Snaith c.1080, Esneid 1086 (Domesday Book). "Piece of land cut off". Old Scandinavian sneith
A Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford University Press
A tiny old-fashioned market town with narrow winding streets, it stands by the River Aire. A lane runs by the foundations of an old hall, and not far from the church is Nicholas Waller's grammar school, a little grey building supposed to have been built in 1628, and restored last century. There are fine chestnuts and beeches near the marshes.
The clerestoried church is a great possession, a splendid place 170 feet long, with battlements and pinnacles adorning walls of light grey stone, and a squat massive tower rising at the west end between the aisles. Except for its pinnacled crown, the tower is from the end of the 12th Century, and it is about 30 feet square. Some of the transept walls and parts of the arches are Norman; the chancel arch, the two chapels, the aisles of the nave and the greater part of the arcades are 14th Century. The clerestory is over 400 years old, the west door has 15th Century woodwork, and an old chest is hewn from one block of wood. In the 19th Century the porch was altered, and the striking east window was erected. Its lovely glass is arresting, showing St. Lawrence with the flaming grid-iron. By him are the Romans, and from below comes a winding procession of humble folk, a coloured motley - blind being led, sick and lame and a mother with her children riding in quaint carts. They were the saint's answer to the prefect when he demanded the treasures of the church.
In the floor of the chancel is a stone on which one of the biggest brass portraits in England once lay; it was a mitred figure with a staff, perhaps an abbot of Selby, to which this church was given in the early Norman days. In the Dawnay chapel is the tomb of Sir John Dawnay of 1493, adorned with painted shields. Here hang a helmet and shield, a sword and gauntlet, relics of a 17th Century Dawnay, and here is Chantrey's marble status of Viscount Downe, wearing a mantle with a fur collar. Among old glass fragments is the Dawnay shield with three rings, a link with Sir William Dawnay to whom Richard Lionheart is said to have given a ring. In the north chapel is the bust of Lady Elizabeth Stapleton of 1683
The King's England, edited by Arthur Mee
Snaith is a small town between Goole and Selby and historically very important. The most dominating landmark is the church, but it also famous for the Old Mill brewery and its narrow, York-like streets. Locally the area is known as the "Three Rivers", the river Aire runs close to the town and Snaith was a busy port in medieval times with a harbour and a ferry.
The Snaith Town lock-up is an 18th Century Grade II listed building which may have been used by the church or by the local constables if they had trouble from outsiders during market days who then had to pay a penny to get out. The lock-up has been restored and perhaps it may be used in the future to stem the drinking that takes place there every Sunday.