The Village of Thixendale

17th/18th Century

The 1670 Hearth tax listed 18 houses in Thixendale.

With the dissolution of the monasteries, all of the land was grabbed by the Crown, which then proceeded to sell it off. Speculators bought land and split it up for sale in smaller portions.

Much of the local land became consolidated into large estates. This had the effect of further depopulating the villages and the lands were grassed over for sheep.

In time, sheep became less profitable. There were failed attempts at ploughing the land, but bad land management led to disuse.

As far as Thixendale is concerned, the Sykes family of Sledmere bought up land and started to improve it. Fields were enclosed and laid out more or less as we see them today with new brick-built farmhouses erected in their midst. High Barns were erected (basically manure factories) where intensively reared cattle were wintered. The resultant manure was used to fertilise the thin chalk soils.

Also see Thixendale under the Sledmere Estate

Two other features appeared in the landscape at this time – the chalk pit and the dew pond. Chalk pits were partly for building materials, but were also used as lime pits where chalk was burned to provide a top dressing for crops. The dew pits were artificially created at the corner of a field to provide drinking water for stock grazing on stubble or turnip tops. The dew pits can still be seen, and the chalk pits are now used as landfill sites.

William Hunter of Thixendale

(Thanks to Gillian Deighton)

In October 1619 Robert Hunter, Katherine and their daughter Susanna Hunter all died in Huggate. In Katherine’s Will she leaves her two sons, William age 8yrs and Robert age 18mnths to their Grandfather William Hunter of Thixendale. Their daughter Elizabeth age 12yrs went to live with her Uncle William Ostiby (Oxtoby) in Tibthorpe. I presume that William Hunter was involved in farming in Thixendale, but the Parish Records have not stood the passage of time very well!. I visited your beautiful but remote village on a rainy summer day and can only imagine what it must have been like back in 1619 for two orphaned boys arriving there.

Old Sabres found in Wolds Shed

(Thanks to Lynne Boyes)

Two 18th century cavalry sabres have been unearthed by a Thixendale blacksmith while he was cleaning out a farm outbuilding. Harry Coates discovered the sabres inside a battered tea chest in a building he was cleaning out for a friend. They have been preserved in excellent condition by their scabbards, which we encrusted in rust. The sabres are believed to be of the type used by light cavalry troupers between 1796 and 1820. If this is so, then it is highly likely that the sabres belonged to troupers in the Yorkshire and Wolds Yeomanry, mustered by Sir Christopher Sykes of Sledmere. Investigations since the discovery of the two sabres been unable to trace the exact owners of the weapons.