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SAXTON

SAXTON, a parish-town, in the wapentake of Barkston-Ash, liberty of Pontefract; 4 miles from Tadcaster, 9 from Ferrybridge, 11 from Pontefract, 14 from York. Pop. including Scarthingwell, 378, which being united, form a township. The Church is a perpetual curacy, dedicated to All-Saints (see Churches for photograph), in the deanry of the Ainsty, value, p.r. !£72. 10s. Patron, Richard O. Gascoigne, Esq.

In the church yard of this village were interred, the bodies of many of those unfortunate people, slain is the memorable battle of Towton, March 29, 1461; the Earl of Northumberland, it is said, reached York to die. Leland says, Westmorland was interred in the Church of Saxton, where, however, he has no distinguishable memorials. Clifford, according to the tradition of his family, was tumbled into a pit with a promiscuous heap of dead bodies. Lord Dacre, it appears, had a more honourable burial, as Leland says, he lay in a "meane tomb." This tomb is on the north side of the church yard, now much broken and defaced, and the inscription illegible. When Glover made his visitation in 1585, 124 years after the battle, he was told that "Lord Dacres was slayne by a boy at Towton field, which boy shot him out of a burtree, when he had unclasped his helmet to drink a cup of wyne, in revenge of his father, whom the said Lord had slayne before, which tree hath beene remarkable ever since by the inhabitants, and decayed within this few years. The place where he was slayne is called the North Acres, whereupon they have this rhyme:-


"The Lord of Dacres
Was slayne in the North Acres."

On a part of the field, most remote from Saxton, Richard III. began a Chapel, in order to pray for the slain, but the completion was prevented by his death. At a very small distance from the field of battle, and on the bank of the Cock, stands the antique and diminutive Chapel of Leod or Lede. This was one of the seats of the ancient family De Tyas, styling themselves in Latin, Teutonici, five of whose tombs still remain in the Chapel, engravings of which are given in Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete. --Drake.

[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]