Roman Catholics

In 1534, Henry VIII cut the links between England and the Roman Catholic Church, and established the Church of England. Initially, legal restrictions made it difficult for Catholics to worship, so information about Catholics is to be found chiefly in the records of the Church of England and in Quarter Sessions records. In 1778, the Catholic Relief Act gave Catholics some minor concessions in return for swearing an oath of allegiance to the Crown. In 1791, some further concessions in the Toleration Act of 1689 were extended to Catholics. Catholic worship was legalised on the condition that they registered their churches and the names of their priests with Quarter Sessions. The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 removed all major restrictions and enabled Catholics to sit in Parliament, to vote at elections and to hold property unconditionally.

East Yorkshire Local History Society
Post Reformation Catholicism in East Yorkshire, 1558-1790, Hugh Aveling
Appendix 1, Section 5 gives a list of recusants found in a wide range of sources

Dolman Robt., gent, 1578
Dolman Wm., Esquire, 1589
Dolman Eliz., Lady, of Gunby, 1607
Dolman Robert, Sir, 1615
Dolman Ursula, wife of Robert, 1615
Dolman John, son of Sir Robert, 1615
Hotham John, 1604
Maskew Bridget, 1586, to gaol
Paycock Ann, Dame, 1580-2, conformed
Vavasour Peter, 1572
Vavasour Thomas, Dr., 1574, in gaol
Vavasour Peter, of Willitoft, 1586, conf. Wife to gaol
Vavasour Ann, 1590
Vavasour Anne, wife of Peter of W., 1604
Vavasour Richard, of Spaldington, 1604
Vavasour Alex., of Spaldington, 1606
Vavasour Eliz., vid, 1615
Vavasour wife of Peter, 1615
Vavasour wife of Alex, 1615
Vavasour Alex., 1627
Vavasour Eliz., 1627
Vavasour Geo., 1633
Vavasour Alex., 1633
Vavasour Geo., 1653, sequestered
Vavasour Jo., 1653, sequestered
Vavasour Jo., gent, of Willitoft, 1667
Vavasour Peter, yeoman of Bubwith, 1667
Vavasour Ann, vid, 1563-5
Vavasour Peter, gent, 1563-5
Vavasour Jo., gent, 1563-5
Vavasour Geo., of Spaldington, 1580-1

Calendar of Patent Rolls, Vol 1
Page 163; 15 Jan 1559: Pardon Rolls
Pardon for John Vavasour, late of Spaldington

Catholic Record Society Publications
Catholic Recusancy in York, 1558-1791, J. C. H. Aveling, Catholic Record Society, Monograph Series 2
Page 195: Borthwick, High Commission Book 1580-5, f.73

Dame Anne Pacock (of Spaldington, E. Riding)/sent certificate of her conformity

Visitation Court Books (Archbishop of York), for 1600
Borthwick Reference: V.1600, C.B.1, East Riding
con Anna Vavasour, ux Petri Vavasour de Willitoft, and Kath and Eliz, their daughters - recusancy.

A List of The Roman Catholics in the County of York in 1604.
Transcribed from the Original Ms. in the Bodleian Library,
and edited with genealogical Notes. Edward Peacock, F.S.A.

Richard Barker, Anne his wife
Jaine Barker
John Barker the elder
John Barker younger, Elizabeth his wife
Anne Vavasour wife of Peter Vavasour, Katherin and Elizabeth Vavasour, daughters of the said Peter
Issabell Bell
all of the parish of Bubwith; Recusants for diuers yeares.

John Patchet, Jennet his wife
Richard Vavasour
all of the parishe of Bubwith; Recusants for two yeares last.

Allison Newbecke
Peter Howburne
John Hothum
Isabell Parker, alias Elliot spinster
William Baibe
John Weatherall, Agnes his wife
Ellinor Skotton
Robert Raineforth
William Cloudesdaile
Robert Fewell
all of the parishe of Bubwith aforesaid; Recusants since ye first of ffebruary last.

Secret marriage: John Barker was married when and where is not known.
Secret baptism: John Barker the younger within the parish of Bubwith, had by Elizabeth his wife one childe, but where it was christened it is not knowne.

Jarvis Smith a Recusant; Recusant for diuers yeares.

Surtees Society Publications
Depositions from the Castle of York, Volume XL
Pages 119-123 gives a list of those indicted at the York Assizes in March, 1664, from lists drawn up by village constables and forwarded to York.

