Creake (or Crake) Wells
The Crake Wells estate takes its name from the wells that once supplied the main
sources of fresh water in Walkington. Before the estate was built in the 1950's the area
was still outside the village envelope and consisted of two grass fields which stretched
from Autherd Garth corner along the back of 'Wilkies Wood' - now Fox Hollow, and up to
the corner of the playing field.
There were two wells. One was situated in what is now the south east corner of the
estate and adjacent to the public footpath that runs alongside the school field. The
second, possibly well preserved under its mound of soil, is situated in the middle of
the field to the east of the estate.
However it is the well that was destroyed when the estate was built that I and many
other children brought up in Walkington remember. It was an absolute gem. Standing
in the far corner of the field we spent many happy hours playing there.
It consisted of a low red brick arch with a turf roof and from which half a dozen steps
took one underground to a crystal clear pool of water which disappeared to left and right.
Always cool in summer, never freezing in winter, we would quench our thirst there,
wonder where the water came from and what lay beyond the passages on either side.
The well also made a good hiding place when playing 'block'.
However Crake Well has a longer history than I can recount and for that information
I turned to some of our older residents. Ernie Teal tells me that Walt Lawson our village
joiner for many years said the new estate should have been called 'Creake
Wells'. The explanation being that there were other wells in the village along
the main street to the west of Kirk Lane. They were the inner wells and the outer
wells were referred to as 'Crook Wells' as denotes the end of a shepherds crook; East Yorkshire dialect for 'crook' becoming 'creake'. Mrs Wilson of Beech View recalls that
one of her after school jobs was fetching water from 'Creake Well' in a dolly tub on
wheels! Lucy Drew remembers fetching water from 'Crooks Well' and remembers the
time when there were four similar wells along the main street in the west end of
the village. The largest of these was located at the present entrance to the
'Red Gates' estate. The wells were similar in design to 'Creake Well' but in
latter years fell into disuse owing to the abundance of aquatic life in residence in the
Most of the water from 'Creakes' was drawn by Walt Stegg (Walter Stephenson).
Chris Hobson, who now lives in Hornsea, recalls Walt as a friendly but simple fellow.
He wore an open neck shirt and a floppy hat. For a 'half penny' a bucket he would
fetch water from 'Creakes' to anyone who would pay him. He worked all day and to
prevent chaffing to his legs the buckets were suspended from a wooden frame
carried on his shoulders.
When I came to the village in 1947 his house to the east of the Barrel Inn was a ruin.
However it was said that when the house was finally demolished, a large quantity
of money, all in coppers, was found. Poor old Walt, he gave such service to the village
and yet the village lads gave him a hard time. He eventually moved to Bridlington
and was able to live out his remaining days in peace.
The well was not so fortunate, its roof was knocked in and it was levelled with the
building of the estate. They destroyed the well and took its name! However an identical
well survived until quite recently in an adjoining parish. Built to serve the needs of a great
medieval manor house long since vanished, its design and brickwork were exactly
the same as Creake Wells. This poses the question, "If the Walkington wells
date from the same period, were they provided by 'William Sherwood', the great
benefactor of those times?" We shall never know.
(Tony has recently discovered that another well of the same type survives in the village,
in the garden of a property on West End. Ed.)
In conclusion, Creake well ran dry only once in recent times. Then, as John Clappison
informs me, his father Peter remembered water being taken from 'Gillen Springs' in Risby
to the village by water cart.
Whilst researching this article I was loaned a remarkable document. Over sixty pages
long it consists of a highly detailed account of life in our village in the 1920's.
Every house in the village and its occupants are mentioned. The way of life of
those times is vividly described with many an amusing anecdote. Characters such
as 'Nappy' Cook, 'Keeper' Brown and 'Daddy' Blackstone are remembered as well
as references to families going right back through Walkington records; the
Hodge family being one, they had been scythe shaft makers 100 years earlier.
'Cromwell Abbey' and 'Dinsdale's Yard' are mentioned as well as an intriguing
reference to the possible location of 'Sherwood House'. The life of the church,
the village pubs and the village shops, all are described in great detail.
The author, who died several years ago, intended that the work should be published
in the newsletter as a series of articles. This was done in 2004-2005. The articles can
now be found by following the link on the 1920's page.