Howdenshire History

Mr. Lampley Holmes of Hook

Goole History > Goole People & Families > Lampley Holmes


Obituary from the Goole Times, Friday, June 22nd, 1934:




For many years Goole and district's only historian and antiquary, Mr Lampley Holmes, of Hook, died on Saturday evening in his 86th year, after a life of service to the district in many and varied spheres. His death will be a distinct loss to Goole, for there is left no other man with his great fund of local knowledge. Mr Holmes had been failing for some time but almost to the end his brain retained its keenness and grasp of affairs.

He was one of the most interesting personalities in the district and his study of local history represented almost a life-work. He was the first man to whom the town of Goole and its residents turned for authoritative knowledge on any historical matter, and no appeal to him was ever refused. His library at Hook was the most complete record of this part of Yorkshire and it was his delight to spend most of his time among his books and documents. He was one of the oldest and most prominent members of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

Before assuming on his retirement the honorary role of historian, Mr Holmes led a very active public life and few men today can claim to have done so much for Goole and the neighbouring villages.


Born in 1848 at Hook, Mr Holmes was the only son of Mr Jonah Holmes, who was well-known in the village and the locality. When Mr Holmes was four or five years old, his father removed to Whitgift, where he attended the Church School. Later he attended Ousefleet Grammar School, leaving to become apprenticed to a wheelwright and joiner. After serving his apprenticeship he went forth into the world as a journeyman, but eventually he returned to the district and settled down at Adlingfleet in 1873.

It was in this township that Mr Holmes made his first venture into local government, and his maiden move, which was by no means unambitious, was to upset the custom of holding the parish meetings in the village inn. Next Mr Holmes opposed the laying of a highway's rate which was being illegally left in the hands of an official. He persuaded a deputation to appear with him before the justices and his objections were approved and the rate laid in a proper manner. His delving into ancient parish documents was of value to him in that fight.

At this period there was practically no school accommodation at Adlingfleet and he set out to form a school board, succeeding in face of stout opposition in 1874.


Removing to Ferrybridge in 1875, Mr Holmes maintained his interest in local government. He and his supporters invaded a vestry meeting that was being held, illegally, in private and obtained their rights. In 1883 he was elected to the Ferrybridge School Board, being returned second in the poll and defeating the late Lord Houghton for a seat.

Mr Holmes came back to Goole in 1885 and tackled a big public job immediately, for it had to do with the taking away of what was then known as Murham Lane Staith (later called the Steam Packet Landing, opposite the end of Richard Cooper Street). The staith was in the Hook Enclosure Award of 1778, which specified that the banks had to be maintained by the freeholders and copyholders of the Manor of Hook.

The Aire and Calder Navigation desired to take over that part of the bank for their Ouse improvement scheme and they had to deal with a committee appointed under the Land Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845. Mr Holmes convened a meeting of property owners to form the committee. Mr Holmes pointed out that the Aire and Calder would pay a certain amount of the revenue into the bank and there it would remain until someone claimed it, and he maintained that if they could have a free landing in lieu of the old one it would be far better. The Aire and Calder eventually agreed and were to have promoted a Parliamentary Bill, but did not do so owing to a difficulty arising with the rating authority. In 1888 a new agreement was entered into and a private company built the landing stage and maintained it until after the Great War. Mr Holmes contended that they had no right to do so. A few years after the war, Mr Holmes was chiefly instrumental in getting Hook its share of the accumulated money and this helped very substantially in the erection of the Memorial Hall and the provision of the children's playing field.


In 1891, by being elected to the Goole School Board, Mr Holmes began what was to prove a long and extremely valuable service to education in the town. He was actively concerned in the controversy which surrounded the erection of the Boothferry Road Council (then Board) School. A great part of the parish of Airmyn was in the area of the Board, the site of the school being in Airmyn. The squabble resulted in the formation of an Airmyn School Board, which in 1892 amalgamated with the Goole Board.

Mr Holmes was one of the founders of evening classes in Goole, being the first chairman of the School Board committee formed to start the classes. He did not seek re-election to the Board in 1894, but three years later he joined it again, remaining a member up to the time of its abolition on the passing of the Education Act of 1902. He was, however, immediately appointed a member of the new Local Education Sub-Committee, upon which he remained for many years. His other appointments in the sphere of education were a lengthy term as a governor of the Secondary School and ten years as a member, including three years as chairman, of the Swinefleet School Board.

From 1898 to 1905 Mr Holmes was a member of the Goole Rural District Council, representing the parish of Hook. He was first elected to the Goole Urban District Council, as North Ward representative, in 1906. The Public Library was then in course of erection and as chairman of the Library Committee his advice in the purchase of most of the original books was of great value. The division of the gas and water capital was another important matter in which he figured largely.


In 1912 Mr Holmes resigned from the Urban Council, partly owing to ill-health and partly to his views on the delays caused by the s.....[?] of local government. When the council lost Mr Holmes as a member, however, it did not lose his advice. There was at the time no better authority on civic government. On many occasions he was able to get the council out of difficulties. As an antiquarian his knowledge was also of great value, while his study of heraldry was very deep.

There were two occasions in recent years when Mr Holmes's help was notably valuable. At the time of the Centenary of the town in 1926, his fund of knowledge was placed freely at the disposal of the town, and again, when Goole sought incorporation, it was he who supplied the paragraphs in the petition relating to the history of Goole. His writings are well-known and regarded as authoritative, his booklet "The Antiquities of Marshland" being an example. Always meticulously correct, to be in error was intolerable to him and the painstaking nature of his inquiries was evident in all his writings. On many occasions our readers will have seen letters in our columns from him putting right some public speaker who had erred from rigid truth. Less than two years ago, for the sake of accuracy, he acquired a typewriter and quickly mastered its use.

A builder by trade, Mr Holmes erected many houses in Goole, particularly in the Pasture Road and Jackson Street area, and in the village of Hook. He retired in 1892.


One of the founder members of the Goole Co-operative Society, Mr Holmes was on the committee for over thirty years and president of the society for a matter of twenty years.

For a long period he was on the Hook Parish Council, becoming chairman, and he was interested in Hook Parish Church, holding various offices including that of warden. He was an amateur gardener and photographer of merit. His hobbies included travel. As a young man he traversed the length and breadth of England on cycle and made frequent visits to the Continent. Politically he was a Radical.

Mr Holmes was married twice and leaves two sons.




From the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal ~ Vol. XXXII (1935)
Editorial Notes


The late Mr Lampley Holmes, of Hook, for many years a member, has generously bequeathed to the Society [Yorkshire Archaeological Society] certain pecuniary bequests, which may eventually amount to £400 or £500; some bookcases; an oak chest made of wood taken out of Whitgift church; and his old deeds, manuscripts, books and papers, local Acts of Parliament, pamphlets and other documents of historical, topographical and antiquarian interest, and also such of his books as the Secretary of the Society shall in his discretion select. The bequests are free of legacy duty.

  Home   |   Family Research   |   Old Photos   |   Local History Books   |   My Local History Blog   |   Contact  
  Goole History   |   Howden History   |   Eastrington History   |   Snaith & Area   |   Local Villages   |   Yorkshire Emigrants  
Copyright © Amy Butler & Susan Butler 2014. All Rights Reserved.