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Cottingham History

Cottingham is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies just to the north-west…

By Keith Teale , in About Cottingham , at October 15, 2007

Cottingham is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies just to the north-west of the city of Kingston upon Hull. With a population of 17,263 (2001 UK census) Cottingham claims to be the largest village in England; although this is contended by Ashington in Northumberland and Lancing, West Sussex.

The name Cottingham derives from ‘Homestead of Cotta’s people’, Cotta being the name of an Anglo-Saxon tribal chief from the mid 5th Century. Cotta is derived from Ket, the female deity of the Ancient Britons, which itself comes from the Celtic word Coed meaning ‘a wood’. Late Bronze Age artifacts have been found in the village confirming settlement by the Beaker people. The earliest recorded owner of Cottingham was Gamel, the son of Osbert, from the reign of Edward the Confessor in the 11th Century.

Shortly after 1066, William the Conqueror took possession of the manor and handed it to Robert Front de Boeuf, one of his prized knights. By the time of the Domesday book in 1086 the Cotting manor was owned by descendants of Front de Boeuf, a family called Stuteville. It was made up of a mill, several fisheries and cultivated farm land. In 1200, a royal licence to hold a market, fairs and to fortify Baynard castle was obtained from King John. By 1349, the manor passed through the female family line to Joan Wake, the Fair Maid of Kent, who married her cousin Edward the Black Prince and was the mother of Richard II. Baynard castle remained the manor house until the reign of Henry VIII, when it was destroyed by fire. The ramparts of the castle are still visible in the gardens off Northgate, near the corner of West End Road.

The current site of Cottingham High School was, in the Middle Ages, a royal hunting ground to be enjoyed by the Prior of the Minster of St John, Beverley. From the 16th to late 18th centuries, the site remained arable open fields until enclosure in 1793. Shortly afterward in 1802, the site was used to build a late Georgian styled house called Cottingham Grange. The house survived until 1951 and although in disrepair, was used by the Ministry of Defence during World War II as officers quarters. The current school opened in 1955 with additional blocks added in the 1970s.

The Cottingham Parish Church is a large Gothic structure built in 1272 and dedicated to St. Mary, the Virgin. The interior is medieval with several monuments; of note those dedicated to Burtons of Hotham and the tombstones with monumental brasses dating from 1383. The first Free school in Cottingham was built in the grounds of the church in 1666, by John Wardle Jnr to educate the children of the poor. Mark Kirby left a substantial endowment in his will of 1712, renaming the school the Mark Kirby Free School. By 1783, a workhouse had been built as an extension to the school, with segregated male and female sections. The present building is not the original and is now the Church Hall. In the same period, around 1771 the Churchwardens of St Mary’s allocated land to the east of the village to poor families of Cottingham. The settlement was originally known as ‘Paupers’ Gardens’ and renamed ‘New Village’ in the 1820s – leading to the current name New Village Road, between Endyke and Middledyke lanes.

Castle Hill Hospital is built on the grounds of a manor house called Cottingham Castle, which was owned by Thomas Thompson until the late 19th century. In the 1820s there were high quality fresh water springs on the site linked to nearby Springhead. A single turret of the original house still remains and can be seen from Eppleworth Road. The Castle Park estate, lying on the land below the hospital grounds was built over a 20 year period from the late 1960s.

Until 1857, nearby Skidby was part of the parish of Cottingham.

Cottingham Today
The modern village is two Victorian high streets, Hallgate and King Street that cross at a set of traffic lights in the centre of the village. Two main roads run to the north and south, Northgate and Southgate respectively. The railway line from Hull to Beverley is to the east. Baynard Avenue and West Green are to the west. To the south of the main crossroads is the modern market square with the Civic Hall and library. To the north is King George V playing fields. Surrounding these areas is mainly post-war suburban housing.

The most affluent, old houses lie east of the railway line, on the main route into Hull. Two of these buildings are now the home to campus accommodation for the University of Hull; Needler Hall, a former asylum for the insane and Thwaite Hall, an 18th century country house with a 1960s annex. The Lawns is a large 1970s student accommodation building near the original site of Baynard Castle. To the west of The Lawns is the Victorian municipal cemetery, where famous poet Phillip Larkin is buried. Larkin resided locally whist head librarian at the University of Hull, a role he kept for 30 years until his death in 1985.

There are a number of public houses in Cottingham. Of note are the Black Prince on The Parkway, The Blue Bell on West Green, The Duke of Cumberland on the market square, the Cross Keys on Northgate and The Railway on Thwaite Street. The Fair Maid is a recent renovation, also overlooking West Green. Near the cross-roads in the centre of the village are The King Billy (King William IV), The Tiger and Hallgate Tavern.

In 1981, the annual Christmas lights were started by local traders as a way of increasing trade and adding the sense of community during the winter season.

St Mary’s church has maintained an Anglo-Catholic tradition for many years and has several choirs. On Sundays there is a sung Matins at 11 o’clock and Evensong with choral anthem at 6.30pm. The church has some interesting animal related traditions; on Palm Sunday a donkey is lead through the church and there is also an annual service at which pets may receive a blessing.

There are also Roman Catholic, Methodist and URC churches in the centre of the village, and Jehovah’s Witness and Plymouth Brethren places of worship further out.

There are four primary schools; Croxby, Hallgate (which is undergoing renovation), Westfield and Bacon Garth. In September 2004, Cottingham High School was made a specialist Media Arts college.

Cottingham is served by a railway station that provides an intermediate stop between Hull and Beverley on the Yorkshire Coast Line to Scarborough.

Cottingham has two local police stations. The first is on Priory Road, which replaced the station which was originally on Finkle Street and the second is located within the University of Hull’s accommodation "The Lawns".

Cottingham now has a single Scout group, comprising Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer’s. There are also two Rainbow Units, three Brownie Packs, two Guide Units and one Ranger (Senior Section) Unit based in the village, with further units belonging to the Cottingham Guiding District in Skidby (Rainbows), and Little Weighton (Brownies).