A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 7, Holderness Wapentake, Middle and North Divisions. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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Coniston hamlet lies 2 km. south-east of Swine village. The name was 'Coningesbi' in 1086, and it is uncertain whether it was an Anglian name later Scandinavianized, or the reverse; it may mean 'king's farm'. (fn. 1) Coniston, which comprised 602 a. (244 ha.), (fn. 2) was united with Thirtleby civil parish in 1935 as the new civil parish of Coniston, with an area of 1,358 a. (550 ha.). (fn. 3) In 1984 some 8 ha. (20 a.) of Coniston civil parish was transferred to Bilton, and in 1991 Coniston's area was 540 ha. (1,334 a.). (fn. 4) There were 56 poll-tax payers at Coniston in 1377, (fn. 5) and 13 houses there were assessed for hearth tax and 2 discharged in 1672. (fn. 6) Coniston's population was c. 110 in the 19th and early 20th century, 116 being recorded in 1931, when Coniston and Thirtleby together had 171 inhabitants. The population of the new civil parish increased to 269 in 1951, and 248 of the usual 252 inhabitants were present in 1991. (fn. 7)
CONISTON hamlet was built along a street which continued westwards to Swine and southeastwards to Thirtleby and from which side lanes led to Skirlaugh and Ganstead. A stream flowing southwards through the settlement was formerly fed by a small mere on the north side of the hamlet. (fn. 8) Drainage improvements carried out after the inclosure of Coniston in 1790 also included the draining of another, small mere in the northern field. (fn. 9) The side lanes of Coniston were later incorporated into the main HullBridlington road, and in the mid 20th century many bungalows and other houses were built alongside the stretch to Ganstead. The main road ran through Coniston hamlet until soon after 1970, when an eastern by-pass was made. (fn. 10) The older buildings include one or two 19thcentury farmhouses and the newer houses 16 built by Holderness rural district council. (fn. 11) North End Farm was built in the later 19th century. (fn. 12)
There were one or two licensed houses at Coniston in the later 18th century and in the 1820s one called the Blue Bell. (fn. 13) By 1840 that or another house was called the Stag and Hounds; renamed the Blacksmith's Arms c. 1860, (fn. 14) it still traded in 1994. Two acres awarded in 1790 as a gravel pit for road repairs had by 1852 been divided into allotment gardens, which were used until c. 1970. (fn. 15) A village hall was built in or shortly before 1951. (fn. 16)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES
In 1066 Morkar held 4 carucates at Coniston as soke of Mappleton manor; by 1086 the estate had passed to Drew de Bevrère. (fn. 17) It was later part of the Aumale fee.
Richard of Ottringham (fl. c. 1140) held land at Coniston of the count of Aumale. (fn. 18) It descended, as at Ottringham, to the Lasceles family. (fn. 19) In the mid 13th century J(ohn) de Lasceles and William de Lasceles, probably John's son (d. c. 1230) or grandson (fl. 1248), (fn. 20) each held 2 carucates at Coniston, (fn. 21) and William de Lasceles, either the grandson or his son, (fn. 22) was tenant of an indeterminate estate there, wholly occupied by undertenants, in the 1280s. He (d. by 1294) was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 23)
Pagan Blussell (Blassell) evidently held nearly 3 carucates at Coniston, practically all of which he gave to Thornton abbey (Lincs.) before 1190; the lordship and the small demesne estate remaining descended to Hugh Blassell (fl. 1280s). (fn. 24) As CONISTON manor, the abbey's estate passed to the Crown at the Dissolution. (fn. 25) Some land at Coniston formerly belonging to the abbey was granted as concealed land to John and William Marsh in 1576. (fn. 26) The manor, which extended into Sutton and Drypool and then included at Coniston houses and lands let for c. £7 a year and court profits of a few shillings, was granted in 1614 to William Whitmore and Edmund Sawyer in fee farm. (fn. 27)
It was presumably the same manor which Elizabeth Egleston and others sold to Richard Allanson (Allatson) in 1705 (fn. 28) and which had descended to his daughter Elizabeth Fysh by 1721. (fn. 29) It passed to her son Tristram Fysh (d. by 1742) and then to his sister Catherine Coppinger, who was succeeded by her son Fysh Coppinger. In 1765 he sold the manor to Robert Wilberforce (d. 1768). (fn. 30) Besides rents, the manor then comprised the manor house and another house, 2 carucates and 2 bovates, and c. 40 a. at Coniston and Ellerby. (fn. 31) At inclosure in 1790, the lord of the manor was Robert's son William Wilberforce, the philanthropist, who was awarded 304 a. and 73 a. more with Jane Tennyson; his allotments included 13 a. for glebe land, and his mother Elizabeth (d. 1798) also received 104 a. and rents for tithes. (fn. 32) From Wilberforce (d. 1833) the estate, which comprised nearly 500 a. in three farms in 1865, (fn. 33) descended to W. B. Wilberforce (d. 1913) (fn. 34) and then presumably to his son William. In 1920 the Wilberforce trustees sold the estate, comprising a 494-a. farm and several houses, to William England (d. 1932), who left his estate at Coniston and Swine to his son James. (fn. 35) House plots and some of the buildings were sold in the 1930s, (fn. 36) and in 1944 the farm, remaining buildings, and 487 a., mostly at Coniston, were bought by J. A. Foxton (d. 1954). (fn. 37) In 1974 the farm was vested in B. P. Foxton, who had earlier bought the 88-a. Hill Top farm. (fn. 38) In 1994 Manor farm and the other land at Coniston were conveyed to Foxton Farmers Ltd. (fn. 39)
Other tenants of the Aumale fee at Coniston included the Suttons, who held 1 carucate in the late 13th century, (fn. 40) and in the 14th century the Helpstons. (fn. 41) Swine priory had land at Coniston worth £2 a year in 1535. (fn. 42)
A manor of Coniston sold by Alexander Rishworth and his wife Beatrice to Richard Rogers in 1571 (fn. 43) may have been elsewhere, and no more is known of it.
