Beverley, Yorkshire Family History Guide

Beverley, a town in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England

Beverley Parishes

Beverley comprises the following parishes:

  • Beverley St John with St Martin, Yorkshire
  • Beverley St Mary with St Nicholas, Yorkshire

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BEVERLEY, a town, four parishes, a subdistrict, and a district in E. R. Yorkshire. The town stands on the Hull and Scarborough railway, at the E foot of the Wolds, about a mile W of Hull river, 8 ¼. miles NNW of Hull. The country to the E is flat; but the parts adjacent are fertile and well-wooded. All was anciently swampy; then covered with forest; then cleared for fuel and for cultivation. Lakes frequented by beavers, in the swampy epoch, are supposed by many to have given rise to the name Beverley in the form of Bever Lac. The town, however, may possibly have been the Petonaria of Ptolemy, with Roman origin, dating from the second century; and it was known to the Saxons as Beoforlic and Beverloga. John, Archbishop of York, commonly called St. John of Beverley, founded a monastery at it in 700, and died and was buried here in 721. The Danes destroyed the monastery in 867. King Athelstane, after his great victory of Brunanburgh in 938, found the church of the monastery partly restored; richly endowed and extended it, as a collegiate church or minster; and gave it the right of sanctuary for a mile round the town, marked by four stone crosses, set up at the principal approaches. William the Conqueror, in 1069, encamped in the neighbourhood, and issued strict orders to his army to respect the property of the church. The principal part of the town, together with the church, was destroyed by fire in 1186. Edward I., during his wars against Scotland, in 1299-1316, frequently visited Beverley, and carried the standard of St. John at the head of his army. Henry I V. visited the town in 1399; Edward IV. marched through it in 1471; and Charles I. alternately took post in it and was dislodged in 1639 and 1642. The town early acquired a right of prize and toll over the shipping of the Humber; and, in later times, it struggled hard against the transfer of that right to the rising port of Hull. Many a legend exists respecting alleged miracles, in the old times, in the minster; and a monkish pretence runs through old history that the standard of St. John, together with the standards of St. Peter of York and St. Wilfrid of Ripon, had much to do with the victories of the English arms. An old ballad, speaking of the battle of the "Standard" in 1138, and putting a speech into the mouth of the Scottish king, says,-

The holy cross,
That shines as bright as day,
Around it hung the sacred banners
Of many a blessed saint;
St. Peter and John of Beverley,
And St. Wilfrid there they paint.
'Oh had I but yon holy rood,
That there so bright doth show,
I would not care for yon English host,
Nor the worst that they could do.