George Buttell and Mary his wife

Margaret Beilby, spinster
Averil Raby, widow
Ann wife of Wm. Barton, sen.
Mark Starke and Jane his wife
Mary Grisedale, widow
Thomas Barker
Peter Vavasour
John Thorpe and Eliz. his wife
Mary Steed, spinster
Eliz. wife of Ralph Smith
Margaret Hebden, spinster
Isabel, wife of Rowland Gardum
George Holborne

Gristropp (Gribthorpe)
John Vavasour and Julian his wife
Wm. Young and his wife
Isabel Story, spinster
John Story

Visitation Citation for c.1675

Citation to certain parishioners of Bubwith

20 Mar 1670-9 (scan truncated, it reads '167-' with the final year missing)

Maria Starke, Maria Grisdale, John Grisdale and Margaret Beelby, Maria Steed, John Custance and Maria his wife, Andrew Barker, Maria Plaxton, Rad. Smith and Eliza his wife, Eliza Boyes, John Bargham, Thomas Allen and Eliz his wife, John Vavasour gent and Juliana his wife, William Younge and Anna his wife, Issabella Storry, John Storry, George Storry and Frances Storry, L. Poole, Maria Hallam, Anna Hallam, Edward Gillison and his wife, Thomas Bargham and his wife, John Ramsey and Jana his wife, George Plaxton and William Preston, for not coming to divine Service nor receiving ye sacrament.

Edward Barrett, vicar

Particulars of Papists' Estates

Following the first Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, all Papists were obliged by an Act of Parliament to register their real estate with the county Quarter Sessions, and returns of Papists' estates, 1717-1763, survive amongst the records for the East Riding in the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service in Beverley, under reference QDR 2

The following are the entries found relating to Bubwith:

QDR 2/3
Ann, widow of Charles Bosville of Carlton gentleman, estates in Bubwith, c. 1716-20

QDR 2/32
Marmaduke Lord Langdale Baron of Holme on Spaldingmoor, c. 1716-17

Estates and properties in Holme and Bursea, Shipton, North Cliff, Howden, Market Weighton, Bubwith, Molescroft, Sancton, Houghton, Harlethorpe, Hotham, and North Cave.

Includes: The Manor or Lordship of Bubwith cum Harlethorpe with Court Leet, View of Frankpledge and Court Baron, to Andrew Barker, £2/annum.

QDR 2/58
Peter Vavasour of Willytoft, c. 1717
1.        A capital messuage or mansion house in my own possession
2.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. Richard Granger, £30/annum
3.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. James Kade, £24/annum
4.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. Peter Willson, £38/annum
5.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. Henry Scoler, £18 10s./annum
6.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. Mary Chapman, £16/annum
7.        A messuage or tenant farm, occ. Joseph Bromley, £8/annum
8.        A messuage or cottage garth, occ. Thomas Carling, 10s./annum
9.        A messuage or cottage garth, occ. Roger Hotham, 10s./annum
10.       A messuage or cottage garth, occ. William Bachus, 10s./annum

The Names of the Roman Catholics, Nonjurors, And others, who refus'd to take the Oaths To his late Majesty King George.
Together with Their Titles, Additions, and Places of A.bode; the Parishes and Townships where their Lands lay; the Names of the then Tenants, or Occupiers thereof; and the Annual Valuation of them, as estimated by themselves.
Transmitted to the late Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates of England and Wales, after the Unnatural Rebellion in the North, in the Year 1715.

Anne Bosvile: Estate at Rubwith (sic), in possession of Matthew Walker; £25 4s 6d
Edward Marshall of Breighton [no value]
Peter Vavasor, of Willytofts, in the parish of Rubwith (sic); £135 10s 0d

Bishopthorpe Recusancy Returns
Bp.Rec.Ret TS/1767/1

Papists 1706
Bubwith, 47

Papists 1733
Bubwith - Nil

Papists 1735

1. We have twenty one Papists in our Parish

Mr Walter Vavasour

Mr Thomas Vavasour
Mrs Mary Vavasour
Walter Vavasour Esq.,
brothers and sister

Frances Price, Catherine Blackburne, Willm Loftus, George Jackson, servants to Mr Vavasour of Willitoft.