The rectorial tithes of Coniston, together with 'Leconby farm', another part of Swine rectory, possibly at Coniston, were bought in 1681 by Thomas Johnson. (fn. 44) Compositions were then paid for hay tithes. (fn. 45) Some tithes at Coniston were sold in 1773. (fn. 46) At inclosure in 1790, the rectorial estate there belonged, like the manor, to the Wilberforces; William Wilberforce was then awarded 13 a. for glebe land and his mother Elizabeth 104 a. and rents totalling £4 17s. 7d. for tithes. (fn. 47)
In 1609 the commonable lands of Coniston included North and South fields and a stinted pasture. (fn. 48) The township was inclosed in 1790 under an Act of 1789. (fn. 49) By then the tillage had evidently been reduced by the making of closes in the village. (fn. 50) Some 570 a. was dealt with. South field then contained 264 a., North field 135 a., and North field, Furlongs, and Whin close 169 a. Whin close, possibly the common pasture recorded earlier, and Furlongs were in the north-east of the township. Besides the 481 a. awarded to William Wilberforce, lord of the manor, Elizabeth Wilberforce, and Jane Tennyson, (fn. 51) Robert Burton received 86 a., and there were two small allotments.
In 1987 the area returned under Coniston civil parish was 1,175 ha. (2,903 a.), which evidently included land elsewhere. Arable land accounted for 907 ha. (2,241 a.), grassland for 250 ha. (618 a.), and woodland for 5.4 ha. (13 a.); there were then almost 18,000 poultry, some 4,000 pigs, and more than 800 cattle. (fn. 52)
Coniston lay in two to five farms in the 19th and earlier 20th century, only one of which was of 150 a. or more. (fn. 53) The augmented area returned under the civil parish in 1987 was divided into 11 holdings: one exceeded 200 ha. (494 a.), another was of 100-199 ha. (247-492 a.), two of 10-49 ha. (25-121 a.), and seven of under 10 ha. (fn. 54) A gardener worked at Coniston in 1851; a firm of nurserymen, also active at Burton Constable, had c. 25 a. there in 1892, and in 1905 a Coniston blacksmith specialized in heating apparatuses for greenhouses. (fn. 55) In 1987 vegetables were grown on 3.9 ha. (10 a.) of the area returned under Coniston civil parish. (fn. 56) There was a cowkeeper at Coniston c. 1930. (fn. 57)
NON-AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYMENT has included the digging of a little sand and gravel, (fn. 58) and in 1994 Coniston had a garage and a building and joinery concern.
A maltster of Coniston was recorded in 1690, and a windmill stood in the township's South field in the 18th century. (fn. 59)
Poorhouses were maintained at Coniston. (fn. 60) Permanent relief was given to two people and three were relieved occasionally in 1802-3, and between 1812 and 1815 the township had 4-6 on permanent and 4-7 on occasional relief. (fn. 61) Coniston joined Skirlaugh poor-law union in 1837, (fn. 62) and the township, later civil parish, remained in Skirlaugh rural district until 1935. As part of the enlarged civil parish of Coniston, it was then included in the new Holderness rural district and at reorganization in 1974 in the Holderness district of Humberside. (fn. 63) In 1996 Coniston parish became part of a new East Riding unitary area. (fn. 64)
Most of the houses registered for protestant worship at 'Coniston' in 1793, 1795, 1808, and 1809 were probably at other Conistons. (fn. 65) The schoolroom was said to have been used in the early 1800s by an Independent congregation, established after mission ary work from Fish Street chapel, Hull. (fn. 66) In 1829 the Wesleyan Methodists provided a chapel just over the boundary in Swine township by converting two cottages rented from the Wilberforces; the chapel was almost certainly closed on the opening in the 1890s of Swine chapel, (fn. 67) and it has been demolished. The Primitive Methodists built a chapel at Coniston in 1872, (fn. 68) and extended it with a schooolroom in 1893. (fn. 69) Later the Methodist chapel, (fn. 70) it was closed in 1991 and was disused in 1995. (fn. 71)
About 1790 William Wilberforce began a school at Coniston, providing the schoolroom, a master's house, and £10 a year, for which 10 children were taught free. In 1833 the school was attended by 20 boys and girls, all then paid for by their parents. (fn. 72) It was evidently closed soon afterwards, and in 1871 children from Coniston attended Swine school. (fn. 73) A dame's school for infants was recorded in 1872. (fn. 74)