Sunday, 8 May 2011

Granny's childhood home at Crayke, Yorkshire

"We went to Crayke (a small village in Yorkshire) in 1901 when I was three months old and stayed there until I was nineteen, so that all my formative years were spent there and it is nearly always to Crayke that I go back in my dreams.Crayke was a Crown living and Father was lucky to be offered it.  Crayke stood on a hill overlooking the Vale of York. The road ran up steeply between two grassy slopes. Halfway up on the right was the well from which most of the village drew water. It had an arched stone roof but the side was open and the water must have been full of impurities. There was one epidemic of diphtheria while we were in the village." 

"The Post Office and general stores was run by the B's.  Mr B made and mended boots and shoes and Mrs B kept the shop.  The H family were the carpenters and undertakers. Mr J H was the verger for many years and rarely missed a service...He rang the three bells, one rope in either hand and his foot in a loop for the third."  Doesn't that conjure up a wonderful image?
"St Cuthbert's church stood on the top of the hill.  It had a square tower and we used occasionally to climb up the worn stone steps which corkscrewed up to the first floor, where the three bells hung.  Next there was a ladder to climb to the second floor and the ladder had then to be pulled up in order to reach the trap door at the top of the tower.  On one occasion, the boys sent semaphore messages from the top of the tower to the foot of the hill.
" The Butcher, Mr K was a very prosperous farmer.  He also kept the Durham Ox..he was a church warden.
A second small shop in Crayke was kept by Miss S and her two brothers H and C.  They were the carriers of the village.  The shop sold corn and meal, flour, dog biscuits and chicken food as well as sweets.  One could get a half penny square of Fry's chocolate or a Fry's cream bar there.  Miss S was a small, stout person with a round, pale face and her hair was done up in a bun on top of her head.
We saw very little of Mr G, the blacksmith, but could hear the clank of his hammer on the anvil from the Rectory garden.
Crayke Rectory

"Another outstanding family in the village were the G's.  The eldest brother, A, had the farm at the foot of the hill and kept a herd of milking cows.  His old mother lived at the farm and was the backbone of the family for many years.  She came to church regularly with her grand-daughters as long as she was able.  I remember going to see her at the farm when she was quite old.  She sat by the fire in a rocking chair with a shawl round her shoulders and a cat or two beside her.  The hearth-rug was made of pieces of coloured cloth.
Mr G was the village tailor.  He made some Robin Hood costumes for the boys for a fancy dress party and a Puritan dress, cap and apron for Hilda Mary.
Our most remote parishioners was the M's. They lived nearly two miles away on the road to Orlston.  Mr M...was a short, round man just like a kind dwarf in a fairy story.  He has white whiskers all round his face and he wore a frock coat and a tall felt hat when he came to church.  He was usually accompanied by several small brown-eyed boys and a little girl called Emily."

I was surprised to read about the number of amenities this small village had.  Over the years, many small communities have lost these businesses, so now are left with just a pub and possibly shop/post office if you are lucky. Life then was much more self-contained, unlike today, where it is a necessity to have a car to travel to the local town or city for work and shops. The above photographs are all taken from Granny's album, but there is no clue as to the photographer.

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