Robt Carling and Catherine his wife, John Tindale, servant to them
Mary Johnson, spinster

Christopher and Margaret Barker his wife

Jane Gibson and Catherine her daughter
Joseph Tindele and Eliz his wife
Ja. Tasker, ploughmaker and John and Margrett his son and daughter

2. Mr Tempest of Carleton is suspected to be the Popish priest.

3. There is a house in Willitoft in which Mass is suspected to be performed, and to which (as far as I know) there is a resort of Papists on the Lord's Day and perhaps at other occasional times.

4. I believe we have no Papist school in our Parish.

5. I know of no Visitation or confirmation held by a Popish Bishop within our Parish.

6. Neither do I know of any persons who have been perverted to the Popish religion.

Jno Burton, vicar of Bubwith

Papists 1743 (Archbishop Herring's Visitation Returns, Vols I and III)
Here out of 146 families 6 were "Romans or papists", but "no meeting house nor any Dissenting preacher or papist Priest". This small group of Roman Catholics would be dependent on the branch of the Vavasour family at Spaldington in this parish. There was a mission at Willitoft, in this parish, which was served in or about 1753 by the chaplain at Holme on Spaldingmoor.

Papists 1767

Name and Occupation                                
Residence in Parish
Mary, wife of Thomas Helas of Foggathorpe, farmer
1¼ years
Michael, son of the said Thomas Helas

Margeret, wife of Jonathan Cade of Willitoft, farmer
27 years
John Carlisle of Willitoft, farmer
38 years
Margaret, wife of John Carlisle
18 years
John, son of John and Margaret Carlisle
7 years
Ann, the daughter of John and Margaret Carlisle
6 years
Catherine, the daughter of John and Margaret Carlisle
4 years
Margaret, the daughter of John and Margaret Carlisle
3 years
Elizth, the daughter of John and Margaret Carlisle
¾ years
Robert Carlisle of Willitoft, labourer
4 years
Catherine, the wife of Thomas Robinson of Willitoft, farmer
22 years
Christopher Barker of Spaldington, farmer
35 years

Papists 1780
Bubwith, 1

According to your Grace's Request I have made an Enquiry in both of my Parishes, viz Bubwith and Wressell respecting the Number of catholics, but find none of that Sect in either Parish, except one; he is an Apprentice to a Grocer with Mr. Langstaff of Bubwith. His name is Thomas Collins, and he is a Native of Holm upon Spaldingmoor.

Geo. Ion, Curate of Bubwith

Nb: I should have sent the Account before now but have been from home two months.

Society of Friends

Friends, commonly know as Quakers,  became established in this area of the East Riding around 1665. They were originally part of the Selby Meeting and in 1669 became a constituent of the York Monthly Meeting. A separate Meeting seems to have emerged in Skipwith by 1670, when large numbers of Friends suffered distraint of goods for holding meetings for worship in the village. Several Friends from East and West Cottingwith paid fines for non-payment of tithes during the 1680s. The Meeting had acquired a burial ground in Skipwith by 1717. Friends began to meet in Cottingwith in the late 18th century and the name of the Meeting was changed to reflect this in April 1773. A Meeting House was built in Cottingwith in 1789 and a burial ground opened the following year. The Meeting moved again in 1876 to Bubwith and a small Meeting House of corrugated iron was erected two years later, opposite Gleneagles House. This was in use until the closure of the Meeting in 1912, and the building sold.

The records of the Bubwith Preparatory Meeting are held at Leeds University Library, under reference MS 1981/2 (Clifford Street archive), B 19, 30.2, 30.7; L 20.2. The 8 items in the collection cover the period 1662-1912, and there is a printed catalogue (Handlist 75). The collection consists of:

  • Minutes of PM: 1818-1902
  • Record of sufferings in Skipwith and Cottingwith: 1662-1815
  • Birth notes: 1838-1872
  • Burial notes: 1837-1897
  • Papers concerning Bubwith Meeting House: 1878-1912

Unfortunately none of these records are currently available online, so a visit to Leeds or York (the Borthwick has microfilm copies) is essential, if you suspect that your Bubwith ancestors may have been Friends.


Brief overview of Methodist History

John Wesley, born 1703, and Charles Wesley, born 1707, were the sons of the rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire. They both studied at Christ College, Oxford, and became a member of a religious group that included George Whitefield. The group became became known as the Holy Club, but were derisively nicknamed the 'Methodists' by other students due to their methodical approach to scheduling their prayers and scripture study.

