Tag Archives: Escrick

The unidentified John Sarginson

It was probably about a year ago when my brother Tim set me a family history challenge. He is interested in a specific name on the WW1 war memorial which resides in St Helen’s Churchyard in Escrick; the village we were born and brought up in. The man’s name was John Sarginson. Neither of my parents was able to shed any light on this man who shares the same surname as we do. Our uncle Taff, one of my father’s brothers, wasn’t able to help either when we asked him about him earlier this year. Mind you he didn’t know that one of his ancestors from a nearby village had served in World War One, survived and is included in one of the historical books about Riccall; the village which he lives in.

Anyway how hard can this be to identify someone who is currently unidentified I thought to myself. Well much harder than I’d anticipated is the short answer. I started with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found some John Sarginson’s who had not survived the war but, having carried out further research,  I don’t think it is any of them. Then I thought well perhaps he is in some of the other WW1 records: Ancestry, Imperial War Museum lives of the Great War, Findmypast and the National Archives at Kew. No luck there though.

Then I realised that there would probably have been some meetings to discuss the war memorial and discovered that some papers and meeting minutes had been lodged at the Hull history centre as part of the Forbes Adam collection. Perhaps this was going to be the eureka moment that we family historians crave. Yes you’ve guessed it, it wasn’t. A very interesting letter from Lady Wenlock written in 1921, just after the commemoration service for the war memorial, did reveal some of the local feeling around it and some of the the names which had been included on it. But no the papers didn’t provide any information about who was going to be included on the memorial. A separate sub-committee run by the Rector made those decisions; and so far it doesn’t look these papers still exist or are accessible.

So it was back to the drawing board. After extensive further research, including also looking at the other soldiers on the war memorial and who they served with, I am no further forward in identifying the unidentified John Sarginson. I am loathe to leave him as a mystery so have written to the local historian who wrote a book about Escrick to see if he can help.

If you have any information about John then do please contact me. I have also posted this blog to my other genealogy website

Postscript: it looks like John may no longer be unidentified. He was probably Corporal John Sarginson of the West Yorkshire regiment. It would be good though to know more about his connection to Escrick as he wasn’t born there. If you have any further information do please get in touch.

Yorkshire – East Riding

The Vikings played an important part in the naming of Yorkshire, as they called York Jorvik and ‘riding’ is thought to be derived from a word meaning third part[1]. A shire, as in Yorkshire, usually refers to land controlled from a castle. York itself is a well known city with medieval walls and a long history.

St Helen's Church EscrickI was born in a village called Escrick in the 1950s. The Gazetteer of British place names[2] places Escrick in the historic county of the East Riding of Yorkshire and currently in the district of Selby in the administrative county of North Yorkshire. The administrative changes to the three Ridings of Yorkshire (East, North and West) were brought about as part of a significant reorganisation of England and Wales on 1st April 1974. As a school girl I remember completing a questionnaire on the proposed changes on behalf of my father. There was a lot of bad feeling locally about the proposed introduction of Humberside and one concern was that our village would be included in it. Further changes in 1998 re-instated the East Riding County Council as a unitary authority[3] and abolished Humberside. However, Escrick remained in North Yorkshire and the current East Riding County Council boundary is different to the one which existed before the changes in 1974. Prior to the 1974 changes, each of the Ridings had been governed from their own county towns; in the case of the East Riding this was Beverley.

Between about 1900 and 1974 the main form of administrative governance in Yorkshire was a mixture of urban districts, rural districts and parish councils[4]. These seem to have replaced the wapentakes, as until about the year 1900, each Riding[5] had been further sub-divided for administrative purposes into them. They were similar to the concept of “hundreds” used in the more southern counties of England and thought to be derived from the use of a “show of weapons” when a vote was taken at an assembly or meeting point. The East Riding was divided into six wapentakes which were further sub-divided. The borough and county of Hull was treated a separate entity. York itself was also treated as a separate county before the boundary changes in 1974 which “moved” it into North Yorkshire.

Bulmers’ Gazetteer of 1892[6] also explains that the name wapentake has an Old Saxon form “woepen-tac” and that they were probably formed for military purposes. It seems that each wapentake had its own court until 1340. These were discontinued by a statute passed during the reign of Edward III (in his 14th year) and their business was then taken over by the courts of the county. In the case of the East Riding this would have been by the courts at Beverley.

Escrick[7] was part of the Ouse and Derwent wapentake while it was still part of the East Riding. It remained in the Derwent registration district when the 1939 register[8] was taken. My own interest in the East Riding remains though, as many of my ancestors lived in various parts of this historic county.

[1] Simpson, David. About Yorkshire: the Yorkshire Ridings. http://www.yorkshire-england.co.uk/About_Yorkshire.html : accessed 06 May 2016.

[2] Gazetteer of British place names. http://www.gazetteer.org.uk/index.php : accessed 08 May 2016.

[3] Vision of Britain: East Riding of Yorkshire. http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/unit/10217660/relationships : accessed 06 May 2016.

[4] Browne, Horace Baker. (1912) How the East Riding was made. pp. 313-314. London: A Brown and Sons Ltd.  https://archive.org/details/storyofeastridin00brow : accessed 13 May 2016.

[5] Genuki civil administration http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Definitions/AreaDefinitions.html : accessed 12 May 2016.

[6] Genuki Wapentakes. http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Descriptions/ERY/ERYDescription4.html : accessed 06 May 2016.

[7] Genuki Escrick. http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/ERY/Escrick/index.html : accessed 06 May 2016.

[8] Findmypast 1939 register. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/1939register?gclid=CIn93IyS18wCFfMW0wod0CMETQ&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIue-IyS18wCFUeM7QodeEcN_Q : accessed 13 May 2016.