"CAWOOD, a village, which had once a market, in the parish of its name, it is in the lower division of Barkston Ash wapentake, west riding, about 182 miles from London and 5 from Selby, which latter is the nearest post town. The town is situated on the banks of the navigable river Ouse, over which it has a ferry, and about one mile, from the junction of the Wharf with that river. The trade of this place is very trifling, and its only manufacture is that of coarse bagging for hops and nails. The chief consequence it enjoys is from the sessions, which are held every six months, by the archbishop of York, and magistrates, for the trial of felonies. The only object exciting interest with the antiquary here are, the remains of Cawood castle, of great antiquity, which was given by Athelstan to the archbishops of York; and it was here that Wolsey was arrested as he was preparing to be publicly enthroned at York. The paces of worship are one church and a Methodist chapel; the minister of the church is the Rev. Christopher Crofts, and the living is in the gift of the Dean of Ripon. The charities are a free grammar school, and Dun's charity, for the maintenance of eight poor children. The market, which used to be held on Wednesdays, is fallen into disuse. The fairs are May 12th and December 19th, for cattle. The last is called 'dog fair,' from a custom still kept up of whipping all the dogs that are found in the street on that day, a sort of hereditary punishment to the animals, one of whom, it is recorded, many centuries since, defiled some sacred vessel, during the celebration of high mass, in the cathedral at York; and, in accordance with the bigotted superstition of the times, it was ordered that all dogs found on that day in the streets of York, and those of the towns within sixty miles round, should he flogged to death. The population, in 1821, was 1,127."
Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29
by Colin Hinson ©2007