Burton Fleming lies on the Wolds six miles North – West of Bridlington. Archaeological evidence has proved that the earliest human occupation in and around the village dates from the Middle Stone Age. After that the area was settled by the first farmers of the New Stone Age.
Proof of that lies in the amount of flint implements and stone axes that have been found in the fields situated around the village. Early occupation can also be established by aerial photography which has revealed countless burial mounds, prehistoric religious sites and linear earth works.
Prior to the Conquest of 1066 a man named Karle owned the majority of the land in and around the village but after the Conquest William the Conqueror confiscated all the lands leaving them under the control of Gilbert de Gant. However, in 1090 the king gifted all the lands to Gilbert de Gant who died four years later in 1094 leaving the estate to his son Walter.
Walter was responsible for founding and building Burton Fleming Church in the early 1100s and dedicated it to St. Cuthbert. Walter was also responsible for founding the very large and powerful Augustinian Priory in Bridlington. Over the years the village, its lands and the Priory became closely linked and by 1300 the Priory owned most of the lands and tithes in Burton Fleming.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the village had many different Lords of the Manor including George Villiers who later became the Duke of Buckingham.
The Enclosure Act of 1769 brought change to the shape of the village by adding a new road. That new road is what we know today as west Lane and Penny Lane.
During the Civil war Queen Henrietta Maria stayed in the village at the Manor House for one night. She was attempting to make her way from Bridlington with a small army of five hundred plus supplies and arms for King Charles who was camped near York. An entry in the Parish Register for simply reads; “The Queen’s Majesty did lie at North Burton with her army the 5th March 1643.
North Burton? Since the 14th century Burton Fleming also had the alternative name of North Burton. It has yet to be determined where the latter name came from but over the years became a very popular alternative name for the village. Indeed, it was only at the insistence of Scarborough General Post Office in the late 1920s that Burton Fleming became the official and only name for the village.
Burton Fleming Church was originally a Chapel of ease belonging to Hunmanby Church. In 1115 Hunmanby Church and its ten Chapels of ease, including Burton Fleming, were given to Bardney Abbey in Lincolnshire by Walter de Gant.
By 1269 the village became a separate vicarage with its own priest and from that date all the vicars are known and have been recorded but burials still took place in Hunmanby until 1828.
In 1865 the Church at Fordan, which was formally with Hunmanby, was consolidated with Burton Fleming.
In 1897 the Churchyard wall was rebuilt to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
In 1902 the chestnut trees were planted along the wall side to celebrate the Coronation of Edward VII.
Before the wall was built in 1897 and the school in 1873 there was a school in situ on the village green.
The Gypsey Race, the fresh water stream that runs through the village, is fed by springs from the Wolds. When the springs fill up they cause the Gypsey Race to run. The running of the Race has been associated with great calamity and hence it is known as the Woe Waters of the Wolds. There are many poems written about the Gypsey Race and folklore dating back to Pagan times adds to its mystery.
Burton Fleming is seen to have had a variety of owners of land and properties. Today Burton Fleming is a large sprawling village which contains a great variety of small houses and cottages in an area that still revolves around agriculture on the Wolds. Change has taken place in the village but its traditions and legends still remain. An open village that has evolved over the years and will continue to do so in the future.
Bruce Beswick, Burton Fleming History Group