Market Place, Pocklington
Arms of Pocklington Town Council
Pocklington shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
|Population||8,337 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||East Riding of Yorkshire|
|Ceremonial county||East Riding of Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||East Yorkshire|
It is common in the area to refer to towns in a highly abbreviated form in casual conversation: thus, Pocklington is commonly referred to as "Pock".
Pocklington lies at the centre of the ecclesiastical Parish of Pocklington, which also encompasses the small hamlet of Kilnwick Percy as well as a scattering of outlying farms and houses.
Justice is covered by the magistrates' district of Wilton Beacon now sitting at Beverley Magistrates' Court following the closure of Pocklington Court in George Street.
The town's skyline is dominated by a 15th-century tower of All Saints church. The town’s architecture is a mixture of quaint old houses and modern buildings and the town has several unusual street names reflecting its history from the Iron Age onwards.
Pocklington gets its name via the Old English "Poclintun" from the Anglian settlement of Pocel's (or Pocela's) people and the Old English word "tun" meaning farm or settlement, but though the town's name can only be traced back to around 650 AD, the inhabitation of Pocklington as a site is thought to extend back a further 1,000 years or more to the Bronze Age.
Pocklington developed through the Middle Ages while many similar places fell into dramatic decline. Pocklington owed much of its prosperity in the Middle Ages to the fact that it was a local centre for the trading of wool and lay on the main road to York, an important national centre for the export of wool to the continent. Wool was England’s principal export in the earlier Middle Ages.
Pocklington is twinned with:
The Pays de Racan twinning has brought about, amongst other activities, reciprocal rugby match trips.
Pocklington Town Council is responsible for the cemetery, allotments, the Croft play-park and the Arts Centre within Pocklington. It consists of thirteen elected councillors who meet regularly to administer the town's services.
The town's motto is "Service with Freedom". Its shield is based on the arms of the Dolman family, founders of Pocklington School and was granted to the town council in 1980. The crown at the base of the shield is the emblem of the saints, along with the gold cross, symbolises the town's historic connection with Paulinus and the Archbishop of York. The wheat sheaves note Pocklington's agricultural importance and the water lily the famous lily lakes at Burnby Hall Gardens.
The town council has a policy of naming all new streets using the surnames of the war dead of Pocklington and neighbouring Barmby Moor village - this gives rise to such names as Strother Close, Waite Close, Garrick Drive, Turnbull Close and Harper Close, which would seem unusual to the casual visitor. There is some slight controversy surrounding this move, with fears with earlier historic names are being erased.
In the last five years several action groups have been formed to address local issues:
- Pocklington Broadband Campaign - aim to bring broadband internet to Pocklington (status: achieved, 2004)
- Action Access A1079 - aim to improve A1079 road, long-term goal for dual carriageway (status: in progress)
- Minsters' Rail Campaign - aim to return railway to Pocklington (status: issue adopted by East Riding Council)
- Pocklington Space for Dogs - aim is to improve dog walking and sanitary facilities in and around Pocklington. The group was formed by Sharon and Bess Clark in 2008 and has successfully lobbied the council for the installation of waste-collection sites in the local area (status: adopted by East Riding Council, 2011).
Pocklington is situated at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, hills which form the eastern edge of the Vale of York, and stretch from Pocklington 40 miles (64 km) or so in a north-easterly direction to the east coast around Bridlington.
Geologically speaking, the whole area was originally under water, and, when the land rose, the chalk Wolds were formed from the skeletons and shells covering the sea floor. The landscape around Pocklington therefore varies from flat arable land primarily devoted to agriculture to the south and west, and grassy, limestone hills and valleys to the north and east. A lot of this lower farming country was originally reclaimed from marshland, from the Middle Ages onwards.
Crops grown include traditional arable crops seen elsewhere in the country but also include rape seed, turf and sugar beet. The last is a familiar sight being hauled by tractor in large open-top trailers to York, where it is used by firms such as Nestle and, until its closure in 2007, British Sugar. Recent job cuts have put this crop in jeopardy, although feasibility studies have shown that sugar beet could be used commercially to produce cleaner car fuel.
Pocklington is bisected by the largely invisible (it now runs underground for much of its length) Pocklington Beck, a small stream that feeds into the Pocklington Canal. The beck and canal are usually good fishing grounds but a sewerage overflow in 2003 killed thousands of fish and severely damaged the ecosystem, from which it is still recovering.
