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Pocklington

Pocklington is a small market town and civil parish situated at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, approximately east of York.

It is common in the area to refer to towns in a highly abbreviated form in casual conversation: thus, Pocklington is commonly referred to as "Pock" and its radio station named "Pock FM".

Pocklington lies at the centre of the ecclesiastical Parish of Pocklington, which also encompasses the small hamlet of Kilnwick Percy as well as a scattering of outlying farms and houses.

Justice is covered by the Magistrates district of Wilton Beacon now sitting at Beverley Magistrates Court following the closure of Pocklington Court in George Street.

The town's skyline is dominated by a 15th-century church tower. The town’s architecture is a mixture of quaint old houses and modern buildings and the town has several unusual street names reflecting its history from the Iron Age onwards.

It is now considered to be a commuter town for York, Hull and Leeds.

History

Pocklington gets its name via the Old English "Poclintun" from the Anglian settlement of Pocel's (or Pocela's) people and the Old English word "tun" meaning farm or settlement, but though the town's name can only be traced back to around 650 AD, the inhabitation of Pocklington as a site is thought to extend back a further 1,000 years or more to the Bronze Age.

In the Iron Age Pocklington was the regional capital of the Parisi tribe and by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 it was the second largest settlement in Yorkshire, after York itself.

Pocklington developed through the Middle Ages while many similar places fell into dramatic decline. Pocklington owed much of its prosperity in the Middle Ages to the fact that it was a local centre for the trading of wool and lay on the main road to York, an important national centre for the export of wool to the Continent. Wool was England’s principal export in the earlier Middle Ages.

It has also been said that Pocklington held the last witch-burning in England.

Governance

Pocklington is twinned with:

The Pays de Racan twinning has brought about, amongst other activities, reciprocal rugby match trips.

Pocklington Town Council is responsible for the cemetery, allotments, the Croft play-park and the Arts Centre within Pocklington. It consists of thirteen elected councillors who meet regularly to administer the town's services.

The town motto is "Service with Freedom". Its shield is based on the arms of the Dolman family, founders of Pocklington School and was granted to the town council in 1980. The crown at the base of the shield is the emblem of the Saints, along with the gold cross, symbolises the town's historic connection with Paulinus and the Archbishop of York. The wheat sheaves note Pocklington's agricultural importance and the water lily the famous lily lakes at Burnby Hall Gardens.

The town council has a policy of naming all new streets using the surnames of the war dead of Pocklington and neighbouring Barmby Moor village - this gives rise to such names as Strother Close, Waite Close, Garrick Drive, Turnbull Close and Harper Close, which would seem unusual to the casual visitor. There is some slight controversy surrounding this move, with fears with earlier historic names are being erased.

In the last five years several action groups have been formed to address local issues:

  • Pocklington Broadband Campaign - aim to bring broadband internet to Pocklington (status: achieved, 2004)
  • Action Access A1079 - aim to improve A1079 road, long-term goal for dual carriageway (status: in progress)
  • Minsters' Rail Campaign - aim to return railway to Pocklington (status: issue adopted by East Riding Council)

Geography

Pocklington is situated at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, hills which form the eastern edge of the Vale of York, and stretch from Pocklington or so in a north-easterly direction to the east coast around Bridlington.

Geologically speaking, the whole area was originally under water, and, when the land rose, the chalk Wolds were formed from the skeletons and shells covering the sea floor. The landscape around Pocklington therefore varies from flat arable land primarily devoted to agriculture to the south and west, and grassy, limestone hills and valleys to the north and east. A lot of this lower farming country was originally reclaimed from marshland, from the Middle Ages onwards.

Crops grown include traditional arable crops seen elsewhere in the country but also include rape seed, turf and sugar beet. The latter is a familiar sight being hauled by tractor in large open-top trailers to York, where it is used by firms such as Nestle and British Sugar. Recent job cuts have put this crop in jeopardy, although feasibility studies have shown that sugar beet could be used commercially to produce cleaner car fuel.

Pocklington is bisected by the largely invisible (it now runs underground for much of its length) Pocklington Beck, a small stream that feeds into the Pocklington canal. The beck and canal are usually good fishing grounds but a sewerage overflow in 2003 killed thousands of fish and severely damaged the ecosystem, from which it is still recovering.

Demography

Due to its rural location in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Pocklington has not seen any great influx of immigrants since Anglo-Saxon times. The civil parish is therefore not very ethnically diverse, with the 2001 UK census reporting 98.8% of the 7,632 inhabitants being white.

Economy

The High Street contains a mix of public houses, shops (overwhelmingly independents, very few national chain stores), banks and restaurants.

A large number of Pocklington residents are commuters to nearby cities York, Hull and Leeds. Of those who work within the local area, of those not employed within the cluster of town-centre services, a number work on the Pocklington Industrial Estate (light industrial) and Pocklington Business Park (commercial). Leading employers include Bond International (tyre distributors), Vebra, Ryedale Telecommunications and Phoenix Software. Agriculture is still a large employer, both directly in the form of farming, and also in secondary enterprises such as Yara Phosyn (Agrochemicals).

Tourism

Near the centre of Pocklington is Burnby Hall Gardens. These gardens are home to the National Collection of Hardy Water Lilies - the biggest such collection to be found in a natural setting in Europe. The Burnby Hall Gardens collection of water lilies has been designated as a "National Collection" by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.

Day-trippers also visit Millington Wood (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Pocklington canal head, with footpaths along the canal. The canal has been named one of the top ten places to see watery wildlife in Britain. Nearby Allerthorpe Lakeland Park has parkland for walking, a lake with watersports facilities, a separate lake for fly fishing, and a BMX trail. There is also a large caravan park for holiday-makers.

