My sister celebrates her birthday in June – a great reason to head south to Acomb to celebrate together and to sketch some of the familiar sights of the village where I grew up.
Acomb has a strong sense of place and features in the Domesday Book (1086) when it consisted of some 14 houses. Its name most likely derives from the old English Acum – meaning ‘at the oaks’.
Acomb Green is in the middle edged by mature trees. There’s a slight slope on the land on one side where there’s a childrens’ formal play area. Some 50+ years ago it was a great destination when it snowed – perfect for kids on a toboggan including our family!
Long before this, The Green used to be a sand quarry and there are some great photographs in an article in the Yorkshire Evening Press. Stephen Lewis writes: “The Green was originally known as ‘Yarcomb Sand’oil’, apparently, or the ‘Acomb sandhole’. It is said that this was where sand was extracted for sale in the streets in York – and reputedly for making the glass that went into the great medieval windows of York Minster.”
The Green is triangular, defined by three roads. This side here shows York Road (B1224) where you can see the profile of St Stephen’s Church tower – the building itself is set well back from the road.
This is a great vantage point to see further afield. As the notice says, the church has a trig point marking it 33.5m above sea level and you can see for miles on a clear day.
This was a morning for quick sketches so we moved along to Front Street to sketch what used to be the Wesleyan Chapel; it’s now private flats.
Whilst looking up some history of Acomb, I came across a blog ‘Acomb – York Stories’ which although written in 2006 has received comments and Acomb anecdotes for over a decade after. It includes a photo of the Chapel in a former life as Ebor Carpets with white-washed brickwork.
Just time to sign off with the exciting news that a set of 60cm size limited edition prints of all four of my Front Street Acomb drawings are hot-off-the-press ready to buy from my Esty shop which can be reached via my website here. Only nine prints available of the 90cm size – please get in touch if you would like to place an order.
Thanks for reading,