Due to its rural location in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Pocklington has not seen any great influx of immigrants since Anglo-Saxon times. The civil parish is therefore not very ethnically diverse, with the 2001 UK census reporting 98.8% of the 7,632 inhabitants being white.
In common with the rest of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Pocklington has a higher than average level of Christian belief and a much lower rate of observance for other faiths and those of no faith. This can be attributed both to the aforementioned lack of ethnic diversity in the area, as well as the strong Christian tradition upheld by local bodies such as Pocklington School and All Saints Church; a focal point of the community for hundreds of years.
The high street contains a mix of public houses, shops (overwhelmingly independents, very few national chain stores), banks and restaurants.
A large number of Pocklington residents are commuters to nearby cities York, Hull and Leeds. Of those who work within the local area, of those not employed within the cluster of town centre services, a number work on the Pocklington Industrial Estate (light industrial) and Pocklington Business Park (commercial). Leading employers include Bond International (tyre distributors), Vebra, Ryedale Telecommunications and Phoenix Software. Agriculture is still a large employer, both directly in the form of farming, and also in secondary enterprises such as Yara Phosyn (Agrochemicals).
Near the centre of Pocklington is Burnby Hall Gardens. These gardens are home to the National Collection of Hardy Water Lilies - the biggest such collection to be found in a natural setting in Europe. The Burnby Hall Gardens collection of water lilies has been designated as a "National Collection" by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.
Day trippers also visit Millington Wood (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Pocklington Canal Head, with footpaths along the canal. The canal has been named one of the top ten places to see watery wildlife in Britain. Nearby Allerthorpe Lakeland Park has parkland for walking, a lake with watersports facilities, a separate lake for fly fishing, and a BMX trail. There is also a large caravan park for holiday makers.
Entertainment and culture
The Pocklington Arts Centre (formerly the Oak House Cinema) opened in 2000 and offers "a mixed programme of film, music, drama, dance, lectures, workshops and exhibitions". Previous performers at the arts centre include the comedians Jenny Eclair, Clive James, Dave Gorman and Barry Cryer and the musicians Midge Ure and Steve Harley. The centre also puts on "second screenings" of recently released movies.
In a tribute to Munich's traditional Oktoberfest, Pocklington also hosts its own annual Pocktoberfest. Unlike the original on which it is based, Pocktoberfest is pared down to a single-issue event: beer. In the 2006 event, 19 casks (or about 452 litres) of ale were consumed. Organiser of the 2012 Pocktoberfest, Clare Saunders, arranged for brewers from Germany. Italy, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands to attend the festival, which is sponsored by C & N Wines and Swirlz Ice Cream Emporium.
In 2006, Pocklington celebrated its second annual Flying Man Festival with a multitude of themed events from 12 to 14 May, in memory of the showman Thomas Pelling, the "Flying Man of Pocklington", who, with a pair of homemade wings, attempted a flight from the top of the local church, meeting his end when he collided with one of the church's buttresses.
Pocklington is the home of the Pocklington RUFC rugby team based on Burnby Lane. The first rugby game in Pocklington took place on West Green on Wednesday 12 November 1879 between "Pocklington Town and District" and "Pocklington Grammar School". The first Pocklington rugby club Pocklington FC was formed in 1885. Pocklington RUFC also hosts the traditional "Good Friday Sevens" tournament - Yorkshire's longest-established sevens tournament launched in 1958 and Pocklington's premier sporting event, which sees teams local, county-based and even international teams compete.
The town also has a council-run Francis Scaife Sports Centre, which includes a 20 metre swimming pool, and gym. The town also has swimming, football and cricket clubs.
There are two golf clubs lying just outside Pocklington:
- Allerthorpe Park Golf Club - 18-hole course
- Kilnwick Percy Golf Club
Pocklington Town AFC run four men’s Saturday football teams with the first team competing in the Humber Premier League. There is also an U19s team and girls team. In the 2012-13 season the clubs 1st team won the highest level trophy in the club's history by winning the Whiteheads Fish & Chips Humber League Cup at North Ferriby United's Rapid Solicitors Stadium. The club had floodlights installed during July 2008, allowing the club to make progress in the football league pyramid.
Pocklington has a local weekly newspaper, the Pocklington Post. Pocklington is also the home to Pock FM, a local radio station run by young people for the community. It is only on-air for certain very limited periods each year due to budgetary constraints. A full-time community station, Vixen FM, based in nearby Market Weighton, broadcasts to the town.
