flint, bronze and iron tools and weapons from numerous round barrows, dykes, Anglo Saxon burials and other sites in the parish. The area was well settled by Roman times. At the time of the Middle Ages there were three main townships: Nafferton (old Scandinavian meaning Nafftan’s Farm), Pockthorpe (O.S. meaning Poca’s Village) and Wansford (Old English meaning Wandel’s Ford).

By the Norman invasion (1066) ‘Nadfartone’ was held by two Scandinavian earls, Barche and Karl . When the Domesday Book was compiled (1086) the largest manor in Nafferton was held by William de Percy. Two smaller manors were held by the king, and by the count of Mortain. There were several watermills, one called the king’s mill. In 1304 a Thursday Market and Fair were granted for the 21st and 22nd July. The Constable family held some of the land from the Percys (Nafferton Constable, the remains can be seen in the earthworks behind Nether Hall) until 1546. In 1537 Henry Percy sold his estates in Nafferton to the crown to pay his debts.

In 1544 the crown granted the manor to Matthew, Earl of Lennox, (whose son was the famous Lord Darnley). The earl’s grandson became James I in 1603 when the manor passed back to the crown. Religious houses, particularly Bridlington Priory and Meaux Abbey, held small estates in Nafferton until the Dissolution (1536).

Our Churches

The church is very, very old. Earliest traces are Norman (11th century) but the site probably pre-dates Christianity. In 1232 the church belonged to the Percys. Sometime between 1286 and 1291 Meaux Abbey assumed the patronage which then passed to the Archbishop of York where it remains. It is built of limestone on a raised site, indicating a pre-Christian location. Its earliest features are the Norman chancel arch and font. 14th century enlargements were made to the chancel, nave and south aisle. In the 15th century the north aisle, west tower and clerestory were added. There were major restorations in the 19th century, especially during the time of The Revd James Davidson who served the village from 1854 to 1906. He introduced harvest festivals into the East Riding and was active in most organisations in the village. His Ship Teas held at Christmas were famous. At his Jubilee celebrations in 1904 he gave the money raised for him to extend the schoolroom (built 1838) which was then named the Jubilee Rooms (now Greystones private house) in Westgate. Chapels in Pockthorpe and Wansford did not survive the dissolution. In 1868 Sir Tatton Sykes built Wansford chapel which became a separate parish in 1907, to be reunited with Nafferton in 1955.

There is evidence of other religious activity. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, built in 1792 and licensed in 1801 was replaced with the Centenary Chapel in 1839 and then rebuilt in 1907 with money given from a previously unknown source in Manchester, the Hatfield bequest. There were other chapels in Priestgate, Coppergate and High Street.

Education and schools

The 1685 ‘free’ school was united with the National Society and rebuilt in High Street in 1815 as the St Francis School and made the Church of England senior school. The Weslyans built a day school behind their chapel in 1847. Through the 18th and 19th centuries there were several petty and dame schools, though evening schools and even a Mechanics’ Institute were tried without success. The Council school was built in Westgate in 1914 and was amalgamated with the Church of England school as Nafferton Primary School in 1958. The building in High Street was used as an infant school until the late 1970s when it became private, to be finally closed in 2004. Wansford School closed in 1966 and extra rooms were built at the school in Westgate.

There are no houses in the parish earlier than the 18th century. A parish workhouse existed in Station Road (opposite the Feoffee cottages) from the end of the 18th century until 1834. In the 19th century there were several charities drawing income from land and property (Town Land, Barons Educational Charity, George Hodgson, Thomas Jefferson) to be used for the support of the poor and for more general purposes in the village. These are now administered by the Feoffees or the Jefferson Trust. Among the many 19th century friendly societies only the Refuge in Sickness Lodge of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds (f. 1841) lasted into the 20th century. The Order organised the annual Nafferton Clubfeast held on the first Friday after the first Monday in July. This featured a procession, together with a feast and a fair. It lasted until the early 1940s. The present Village Hall was originally the Shepherds’ Hall bought by Charles Longbottom of Nafferton Hall and given to the village in 1946.

