Howdenshire History

The Ainley Family of Eastrington

There are no members of the Ainley family left in the village today but until recently their name survived in the name of the farmyard in the centre of the village (Ainley Yard). This site has now been developed for housing and the name has disappeared.

The early members of the Ainley family in Eastrington came from the Snaith area.

Throughout the parish records the spelling of the family name varies from Ainlay, Ainley, Anelay and Aneley.


John Ainley married Hannah Waltham at Eastrington in 1773 and they had nine children baptised in the village. However since three of them were baptised Richard in three consecutive years (1784, 1785 and 1786) it seems likely that the first two Richards did not survive. The others were Jane, Hannah, John, William, Thomas and Christopher. John Ainley (Jnr) married Anne Ramsey at South Cave in 1807 and they had three sons, Richard, William and John.

In 1819, John and Anne emigrated with their family to Canada, arriving in Smith's Creek in Ontario on June 22nd. The family initially settled in the Port Hope area but William found work as a surveyor with the Canadian Land Co. and bought several acres in the west of Ontario. He and his wife Eleanor moved here and he founded 'Ainleyville', now known as Brussels. It seems that John's brother Thomas also emigrated with his family - his wife Mary and son Henry, born 1814 and christened at Laxton.


In Eastrington, John Ainley (Snr) died in 1830 aged 86. By 1833 George Ainley, from the Snaith branch of the family, was working as blacksmith in Eastrington and it is recorded in 1835 that he was paid for work he did improving the church. George was married to Mary and their son John was born in 1833; daughter Sarah was born in 1835, followed by Ann in 1836, Elizabeth in 1838, and Ellen in 1840. John Horsley was working with George as blacksmith's apprentice in 1841.


By 1851 George and Mary had four children at home: 18 year old John and daughters Ann, Elizabeth and Ellen, as well as George Taylor, an apprentice. Sarah was 16 and working as a servant for Mr Schofield at Sandhall. George Ainley's blacksmith's shop was probably next door to the Cross Keys, on the east. In 1855 Mrs Mary Ainley died and two years later Mr Ainley married again to Mrs Sarah Prince. The following week, August 18th 1857, Mr Joseph Cox, master of 'the Grammer school', married Sarah. John, meanwhile, had married Rebecca, the daughter of William and Jane Robinson of Newland, and their son George William was born in April 1856. Sadly the young mother died seven weeks later and baby George was brought up by his grandparents.

By 1861 George Ainley described himself as a farmer. His son, John Ainley, had married again to Elizabeth Morfitt, niece of Mr Fielder, the village shopkeeper and had also taken over the blacksmith's business. The couple were living with Mr Fielder, next to the Cross Keys. Their daughter Mary Eleanor was born in 1861 and son Fred in 1863, but Mary died of diptheria in December 1864.


George Nurse wrote in 1865, "John Anley is very bad from the tipsthera in is throate. He as lost is daughter in it he as ad nothing to eate ... week but ... think he will get better." John obviously did recover as, in November 1871, George Drury, the landlord of the Cross Keys, was sentenced to 21 days in prison for assaulting Elizabeth Ainley, wife of John Ainley, the village blacksmith. She had apparently gone into the pub to fetch her husband home and George Drury had literally thrown her out.

On another occasion, John Ainley went to morning service one August Sunday while 'slightly intoxicated'. He was shown to his pew by Mr Goundrill but shouted out, during the last hymn 'sing that verse over again!' Rev. Bennett asked him to be quiet and said that otherwise he would ask some of the congregation to help him eject Mr Ainley from the church. Mr Ainley said that he would not be put out and the vicar brought the service to a halt, when Mr Ainley then walked out. He was charged with annoying the vicar and congregation during divine service and pleaded guilty at Howden petty sessions. The vicar put in a plea for leniency (the maximum sentence was two months in prison with hard labour) and he was fined 50s.


Mr Fielder died in 1872 and, by 1876, John Ainley was listed as the owner of the house and shop but rented the blacksmith's shop from Mr Blyth, who also owned the adjoining Cross Keys. Meanwhile, his father George prospered as a farmer, farming almost 100 acres and living in Sycamore House, sometimes known as Ainley House, on the village green. George died aged 80 in 1888 and his farm passed to his grandson George William.

The Howdenshire Gazette of August 1940 carried a report of the wedding anniversary of Mr and Mrs George William Ainley of Sancton who were celebrating 54 years of married life, having married in Hull in 1886. George Willam Ainley's wife, Mary Jane, was the daughter of Mr and Mrs William Johnson. The young couple apparently took over the Eastrington farm after the death of George William Ainley's grandfather but then, in around 1893, moved to farm at Hotham Carrs, where they remained for fourteen years. George William Ainley then worked on several farms around Sancton. He died in 1946 and his wife in 1947.

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