Ramblings on Normanby by
Mrs Dorothy Potts (nee Pyrah of Mount Pleasant);
Tom Skilbeck and his
Staunch members of the Methodist Chapel, for
many years attended, and saw to the continuance of the building. Could be
seen early on a Sunday morning carrying a bundle of firewood down to the
Chapel ready to light the fire and warm the building for the
congregation. Alice’s anniversary teas, (first Sunday in June) were
always very good indeed, and the invitation to go to their home was always
Tom’s brother was a farm labourer who worked
at Rise Farm, this being both arable and animal farming. George was
living in Marton with his sister Cissie she played for the services at the
One of the first family of the Marton’s of
Low Bottoms, there being four from the first marriage. He lived originally
in Marton with his wife and four children, Norman, Kathy, Millie and
Ethel. His wife died after the birth of a fifth child. He moved to Rise
Farm, and was there until 1942. He was a local preacher for over forty
years sometimes cycling as far as Nunnington or Gillamoor in all
weathers. For illumination he had a candle in a jam jar, and bicycle with
an almost permanent puncture in the tyre! He married Annie Elizabeth
Pyrah as his second wife circa 1923 in Manchester. The Pyrah’s had some
connection with the Marton’s. Indeed “Grandma Pyrah” Annie’s mother, was
said to have been born in Harome, and spent some of her life in
Coneysthorpe, and Old Malton. She is buried in St Andrews churchyard.
During the 30’s when farming was at a very low ebb (Dennis Marton used to
find a big stone in the field to push bills under!) Sam Lockwood of
Normanby Hill wished to purchase cheaply, farm land. I remember the
dismay at Rise Farm when “Sammy” turned up, almost in threatening manner,
demanding that Dennis sold Rise Farm to him. This caused great anxiety.
Robert Pyrah and his
They came to live at Rise Farm after the
tragic death of his wife Rose, in a fire at her workplace. Norman, aged
13, went to Canada on an exchange scheme where English children went
working on farms. He later became a fur trapper, a lumberjack and sailed
as a crew on the Great Lakes. He returned to England in 1940 with the
Canadian Highland Regiment, he married an English girl, went back to
Canada at the end of the war, but she remained in England. They were
divorced, and he married again and had seven daughters.
He lived at Hob Ground in the house
which was later demolished.
He was often seen driving his pony and
trap whilst dressed in long-lasting but noteworthy clothes. His
daughter, Diana, bred dogs (Dalmatians) which she brought by van
along Low Bottoms to “exercise” them.
She married Capt. MacDonald-Smith, and
they had a son, Clive.
Often seen on Sundays ferrying children in
his Morris Minor (vintage!), it is a wonder the passengers did not spill
out there was such a crush. Rev Swalwell’s elder son who was a “Cotton
Planter” in the Sudan in the days of long ago. He was called Fredrick and
was a most jolly delightful man, very typical of the settlers during that
time of British rule. He and his wife always called to see my mother and
father when they were visiting his mother and father. He bemoaned the
loss of the Sudan from British rule.
The teacher at the village school, who
during the war cycled to Brompton each day winter and summer, she was the
organist at the church for many years at St Andrew’s. She was ‘courted’
for many years by George Skilbeck he called each evening after her sister
Margaret had gone to bed!
Mr and Mrs Clark
Lived in Box Cottage nearest to Cecil
Foxton’s house (Vine cottage) he was the village Postman and a good
Ard Jack Walkington
Lived in the single cottage near the Forge,
enjoyed many an evening in the “Spotted Cow” one such evening we were
having a walk, and we saw him kicking his bike and shouting, “get up you
b----r”. Arthur Marton (Dennis’s brother) lived in this cottage before
him. It had no electricity or running water even in the 60’s!
Was the work place of John Foxton and his
son’s, Tom was the husband of Dora, nee’ Marton. She was of the second
family of Martons. Tom was often heard singing hymns as he worked.
Should a horse move the hymn was punctuated by, “stand o’er yer-“and many
more suitable phrases! He committed suicide convinced that his son (also
Tom) serving in Palestine during WW2 would never return. This was a great
shock to the village as well as his family.
Could be seen sitting crossed-legged plying
The Village Shop
This was kept many years ago by the Misses
Boyes. The story goes that one day the wig of one of them toppled off
into the tall flour drum as she bent over it! Margaret Wood used to help
in the shop.
Tom and Dot
Kept the shop for many years there was
always a smell of vinegar and paraffin in the air.
Wartime brought evacuees and their teachers
to Normanby, the School was opened, and many farmers cared for them. Alex
Farquharson aged 9, came to Rise Farm and
stayed a number of years. His brother was billeted in Cropton and died
from diphtheria whilst he was there. Aircraft were often seen and heard
by evening and early morning on their missions to Germany. A German plane
landed in the paddock of the farm opposite Rise Farm (was this Flintoff’s?),
and a solitary British soldier guarded it until it was taken away! We
were much intrigued by it all.
Alice and Horace Pyrah
In 1949 moved from Staines Farm, Little
Barugh to Stainesacre originally the house of Albert Sleightholme. The
name “Stainesacre” was my mother invention she didn’t like Mount Pleasant
as it reminded her of a place in Manchester near where she lived when
first married. Her mother-in-law, and Annie Pyrah lived with them and she
wanted to forget that! That Mount Pleasant was bombed in WW2. Horace was
Annie Marton’s youngest brother. He was apprenticed to his brother Joseph
who was much older, and became an engineer and sheet metal worker. That
was in Manchester.
He loved inventing machines, and won a silver medal at
the Royal Lancs. Show in the 30’s for the invention of a chicken brooder.
He went on to develop a grain dryer, and later a hen manure dryer! He
died in 1981. He had a son and a daughter, Arthur remained in
Manchester. Dorothy was married at St. Andrew’s in 1949. Mr Swalwell
filled in the registry details wrongly, marking Eric 22 and myself 31!
There is a note to that effect in the margin of the registry.
By the way,
we do not know the whereabouts of the deeds to Mount Pleasant. We
remember reading them-they were most interesting and certainly the garden
on our boundary with the water running through it was not mentioned on the
Sleightholme's deeds when we purchased. When the bungalow was
built new deeds were drawn up. The old deeds went initially to the
Provincial Building Society, when my father took out a mortgage to enable
the building to be done quickly, and to prevent any delay whilst other
assets materialised. The solicitors involved were Pearson and Ward.
Isabel knew the two ladies who bought Mount Pleasant but she could not
trace the deeds to them.