Commerce and industry

Agriculture was the main occupation by the 17th century with many smallholders working the open fields under the watch of the manorial court. There were sheep pastures in the wolds. Corn was shipped down the River Hull. There were also a brickworks and chalk pits by the 1800s. The watermill on Nafferton beck had a chequered history until it was replaced in 1840 by the larger combined corn and malting mill which stood until 1986. The steam mill by the railway station, built in 1858 by Baintons of Wansford, then altered in 1860 and rebuilt 1878, has been demolished (2005/6) to be replaced with a housing development on the site. The Hull to Bridlington railway opened in 1846 when the Nafferton station house was designed by architect G.T.Andrews.

Before the Enclosure Act of 1769 the main landowners in Nafferton included the St Quintins, the Moysers, the Pauls, The Laybournes and the Forges. The reorganisation of boundaries, roads, drainage and tithes was completed by 1772 following which the wealthier owners developed homes such as Westfield Farm, Houndales, Nafferton Hall, Kesters and Cattleholmes. William Herbert St Quintin (1851-1933) was the last Lord of the Manor by which time the family had sold most of its Nafferton lands. Nafferton Court Leet met for the last time on 17th November 1913 when Jack Slater’s predecessor was still landlord at the White Horse.

Government and society

The Local Government Act of 1894 established parish councils to take over the work of the manorial courts etc. and Nafferton held its first council elections in December 1894 when 35 candidates stood for 13 places. In 1904 the village suffered a cholera epidemic after which the parish council improved the drainage. Later they paved the footpaths. Street lighting was installed in 1890 by the Nafferton Lighting Committee using oil and converting to electricity in 1931. In 1907 a typhoid epidemic led to the opening of Nafferton Waterworks In 1912. After the setting up of the East Riding Constabulary in 1857 Nafferton had its first village constable, John Drury. Electricity came to the village late 1931. Coppergate Chapel was the first to be illuminated among the religious houses, then All Saints paid for by Tom Paul Jefferson who gave the Jefferson Trust and the Parks to the village. Finally the Hatfield chapel March 1932. Gas in came in 1985.

The population of Nafferton in 1801 was 721. It grew to 1,311 by 1861 then declined to1,000 in 1912. In 1931 it was 1,200 after which new house building took off with council houses from 1939 (though there were earlier ones in 1920) and much private housing in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1991 the population in the enlarged civil parish was 2,254.

The War Memorial commemorating the dead of the First World War was unveiled in 1922. Villagers had been very active during that war with 47 men enlisting and much effort given to raising funds and supplies for the troop. The Christmas Eve singing by the midnight male choir was in aid of Red Cross. This tradition continues until the present day. Wold House became a convalescent hospital. It closed in 1919. There was much activity in the village again during World War II . The army commandeered the Jubilee Rooms, Shouler’s Shed (now BATA) and the Conservative Club among other buildings. The Free French were housed in huts to the south of Driffield Road and there is a wooden plaque made by them with the Cross of Lorraine in the village hall. Tanks used the mere as a training ground. The Royal West Kent infantry were stationed in the village. Evacuees came from Hull and Sunderland and there was an Italian prisoner of war camp on Westgate.

The village has always had many groups and societies. The Church Lads Brigade was formed in the early years of the WWII to be followed by the Boy Scouts when they closed after the Revd. Atkinson left. Nafferton football team (the Robins) started in 1919 and the cricket team played on The Parks. The children’s annual trip was to Bridlington and gala day was on Whit Mondays. The choral Society and the Literary and Drama Club each presented annual performances. The Mothers’ Union was set up in 1924 and in 1927 the Women’s Institute. The village annual show started in 1939. In 1962 the football club, tennis club, bowls club and cricket club pooled assets and, together with money raised by village events, bought the recreation ground which opened in 1963.


  • K.J.ALLISON. Victoria history of the county of York: East Riding. Vol.2 1974 pp. 283-297
  • STEPHEN HARRISON. Nafferton: a living past. Nafferton Millennium Committee, 2000.
  • NICHOLAUS PEVSNER and DAVID NEAVE. Yorkshire and the East Riding. 2nd ed. 1995. (The buildings of England)

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