The war memorial at Osbaldwick and Murton today
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Skipwith's war memorial was explored by our volunteers on a field trip. We also looked at the church records within the local archives.
The parish of Skipwith lies in a small village 4 miles north-east of Selby. The main settlement was Skipwith itself, but the village of North Duffield also lay in the parish.
A number of monuments to the dead of World War I were erected in and around the church. The clock in the medieval church tower was placed there as a war memorial in 1924. It was constructed by the company GJF Newey, who specialised in building church clocks and chimed every half hour. The Faculty provided very detailed information about its appearance. It insisted that the dial should be placed on the most modern face of the tower and that it should have a skeleton (framework) dial.
There is also a memorial tablet in the church porch. Its inscription reads “To the glory of God and in honour of the men from this parish who served in the war of 1914-18”, it then lists the names of the dead and concluded “Thanks be to God who gave us victory”. Interestingly, information from the Faculty tells us that the first draft of the inscription referred to the “Great War of 1914-1919” and was changed at the insistence of the Diocese. It also demanded that it be inscribed in Roman capitals with no large initial letters or decorations in the corners. A further memorial plaque to those who died in WWII was erected in 1957.
The parish war memorial was erected in the churchyard, a grey granite Celtic-style cross was put up in 1922. It was formally unveiled in March 1923 by Major-General WG Davies. Although it was erected in the Church of England graveyard, a Methodist minister was present at the ceremony. Subsequently, seven of the people commemorated on this memorial, who came from North Duffield, were also listed on the memorial at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in North Duffield. After WWII a further four names were added to the cross in Skipwith.
In 1920 a village institute was opened in the village in memory of the men of the parish who had served – the building used was an old army hut and had been donated by Mr Lancelot Foster of York.
A final memorial in the village is the recently (2010) erected monument remembering those who served at RAF Riccall which lay across parts of Skipwith Common. It is made from resin cast of a propeller of a crashed Halifax bomber.
A small team went out to explore Osbaldwick's war memorials and take some photographs. We also discovered more in our visit to the local archives.
The parish of Osbaldwick lies just to the south-east of York. It contains two villages, Osbaldwick itself, and its neighbour Murton. Until the 1920s, Osbaldwick was separate from the city of York, but it has now been absorbed into the surrounding suburbs.
During World War I, of the 70 men who were eligible to serve in the armed forces, 67 of them did so; sadly seven of them died in the conflict.
In the parish church a wooden memorial tablet was erected in 1920. It is attached to the wall on the north side of the chancel. The carved oak tablet bears the words ‘Remember the men of this parish who died for their country in the war of 1914-1919’ and ‘Give them eternal rest, O Lord and may light perpetual shine upon them’, it then lists the seven names of those who died. The nearby altar was replaced at the same time, and the new one was also intended to be a memorial. According to the minutes of the parish council, the new altar cost £18 and the tablet £15. Beneath it is a similar tablet recording those who died in the 1939-45 war. Today, a poppy wreath is usually positioned on the wall below the two memorial tablets.
Whilst this simple memorial tablet is quite typical of war memorials of this period, Osbaldwick and Murton also have another, more unusual, memorial. Lying between the two villages stands a large memorial hall, which was built to remember the dead of the two villages in 1923. The hall had a reading room, a billiard room and a public hall that could seat 270. There was also a wooden tablet recording the names of all who served from the village. As well as the hall itself, there was 1 ½ acres of land, four tennis courts, a bowling green and a tearoom. Seven oak trees were planted to remember the seven men from the parish who had died. In total, the hall cost £1500, which was raised by the two villages. The hall was officially opened in March 1923 by Major-General H.R. Davies, Commander-in-Chief of the 49th (West Riding) Division.
By 1939 it had fallen out of use and was taken over as the headquarters of the building firm William Anelay, who still use it and this once rural location has now become part of an industrial estate. However, this area still has a war memorial. In the early 21st century, a new memorial was erected here. It consists of a large stone block commemorating the dead of both wars. In 2011 on Remembrance Sunday, a new oak tree was planted to replace one of the original oaks that had died.