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The Ancient Parish of COXWOLD

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"COXWOLD, a parish in the wapentake of Birdforth; 9 miles SE. of Thirsk. A pleasant village situate on an eminence; at the entrance into the town from the West stands Shandy Hall, where Sterne resided seven years, and in which he wrote Tristram Shandy and other works. The church is an elegant structure, dedicated to St. Michael (see Churches for photograph) and of a very ancient date, supposed to have been built about the year 700. The tower is octagonal, and the chancel was rebuilt in the year 1777, by Henry Earl of Fauconberg. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Earl of Fauconberg. Here is a Free School which was endowed by Sir John Hart, Knight, alderman, citizen, and grocer of the city of London, wherein he provided competent maintenance and a stipend for one schoolmaster and one usher, dated 1600, salary 32.

Here is also a neat Hospital founded in 1696 by Thomas, Earl of Fauconberg, for ten poor men; who are provided with blue coats every two years, with an annual stipend, and 5L. a year laid out in coals for their use; also another Hospital for eight poor women, who each receive 40s. and eight bushels of coals annually, and five yards of cloth every two years. This was also founded by one of the Fauconberg family, but at what time is unknown. In 1760, the facetious Laurence Sterne was presented to this curacy by Lord Fauconberg.

In the church are several monuments for the noble family of Belayse, the most elegant of which is that for the Right Honourable Thomas Belayse. Earl of Fauconberg, (in beautiful statuary) who died the 31st of December, 1710, aged 72; the most ancient, is one for Sir William Belayse, dated 14th of April, 1603, and at the bottom is wrote

"Thomas Browne dud carve this tome
Himself alone of Hesselwood stone."
Population, 348."

Information on the following places in this Parish is contained on a supplementary page.

  • Angram Grange
  • Baxby
  • Birdforth
  • Byland
  • Byland Membris
  • Hollin Hill
  • Newburgh
  • Oulston
  • Thornton
  • Thornton On The Hill
  • Wildon Grange
  • Yearsley
  • Yearsley Burton

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. 2010]

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