Although Pocklington is a relatively small town it has six schools/pre-schools:
- Pocklington School
- Pocklington Community Junior School
- Woldgate College
- St. Mary and St. Joseph R.C. Primary School
- Pocklington Church of England VC Infant School
- St. John's Pre School and Nursery
Churches within Pocklington include:
- All Saints' Church, known in the area as the Cathedral of the Wolds, dates from the late 12th to early 15th century.
- Pocklington Christian Fellowship, formerly known as Pocklington Pentecostal Church, meets in the church building originally constructed in 1807 as a Desenters chapel, known as Ebenezar Independent Chapel. 
- Pocklington Methodist Church, originally the Wesleyan Methodist Church, built in 1864 in the Grecian style - 150 members. 
- St Mary & St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.
There are no non-Christian houses of worship within Pocklington, but Kilnwick Hall, just outside Pocklington, is home to a large resident Madhyamaka Buddhist Meditation Retreat Centre. It runs regular Buddhist meditation classes.
Pocklington has its own Masonic Hall which is situated on the Mile. It is home to several lodges and orders including:
- Beacon Lodge No. 4362
- Old Pocklingtonian Lodge No. 7867 - formed by former pupils of Pocklington School but membership is no longer restricted to those with a connection to the school.
- Beacon Chapter No. 4362
Pocklington lies on the A1079 road, the main arterial route between the cities of York and Hull.
Pocklington is served by a number of bus routes provided by East Yorkshire Motor Services.
Pocklington Airfield has three concrete and tarmac runways of 1,600 yards (1,500 m), sufficient in length to take RAF bombers during the Second World War, but in September 1946 the airfield was closed. Although the site remains in use with gliders - and occasionally hot air balloonists - a lot of the concrete runway surface has gone, and the control tower is not in operation. It is therefore classified as "limited flying". The airfield is now wholly owned by the Wolds Gliding Club.
The nearest commercial airport is Humberside Airport, another former RAF airfield.
Pocklington was once part of the rail network, with a station dating back to 1847. This was closed as a result of the Beeching Report in November 1965. There is a small but vocal pressure group that is trying to get the station and line re-opened. The City of York Local Transport Plan for 2006 notes that: "work has recently been undertaken by East Riding of Yorkshire Council to examine the feasibility of reopening the former direct York – Pocklington - Beverley line that closed in 1965... given the unavailability of funding for such a scheme at present and the extensive time required for any reinstatement of a rail line, the scheme remains a longer-term aspiration."
The Minsters Rail Campaign is campaigning to re-open the railway line between Beverley and York (with stops at Stamford Bridge, Pocklington and Market Weighton). The re-opened railway would skirt the southern edge of the town as the former alignment has since been developed. As of 2006, the issue of re-opening the line has been raised in Parliament and, although still prohibitively expensive, it is otherwise looked upon favourably.
The old railway building, designed by George Townsend Andrews, was saved from demolition due to its interesting architecture. It now serves both as a bus shelter, and also a sports hall for nearby Pocklington School.
The Pocklington Canal, previously in commercial use in the 19th century by barges, is now navigable as far as Melbourne Basin. Full restoration of the canal is one of the aims of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, which was formed in 1969. 
- Mike Bennett (businessman), award winning serial entrepreneur, E3 Media (digital agency) went to school at Woldgate between 1987–1992
- Matt Brash, celebrity vet, Zoo Vet at Large (TV series)
- Thomas Cooke, 19th century instrument maker, born in nearby Allerthorpe
- Adrian Edmondson, comedian, The Young Ones and Bottom
- Richard Herring, comedian, was born in Pocklington
- Ralph Ineson, comedian, and actor The Office and Game of Thrones
- Joseph Malet Lambert, 19th century author and social reformer
- Xavier Pick, English artist
- George Herbert Stancer, cyclist, cycling journalist and administrator
- Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, contemporary playwright, Shakespeare in Love
- Andy Strangeway, decorator, first man to visit and sleep on all of Scotland's notable islands
- Joseph Terry, founder of Joseph Terry & Sons, confectioner/industrialist
- Rob Webber, Wasps and England rugby union player
- William Wilberforce, 18th century anti-slavery campaigner
- Michael Woods, Fourth youngest to ever play for Chelsea.
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