Bishopthorpe Community Archive

Bishopthorpe children on a day trip to Filey, 1949

Bishopthorpe residents have always been proud of their village history which is largely based on the activities of the Archbishops of York.  In 1226, when King John’s former Chancellor, Archbishop Walter de Grey, bought land and a manor house at the settlement by the river Ouse, known then as Thorpe on Ouse, the die was cast.  Several years later Archbishop de Grey built a new manor house with a chapel and, gradually, the parish name of Bishopthorpe evolved.  Walter de Grey ensured that the property became the official residence of future Archbishops by conveying it to the Dean and Chapter of York during the vacant periods between each prelate.  Since then, with the exception of the Commonwealth period, successive Archbishops of York have resided at Bishopthorpe Palace.

However, as the Bishopthorpe Community Archive shows, the village history is not only about prelates; it also covers pea-pickers and paupers!  Yes, there is something for everyone.

Life for the Bishopthorpe Community Archive started with the Bishopthorpe Local History Group.  The Group, founded in 1998, was inundated with photographs, documents, books and items of ephemera relating to this historic parish.  It became obvious that a suitable, permanent, home should be found for the whole collection.  Eventually the Bishopthorpe Parish Council came to the rescue and, following refurbishment, funded by the HLF in 2009, it generously provided a room for the Archive in the Village Hall.

Volunteers meet regularly to catalogue and transcribe various documents from wills to entries in the Manor Court rolls.  Enquiries arrive from people keen to research local buildings or their Bishopthorpe ancestors.  Many projects and organisations have been helped including the Bishopthorpe Orchard Project, the Brunswick Nurseries, the local school and even, occasionally, the Archbishops’ teams.

Future projects include a new website and the continuation of our Oral History project.

We make every effort to store the collections correctly by using archival sleeves and boxes which, in turn, are held in metal cabinets.

The Archive is open to the public every Monday afternoon 2.30 – 5.00pm.  (Bank holidays excepted.)   Appointments can be made out of these hours by email: Contact manager, Linda Haywood:

The Village Hall is situated on Main Street where there is plenty of parking available. (Postcode: YO23 2RB)

This archive entry was last updated on 21/08/2021. Information incorrect or out-of-date?
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