Spotlight on Asselby
The name means Askell's farmstead and dates from Viking times.
The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded that Asselby had fisheries which yielded 2,400 eels per year. But little more is heard of eels until the late nineteenth century when Eel Hall Farm, with its carved plaque showing cavorting eels, was built. Thomas Clarke of Knedlington, the lord of the manor, was an enthusiastic amateur historian and the plaque was probably his idea to commemorate Asselby’s eel connection.
Asselby has always been a largely agricultural community. It had a pinfold for stray animals and there was also a small brickmaking industry – today there is still a Clayfield drain. However, in the mid-nineteenth century Asselby was best known for growing soft fruit as well as plums and apples commercially. There are still some old orchard trees surviving.
Many families have lived in the village for generations. The innkeeper of the Black Swan in 1851 was Thomas Waterhouse, while the death was recorded in 1656 of Richard Waterhouse of Asselby, oatmeal maker.
Asselby once had two chapels; a Wesleyan Methodist chapel, which could seat 150 people, and near the Black Swan, a Primitive Methodist chapel with an associated Sunday school across the road. The village had its own school from 1878, although it was only for infants. However, in 1933 the school was closed and offered for sale and it is now a private house.
In 1888 the quiet of Asselby was disturbed by the opening of the Hull and Barnsley railway, which had been under construction for several years. Although there was no station in Asselby there was a railway crossing and signal box. (Picture)
Although not a very large village, Asselby has a strong community spirit and still keeps up the tradition of having a village feast. Most villages had such a feast when villagers tidied their houses and gardens, held large family reunions, ate curd cheesecakes and drank copious amounts of tea and beer. There were usually races, both for local people and those from far afield. So, in June 1897, competitors came from Selby, Hull, Howden, Goole, Swinefleet and Eastrington, and the Goole South Street Band was also in attendance. Asselby Feast is now a competition and fun afternoon for families and a live band plays at an evening event for adults.