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Acomb
Acomb Shops.jpg
Shopping area on Front Street, Acomb
Population 22,215 
OS grid reference SE574513
Unitary authority
  • City of York
Ceremonial county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town YORK
Postcode district YO24, YO26
Dialling code 01904
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
  • York Central
List of places
UK
England
YorkshireCoordinates: 53°57′18″N 1°07′34″W / 53.955°N 1.126°W / 53.955; -1.126

Acomb /ˈkəm/ is a suburb within the City of York Unitary Authority, to the western side of York, England. It covers the site of the original village of the same name, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is bordered by the suburbs of Holgate, to the east, Clifton, to the north and Woodthorpe to the south. The boundary to the west abuts the fields close to the A1237, York Outer Ring Road.

Formerly a farming village, Acomb expanded over the centuries to become a dormitory area for workers in heavy industry, such as rail engineering, in the 19th and 20th centuries and more recently for a more diverse workforce. Though it no longer has any large-scale manufacturing, it does have a diverse retail centre. There are at least 19 Grade II listed buildings within its boundaries. It was made a Conservation Area in 1975, with the historic area along Front Street and the Green retaining its village character. It is also an Area of Archaeological Importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

Acomb comprises two wards of the City of York: Acomb and Westfield. At the 2011 Census of England and Wales, it had a population of 22,215, the largest of all areas of the city. There are six primary schools and one comprehensive school. There are also a variety of sporting clubs and one public sports centre.

History

Acomb Green - geograph.org.uk - 12343
Acomb Green

Etymology

Acomb existed before the Norman Conquest, is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was the property of the Dean and Chapter of York Minster. It is the largest suburban area in York. The name is most likely derived from the Old English acum, meaning 'at the oak trees', and indicates that the original village was first established in a heavily wooded area of oaks. In the Domesday book, the name of the village is spelt as both Achum and Acum and during the next one hundred years other spellings can be found, such as Achu, Acun, Akum and Acham. In the 13th century, the spellings Acome, Acorn and Akome can be seen, whilst Akam and Acombe are 15th century. Once printing was established, it enabled the standardisation of spellings to the one seen today.

Roman Era

The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus was reputed by some historians to have been cremated in a military funeral near the site of modern-day Acomb.

10th and 11th century

During the reign of Edward the Confessor, the village of Acomb was designated as a manor. This was known through the entry in the Domesday Book for Acomb, which stated that most of the land of Acomb, including the manor, was in the jurisdiction of the archbishop. Land at that time was measured in carucates, of which the village measured two carucates. The village of Acomb is mentioned three times in the Domesday Book as follow:

  • "In Achum 14½ carucates for geld, and 8 ploughs can be. St. Peter had, and has for 1 manor. 14 rent payers are there now, having 7 ploughs. 6 acres of meadow. Underwood 2 furlongs in length and 2 in breadth. T.R.E. it was worth 30 s.; now the same."
  • "In Acum Ulchel has 2 carucates of land for geld. Land for one plough. He has half a plough there. Wood 9 furlongs. It is worth 4 s."
  • "In Acum the Archbishop 14½ carucates. In the same place the King 2 carucates."

T.R.E stands for Tempore Regis Eduardi, meaning In the time of King Edward (the Confessor) and s stands for shillings. St Peter refers to the church in York where the Minster would be built. Underwood and Ulchel are the names of two persons occupying parcels of land in the manor.

12th to 16th century

During the 12th century St Stephens church was built and measured 52 feet by 25 feet. The original structure would last until 1832, when a new and slightly larger building was erected. At the time of the Norman conquest, Acomb manor was forested and was subject to the king's laws of the woods. To free themselves of these laws, the inhabitants of Acomb paid 19 pounds and 11 pence to King Richard I and 80 pounds to King John. Shortly after King John's reign, the area was deforested. Between 1220 and 1538, the lord of the manor of Acomb was called the treasurer, rather than the archbishop. This change meant that Acomb manor and its church were no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese. The treasurer was authorised to hold court, grant marriage licences, probate wills and issue letters of administration for persons who were dying. The office of treasurer was dissolved when Edward VI came to the throne. In 1547 the Peculiar Court of Acomb was surrendered by the Church in York to the Crown. King James I granted the court to Thomas Newark Esq. in 1609.

