Goole on the Web
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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

Snaith town centre The old plastics factory and level crossing The under-treat fire station

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 Priory Snaith Priory in the distance The sign at the Downe Arms

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 Old Mill Brewery The Penny Lockup The Wesleyan Chapel

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 Lloyd Ellerthorpe,Jr at 11/09/2005 18:42
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.anyone with interest of the Ellerthorpe surname please feel free to contact me at
Posted by Steve Petch at 02/10/2007 10:25
Who has the Bell & Crown Now?
Posted by Valerie Baillie at 21/04/2008 13:26
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 rushton nee arnold at 01/07/2008 21:31
On the 1891 census my gggranfather Joseph Arnold was head of household, and was a groom/servant @ 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 & Alice Arnold. Would like to know anything about the Hall Lodge Snaith and Paradise Place Hook.
Jackie Rushton
Posted by Norman Brooke at 13/12/2009 10:07
I have traced my family tree back to Snaith, my great, great, great 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 Knowles at 29/03/2010 02:47
I have traced my family name back to Snaith and while there about five years ago I visited the church cemetary. With the help of a local gentleman also named Knowles (no relation), who lived back toward and around the main intersection by the hardware store, I was able to find the grave stone of my GGG grandfather John Knowles and his wife Mary (Micklewath) Unfortunately the priest for the church was not there and it was closed. 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.

We will only have a day or two so advance research to make the best of our time is our goal. If anyone can help with some contacts I would very much appreciate it. My E-mail address is
Posted by Kay Redhead at 07/07/2010 12:45
Does anyone know of any Redheads in Snaith? My family passed through in the 1800's and I think my GGrandad was born there- he used to say he was "born in a clock" and wonder if this could pertain to some kind of pub that existed- as his dad was listed ans an innkeeper and a wheelwright. Anyone know if an inn existed? It was William Redhead, probably from East Butterwick. Any info gratefully received!
Posted by John Watson at 15/10/2010 19:40
Anyone in Snaith have a connection with a Henry Buttle Holmes,
christened in Snaith on the 07 June 1809.

Any info may help me continue with my family tree, would be only too pleased to share any info I have.

Please email me. John
Posted by John Watson at 15/10/2010 19:44
John Watson email.
Posted by John Watson at 26/11/2010 20:30
In reply to a post by Kay Redhead on the 07/07/2010

In the Whites Directory of 1837 for Snaith. There is a listing under Inns and Taverns for " Clock Face " prop Elizabeth Gilderale. Hope this info is of any use to you.
Posted by John Watson at 26/11/2010 20:43
In reply to a post by Kay Redhead on the 07/07/2010.

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

Hope this info is of any use.
Posted by Roy Waterland at 29/11/2010 18:27
My family (Waterland) were connected with Snaith from early 17th century (at least) to 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.
Posted by Paul Gilderdale at 07/01/2011 11:22
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 gt grandad was born in Snaith in 1861 so hope there is a link there.
Posted by Kay Redhead at 18/01/2011 11:27
Thank you for the information on the Clock Dial Inn. Very very helpful!!
Posted by val mortimer at 10/03/2011 07:05
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 Oct 1781 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 Marks at 19/06/2012 23:39
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 alot. Father and family were separated for numerous of years.
Posted by Stacy Raymer at 13/01/2013 03:08
Allison Marks...My grandfather's name is Larry Snaith. I know that our decendents 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.
Posted by Brent Gregory at 13/01/2014 19:41
I am doing research on the clog mill. If anyone has old photos, maps or eny memorabilia to do with the mill please email me @
Posted by Jill burton at 06/08/2014 17:39
Is there a full moon pub in or around snaith pls x

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