History & Daily Life

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History & Daily Life 2017-03-27T16:28:29+00:00

The ancient village of Whixley lies on Rudgate, the old Roman road along which the Roman “Hispania” Legion would have marched to nearby Isurium (Aldborough).

To the Normans it was Cucheslaga but by the 14th century it was called Quixley after the Lord of the Manor.

For many years Whixley was famous for cherries which were originally cultivated by the friars from the Priory of Knaresborough, and in later times were sold in London at Covent Garden. A great day of celebration was the annual Whixley Cherry Feast held on the first Sunday in August, The word Feast meant “festival” rather than the scoffing of huge amounts of the fruit.

Many of the houses in Whixley are a reminder of these times with Cherry House, Cherry Cottage, Cherry Tree Farm and many others.

In the 17th century the Tancred family replaced the Quixleys and became Lords of the Manor, living at Whixley Hall. The last of the line was Christopher Tancred whose portrait hangs in Christ’s College, Cambridge. A stone plaque on the Park Wall commemorates Christopher first having a paling fence around the Park in 1710 and the Park wall being finished in1744, the Park to be for ever stocked with 40 deer. Christopher was quite a character and there are many stories about him. His sarcophagus can be seen in the Church of the Ascension.

The Tancred estate was bought by the West Riding County Council in 1920 and, amid much controversy, four good farms were split up into 50 acre smallholdings to provide a living for men returning from military service in the First World War. The living of the four evicted farmers does not seem to have been given much consideration.

Today, under North Yorkshire County Council, most of these small farm houses have been sold and the land is being absorbed into larger land-ownerships, as it was 100 years ago.

In 1905 a hospital was opened on the hill-top south of Whixley. It was known as the Inebriates Reformatory but it seems to have rapidly become a dumping ground for orphans, waifs and strays for whom society could find no other place and eventually it became a mental hospital. Apart from being displaced, many of the “patients” had little wrong with them and were allowed out to help on farms at harvest time. They were known locally as the “Nibs”, short for Inebriates. Many of them lie in unmarked and forgotten graves in the church yard. The hospital closed in 1993 and the site now forms the attractive residential development of Whixley Gate.

The Church of the Ascension has looked over Whixley for over 1,000 years. Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, the Church was burned and destroyed by marauding “Reivers” from the Scottish borders in the 13th & 14th centuries. The present church was rebuilt in the 14th century. Only the font and one window remain of the earlier Norman church building.

Today the best known establishment in Whixley is probably The Anchor, a friendly and homely pub serving good food and locally brewed beers. A warm welcome from Nyk and Victoria is assured.

The Village Hall, built in 1935 on the initiative of the W.I. is much used and is the home of Whixley Badminton Club. The Hall hosts, dances, parties, quiz nights, regular whist drives and bingo as well as the meetings of the Parish Council, W.I. Toddler Group and weekly lunches for Age Concern. It also stages the annual Whixley Pantomime.

With a well equipped kitchen, a cosy Supper Room, a stage and the main hall, the Village Hall is the ideal location for Village and private functions.

Whixley is also proud to be home to Johnson’s Nurseries, probably the largest wholesale nursery business in the U.K.

There are many activities in which the active resident can take part.

As well as those mentioned above, Whixley has a thriving Cricket Club with two teams playing in the Wetherby League. Ladies and Juniors are always welcome. Bellringers and Choristers meet at the Church for practice. It is hoped soon to start a local history society and possibly a gardening club. Volunteers are always needed to help run the Village Hall and various community activities.

Whixley Village Shop was originally opened as a Community Venture and is now run by Helen Tessyman who also runs the shop in Marton cum Grafton. The shop itself is owned by the Parish Council. The shop stocks Voakes Pies, made in Whixley, and a wide range of groceries and supplies including fruit, vegetables, bread and milk, ice cream, and newspapers as well as a selection wines and beers and soft drinks. Daily newspapers can be ordered and collected from the shop.

Welcome to Whixley.