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The parish of Bempton is situated in what was once the wapentake of Dickering, part of the historical East Riding of Yorkshire (see maps in Introduction).

Only one estate was recorded for Bempton in Domesday, the remaining land and Newsham being included in the entry for Buckton. In 1284-5 all three townships were held by various tenants of the Canterbury, Brus and Gant fees and the honor of Chester.

The capital manor of Bempton was held in the 13th century by the Buckton family before passing through numerous families. A second manor and other land in Bempton also changed hands several times, the St. Quintin family being holders in the early 15th and the Constables of Flamborough in the 16th century. By this time Newsham was considered a manor and its tithes, together with those of Bempton, belonged to Bridlington priory. Following the Dissolution, in 1538 and 1568 Bempton, Newsham and Speeton were leased to Robert Puckering, the crown’s bailiff at Flamborough.

Bempton village and cliffs
old chalk brick house, Bempton, 2018
site of medieval Newsham, 2018
The Green, Bempton, 2018

The church at Bempton is dedicated to St. Michael. It was built on the site of a Saxon church which was destroyed by William the Conqueror in 1070. The nave dates back to the early 13th century, as does the font. The octagonal tower is 14th century and one of its two bells is inscribed “1371 in memory of John de Thwing”, who was the prior of Bridlington at the time and is better known as St. John of Bridlington. The chancel and south porch were added much later, in the 19th century. Major restorations took place in 1870 and 1906.

St. Michael's church, 2018
St. Michael's church font, 2018
St. Michael's church pews, 2018
St. Michael's church, 2018

Today Bempton is famous for is cliffs, which are some of the highest in England and are a nature reserve where seabirds – principally herring gulls, gannets, puffins, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars and shags – are able to breed under the protection of the RSPB.

Bempton cliffs, 2022
Gannets at Bempton cliffs, 2022
Spot the puffin!
Bempton cliffs, 2022

Victoria History of the County of York, East Riding, vol. 2, pp.10-13 (not online)
St. Michael’s church: