A tale of two communities

Hutton Cranswick is two communities, both pleasantly situated and just under one mile apart.

They are administered by one parish council, which takes in the hamlets of Sunderlandwick and Rotsea. It is four miles south of Driffield, and skirted by the Driffield-Beverley road. Passing over the parish boundary at Sunderlandwick, the old toll bar is on the right, and Bar Farm opposite.

The mill at Hutton is still standing, minus sails, and implies a once thriving community, and a self sufficient one, as were many old villages mentioned in the Domesday Book.

At the present time it is well served by British Rail, so is mainly a dormitory village for commuters to Hull, Beverley and Driffield. It is an agricultural area, growing roots and grain, with milling facilities on the modern industrial estate.

Hutton is the smaller village and stands on higher ground, the very name Hoot meaning 'a hill'. There is much history connected with the area, as it was originally the site of a fortified camp where fierce battles were fought between the Saxons and the Danes. A curiously named farm at the eastern end of the parish, adjacent to the waterway which leads into the river Hull, is Corps Landing, the legend being that corpses were landed here for interment, but this cannot be proved.

The church is situated at Hutton, and serves the combined villages of Hutton and Cranswick. In AD 699, Wilfrid, Bishop of York, built several churches all dedicated to St Andrew, so in later years Hutton Cranswick was rededicated to St Peter. The church is very attractive in a well-treed setting, and fronted by a small village green. The church gates of locally grown oak were fashioned by a local craftsman. Of great interest are the church bells, very fine for a small village church. Campanologists come from far and wide to 'ring the changes'. Six in all, the largest was hung in 1635 and recast in 1949. Tradition says the original three large bells should have gone to Driffield but were delivered to Hutton by mistake.

The vicarage house is a handsome brick building in the Gothic style. It was built in 1874 at the expense of Lord Hotham, who at the time owned much of the parish. It is now privately owned, and in 1967 a new vicarage was built in the extensive grounds.

The Jubilee Methodist chapel at Hutton, 1860, is still used for worship. 'Tween towns' between the two villages is reputed to have a ghost, a lady who crosses the road occasionally.

The focal point of Cranswick is the village green, six and a half acres, believed to be the largest in East Yorkshire. It is surrounded by cottage homes, once thatched. The pond, now landscaped, is fed by underground springs, and was the watering place for horses and cattle in days gone by. In 1976 the green was designated a conservation area. Cottages on Bunkers Hill face directly onto the green, and evidence of a pinfold or pound can be seen by the school wall. There is a refurbished children's playground in one corner of the green. Stately horse chestnut trees guard the green.

Country lanes, farms and fields have attractive names - Hobman Lane, Howl Lane, Sheepman Lane, Ricklepits, Clay Floors, Surfe Dyke and Botany Bay. The whole area is criss-crossed with rights of way, used by local people before roads were made, and now used for rambling.

The Methodist chapel, 1861, along with other buildings in the village, is of some architectural interest. John Wesley once passed through on his way to preach in Driffield. The county primary school at the eastern end of the green is now modernised. An interesting donation of 10 to the building of the school was from George Hudson the railway king, who was constructing the Hull to Bridlington line at the time. This line has had many threats of closure, and this would end a vital link to Hutton Cranswick.

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