The town consists of several streets, and is well built. The principal street is nearly a mile long, and terminates in an ancient gateway, called the North Bar. The guild hall is a handsome edifice, new-fronted in 1832; and contains apartments for the corporation and for sessions. The county house-of-correction was erected at a cost of £42,000, and afterwards enlarged; and contains accommodation for 106 male and 21 female prisoners. The market cross is a modern erection, more curious than useful. There are also a corn exchange and assembly-rooms. One of Athelstane's crosses still stands on an eminence to the N. There were anciently a monastery of black friars, a monastery of grey friars, and an establishment of knights-hospitallers; and two gateways of the first may still be seen on the NE of the minster. There are a grammar school with eight scholarships at Cambridge, and a library; a blue-coat school; a mechanics' institution; a dispensary; three hospitals, for 6, 12, and 32 widows; a workhouse, and almshouses. The charities amount annually to £3,825; of which £1,559 are minster estates. The parish churches of St. Martin and St. Nicholas are extinct; and there are now the parish churches of St. Mary and St. John, a handsome chapel of ease erected in 1841, eight dissenting chapels, and a Roman Catholic chapel. St. Mary's church is cruciform, with a central tower; was originally Norman and early English, but now exhibits early decorated and perpendicular additions; has a very fine seven-light west window, between two beautiful octagonal pierced turrets; and contains an octagonal font of 1530, and some interesting monuments. A resolution was taken in 1859 to restore this edifice, and was carried out in 1865. St. John's church, or the minster, as it now stands, is supposed to have been completed in the early part of the reign of Henry III. It consists of nave, choir, presbytery, transepts, central lantern, and two western towers; and is altogether 332 feet long. It shows a mixture of styles; yet is considered equal in purity of composition, correctness of detail, and elegance of execution, to any of the great English cathedrals. Mr. Rickman says: "The north porch of Beverley minster is, as a panelled front, perhaps unequalled. The door has a double canopy, the inner an ogee, and the outer a triangle, with beautiful crockets and tracery, and is flanked by fine buttresses breaking into niches, and the space above the canopy to the cornice is panelled; the battlement is composed of rich niches, and the buttresses crowned by a group of four pinnacles." Of perpendicular fronts the same author says, "By far the finest is that of Beverley minster. What the west front of York is to the decorated style, this is to the perpendicular, with this addition, that in this front nothing but one style is seen; all is harmonious. Like York minster, it consists of a very large west window to the nave, and two towers for the end of the aisles. This window is of nine lights, and the tower windows of three lights. The windows in the tower correspond in range nearly with those of the aisles and clerestory windows of the nave; the upper windows of the tower are belfry windows. Each tower has four large and eight small pinnacles, and a very beautiful battlement. The whole front is panelled, and the buttresses, which have a very bold projection, are ornamented with various tiers of niche-work, of excellent composition, and most delicate execution The doors are uncommonly rich, and have the hanging feathered ornament; the canopy of the great centre door runs up above the sill of the window, and stands free in the centre light with a very fine effect. The gable has a real tympanum, which is filled with fine tracery. The east front is fine, but mixed with early English." The chief monuments are a magnificent altartomb of Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland; an altar-tomb of George Percy, grandson of Hotspur; a splendid altar-tomb of two daughters of Earl Puch, called the "Maiden Tomb;" and a monument to Major General Bowes, Who fell at the assault of one of the forts of Salamanca.

Beverley has a head post office,‡ a telegraph station, four banking offices, and two chief inns; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Saturday; a fortnightly cattle market, on Wednesday; fairs, four times a year; and races on the Hurn pastures, in June. Waggons, carts, carriages, agricultural implements, artificial manures, whiting, and leather are manufactured in large establishments. A canal goes to the river Hull. Beverley is a seat of quarter sessions, the place of election for the east riding, and the headquarters of the east riding militia. The town sent two members to parliament once in the time of Edward I.; received a charter from Elizabeth; and has sent two members to parliament from her time until now. It is governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors. The municipal borough consists of the parishes of St. Mary, St. Martin, and St. Nicholas; while the parliamentary borough includes also the greater part of the parish of St. John. Acres of the m. borough, 2,228; of the p. borough, 9,168. Direct taxes in 1857, £6,517. Electors in 1868, 1,474. Pop. of the m. borough in 1841, 7,574; in 1861, 9,654. Houses, 2,156. Pop. of the p. borough in 1841, 8,671; in 1861, 10,868. Houses, 2,403. Beverley gives the title of Earl to the Percys; and it numbers among its distinguished natives Alfred, the ancient biographer, eight archbishops of York, Alcock and Fisher, bishops of Rochester, Green, bishop of Lincoln, Julia Pardoe, author of the "City of the Sultan," and Mary Woolstonecroft or Godwin.