Entertainment and culture

The Pocklington Arts Centre, which opened in 2000, "offers a mixed programme of Film, Music, Drama, Dance, Lectures, Workshops and Exhibitions". Previous performers at the Arts Centre include the comedians Jenny Éclair, Clive James, Dave Gorman and Barry Cryer and the musicians Midge Ure and Steve Harley. The centre also puts on "second screenings" of recently released movies. The centre is currently undergoing improvements, thanks in part to a bequest from Sir William Ormerod , and is due to reopen soon.

In a tribute to Munich's traditional Oktoberfest, Pocklington also hosts its own annual Pocktoberfest. Unlike the original on which it is based, Pocktoberfest is pared down to a single-issue event: beer. In 2006's event, 19 casks (or about 452 litres) of ale were consumed.

In 2006, Pocklington celebrated its second annual Flying Man Festival with a multitude of themed events from 12 to 14 May, in memory of the showman Thomas Pelling, the "Flying Man of Pocklington", who, with a pair of homemade wings, attempted a flight from the top of the local church, meeting his end when he collided with one of the church's buttresses.

Sport

Pocklington is the home of the Pocklington RUFC rugby team based on Burnby Lane. The first rugby game in Pocklington took place on West Green on Wednesday 12 November 1879 between "Pocklington Town and District" and "Pocklington Grammar School". The first Pocklington rugby club Pocklington FC was formed in 1885. Pocklington RUFC also hosts the traditional "Good Friday Sevens" tournament - Yorkshire's longest-established sevens tournament launched in 1958 and Pocklington's premier sporting event, which sees teams local, county-based and even international teams compete.

The town also has a council-run Francis Scaife Sports Centre, which includes a 20 metre swimming pool, and gym. The town also has swimming, football and cricket clubs.

There are two golf clubs lying just outside Pocklington:

  • Allerthorpe Park Golf Club - 18-hole course
  • Kilnwick Percy Golf Club

In 2003, "Monty's" Skate Park was built near the Montessori school. It hosts the annual "Monty's Skatefest"

In 2007, Michael Woods, a Pocklingtonian, made his debut for Chelsea F.C.

Pocklington currently run four men’s Saturday teams competing in the Humber Premier, York and Driffield leagues. The 1st team competing in the Humber Premier league finished 6th and were runners up in the Grays league cup during the 2007/8 season. The club is due to have flood lights installed during July 2008, allowing the club to make progress in the football league pyramid.

Media

Pocklington has a local weekly newspaper, the Pocklington Post Pocklington is also the home to Pock FM, a local radio station run by young people for the community. It is only on-air for certain very limited periods each year due to budgetary constraints.

Religion

Christian churches within Pocklington include:

  • All Saints' Church, known in the area as the Cathedral of the Wolds, dates from the late 12th to early 15th century.
  • Pocklington Christian Fellowship, formerly known as Pocklington Pentecostal Church, meets in the church building originally constructed in 1807 for the former Congregational Church.
  • Pocklington Methodist Church, originally the Wesleyan Methodist Church, built in 1864 in the Grecian style - 150 members.
  • St Mary & St Joseph's Roman Catholic church.

There are no non-Christian houses of worship within Pocklington, but Kilnwick Hall, just outside Pocklington, is home to a large resident Madhyamaka Buddhist Meditation Retreat Centre. It runs regular Buddhist meditation classes.

Transport

Car

Pocklington lies on the A1079 road, the main arterial route between the cities of York and Hull.

The A1079 trunk road between Hull and York along which Pocklington lies is now generally acknowledged to be over-capacity. It has several accident blackspots and turning onto the road at rush hour is almost impossible and causes almost weekly accidents. Ambulance statistics indicate that between 1999 and 2005 there were an average of 90 accidents per year. The "Action Access A1079" group is campaigning for the Government to provide funding for the upgrading of the A1079, including a roundabout at Pocklington.

Bus

Pocklington is served by a number of bus routes provided by East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS). The most useful of these are the numbers 746 and X46 services which run, respectively, as stopper and express services between York and Hull.

Air

Pocklington Airfield has three concrete and tarmac runways of - sufficient length to play host to RAF bombers during World War Two but in September 1946 the airfield was closed. Although the site remains in use with gliders - and occasionally hot air balloonists - a lot of the concrete runway surface has gone, and the control tower is not in operation. It is therefore classified as "Limited flying". The airfield is now wholly owned by the Wolds Gliding Club. It is unlikely ever to be developed beyond its present use.

The nearest commercially operating airport is Humberside Airport, another former RAF airfield.

Rail

Pocklington was once part of the rail network, with a station dating back to 1847. This was closed during the Beeching Axe in 1963. There is a small but vocal pressure group trying to get the station and line re-opened, but this is highly improbable given the associated costs. The City of York Local Transport Plan for 2006 notes that: "work has recently been undertaken by East Riding of Yorkshire Council to examine the feasibility of reopening the former direct York – Pocklington - Beverley line that closed in 1965... given the unavailability of funding for such a scheme at present and the extensive time required for any reinstatement of a rail line, the scheme remains a longer-term aspiration."

As of 2006, the issue of re-opening the line has been raised in Parliament and, although still prohibitively expensive, it is otherwise looked upon favourably.

The old railway building, designed by George Townsend Andrews, was saved from demolition due to its interesting architecture. It now serves both as a bus shelter, and also a sports hall for nearby Pocklington School.

Boat

The Pocklington Canal, previously in commercial use in the 19th century by barges, is now navigable as far as Melbourne basin. Full restoration of the canal is one of the aims of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, which was formed in 1969.

Notable people

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References

Bibliography

External links

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