1900 AD

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1900 AD

1910          1920/30           1940/50          1960/70          1980         1990


1901 was another census year.  There were 156 residents of Normanby and 32 in Thornton Riseborough.  (Recorded in John Wood's diary).


On Sept 9th 1903 a long rainstorm caused flooding and the river burst half a mile on the west side of Westfield farm.  By an order dated 5th of August 1904 under the Board of Education Act 1899 the Judith Boynton bequest was constituted as the Boynton Educational Trust.


In a Yorkshire Gazette article of 1908 a correspondent talked to an old farm labourer.  He bemoaned the current state of agriculture.  There was little work to be had although not many years before up to 20 men and women were employed at a nearby farm during harvest.  The pay was 2s 6d a day, but 2s 2d was paid in the for poor rate - an early form of national insurance.  The poor law required that able bodied men be found work.  Children whose parents could not afford to maintain them were also put to work.  A stock of flax, hemp, wood, thread, iron and other ware was kept to set the poor to work.  Some relief was reserved for the old, blind and others not able to work. In 1908 there were still workhouses where the poor were set to work 12 hours a day and confined from Monday to Friday.  There were few house cows kept in the district because of the lack of allotments (up to 5 acres).  There were still many orchards which were later grubbed up to obtain government grants.  A dealer from Nawton used to collect Victoria plums but he paid as little as 3d to 6d a stone, a low price even then.


In that same Yorkshire Gazette of 1908 there was a whole page giving details of how to emigrate and what work was available in places like Canada and Australia.  "Female servants may obtain employment at all times of the year.''  Girls as young as 14 went away to work as maid servants, they were often maltreated and could not return home when ill.  Services were still held in the Wesleyan Chapel every day of the week.


Up to 1908 virtually all the water in the village was carried through the Church yard from the river (although there was also a path along the south boundary of Pasture House).  Even in 1908 there was only one tap that served the village between the Schoolhouse and the Rectory, laid on a spring from Hill Farm.  You can imagine that washing day by the river on a warm day was a time for catching up on gossip and village news.


There was a darker side to the water supply, however. The death rate in the village in 1907 was 15.86 per thousand compared with the average of 13.72.  Infant mortality was 144.1 compared with an average of 113.6.  Some thought that the water supply was to blame.  In 1904 the burial register shows a poignant entry for a baby called Barker. He died when 12 hours old before he could be baptised.  The order of the burial of the dead could not be used and a short service was held using the Book of Common Prayer.  Not all of the infant mortality was related to disease.  The burial register records the death of Hilda May Jackson, a pupil at the school, age 7, who was burnt to death when her dress was ignited by the kitchen fire.


1910 AD

In 1911 there were celebrations held to mark the coronation of George the fifth.  A sports day was held on the 22nd of June.  A greased pig was turned loose in a ring and became the property of the first unmarried woman who was able to catch it by the tail.  There was also a potato race, egg and spoon, slow bicycle race, threading the needle, sack race and tug of war.


The decade of the Great War must have been cataclysmic to a small village like Normanby.  Until then it is likely that most residents never travelled any further than the nearest market town.  The Sunday school trip was still a major event in the calendar.



Travelling to France or the Crimea must have been like a journey to the moon, and as they say, nothing was ever the same again.  The crucifix in the church brought back from the bloody battlefield of the Somme is testimony to this.  On 3rd of January 1915 there was a church day of "intercession on behalf of the nation and the empire in this time of war'.  Throughout that week there were prayers for the King (Monday), Our Forces (Tuesday), the wounded (Wednesday), the nation (Thursday) and the dead (Saturday).  On Friday they even prayed for the enemy.


On the second of March 1918 a plane crashed near Bridge House.  The Wood family recovered the propeller which is still kept to this day.  In 2005 Rob Foxton, aged 9 yrs in 1918, recalled the following: the Biplane circled the village and started a descent into a field at Bridge farm.  However, its tail clipped an oak tree and it tipped and crashed into the field.  The plane had just run out of fuel.  He describes the plane as having the propellers behind the wings and the gun turret in front just like a metal cattle trough.  The gunner was thrown out and suffered a broken leg.  The pilot was an Australian and not injured.


  The plane was most likely a RE b or RE d. Both were pusher Biplanes with two-seats as above (bf)


In the church records at Northallerton Record Office is a letter from Lloyd George thanking the parishes for their work during the war on the 'tribunals' - presumably those created to deal with draft challenges?


1920/30 AD 

1920 was a bad decade for agriculture and saw the general strike in the towns (1926).  There was probably a rise in unemployment in the village.  Road vehicles began to be more common.  On the 7th of June 1931 the notes to the orders of service in the church records refer to an earth tremor shock!  There was flooding in November 1931.


In January 1932 a church collection was made for 'waifs and strays'.  A previous Margaret Wood died in 1932 and left 100 towards upkeep of the church and her family graves.


