The Prestons – by Sue Preston

My dad was born in Ashley Cottage on 12 October 1924, he died 7 October 2010, his name William Preston (often called Bill or Billie Preston), his father was also William Preston 1897 – 1970, his mother Amelia Ann Preston nee Norton 1892 – 1950.

My dad spent many years researching our Preston family; many hours trudging around cemeteries, libraries etc. I started getting involved with helping him by typing the information into Ancestry, the Family Tree Maker software, since his death I have taken over the research completely. My dad kept lots of notes about his life and whilst sorting through belongings since his wife passed away I have been typing up my dad’s notes, they go through his childhood, the village school, winning the scholarship to Pocklington School, the war and so on.

My grandad William Preston senior was born at Old Mills to Charles Preston 1862 – 1926 and Betsy Horsley 1862 – 1926. Charles was farmer and miller at the two mills, prior to this Charles Preston Esquire 1818 – 1890 and his wife Mary Preston nee Pulleyn 1833 – 1907 owned the mills and property.

During the storms in 1953 the windmill sustained lots of damage, in fact so much damage it wasn’t worth repairing. During February 1953 my grandad would write letters to his daughter Edna Fidler nee Preston 1922 – 2010 living in Blackpool, giving her reports about the mill, I do have these letters now (from clearing Edna’s house on her death) and have put little bits of info about the mills together with photographs all together. They are only old photographs but may be of interest.

When our family went to visit grandad on holidays we would spend time at Old Mills with my dad’s aunts having sandwiches and trifle, fond memories!

My sister and I loved staying at Ashley Cottage as little girls, we would be sent upstairs to be laughing and giggling quite unaware that the grownups were just a couple of feet underneath us and could clearly hear what we got up to. The floorboards had gaps and we could look through them. We got caught out sneaking into the spare bedroom to look underneath a white sheet, underneath the sheet was grandad’s spare tin leg(!) He had lost his leg in 1917 in the trenches at Passchendael. We also frightened the life out of each other as the cottage was next to the graveyard, going to the loo was an ordeal to two little girls as the loo was out the back right next to the graveyard.

After grandad returned from the war he married Amelia Norton and became a joiner, cabinet maker and undertaker working from the very large shed which was then at the rear of Ashley Cottage.

History of Ashley Cottage by William (Bill) Preston  

The house on the site was originally called ‘The Curates House’, it being adjacent to the church and sharing boundaries. It was built around 1700, certainly before 1706 and in the late 1800’s became known as ‘Parsonage House’.

It was rebuilt around 1818 – 1822 and was a single storey thatched cottage. In the late 1880’s it was heightened to make a two storey cottage with pantile roof. The bricks came from a brickyard about one mile away to the North of the village. The brickyard became defunct around 1890. The angle of the thatched roof that was and can (since this was written Ashley Cottage has been rebuilt again) still be seen in the different brickwork at each end of the cottage.

When the Church of England School was founded in 1857, ‘Parsonage House’ became ‘School House’. The school lies to the front of Ashley Cottage and this also shares a boundary with the church.

Around 1938, Mother and Father (Mr and Mrs William Preston) re-named the cottage ‘Ashley Cottage’. Mother’s (Mrs Preston) home at South Shields was in Ashley Road, and the name ‘Ashley’ was obviously used to make a connection with Mother’s home.

The Curate’s House

Archbishop Sharpe’s Manuscript mentions a ‘little house and yard’ belonging to the benefice and this is probably the predecessor of the house South of the Churchyard now called ‘Ashley Cottage’ and still Glebe property. This was known as the ‘Parsonage House’ in 1818 in which year it was also declared by the Diocese as being unfit for residence.

The White House on the Everingham Road was built in 1826 according to William Watson’s Notebook: and it is therefore hard to account for the declaration of the unfitness of the parsonage in 1834. For this building was known as the ‘Vicarage’ in Mr Terry’s time.

However an examination of the livings held by the Curates shows that very few appear to have lived in the village. Perhaps those prior to Thomas Brittan may have lived here. But in the 17th Century, William Squire was at Bubwith. Peter Hammond, Everingham, Joseph Blande, Harswell, Edward Carver, Harthill. In the 18th Century William Dunn lived at Aughton. John Drake, Richard Dunn and (?) William Baskett, Pocklington. Robert Robinson, Harswell. In the 19th Century Thomas Brown was never here: William Alderson was Curate of Holme-on-Spalding Moor which leaves Nicholas Bourne and John Ponsonby as possible residents.

Mr Terry no doubt lived in the White House 1839 – 1853, perhaps letting his assistants use the house till he returned from his various other curacies in 1863, although his address in a Directory for 1865 is given as New Street, Pocklington. Charles and Edmund Atkinson and George Deane lived at Harswell Rectory.

From 1931 Everingham Rectory had been the home of the Vicars of this now combined parish.

Ashley Cottage probably late 60’s with grandad outside.
Dick Howden, Seaton Ross late 1920’s.

Taken outside the Blacksmith’s shop attached to the Blacksmith Arms pub. His brother Tom was the landlord.  

Old Mills where William Preston (my grandad), his brothers and sisters were born 1897.

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