In the quiet, attractive, rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds about 10 miles east of Malton is the small village of Helperthorpe. The population in the 1911 Census was 156 people in 29 families; there were 86males of all ages. The road through the village keeps to the valley bottom close to the beck, the Gipsey Race, which flows through the long village green amongst its mature beech and chestnut trees.

St. Peter's Parish Church is on the hillside above the village, approached along a narrow lane. It was rebuilt in the mid 1870s by the noted Victorian architect George Edmund Street, who worked on many of the Wolds churches but is particularly known as the architect of the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London. The nave of St. Peter's has a richly-painted panelled ceiling.

Photo: Norman Thorpe

There is no War Memorial in the village, but in St. Peter's there is a Roll of Honour naming 18 men of Helperthorpe who all returned from the Great War. This Roll is in a glazed wooden frame, 12 inches wide and 18 inches high, on the south wall of the nave near the pulpit. Unusually, it indicates those who were gassed, wounded, or captured.

1914     1919

and in thankful memory of the
safe return of all the men of
Helperthorpe who served King
and Country in the Great War

1914 ARTHUR BROWN Wag. Reserve A.S.C.
GEORGE COOPER 5th. Yorkshire Regt. (G)
JAMES HESP Royal Garrison Artillery
MARK HESP Coldstream Guards
1915 CHARLES BEAVIS 3rd East Yorks. Regt. (C)
TOM BROWN Royal Field Artillery
GEORGE GAMBLE 6th East Yorkshire Regt
PERCY GARROD 3rd E. Yorks. Regt. (W.G)
WM. SUMMERSGILL Royal Field Artillery (W)
HENRY WHITEHEAD R.G.A. (Signaller) (G)
1916 FRED WALKER A.S.C. (Chauffeur)
ERNEST WHITEHEAD Royal Field Artillery
JOHN YOUNG Royal Engineers (Sapper)
1917 NEWSAM W. COOPER Home Service
1918 HAROLD PEASE 3rd Yorkshire Regiment
JAMES W. SELLER Machine Gun Corps
GEORGE ROBT. SELLER Royal Field Artillery

G = gassed   W = wounded   C = captured

FRANCIS G. RILEY M.A., Camb., Vicar.

Sons of this place, in future be it said
That you are worthy of th'heroic dead
They fought, they bled, that we who live may reap
A richer harvest, ere we fall asleep.


It has been suggested to us a number of times that the Thankful Villages had no men who died in the Great War because they were serving in safe places away from the action. We have looked at this before in the sub-pages for Nether-Kellet and Maplebeck. The Roll of Honour at Helperthorpe throws additional light on this question: about a third of the men were casualties or captured. You cannot be gassed, wounded, or made prisoner unless you are on the battlefield. Helperthorpe's Roll of Honour gives a clear 'NO'.

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