Holme on Spalding Moor (also known as Holme-upon-Spalding-Moor) is a large village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is situated approximately 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Howden and 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Market Weighton. It lies on the A163 road where it joins the A164 road.
In terms of major cities, the village is closest to York which is just under 20 miles (32 km) away to the west, while Hull 3 miles further to the east. The civil parish is formed by the village of Holme on Spalding Moor and the hamlets of Bursea, Hasholme, Tollingham and Welhambridge. According to the 2011 UK census, Holme on Spalding Moor parish had a population of 3,172, an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 2,948.
In 1974 most of what had been the East Riding of Yorkshire was joined with the northern part of Lincolnshire to became a new English county named Humberside. The urban and rural districts of the former counties were abolished and Humberside was divided into non-metropolitan districts. The new organization did not meet with the pleasure of the local citizenry and Humberside was wound up in 1996. The area north of the River Humber was separated into two "unitary authorities"—Kingston-upon-Hull covering the former City of Hull and its closest environs, and the less urban section which, once again, named itself the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Holme-on-Spalding-Moor village is named for its location on the Spalding Moor. In very early censuses of England (before the 16th century) the village was sometimes listed as Holme, Spalding Moor, Yorkshire, though there is little evidence of any other towns scattered across the moor at that or any time. The word Holme is Danish of origin and means island.
Spalding Moor was a marsh, dominated by a single hill which consists of Keuper marl; on the hill a small church was built in the 13th century. The village was built on the holme around the church, hence the name. Spalding Moor now is lightly cultivated and has been largely tamed.
Through the 17th and 18th centuries, the main occupation for people in the village was growing and dressing hemp. This gave rise to it sometimes been referred to as "Hemp-Holme".
In 1823, Holme-on-Spalding-Moor was in the Wapentake of Harthill. Baines' History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County of York records the alternative village name of "Hemp Holme", taken from the parish' former cultivation of hemp. A bed of gypsum was recorded in which ammonites were found. The church stands in an elevated position, on which is also sited a beacon, which gave its name of Holme Beacon to this contemporary part of Harthill Wapentake. The parish church and rectory was in the patronage of St John's College, Cambridge. There were two chapels, one Roman Catholic, the other, Methodist. Local landowners allotted land (cow-gates), for the personal use of their labourers. Population at the time was 1318. Occupations included twenty-three farmers and yeomen, three blacksmiths, two wheelwrights, three shoemakers, four shopkeepers, two coal dealers, two corn millers, a tailor, a butcher, a joiner, a bricklayer, and an ornamental plasterer. There were the landlords of The New Inn, The Hare and Hounds, The Sun, and The Blacksmiths' public houses. A carrier operated between the village and Market Weighton on Wednesdays, and Howden on Saturdays. Within the parish lived a banker, a steward to Lady Stourton [Mary Langdale], Charles Langdale at the Hall, a gentleman and a gentlewoman, a surgeon, and the parish rector. Baines records a traditional belief that a cell for two monks was founded at Welham Bridge on the edge of Spalding Moor by vavasours or constables. One monk was charged with guiding people over wasteland, the other praying for the safety of travellers.
The moor was the site of a Royal Air Force station, RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor, which was active during the Second World War and for several years thereafter as a bomber facility, being officially closed in 1954 and transferred to the U.S. Air Force. The USAF moved out in 1957, and the field was sold to a private firm.
It continued in private hands until 1984, when its last tenant, British Aerospace, moved out. It was in a rather dilapidated condition by that time, and upon its closing several of the more notable buildings were destroyed and the runways removed. The hangars and several other buildings remain and are used by a variety of industrial and agricultural tenants, though all are in various states of disrepair.