John Wesley, began preaching tours around the country in 1739, and he visited and preached in Yorkshire on a number of occasions. In 1744 he organised the first Conference, and together with the biannual synods, the circuit quarterly meetings, and the governance of local chapels or meetings houses, formed the overall Methodist administration.

The Wesleys insisted that Methodists regularly attend their local parish church as well as Methodist meetings. They did not want Methodism to become a 'break away' movement, however, the force and momentum of the movement made a separate Methodist body inevitable. In 1784, John Wesley obtained legal status for the Conference, which provided the de facto legal separation of Methodism from the Anglican Church. The separation could be said to have been completed in 1795, by the Plan of Pacification, which resolved disputes about the status of the travelling preachers and the administration of the sacraments.

Differences of opinion within the Methodist church led to several break away groups forming over the years, including: The Methodist New Connexion in 1797; the Independent Methodists in 1805; the Primitive Methodists in 1810; the Bible Christians in 1815; the Wesleyan Methodist Association in 1835; and the Wesleyan Reformers in 1849. These last two groups became the United Methodist Free Church in 1857 and joined with the Methodist New Connexion and the Bible Christians in 1907 to form the United Methodist Church. The UMC, together with the Wesleyan Methodists and the Primitive Methodists, united in 1932 to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

Methodism in the East Riding

Methodism had arrived in York by 1743 and in Hull by 1746. However, in Archbishop Herring's Visitation  returns of 1743, the incumbent of Bubwith, John Burton, had this to say: "I have a hundred & forty nine families, six of which are Romans or Papists, & not one Dissenter of any other kind....I have no meeting house, not any dissenting preacher or Papish priest."

It is known that John Wesley visited the parish and stayed briefly at Foggathorpe. "In the Steps of John Wesley", Frederick Cyril Gill, 1963, page 138, the author writes, 'He travelled fourteen miles on to a lonely house in Foggathorpe, and Mr. E. E. Townley of Vancouver recalls that the Manor House at Foggathorpe (which formerly belonged to his uncle) had two window-panes (since removed) inscribed with a text and Wesley's name.' (No year given, but probably in the 1750s).

Following the Toleration Act of 1689 dissenting congregations were required to register their meeting places. These are found first in the Quarter Sessions records, but later applications were made directly to the Archbishop of York. Applications for, and notes of grants of meeting house certificates were recorded in the Diocesan Faculty Books.

The meeting house certificates granted for places within the parish of Bubwith were as follows:

Fac.Bk 1 (1737-1768)

Fol 260 (22 Dec 1757). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Michael Clarkson in Foggathorpe. Petitioners: Thomas Lee, Michael Clarkson, John Foster, George Atkinson, Elizabeth Clarkson, Jer: Stork, Francis Maynard. Certificate issued 29 Dec 1757.

Fol 302 (26 Dec 1759). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Samuel Thompson in Bubwith. Petitioners: John Hunter, George Hunter [his mark], Jeremiah Stork, William Clark, Francis Maynard, Michael Clarkson. Certificate issued 27 Dec 1759.

Note: In Archbishop Drummond's Visitation returns of 1764, the incumbent, John Cayley, had this to say: "150 families, 6 Roman Catholics, 10 Methodists. 2 licensed Methodist meeting houses." This strongly suggests that the two meeting houses granted certificates in 1757 and 1759 were these two Methodist meeting houses.

Fac.Bk 2 (1768-1793)

Fol 78 (26 Dec 1771). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of John Barker at Spaldington, in the parish of Aughton. Petitioners:John Barker, Henry Bell, Mary Bell, Richard Buttle, Mary Buttle, Ann Barker. Certificate issued 31 Dec 1771.

Fol 216 (22 Apr 1779). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of George Halley in Bubwith. Petitioners: Joseph Holmes, Wm. Hague, Jos: Pooles, Jeremiah Butler [his mark], Mark Edward Etty [his mark], George Dealtry, Robert Clark. Certificate issued 27 Apr 1779.

Fac.Bk 3 (1793-1816)

Fol 134 (4 Jul 1796). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of William Ridsdale in Harlthorpe. Petitioners: Barnard Clarkson, Thomas Gray, Thos. Kemp, John Chaplin, John Harper, John Robinson. Certificate issued 5 Jul  1798.

Fol 134 (3 Jul 1796). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Anthony Simpson in Willitoft. Petitioners: John Barker, John Simpson, Henry Bell jun, James Wood, James Gilyeard, Barnard Clarkson. Certificate issued 5 Jul  1798.

