our patch - monk fryston
our patch - monk fryston
How old is Monk Fryston and where did it get its name? Those were the questions which a group of residents wanted to answer when they formed a Monk Fryston local history research group aka Monk Fryston Time Team in 2009.
Like most villages along the western edge of the Vale of York, Monk Fryston since the 1960’s has been transformed from a quiet, farming community to a thriving commuter village; and through the years it has attracted new residents who know nothing about its past. Moreover when they looked for information on the internet and searched local libraries they found very little. Due to the scant information available most resident thought that its its name was probably a derivation of Monks Freestone, which was in recognition of the legend that Selby abbey was built from stone quarried in Monk Fryston. However, research has revealed that more authoritative information was available in the History of St Wilfrid’s Church from 1934 which stated that there is documentary evidence that it was known as Fryssetune in 963 and that Fryston probably took its name from Homestead of Frisa the Frisian.
Apart from that the church history booklet citing that the Monks held the Manor from around 1109 when it was gifted to the Abbot of Selby by the Archbishop of York the previous holder of the manor until the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Selby Abbey in 1538. It also mentioned that there was a manuscript dated 1320 citing that a Master of the Works was based in Friston.
To make matters worse, the leading author Edmund Bogg who had written two books about the area in 1904 , chose to ignore Monk Fryston as it avoided his descriptive pincer movement, with one book describing the villages in Elmet ceasing at nearby South Milford 2 miles to the north west and another covering Lower Wharfedale ending its coverage 3 miles to the east at Hambleton.
Undaunted, the Time Team started to gather information. We agreed to work in teams on six project areas: Oral history, Maps, Transport, Family History, Photographs of buildings pre 1900, and a digital archive. In addition, members were free to pursue their own projects. All this was done within a collective agreement that any information contributed would became part of the Time Team archive.
Very quickly enough information became available to stage an exhibition and produce a Village Heritage Trail booklet.
More discoveries followed and some of the more startling ones which had not been documented were:
1. Fryston had a water mill as well as a wind mill,
2. Fryston had a Brewery,
3. Fryston was close to a major railway junction and had a thriving railway community,
4. Fryston had a village green
5. Fryston had a medieval field system until the end of the 18th century
We continue to discover more every year, but we are also aware that our village is changing and we are mindful not to let the changes go unnoticed. In the past few years both our railway bridges have been replaced; we have lost the Blue Bell pub; our church has undergone major repairs, a new primary school has been built and the community centre redeveloped and of course superfast broadband internet has arrived. We must ensure we do not forget what is happening today whilst we search for the past.