St. Mary's parish comprises 570 acres. Real property, £12,648. Pop., 3,831. Houses, 831. St. Martin's parish comprises 760 acres. Real property, £10,509. Pop., 4,413. Houses, 988. St. Nicholas' parish comprises 898 acres. Real property, £5,526. Pop., 1,410. Houses, 337. St. John's parish includes the townships of Thearne, Weel, Molescroft, Storkhill and Sandholme, Woodmansey-with-Beverley Parks, and Tickton-with-Hull-Bridge within the borough, and the township of Eske and part of the township of Aike, without the borough. Acres, 8,280. Real property, £17,903. Pop., 1,315. Houses, 261. St. Mary's is a vicarage, St. Nicholas' a rectory, and St. Martin's and St. John's vicarages, in the diocese of York. St. Mary and St. Nicholas form one living, of the value of £289, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor. St. John and St. Martin, with Tickton chapelry, form also one living, of the value of £420, in the gift of Simeon s Trustees. The subdistrict comprises the parishes of St. Mary, St. Martin, St. Nicholas, Bishop-Burton, Cherry-Burton, Walkington, and Skidby, most of the parish of St. John, and part of the Parish of Rowley. Acres, 24,639. Pop., 13,007. Houses, 2,854. The district comprehends also the subdistrict of South Cave, containing the parishes of Newbald and Brantingham, and parts of the parishes of South Cave, Elloughton, and Rowley; the subdistrict of Leven, containing the parishes of Routh and Wawne, and part of the parish of Leven; and the subdistrict of Lockington, containing the parishes of Lockington, Etton, South Dalton, Holm-on-the-Wolds, Lund, Scorborough, and Leckonfield-with-Arram, and parts of the parishes of Kilnwick and St. John. Acres, 78,434. Poor-rates in 1866, £8,62 1. Pop. in 1861, 21,029. Houses, 4,450. Marriages in 1866, 169; births, 661, of which 52 were illegitimate; deaths, 387, of which 133 were at ages under 5 years, and 20 at ages above 85 years. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,547; births, 6,507; deaths, 3,884. The places of worship in 1851 were 29 of the Church of England, with 7,475 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 1,068 s.; 5 of Baptists, with 1,090 s.; 20 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3,755 s.; 11 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,407 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 63 s. The schools were 24 public day schools, with 1,894 scholars; 39 private day schools, with 994 s.: and 36 Sunday schools, with 2,456 s.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Beverley Yorkshire Principal Inhabitants Universal British Directory 1791

The following are the principal inhabitants:

Members of Parliament

Sir James Pennyman, Bart. Alderman of Beverley, London

John Hall Wharton, Esq. London

[The right of election is in the burgage-holders, who are about 1000.]



Thomas Clubley, Esq.


Robert Osborne, Esq.


Appleton Colonel Teavil, Esq.

Arden John, Esq.

Dickons Thomas, Esq.

Hall William, Esq.

Hewitt Marmaduke, Esq.

Keld Christopher, Esq.

Lundie Timothy, Esq.

Middleton William, Esq.

Moor Hassell, Esq.

Ramsey John, Esq.

Sampson Joshua, Esq.

Town Clerk

Robert Ramsey, Attorney

Chamber Clerk

Richard Judson

Gentlemen, &c.

Acklom Peter, Esq.

Bowman John, Esq.

Caird George, Gent.

Child Major –

Clappison Thomas, Gent.

Clubley Thomas, Gent.

Courtney John, Esq.

Cowart Thomas, Gent.

Dunn Pennock, Gent.

Hunter William, Esq.

Laybourne John, Gent.

Law Andrew, Gent.

Lyon Robert, Gent.

Machell Major

Marwood William, Esq.

Myers John, Gent.

Newman Johnson, Esq. Russia Consul

Staveley Walter, Gent.

Twigg Nicholas, Esq.

Waines William, Esq.


Drake Francis, D.D.

Feist Rev. Richard, Dissenting Minister

Foord Rev. Barnard, D.D.

Graves James, Clerk, Curate of the Minster

Jackson John, M.A. Master of the Grammar-school


Featherstone John, Surgeon

Fleming John, Surgeon

Jackson Francis, Surgeon

Johnston John, M.D.

Key Daniel, Druggist

Metcalfe Thomas, Surgeon

Motherby George, M.D. Author of the Medicinal Dictionary


Hall Samuel, Attorney

Lockwood John, Attorney

Nightingale George, Attorney

Terry Thomas, Attorney

Traders, &c.