Fol 183 (13 Jan 1798). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Smithson Holmes in Spaldington. Petitioners: Jos. Benson, John Barker, Henry Bell jun, Smithson Holmes, James Gilyead, William Beilby, John Wood. Certificate issued 15 Jan 1798.

Fol 600 (17 Dec 1811). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Hannah Daltry in Breighton. Petitioners: Thos. House, William Wood, John Wood, Robt. Whoaker, Jo: Scafe. Certificate issued 24 Dec 1811.

Fol 602 (29 Dec 1811). Application for license for a Chapel for Protestant Dissenters the property of Catherine Barr and Barnard Clarkson jun, in Bubwith. Petitioners: Barnard Clarkson, Catherine Barr, Richard Newham, Robt. Clegg, Joseph Stubbins, Thos. Ask, George Smith. Certificate issued 11 Jan 1812.

Fol 602 (29 Dec 1811). Application for license for a Chapel for Protestant Dissenters the property of Barnard Clarkson jun, in Foggathorpe. Petitioners: Barnard Clarkson, George Johnson, Richard Thompson, John Gell, samuel Guy, John Holmes, Robert Brabs, William Dewsbury, William Lazenby. Certificate issued 11 Jan 1812.

Fol 603 (31 Dec 1811). Application for license for Meeting House for Protestant Dissenters in the house of Thomas Lavarack in Harlthorpe. Petitioners: Thomas Laverack, George Abbey, Thomas Watson, Samuel Taylor, William Massey, Richard Craven. Certificate issued 11 Jan 1812.

Fac.Bk 4 (1816-1858)
Nil. For this period see the separate Registers of Meeting House Certificates, below.

Registers of Meeting House Certificates
Two volumes of these certificates are preserved at the Borthwick, under reference DMH.Reg, covering the period, 1. 1816-1834 and 2. 1834-1852  

Name Abode Status Location of Meeting House Denomination Date
John Massey Bubwith Labourer His dwelling house in Bubwith Protestants 16/03/1821
Thomas House Breighton   House in my occupation in Breighton Protestants 02/03/1827
George Smith Bubwith   Dwellinghouse of John Laverack in Bubwith Protestants 09/09/1831
George Smith Bubwith   Chapel in Bubwith Protestants 22/04/1837

Bubwith Methodist Chapels

In the Ecclesiastical Census of 1851, a room was being used, and James Middlebrook of Breighton was the Manager. A Wesleyan chapel was erected in 1864 and was noted in the Post Office Directory of 1872, and in Bulmer's 1892 Directory. It was later demolished, date unknown

Bubwith Township
The Wesleyans built a chapel in 1796, and enlarged it in 1870. It was demolished in 1975. In the Ecclesiastical Census of 1851, John Stubbins of Bubwith was the Steward. Original Registers of marriages, 1946-1962 are held at the East Riding Archives in Beverley. The Primitive Methodists had a chapel here also. The foundation date is unknown, but it was noted in the Trades Directories of 1840 and 1857. It was replaced in 1862, and was again noted in the Trades Directories of 1872 and 1892.

A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1803, which was also used as a day school. It was noted in the Trades Directories of 1840, 1857, 1872 and 1892. It closed in 1922 and was demolished. In the Ecclesiastical Census of 1851, Robert Lightfoot of Foggathorpe was the Chapel Steward. A Methodist chapel was erected in 1921.

No chapel or meeting house is known to have existed in this township.

No chapel or meeting house is known to have existed in this township.

The Wesleyans built a chapel here, date unknown, but it was noted in White's 1840 Trade Directory. It was not noted in any subsequent directory, and did not appear on the 1851 Ecclesiastical Census.

A Wesleyan chapel was erected in 1788 and rebuilt in 1820. In the Ecclesiastical Census of 1851, Richard Dawson of Spaldington was the Member in Society, and it was described as also being used as a day School. It was noted in the Post Office Directory of 1872, where it was also being used for Church of England services. It was closed not long afterwards, as by 1877 it was being used exclusively as a school. Another Wesleyan meeting house (in a private dwelling house) was established before 1800 in nearby Bursea in the parish of Holme on Spaldingmoor. In the 1851 Ecclesiastical Census the Class Leader was John Smith, residing at Spaldington.

A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1894. It is not know when it was closed, but in 1977 it was being used as a store and garage.