Out Newton is a small hamlet of some 600 acres in the parish of Easington located approximately one and a half miles north-west of the village of Easington. It consists of a few scattered dwellings including four farms — Southfield Farm, Model Farm, High Grange Farm, and Cliff House Farm. The present (2006) population is around 20 persons.
Apart from an area occupied by a wind farm consisting of seven wind turbines the remaining land is given over to arable farming. As elsewhere along the south Holderness coast, Out Newton is and has been historically subject to severe erosion by the sea.
Out Newton is first mentioned in 1066 when one, Ligulf was recorded as holding five carucates of land comprising Out Newton Manor. In 1086 in the Domesday Book the Manor was said to be in the hands of Drew de Bevrère. Thereafter there are numerous references to this manor recording its successive changes of ownership.
The parliamentary enclosure of Out Newton took place in 1757, some 14 years before the enclosure of Easington. A pre-enclosure map depicting the field patterns immediately before that date shows that Out Newton then consisted of a West Field and East Field of approximately equal size and covering most of the area and a very much smaller North Field, which seems to have been drastically reduced from its original size by erosion, as well as a central strip of garths and closes resulting from earlier enclosure activity.
After enclosure much of the land fell into the hands of the well-known East Riding landowning family of the Harrisons and Harrison-Broadleys who remained as the major landowners of Out Newton throughout the 19th century and until 1914.
In the mediaeval period a chapel was erected at Out Newton. It was first mentioned as early as 1302 and in the 16th century, its chaplain was recorded as receiving a stipend of £4 a year from the vicar. In 1552 it was said to have a silver chalice and to be furnished with two bells, however by the middle of the 17th century it had fallen into decay and was annexed by Holmpton. The building itself must have been a sturdy one for it lasted albeit in a derelict state until its last wall was pulled down in 1911 when it was less than 10 yards from the sea. A photograph of the ruined chapel appears in Thomas Sheppard’s book, Lost Towns of the Humber.
As well as a chapel, the hamlet is known to have had a windmill in the mediaeval period as there is a mention of one both in 1276 and again in 1350. In the mid-19th century Out Newton boasted an alehouse although it seems to have been a short-lived affair. It also had two poor houses at about the same time as they are recorded as being there in 1842 presumably as a result of Out Newton’s joining (with Easington) the Patrington Poor-Law Union in 1836.
The character of Out Newton as a sparsely populated farming community has changed little through the ages. Although the present population of around 20 people is probably one of the lowest, the figures for earlier years are not markedly higher with the highest being 69 in 1821; figures for other years show little variation — 35 in 1801, 36 in 1901 and 31 in 1931. (Source: Victoria County History: East Riding, vol. 5 (1984) )
On Sunday 3rd January 1943 about 7.20 p.m. the war came to Out Newton when according to the Chief Constable’s official report to Northern Command headquarters in York “a German plane — Dornier 217, carrying a crew of four, after being struck by Anti-Aircraft fire, tried to fly out to sea, but returned inland and crashed landed in a field in a sparsely populated district in the neighbourhood of Out Newton, a short distance from the coast leading from Withernsea to Spurn Point. No one was present when the aircraft landed and the plane was completely burnt out presumably after being set on fire by the crew.
Private Leonard Medforth, Home Guard, a farmer residing at Southfield Farm, Out Newton, was off duty at his home, and, on seeing the crash in the distance, he immediately put on some of his military uniform and turned out alone, unarmed, to search for the members of the crew. In a lonely country lane about half a mile from the burning plane, he met the four German airmen whose ages ranged from 21 to 26 years, each armed with a 7.65 automatic pistol fully loaded, a spare loaded clip for each pistol, jack knives, and verey pistols. No resistance was offered by the German airmen and he promptly arrested them and took them to the farmstead of Tom Findlay, Southfield Farm, Out Newton, where in the presence of the farm foreman, Charles Blythe, he detained them until the arrival from Withernsea of my Inspector Burton, who took charge of the prisoners”.
Private Leonard Medforth was a member of the secret resistance army, the Auxiliary Units, who were formed to delay and sabotage the German forces should they have succeeded in occupying Britain. In Alan Williamson’s East Riding Secret Resistance (Middleton Press, 2004), Medforth is listed as a member of the Skeffling Patrol.
(Note: I am grateful to Alan Medforth for permission to quote from his copy of the Chief Constable’s report and to Mike Welton for bringing it to my attention).
Later that same year, early in the morning shortly after midnight on 22nd September, a second German bomber crashed at Out Newton, this time at Threefoot Lane in a field belonging to Mrs. Hodgson of Skeffling. This plane, too, was a Dornier 217, part of a flight that had taken off earlier from German-occupied Holland on a night-time bombing and mine-laying mission. Its pilot had approached the coast at an estimated altitude of only 50 feet in order to avoid the coastal searchlights at Kilnsea and Spurn but was unlucky enough to be picked up almost immediately by one of them and then held by the beams of several more. He launched a machine-gun attack on one of the searchlight emplacements but flew too low and struck the ground at a shallow angle.
The crash occurred about a quarter of a mile from Southfield Farm in Out Newton with the plane breaking up into several large pieces and coming to rest about 250 yards from the point of impact. All four members of the crew died — the pilot Fw. Helmut Rumpff, his observer, Fw. Siegfried Vomweg, the wireless operator, Gefr. Arno Ehemann, and the gunner, Obgfr. Kurt Stiegler. When the broken-up plane came to rest, it did not catch fire but among the debris were two large 1,000 kg. G-type unexploded parachute mines. A team of Royal Navy mine disposal experts were called to the scene and attempted to defuse the mines.
Unfortunately, one of the mines exploded injuring the three men in the team; they were taken to hospital but two of them, Lieut. Commander Peter Tanner and Able Seaman Percy Fouracre both later died of their injuries leaving Lieut. Frank Price as the only survivor. The bodies of the crew of the Dornier were later buried in Hull North Cemetery. (Source: Broken Eagles: Luftwaffe losses over Yorkshire, 1939–1945, by Bill Norman (2001) )
In the face of considerable opposition, culminating in a public enquiry, a wind farm of seven turbines (a scaled-down version of the original proposal) was created in Out Newton. Commissioned in March 2002, the £7m. wind farm took a year to construct. It consists of seven turbines each 49 metres in height from the hub and 80 metres to the tip giving a total power of 9.1 million watts, enough it is said at full power to generate electricity for nearly 6,500 households. The wind farm is owned and run by the firm, E.ON Renewables. (Source: http://eon-uk.com/467.aspx)
P. A. Crowther (2007)