PocklingtonHistory.com Railway Street (Circa 1880)
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Market Place Market Place
Note the new building in the photo on the corner.
Regent Street Regent Street
Note the 'Old Red Lion Hotel'
Chapmangate Chapmangate
Note the independent chapel built in 1807 to the left.
Rope and Net Making
Rope and net making was a skill practised in Pocklington from early times and a large flax mill also operated in the town in the mid nineteenth century. The Byass family were ropemakers for generations in the 17th and 18th century. In the nineteenth century, it was the Johnson family who were the towns main rope and net makers. Long rope walks were needed to create the long lengths required. Rope making continued into the 1950's with J. Laister & Son in Market Place and J.F. Eagan in Chapmangate.
1855 Rope Walk
The 1855 OS map shows the Rope Walk just off New Street
Black Swan Johnson family
Black Swan SignSarah Anne the wife of Francis Johnson stood outside the Black Swan Inn with Emma (b.1869), Sarah (b.1872), Anne (b.1874). Francis Johnson was a ropemaker in New Street and also a publican. Here is the sign announcing his trade alongside the sign of the Black Swan. He made sure he had some rope on display for the photograph.
Watsons 1855 Ropery Walk

William Watsons 1855 map shows Johnsons ropery walk

Johnsons ropery
Here are the Johnson family down ropery walk in Pocklington making ropes. Note how the flax is wrapped round their waist.
Other Pocklington rope making families (by Phil Gilbank)

The Booth, Turner, Wilkinson, Gardham and Calverley families were also Pocklington ropemakers in the 18th and 19th centuries (William Calverley, who made ropes in Pocklington and Hayton, was the grandfather of the famous Victorian artist, William Etty).

However, probably the most long serving Pocklington ropers were the Byass family who were in business as ropemakers in the town for around 150 years.

There were Byass's in and around Pocklington from early in the 16th century (a John Byass was given a bequest in the will of Pocklington School founder, John Dolman, in 1526); but the first recorded ropemaker is Thomas Byass, who was in business in Pocklington in the second half of the 17th century and whose ropemaking equipment is listed in an inventory at the time of his death in 1684.

Four generations of Byass's carried on the ropemaking tradition in Pocklington, the last being another Thomas Byass who died and was buried at Pocklington in 1802. The Byass's made enough money out of ropemaking to invest in land, and several of Thomas Byass's sons became farmers across East Yorkshire, including taking farms at Yapham, Huggate, Warter and North Dalton. The Byass family continues to farm throughout the Riding up to the present day.

Thomas Byass's younger brother, William, left Pocklington in the mid-1700s and his branch of the family subsequently started a London wine merchants. They made the Byass name famous worldwide as Gonzalez-Byass, producers of sherry, wines, spirits and liqueurs, most renowned for their Tio Pepe sherry.
J W Eastwood
Here is a clipping from a local newspaper dated Oct 22nd 1948. It shows J.W. Eastwood of Pocklington making nets. The caption reads Mr Eastwood is busy making stack nets in a manner not unlike that used by fishermen. It requires an experienced eye and not a little patience, not attributes of the young of today.