"CAWOOD, A village, once a market-town, in the parish of its name, is in the lower division of Barkston-Ash wapentake, West Riding, about 182 miles from London, 9.5 miles from York, and 5 n. 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. This place was formerly the residence of the archbishops of York, having been given by King Athelstan to Wulstan, the fifteenth archbishop; and here the prelates had a magnificent palace, in which Cardinal Wolsey was arrested by the Earl of Northumberland, on a charge of high treason. Since the parliamentary war, during which the palace was partly demolished, it was abandoned by the archbishops, and but few vestiges of it now remain, the principal of which is the great gateway. The chief consequence attached to Cawood now is the sessions, which are held every six months, by the archbishop of York and magistrates, for the trial of felons. The quarter sessions for the liberty of Cawood, Wistow and Otley are likewise held here, and a manorial court under the archbishop occasionally. The trade of the place is very trifling, and its only manufacture is that of course bagging for hops and nails. The places of worship are the parish church, dedicated to All Saints, and a chapel for Wesleyan methodists. The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Dean of Ripon: the Rev. Henry Smith is the present curate. The charities are a free school, with a small endowment called 'Duffield's Charity,' and alm-houses for four aged persons.
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 streets 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 be flogged to death. The population of the parish, by the census taken in 1821, was 1,127, and, in 1831, 1,173."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]