The Extensive ancient parish of Hemingbrough
occupies the southern end of the wapentake,
bounded by the winding course of the Ouse on the
south and west and by that of the Derwent on the
east. (fn. 1) Its dimensions are in places five miles by
four, and its total area in 1850 was 10,847 a. (fn. 2) The
parish included a dozen villages and hamlets, one of
which, Barlby in the extreme west, was a chapelry
which achieved independence from the motherchurch in the 18th century. In the 20th century part
of Barlby has become in effect an industrial suburb
of Selby, across the Ouse in the West Riding. Six of
the hamlets are now so shrunken as to be virtually
depopulated settlements, though none of them was
ever very large. Since 1883 the parish has also
included Newhay, (fn. 3) a former grange of Drax priory
(Yorks. W.R.), which occupied ground that had lain
south of the Ouse until the river changed its course
in the early Middle Ages.
Most of the parish is covered by the typical outwash sand, gravel, and clay of the Vale of York, and
it is on those deposits that its villages and hamlets
are sited. It is nevertheless only in places, and
especially towards the west of the parish, that the
land exceeds 25 ft. above sea-level. Lying still lower
is a belt of alluvium that stretches around the
margins of the parish beside the Ouse and the
Derwent. (fn. 4) Hemingbrough is thus devoid of marked
natural topographical features, and the pattern of
settlement and land utilization depends upon subtle
variations in relief and soils.
The village of Hemingbrough and its various
subordinate settlements were formed into seven
civil parishes in the 19th century. This arrangement
was, however, changed in 1935. Barlby and Osgodby
civil parishes were then combined as Barlby civil
parish; most of Cliffe with Lund and most of South
Duffield civil parishes were combined as Cliffe civil
parish; Hemingbrough and Brackenholme with
Woodhall civil parishes, together with 29 a. from
Cliffe with Lund and 130 a. from neighbouring
Barmby on the Marsh, were combined as Hemingbrough civil parish; Menthorpe with Bowthorpe
civil parish was added to neighbouring North
Duffield; and 5 a. of South Duffield were transferred to neighbouring Wressle. (fn. 5) In this account
Hemingbrough itself is described first, followed by
the other townships according to the earlier arrangement of civil parishes.
||This article was written in 1973.
||O.S. Map 6" (1854 edn.).
||Bulmer, Dir. E. Yorks. (1892), 626.
||Geol. Surv. Map 1", solid and drift, sheet 71 (1973
edn.); drift, sheet 79 (1973 edn.).