Tag Archives: history

Remembering the Old Village School at Ebberston

As one of the key focal points in Ebberston, the Village Hall hosts weekly events such as table tennis and yoga. But before it became the Village Hall in 1975, the older residents of Ebberston will remember it simply as the Village School. Erected in 1874 AD, the school started out with pupils occupying two classrooms. The smaller classroom (now the kitchen) had children ranging from 5 to 11, which in the 1950s, was taught by Miss Heuby. The main classroom (now the main hall) had the rest of the children, taught by the Headmaster Mr Winspear from the age of 11 to when they left at 14.

Due to the small size of the building there was no room for a canteen, so the school rented the Chapel House now the privately owned Wesley House as the school dinner hall. Doreen Ruth Vasey who went to Ebberston school between 1950 and 1958 fondly remembers the school dinner being the best part of the day. ” I remember walking down the street in pairs to the Chapel Schoolroom, and I always looked forward to it as the dinners where always very nice”.

Like many schools in the 1900s, Ebberston was provided with little glass bottles with milk in for every student in the school every day which the school then warmed up for drinking. Mary Langdale a resident of Ebberston told me how they kept the milk warm, “They would give us 1\3 of a pint of milk which would have been warmed by the open fire at the south end of the main classroom. The milk would be lined up on a stone in front of the fire”.

An old school photograph from a newspaper article provided by Jean Burnett. It was taken in 1937 with many people in the photo remaining in the area long after they left. The school closed in 1975.
Dickinson Vasey’s school book (provided by Daphne Vasey) used for attendance and grading.
Ebberston Village school photograph taken in 1951 in the main school yard, now used as the Village Hall car park.

As I was doing my research for this blog I discovered that villager John Wood had inherited an old cupboard that was actually used in the school. The cupboard had two marks on the side both to hang two canes. John kindly allowed me to take a photo of it. Apparently, one cane was used for the knuckles while the other was used for bottoms!

The old school cupboard .
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King Alfred’s Cave

Hi my name is Alex Vasey. As part of my Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, I am required to learn a new skill, so have decided that my skill should be journalism/blogging. I have taken my topic to be our village history and I am researching sites and buildings, interviewing villagers, then writing a report and creating a webpage. This is my first post and it’s about the Cave. I have more pieces in the pipeline but if anyone has any ideas that they would like me to research, please just get in touch (you can leave a comment at the bottom!).


The Cave is one of the most historical sites around North Yorkshire. It can be found in Chafer Wood to the north of the small village of Ebberston. The cave was erected in 1790 to mark the place where King Alfred had rested after his death in 705 AD.

King Alfred's Cave taken by Alex Vasey taken in 2019
King Alfred’s Cave taken by Alex Vasey in 2019


The story behind the Cave begins with Alfred King of Northumbria in 705 AD who supposedly fought his father in a great battle in the fields between Ebberston and Allerston. The story goes that King Alfred was pierced with an arrow and, when the battle ended, was carried up to a cave to rest where he later died. Alfred was then taken to Little Driffield where he was buried. Much later on in 1790 the stone cave was erected in Chafer Wood to mark the place where Alfred rested. The field that the battle was fought in is known to the local villagers as the Bloody Field and the stream that flowed through the field is known as the Bloody Beck due to the blood of the long lost warriors.


The Cave can still be found today in Chafer Wood which is a popular walking destination due to its history and local wildlife.


After researching the story behind the Cave and discovering the legend of King Alfred and how he died, I decided it would be good to find out what the Cave means to residents of Ebberston now. To do this I asked village pastor and a well-known figure around the village, Helen Leng, of what she thought about the Cave and the area around it.


What does the Cave mean to you as a resident of Ebberston?

I think of the Cave as part of the village really, aside from the fact it is one of the historical landmarks surrounding Ebberston. I also think the nature and wildlife surrounding the Cave is important and when I walk up there with my dog I often look out for the variety of plant life. See https://www.ywt.org.uk/nature-reserves/chafer-wood-nature-reserve


Why do you think the Cave means a lot to the village?


I believe the viewpoint over the village and the vale from the Cave plays a huge part in the Cave being linked to Ebberston. I also think however the local history and in particular King Alfred’s story is why the Cave is important to the village. They share the same history.

Would you be interested in learning more about the Cave’s history?


Personally I would. I think many people just read the plaque in the Cave and assume that’s it. But I would like to know more and I am sure other people would like to find out more about the story of King Alfred and why the Cave was erected.


Finally do you think there should be more tourism surrounding the Cave?


Yes I would. I think most villagers know the brief history of the Cave but tourists who come caravanning and stay in the holiday cottages have no idea the cave exists! So I think maybe some leaflets or an information board and a more detailed sign about the Cave would be a good idea.

The plaque that can be found in the Cave
taken by Alex Vasey in 2019

King Alfreds Cave
taken by Alex Vasey in 2019
The view from the Cave
taken by Alex Vasey in 2019

Further reading

Pastscape

https://justbod.blogspot.com/2016/04/ebberston-curious-carved-sword-bloody.html

https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/NRY/Ebberston

http://nymcc.org.uk/king-alfreds-cave/

https://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/village-reveals-its-secrets-1-5866348