In this part of the 20th century there were a number of businesses based in the village.  Behind Rose Cottage a Tailor's shop existed.  Further up the village (near the present lay-by) a group of cottages, which were later condemned, housed the village shop and post office.  There were so many people called Foxton in the village at this time that even the postman was confused!  The occupations of people started to vary.  In 1936 a cotton planter married at Normanby Church to the daughter of a retired Palestine policeman!  There were railway workers, a joiner, an engineer and a threshing machine proprietor.


1940/50 AD 

Yet more change for the village happened as women took over farming roles while men went to war.  In June 1940 the Sunday sermon was on the subject 'why does God not intervene'.  Meanwhile routine continued, the Whist drives were numerous and a sponsored walk raised over 400 for church funds.


On the 5th of October 1940, George Hornby, then aged 22, married Phyllis Dykes, a telephone operator from Amotherby and they lived in the village for the rest of their lives.


There was a boom in farming to feed a beleaguered nation.  Tractors like the famous Ferguson became common.  Listers engines were used to power all sorts of tools from pumps to turnip cutters.  Mains electricity came to the village in March of 1948.


The Parish record book dates from March 1949.  Much of the discussion seems to have been centred on the state of the drains at the South end of the village.

Summer smells were rank!


The railway was closed in 1951 as part of the Beeching cuts.  The last train was on 31st January 1953.  It was a stormy day and ominously a chimney was blown off Sinnington Station house and crashed through the glass top of the platform.  The Railway Age had come and gone in less than a century.

The last train 31 January 1953

Issued & dated 31st January 1953, last train from Pickering to Sinnington.


In the 1950s extensive work was carried out on the flood banks.  A narrow gauge tramway was constructed along the top of the dyke to speed up the work.  Derailments were not unknown and the village children commandeered the wagons at week-ends.


In 1957 there was church correspondence with Margaret Wood's trustees about upkeep of her family graves. They threatened to withdraw support unless the graves were improved.


1960/70 AD 

Street lights were proposed.  The row of cottages and post office were scheduled for demolition.  The drain problem continued.  Every parish meeting mentioned correspondence and telephone calls to the council.


At last something was done about the drains!





The distinctive 'Normanby' signs were requested and eventually supplied.



Normanby Hill

Home of the William Wood family (not Margaret's family) in the first part of the century, followed by Mr Samuel Sugden Lockwood and later turned into a Rural Education Centre.


Yorkshire Post 1933

Normanby Hill 2000

Yorkshire Post 1937

Yorkshire Post 1937




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Rural Education Centre booklet about Normanby


During this period there were some extreme weather events including the winter of 1963.  High winds caught the village in the 60s.  One night John Wood stoked the greenhouse heater as normal.  The next morning the greenhouse was flat and the church grounds looked like a wood yard.


1980 AD

The 1980s were another decade of great change in the village.  Pasture House, former home of the blacksmith, was sold with half of its 4 acres turned into building plots.  Shortly afterwards a bungalow was built next door and two more houses further on.


Pasture House


North Yorkshire Council issued a village plan which allowed development within a defined boundaryThis led to infill building adjacent to the rectory and construction in the wood south of Pasture House.  One old house, South View, belonging to Harold Spenceley, disappeared altogether and became the site of a bungalow built for Mr. Dean who ran a number of local garden centres.  Harold held an auction sale before moving to Malton.  He packed his old sheep netting up so well it looked like new.


The wood to the north of Willow cottage was sold for building plots.  This area was known as the Warren; perhaps it was a managed breeding area at one time.  A Warren has been mentioned in historical records.  Some villagers commented that there was more change in this decade than the previous 50 years.  The pub had been in the Smith family for many years.  It changed hands and has had a number of owners since.


For the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana every child was given a commemorative coin and there was a village party.


A 30mph speed restriction was introduced.


During the Cold War each parish was encouraged to create an emergency plan in case of a terrible disaster: for some years the pub had a siren which, however, was never used in "anger".  One day the river bank was covered with police during the man-hunt for the murderer Barry Prudham.


1990 AD 

The village development settled down to a stable period.  The Methodist chapel was sold and converted into a private home.  In 1991 the Malton Gazette and Herald published an article on the village which was a contrast to the piece in 1908!


The village barbecue became a regular event during this period.  The village Christmas party continued as it has for many years.


Drainage near the road bridge was an issue during heavy rain.  There was a bad flood in March 1999 when the road was under water for some time.  This slowed traffic down which has to be a good result for there have been many accidents and near misses at the river bridge, a structure with a right angle turn designed for more leisurely transport speeds than modern traffic.  The accident rate in the countryside is now higher than in the towns.


Footpaths around the village were repaired with the help of Parish partnership funds.


There was a murder in a neighbouring parish - an act of passion - and police did house to house enquiries in Normanby and surrounding villages. 




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