1936 School Project

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In 1936, the headmistress of Seaton Ross village school, Miss Loftus, involved the children in preparing a survey of the village as it then was. The output is shown below and includes many fascinating insights – such as who owned wireless sets and what make they were! The maps look extremely detailed but because they are black and white are difficult to interpret. Click on any of the images and use the right and left arrows to scroll through – they can all be enlarged in the usual ways.

Much of the text has been transcribed and can be found below the images. We suggest that you be skeptical about its accuracy!

An amazing collection.



William Watson

A Maker of Sundials
(William Watson)

Mr William Watson, a famous sun-dial maker, was born at Seaton Ross in 1781. He was really a farmer but made several sun-dials in Seaton Ross and in the district near, and gained considerable fame by this work.

There are now two sundials in Seaton although there were originally three. The one on “Dial Farm” was removed a short time ago when the exterior was being re-decorated. Mr. Watson died on Dec. 4th 1857 at the age of 76 years, and he was buried in Seaton Ross church-yard.

On his tombstone is the following doggerel rhyme.

“At this church, I so often with pleasure did call,
That I made a Sun-dial upon the Church wall.

The Sun-dial Cottages are situated at the North End of Seaton Ross.

There are three in all, and they bear the name “Sun-dial Cottages” because of the Sun-dial which adorns the wall.

The houses are of red brick with tiled roofs. They are all of the same size; consisting of two bedrooms, one room and a kitchen.

These cottages were built in  …..  and they are in good condition. They belong to Mr J. Blackburn.

The residents of these cottages are Mrs Withell – Mrs Hammond, too is another occupant, and she is a past school teacher, whom all the children liked. Mrs and Mr Scott occupy the remaining cottage. The Sun-dial Cottages are admired by all who visit Seaton Ross, and the Sundial stands as a historical memoir to the late Mr. W. Watson, the local Sundial Maker.

The Common & Maxwell Constable

Seaton Ross “Common”. – History and Productions.

When inquiring about the comment from a veteran parishioner some time ago, I was told many interesting facts which I will relate to my reader, during the course of this story.

About 200 years ago, it was a barren expanse of moorland, there being no productions save grass and tree like shrubs, and in certain places there were small woods which were overgrown with briars, brackens and gorse bushes.

The “Common” then stretched as far north as Rytham Gate and was bounded by the Belt, – Melbourne Boundary, and on the South West by Breckstreet Farm. Its area was about 140 acres.

There are still facts which support the statement that the common once stretched as far as Rytham Gate, because the fields now have many gorse and hedge bushes.

At the time that I am now speaking of, boys out of the village took cows onto the common and tended them.

About the year 1860 there was a particular dyke named “Leech Dyke” which contained some valuable insects, named aquatic worms or leeches largely used for the abstraction of blood. Many of these valuable creatures were found in the dyke, and were sold for a good price.

They were caught by men out of the village and sent to the doctors when required. Later, this dyke was filled in with soil and the surviving memory of it is now a Bank of soil.

There was no arable land in this period, but later on it was dug out by the villagers and made ready for cultivation.

History of Constable Maxwell Family.

The Constable Maxwell family is said to be descended from the Lacey Constables of Chester.

Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, was knighted along with 300 others at a great Whitsuntide festival during the reign of Edward I about 1300.

Sir Marmaduke Constable, who when 70 years of age commanded the third division of the English forces at the battle of Flodden Field (September 9th, 1513) died in 1530, aged 87.

There was also a Sir William Constable (Bart), a Lieutenant Colonel in the Cromwell Army, and one of the Commissioners of the High Court who sat on the trial of Charles I, and signed the death warrant.

Early in the sixteenth century Everingham Estate and Seaton Ross common came into possession of these Constables, a branch of that family long settled in Flamborough.

Sir Constable Philip of Everingham, left a daughter and heiress, Anne, who married William, second son of Sir Thomas Haggerston-Constable.

The grandson W.H. Constable of Everingham married Lady Winifred Maxwell, the only surviving daughter and heir of William Maxwell and granddaughter of William Maxwell Earl of Nithsdale, who, having participated in Lord Derwentwater’s Ill-fated attempt, in 1715, to replace the Stuarts on the throne, was convicted of high treason and sentence to death.

His lordship, through the heroic agency of his wife, the devoted Countess escaped from the Tower, and died in Rome 1776.

Marmaduke William, the eldest son of, and successor, of William Haggerston Constable and Lady Winifred Maxwell assumed by Royal Licence the surname of Maxwell, and his son William Constable Maxwell, the late owner of Everingham estate, in 1558 established his title to the barony of Herries in the peerage of Scotland, and became Lord Herries.

The Next Lord Herries  was created a peer of the United Kingdom in 1884.

So you see it is quite evident that Lord Herries and his descendants are lineal descendants of these Constables of Flamborough, who became possessed of this Manor Common in 1510.

Lord Herries – Marmaduke Constable Maxwell died in…..    , and the Duchess of Norfolk, being the eldest child then acquired her father’s large domains.

The Windmills of Seaton Ross

The Old Mill

The five-sailed mill of Seaton Ross is nearly two hundred years old and is in full working order. In the early days it used to be a “post mill” belonging to the very ancient days of milling, when the whole mill from its foundations upwards, turned round to meet the wind on a central post.

The late owner of this mill kept in use a pair of fine old French stones for making the real wheaters whole meal flour and found a regular demand for it.

In the early days of the last century a boy was killed by the revolving sails as they were only a few feet from the ground, so the whole tower was raised 8 or 10 feet so that the sails now clear the ground.

Up in the tower there is the great vertical wheel many yards in diameter, fashioned out of huge beams and cross pieces of roughly trimmed oak. This wheel is turned by the sails and itself turns through a bevel the centre post, which runs down through the mill, connecting through cogged wheels with the grindstones on different floors.

The 5 sails of the mill weigh a ton each and are 33 feet long and by an ingenious roller blind arrangement on each sail, the sails can be opened or closed according to the amount of wind.

The present structure of the mill: The present structure is very different from what it was in the ancient days. It has undergone alterations which have made it a fine structure. It has two lots of double doors so that transports can take off a load of meal bags very easily.

The New Mill

Owners of the Mill: The four-sailed mill was built in the year 1829 by Mr Rook. The present owner is Mr Arthur Fisher  who has occupied it for about 9 or 10 years. His brother William Fisher lived there many years before he died and left the mill to his brother.

Work in early days: In the early days, the four-sailed mill worked on much the same lines as the other mill, although one wonders that two windmills could be kept busy in such a small village. Bags of corn were brought in from the neighbouring farms and many a time has the miller Worked whilst other people slept – for he relied upon the wind to help him in his work.

Work done today: Today the mill stands in silence. Its sails no longer stretch like huge arms to the sky, for one Saturday, a sail fell off and the one opposite was removed to balance the mill. It was found that the mill would not grind fast enough under the power of two sails, so they were removed too. Consequently, its grinding days are over and no longer does the flat miller’s cart make its round of the village to gather up the bags of corn. The five-sailed mill receives all the work.

Working of the mill: The works are similar to those of the five-sailed mill.

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