The village was typical Anglo Saxon in the 14th century, being made up of local farms and smallholdings. During the reign of Edward III, the king began to raise money from regional traders to fund military ambition on the continent. Many Yorkshire wool merchants played a large part due to their involvement in the establishment of a near monopoly in English wool trade through the exclusion of foreign imports. Edward III made use of the capital made by establishing loan agreements, to which one John de Acomb, a local farmer from the village, made an independent contribution though the venture ultimately failed

Acomb Grange was the residence of the masters of the medieval hospital of St Leonard, the lands having been given to the Order by Henry II. The Grange was purchased by lease in 1552, after the reformation, by the then MP for York, George Gale. The family eventually bought the freehold during the reign of James I and also continued to own land and buildings in the area until the late 20th century, with Gale Lane being named after them. There are two 15th century timber-framed houses in Acomb.

17th to 19th century

The Plantation at Acomb, York YORAG-714
The Plantation at Acomb, in 1842 by William Etty

From 1623 to 1855, Acomb manor reverted to control by archbishops of the church. An early census in 1670 showed that Acomb manor had 41 households with 230 people, of whom 10 were affluent, 60 middle class and 160 poor. The population of Acomb rose steadily in the early 19th century from 587, in 1801, to 762 some 30 years later. The former railway carriageworks in the neighbouring district of Holgate and around Leeman Road were built around 1854 and many of the workers lived in nearby Acomb and aided in the growth of the village. A portion of the land of Acomb manor was sold to the North Eastern Railway Company to allow right of way for the track. According to the 1871 census, the village of Acomb had less than 1,000 residents. Acomb was part of the district council of Great Ouseburn, until 1894, when it became a district council in its own right. In 1855 the manor as then constituted, including the manor house, was sold to Frances Barlow for £20,500. His heir, Mr. Algernon Barlow, was the last lord, since the lordship of Acomb was ended in 1925. In 1937 Acomb was incorporated into the City of York at which time it was estimated that the population had risen to 7,500 and the 1951 census showed more than double the number, 16,235, now lived in its boundaries.

The York New Waterworks Company, formed in 1846, built their new works at Acomb Landing, just off Boroughbridge Road in neighbouring Holgate. It was to supply the city of York, Acomb and other nearby areas. The site has since expanded, but still serves the area as The York Waterworks Company. Gas did not arrive in Acomb until the amalgamation of the York Gas Light Company and York Union Gas Light Company in 1844. Electricity was first supplied to Acomb in 1913 following the sanctioning of an application to the District Council and the Board of Trade.

20th century

In 1920, the Corporation of York purchased Acomb Hall to provide maternity facilities in the city. The Maternity Hospital opened in 1922, but was re-classified for geriatric treatment in 1954, when maternity facilities were opened in Fulford.

On 12 February 1934, the Regent Cinema opened in Acomb. It had 899 seats arranged over stalls and a single balcony. Along with many cinemas in the country, it suffered from falling audiences in the 1950s and eventually closed on 4 April 1959. The last film shown was "Sierra Baron".

Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1801 707 —    
1811 785 +11.0%
1821 870 +10.8%
1831 882 +1.4%
1841 872 −1.1%
Year Pop. ±%
1851 986 +13.1%
1881 1,512 +53.3%
1891 2,181 +44.2%
1901 2,754 +26.3%
1911 3,353 +21.8%
Year Pop. ±%
1921 3,668 +9.4%
1931 5,580 +52.1%
2001 21,419 +283.9%
2011 22,215 +3.7%
Data not available for 1951, 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1991 censuses.

Westfield Ward

2001 Census

The population in Westfield Ward was 13,690 of which 93% were born in England and 4% from outside the United Kingdom. The largest Age Group within the population, 22.1%, were between 30 and 44 years old. Of the total population, 96.8% described their ethnic origin as White-British. The figures show that 74% declared they were Christian, whilst 16.8% declared no religious belief at all. Of the population aged between 16 and 74 years old, 60% declared they were in some form of employment and 15% said they were retired. Of the 5,981 households, 42.8% were Semi-Detached and 31.3% were Terraced. The level of household ownership was 59.3%.

2011 Census

The population in Westfield Ward was 13,611 a decrease from the previous census of 0.6%. The figures show that 59.2% declared they were Christian, whilst 39.5% declared no religious belief or none declared. Of the rest, 0.4% were Muslim and 0.3% Buddhist with a small number declaring themselves Hindu or Jewish. The ethnic composition was 94.4% White/British, 2.5% White/Other, 0.1% Mixed Ethnicity, 0.1% Asian British and 0.05 Black British.