Acklam William, Taylor

Acklam William, Tanner

Acklam William, jun. Tanner

Adamson Samuel, Stay-maker

Akers James

Andrew John, Sadler

Appleby John, Whitesmith

Appleby John, jun. Whitesmith

Armitstead Joseph, Grocer

Artley William, Innholder

Ashton William, Grocer

Atkinson William, Cow-keeper

Atkinson Thomas, Innholder

Audas John, Butcher

Baitson Thomas, Bricklayer

Baitson William, Miller

Baitson Joseph, Miller

Banks Valentine, Butcher

Barman Thomas, Butcher

Barman Edward, Butcher

Barton William, Joiner

Battley William, Cordwainer

Beal Mark, Glazier

Beaumont Joseph, Fellmonger

Beilby John, Rope-maker

Bell Wallis, Cabinet-maker

Berriman Peter, Linen-draper

Beswick Richard, Painter

Binnington John, Maltster

Binnington Joseph, Coachman

Blackstone Christopher, Cordwainer

Blackstone John, Flax-dresser

Blackstone William, Breeches-maker

Blanchard William, Carrier

Bland Samuel, Postmaster

Bowmer Sarah, Milliner

Boyse William, Furrier

Brigham William, Grocer

Brown George, Watch-maker

Brown John, Sadler

Brown Thomas, Butcher

Brown William, Butcher

Browne George, Butcher

Brownrigg William, Bricklayer

Brownrigg John, Wheelwright

Burgess William, Linen-draper

Burn Robert, Gardener

Butler Thomas, Serjeant at Mace

Carrick William, Grocer, Tontine-office

Champion John, Innholder

Charter William, Innholder, (Tiger)

Clough Thomas-Cass, Sadler

Coates William, Mariner

Collison George, Currier

Constable William, Collier

Cook Joseph, Taylor

Cooper John, Whitesmith

Cooper Thomas, Whitesmith

Copass William, Cooper

Corney Thomas, Horse-dealer

Cowart Jewitt, Grocer

Crabtree William, Mason

Cresser Thomas, Common Brewer

Dales Richard, Baker

Danson Thomas, Grocer

Davis Samuel, Innholder

Davison Jane, Innholder

Deighton Robert, Brazier

Denton Francis, Butcher

Denton Peter, Innholder

Dove John, Innholder

Duke Edward, Cow-keeper

Duncan George, Cow-keeper

Eccles Richard, Supervisor

Edmonds James, Mariner

Edwards William, Sadler

Ellerton Thomas, Schoolmaster

Ellis Thomas, Waggoner

Ellis William, Stay-maker

Ellis Robert, Tanner

Empson Richard, Coal-merchant

Empson Richard, jun. Glazier

Epton James, Victualler

Fenby John, Maltster

Fenby Peter, Oat-Sheller

Fenteman Samuel, Baker

Fletcher John, Innholder

Gardham John, Grocer

Garforth William, Joiner

Garton Jane, Linen-draper

Geldart Christopher, Flax-dresser and Grocer

Gibson George, Mercer

Girbow Isaac, Currier

Godson William, Mariner

Gould Nathaniel, Taylor

Gomersall Wm. jun. Tallow-chandler

Gorwood William, Glazier

Greenwood Christopher, Joiner

Greenwood Edward, Tinner

Greenhaugh - , Plaisterer

Hall John, Clock-maker

Hall Octavius, Grocer

Hanson Abraham, Hatter

Hardwick Thomas, Butcher

Hardy William, Butcher

Hepton James, Innholder

Herdsman Robert, Butcher

Hobson Edward, Innholder

Hobson Timothy, Painter

Jefferson Thomas, Maltster

Jewitson William, Butcher

Johnson Elizabeth, Furrier

Kemp Daniel, Bricklayer

Keningham Adam, Whitesmith

Keningham Robert, Whitesmith

Kirkby Robert, Cabinet-maker

Kirkhouse William, Innholder

Kirkus John, Merchant, Linen-manufacturer, and Draper

Kirkus John, jun. Bleacher

Kitchin Daniel, Schoolmaster

Lambert George, Organist

Lancaster James, Taylor

Laybourne Jonathan, Tanner

Legard Henry, Register

Leadam Robert, Cutler

Leek Thomas, Bricklayer

Lee John, Cornfactor

Lee Thomas, Grocer

Lister Benjamin, Innholder

Loft Benjamin, Baker

Longbone Thomas, Innholder

Lowson John, Innholder

Luck William, Taylor

Lumley John, Cabinet-maker

Lundie Timothy, jun. Maltster

Lundie William, Haberdasher

Lundie Wm. jun. Hallgarth Bailiff

Mann Emanuel, Peruke-maker and Hair-dresser

Marshall Israel, Butcher

May John, Engineer

Meadley Tho. Sexton & Peruke-maker

Merritt Daniel, Butcher

Middleton John, Architect

Milburn Anthony S. M.

