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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.


Visitor Comments

Posted by Jack on 11/09/2005

Beautiful pictures of the church. This is where the Ellerthorpe family members were married from the year 1750. Also they lived in the village of Rawcliffe.

Posted by Valerie on 21/04/2008

I was really interested to find the photos of Snaith, especially the lock up, as my great-great-grandfather was the jailer at the town lock-up. His name was William Braithwaite, who gave his occupation as jailer in the 1861 census when he was 58 and living in Rawcliffe, where the Braithwaite family, very many of them, lived. They now seem to be spread quite widely over England.

Posted by Jackie on 01/07/2008

On the 1891 census, my great(x3)-grandfather Joseph Arnold was head of household and was a groom/servant at Hall Lodge, Snaith. On the 1901 census he had become the victualler at the Kings Arms, Pollington. His grandson (my grandfather) Edward Percy was born at 6 Paradise Place, Hook, son of John Fred and Alice Arnold. Would like to know anything about the Hall Lodge Snaith and Paradise Place, Hook. Thanks.

Posted by Stuart (Webmaster) on 01/07/2008

Paradise Place is actually part of Goole, which was originally part of Hook Parish.

Posted by Norman on 13/12/2009

I have traced my family tree back to Snaith, my great(x3)-grandfather Richard BROOKE was born in 1810 in Snaith and moved to Thornhill. He was a travelling wheelwright and died in 1870 in Rotherham. Any relatives still in Snaith?

Posted by Hugh on 29/03/2010

I have traced my family name back to Snaith and while there about five years ago I visited the church cemetery. With the help of a local gentleman, I was able to find the gravestone of my great(x3)-grandfather John KNOWLES and his wife Mary (MICKLEWATH). John Knowles came from a small area outside of Snaith and Mary was from a town north of there called Carlton according to some family records we came across.

My parents are aging and this October I would like to bring them over to Snaith. We hope to be able to visit the church and talk to priest and hopefully find a good town historian to converse with before we make the trip.

Posted by Kay on 07/07/2010

Does anyone know of any REDHEADs in Snaith? My family passed through in the 1800s and I think my great-grandad was born there. He used to say he was "born in a clock" and I wonder if this could pertain to some kind of pub that existed - as his dad was listed as an innkeeper and a wheelwright. Anyone know if an inn existed? It was William Redhead, probably from East Butterwick. Thanks.

Posted by John on 26/11/2010

In the Whites directory of 1837 for Snaith. There is a listing under Inns and Taverns for "Clock Face", proprietor Elizabeth Gilderale.

Posted by Paul on 07/01/2011

I have just started to look at my family tree and have come across Elizabeth Gilderdale who was the Inn Keeper at the Clock Dial Inn, Market Place, Snaith (1841 census). I know my great-grandad was born in Snaith in 1861 so hope there is a link there.

Posted by John on 15/10/2010

Anyone in Snaith have a connection with a Henry Buttle HOLMES (bapt. 07/06/1809 in Snaith). Any info may help me continue with my family tree, would be only too pleased to share any info I have. Thanks.

Posted by Roy on 29/11/2010

My family, WATERLAND, were connected with Snaith from early the 17th Century (at least) to the middle 19th Century and lived in Snaith, Cowick, Gowdall and Heck. If anybody has any information regarding them, then I would be very glad to hear. Thanks.

Posted by Val on 10/03/2011

I am researching my ancestor, Jane ELLERTHORP (various spellings!) who I understand originated in the Snaith area. Apparently the family moved to Horsleydown, Southwark where Jane married John Nelson 7 October 1781 at St. Olave, Southwark. The curate who married them was W.J. Iveson and witnesses were John Ellorthorp and John England. Would love to hear from anyone who has links with the Ellerthorps.

Posted by Allison on 19/06/2012

My boyfriend is searching for his family history. His last name is SNAITH. Does anyone know if this town is named after his family? He has just begun his search, his father has passed away and all information with him. They were from the New England area when Larry was born and moved a lot. Father and family were separated for numerous of years.

Posted by Stacy on 13/01/2013

My grandfather's name is Larry Snaith. I know that our descendants came from Snaith, England. We have our own family crest. Maybe your boyfriend is related to us. We just found out that my dad (William Snaith) has a half-brother.

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