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Great Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire

Historical Description

Driffield, Great, a market and union town and parish in E.R. Yorkshire. The town stands on a fertile plain at the foot of the Eastern Wolds, near the source of ihe river Hull, adjacent to the Hull and Scarborough railway, 13 miles N of Beverley, and is governed by a local board of 12 members. It was known to the Saxons as Driffelda, and seems to have been the centre of many contests in the times of the kingdom of Northumbria. It is washed by a brook, enlarging into a canal 7 miles long, communicating with canals to Hull, and consists of one long wide street, with a parallel street on each side. It has a head post office, a railway station, both named Driffield, four banks, several good inns, a parish church, five dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic church, a cemetery, a corn exchange, Conservative club, a mechanics' institute, young men's friendly society, gymnasium, cottage hospital, a police station, and a workhouse, and is the capital of the York Wolds. The church is an ancient handsome structure, mainly Norman and Early English, consisting of nave, aisles, and chancel, with a fine tower of Decorated English date. It was thoroughly restored in 1879-80 at a cost of over £12,000. A Congregational chapel was built in 1867, at a cost of nearly £15,000, in the Italian-Gothic style, and has a gallery all round the interior. The corn exchange was built in 1842. A cattle market was added in 1847. Markets are held on Thursdays and alternate Wednesdays; fairs on Easter Monday, Whit-Monday, 26 Aug. and 19 Sep., and a considerable trade in corn, cattle, and other agricultural produce, linseed cake, manures, seeds, lime, and timber, &c., is carried on. There are flour mills, breweries, and malt kilns in the town and neighbourhood. Acreage, 5004; population, 5703. The parish comprises the townships ofEmswell-with-Little Driffield and the hamlet of Kelleythorpe. Acreage, 7594; population, 6037. Tumuli, seemingly of the times of the Danes, occur in various places, particularly on a farm called Danesdale, 3 miles from the town, and some of them have yielded flint spear-heads, fragments of urns, and beads of jet, glass, and amber. The living is a vicarage, united with that of Little Driffield, in the diocese of York; gross joint value, £361. Patron, the Archbishop of York.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

Findmypast, in conjunction with various Archives, Local Studies, and Family History Societies have the following parish records online for Great Driffield:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for the East Riding of Yorkshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Great Driffield are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following East Riding newspapers online: