The Village of Thixendale

Mediaeval


Thixendale was mentioned as Sixtedale/Sixtendale/Xistendale in the 1086 Domesday book.

The landscape changed a lot in the 9th-10th centuries. Settlement became concentrated in villages and landholdings were reorganised into neat patterns. New field systems were in place before the Norman conquest. Fields were laid out in a ridge and furrow arrangement, and every villager had a number of strips spread around the available land. Thixendale parish became the largest of the five townships under Wharram Percy.

There are references in 1440 to a chapel dedicated to St. Stephen serving Thixendale and Raisthorpe. Its location is not known, but may have been at the west end because of references to ‘Chapel Garth’ in 1573. The main church was still at Wharram Percy, so the chapel appears to be for the use of the elderly and infirm. Declining congregations Wharram Percy resulted in the chapel’s closure in 1546.

Much of the land came into the ownership of the church. St. Mary’s Abbey in York, and Kirkham Abbey owned large areas. Eventually two thirds of Thixendale was owned by the church. The church wanted to consolidate the strips to build up blocks of land for sheep. This tended to squeeze out the villagers and resulted in large monastic sheepwalks, at the loss of the townships of Wharram Percy, Towthorpe, Burdale and Raisthorpe. Thixendale would most likely have gone the same way but for the death of William Vessey, who was in the process of buying up all the neigbouring holdings.