Acomb Ward

2001 Census

The population in Acomb Ward was 7,729 of which 94.4% were born in England and 2.9% from outside the United Kingdom. The largest Age Group within the population, 22.7%, were between 30 and 44 years old and 20.1% were between 45 and 59 years old. Of the total population, 97.9% described their ethnic origin as White-British. The figures show that 80.2% declared they were Christian, whilst 13.2% declared no religious belief at all. Of the population aged between 16 and 74 years old, 66.7% declared they were in some form of employment and 17% said they were retired. Of the 3,156 households, 75.5% were Semi-Detached. The level of household ownership was 79.8%.

2011 Census

The population in Acomb Ward was 8,604 an increase from the previous census of 11.3%. The figures show that 65.6% declared they were Christian, whilst 33.3% declared no religious belief or none declared. Of the rest, 0.3% were Muslim. The ethnic composition was 95.5% White/British, 2.4% White/Other, 0.9% Mixed Ethnicity, 0.8% Asian British and 0.3 Black British.

Geography

In addition to Acomb Green, there are several other open areas in Acomb. Bachelor Hill, the highest point in Acomb at approximately 90 ft above sea level, is situated between Askham Lane and Tennent Road is a sandy based hill with a wide area of grass and a small group of trees at the summit. Fishponds Wood, situated between Danebury Drive and Rosedale Avenue, is a mix of trees and shrubs on the site of an old pond. The largest open space is Acomb Wood.

In 2007, the City of York Council designated Acomb Wood and Meadow as a Statutory Local Nature Reserve. This is the larger part of the area known as Acomb Wood. The western portion is located on the other side of Acomb Wood Drive and is managed by the Woodland Trust. The East Wood covers approximately 10 acres and the West Wood about 3 acres. A variety of birds have been seen in the woods, including the great spotted woodpecker, tawny owls, nuthatch, coal tit, long-tailed tit, robin, thrush, willow warbler and tree-creepers. Among the species of trees found here are ash, sycamore and poplar. There are also many species of flora including the uncommon sanicle and twayblade. The Old Hay Meadow in the East Wood is home to small skipper, common blue and small copper butterflies.

There are two classified roads passing through Acomb. The A59 York to Liverpool road which is named Boroughbridge Road and the B1224 York to Wetherby road which is named Wetherby Road, The Green, York Road and Acomb Road before it joins the aforementioned A59. The centre of Acomb, measured from The Green, lies approximately two and a quarter miles from the centre of York. There are several smaller areas that make up Acomb. In addition to Westfield, there is Low Field, Chapelfields and Carr Hill.

The Conservation Area (York No'3) encompasses Acomb Green and its surrounding buildings; those buildings along Wetherby Road up to the double roundabout junction that leads to Front Street, but including the Old Hospital; the south side of Font Street that includes the Old Acomb Primary School to the junction of Green Lane; the remainder of Front Street from Green Lane to Gale Lane and includes the buildings that now occupy the site of the old Gale Farm to the east side of Gale Lane. In total the area is approximately 14.5 hectares.

Religion

St Stephens Church Acomb
St Stephens Church Acomb

The principal parish church for Acomb is St Stephen's, a Grade II listed building built in 1831-1832 by G T Andrews on the site of the previous medieval church. Records date from 1662. St Stephen's has recently joined with the Church of St Aidan's on Ridgeway to become a two church parish. On 19 December 1992, St Stephen's was nearly destroyed in a fire caused by arson, but was repaired using contributions from the local community and other funds. It was rededicated in September 1994. St Aidan's Church was built in 1968 by the York architects Ferrey & Mennim.

The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady, on Cornlands Road, was built by the architect J. H. Langtry-Langton and opened in 1955. Before then services in the area had been held, from 1941, in Acomb Council School.

The Quakers first started to meet in Acomb at the Forester's Hall around 1906, but moved to their current location in the Primitive Methodist Chapel on The Green after it was purchased by the Religious Society of Friends in 1911.

Sir Robert Newbald Kay gifted buildings and a site for a temporary Methodist Chapel in Lidgett Grove in Acomb in 1934. A permanent building was completed on the site in 1937.

Acomb Methodist Church is on Front Street, and was built in 1964. There is also the Anglican Church of the Holy Redeemer on Boroughbridge Road, the Baptist Church on Ridgeway and Gateway Church in the Old School on Front Street.

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