Mugless Thomas, Glazier

Muschamp William, Cooper

Nicholls George, Breeches-maker

Nutchey David, Cow-keeper

Onston George, Linen-draper

Osgerby Edward, Baker

Overend John, Linen-draper

Oxtoby Thomas, Grocer

Parkinson Thomas, Miller

Parkin Robert, Plaisterer

Peacock Thomas, Cordwainer

Peacock Thomas, Grocer

Peacock Anthony, Joiner

Pearson John, Innholder

Plowman Thomas, Painter

Plummer George, Keeper of the House of Correction

Plummer George

Pratman John, jun. Architect

Priestman William, Joiner

Purden David, Innholder

Ramshaw Robert, Gardener

Ransom John, Flax-dresser

Rattel David, Shopkeeper

Reveley Robert, Innholder

Richardson John, Common Brewer

Robinson William, Bricklayer

Robinson James, Painter

Rodford Richard, Grocer

Routlidge Robert, Baker

Rushworth Edward, Mason

Shipston Thomas, Hosier and Framework-knitter

Sigston Benjamin, Nursery-man

Sigston Hugh, Shopkeeper

Skern Thomas, Hosier

Skinn James, Cordwainer

Smith John, Innholder

Smith Thomas, Taylor

Smith Marmaduke, Cordwainer

Smith Thomas, Mercer

Smith John, Butcher

Spencer John, Cordwainer

Spencer Isaac, Grocer

Stephenson - , Joiner

Stather Edward, Hair-dresser

Sumner Gillyott, Fellmonger

Swaby John, Carrier

Taylor Francis, Mercer

Taylor Francis, Collier

Taylor Thomas, Gardener

Taylor Robert, Shopkeeper

Thompson William, Cabinet-maker

Thompson John, Baker

Thompson Henry, collier

Thompson John, Butcher

Thompson Jonas, Oat-Sheller

Thorp Robert, Innholder

Todd Walmesley, Cornfactor

Todd William, Bricklayer

Tuting John, Cordwainer

Tigar John, Cutler

Wainman William, Turner

Waite William, Peruke-maker

Wallis Thomas, Brazier

Wardell William, Spirit-merchant

Watson John, Butcher

Whitaker Laurence, Bookseller

Whitaker Thomas, Schoolmaster

Wigglesworth - , Brazier

Wigglesworth Wm. Serjeant at Mace

Wilkinson Thomas, Carrier

Wilkinson Richard, Tallow-chandler

Wilson Nathaniel, Joiner

Wilson Samuel, Carpenter

Wilson John, Grocer

Wilson Jacob, Hatter

Worlington John, Bricklayer

Source: The Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce, and Manufacture 1791. Vol. 2.


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Burkitt William, Beverley, Yorkshire, miller, Dec. 4, 1821.

Harwood Henry, Beverley, Yorkshire, linen &. woollen draper, Aug. 16, 1842.

Ingle James, Beverley, Yorkshire, tanner, Jan. 13, 1832.

Iveson Francis, Beverley, Yorkshire, dealer and chapman, May 6, 1834.

Jefferson Robert, Beverley, Yorkshire, grocer, Aug. 26, 1842.

Mullins Henry, Beverley, Yorkshire, linen draper, Dec. 31, 1825.

Pitts Thomas, & Thomas Collison ; Beverley, woollen drapers, Mar. 16, 1822.

Robinson William Whiting, Beverley, Yorkshire, linen draper, March 14, 1843.

Ross Charles, Beverley, Yorkshire, wine and porter merchant, May 30, 1834.

Shepherd Henry John, Beverley, Yorkshire, dealer & chapman, Nov. 30, 1832.

Stephenson George, Beverley, Yorkshire, grocer and seedsman, April 15, 1842.

Tindall George and William, Beverley, and Hull, nurserymen, Oct. 12, 1830.

Walker George, Beverley, Yorkshire, draper and silk mercer, Nov. 27, 1832.

Wilson Thomas, Beverley. Yorkshire. miller, Jan. 29, 1839.