A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 3, Ouse and Derwent Wapentake, and Part of Harthill Wapentake. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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The compact parish of Thorganby lies about 8 miles south-east of York on the west bank of the Derwent, and the houses of the village and its hamlet of West Cottingwith are strung out along the dry margin of the flood-plain of the river. (fn. 1) Thorganby was probably a Scandinavian settlement but West Cottingwith was Anglian. (fn. 2) The parish covers 2,938 a., of which West Cottingwith accounts for 1,494 a. (fn. 3) A vill called Crossum was mentioned, usually in association with West Cottingwith, from the late 12th to the early 14th century, and, as 'Gressone', in 1452. (fn. 4) Its location is not known but it may have given its name to Crossholmes close, mentioned in 1671. (fn. 5)
Thorganby lies just to the south of the Escrick moraine and is mostly composed of outwash sand and clay. (fn. 6) Much of the parish, including the area west of the villages where the small open fields were situated, lies at a height of only 25 ft. to 50 ft. above sea-level. Around the margins of the parish, particularly in the north and near the Derwent in the east, large areas are lower still. Ings on the riverside alluvium and commons in the west of the parish formerly occupied much of the lower ground. Most of the eastern parish boundary is formed by the Derwent; a small part of the parish projects beyond the present course of the river as far as the old course further east. Elsewhere the parish and township boundaries mostly follow dikes, notably Keldcarrs drain on the north and west.
Flooding from the river and the dikes has always threatened the lower parts of the parish. Failure to repair and cleanse dikes allegedly caused flooding at Thorganby in 1343 (fn. 7) and on the road to Escrick in 1371. (fn. 8) The parish maintained the dikes in the 18th and 19th centuries, repairing banks and bridges, including Seam bridge in the village street, and regulating sluices which let drainage water into the river. (fn. 9) At inclosure in 1817 eight drains were laid out, to be cleansed twice a year by the constables at the expense of landowners and occupiers. (fn. 10)
The road on which the two villages lie runs northwards to Wheldrake and southwards to Skipwith. From West Cottingwith village Ings Lane led to the riverside meadows and Ferry Lane down to a crossing place providing a link with East Cottingwith. The ferry was mentioned in 1706 (fn. 11) and remained in use until the 1950s. (fn. 12) North Hills bridge, leading to Thorganby's extension beyond the new course of the river, was first mentioned in 1691. (fn. 13) A wooden drawbridge was replaced by a fixed bridge c. 1960. (fn. 14) Several minor roads lead into the fields, one of them, now Southmoor Road, formerly continuing to Escrick. The Derwent Valley Light Railway, established in 1912, ran across the parish and there were two stations, about ¾ mile west of the villages. (fn. 15) The line was closed for passenger traffic in 1926 (fn. 16) and for goods in 1965, (fn. 17) and the track has been lifted.
The houses and cottages of both villages are all of brick and date mostly from the late 18th and 19th centuries. There are few 20th-century buildings apart from six council houses. The hall and the church stand in the centre of Thorganby. In the south of the village is Hedley House, an ornate building of red brick with stone quoins and dressings, dated 1845. Three or four alehouses were licensed in the parish in the 1750s and two later. (fn. 18) The Hare and Hounds inn stood in the centre of Thorganby village in the 1840s and 1850s but had closed by 1872. (fn. 19) A building for a village institute was given by Sir John Dunnington-Jefferson, Bt., in 1921 and used until c. 1970, when farm buildings were converted into a village hall by Mr. J. B. Eastwood. (fn. 20)
West Cottingwith is larger and more densely built-up, but it has few buildings of note. The Old Hall stands in Ings Lane. The Ferry House or Ferry Boat inn existed by 1823 and stands near the river. (fn. 21) The Smith's Arms, in the village street, was so-called in the 1840s and 1850s, but had become the Jefferson's Arms by 1872. (fn. 22)
The isolated farm-houses in the parish apparently all date from after the inclosure of 1817, although there were already five outlying houses in Thorganby township in that year, four of them on the sites of present farms. (fn. 23) Common, Grange East, and Woodfield Farms all have wheelhouses. Thicket Priory, with its extensive parkland, occupies the northeastern corner of the parish. (fn. 24) The remains of a small motte, known as Giant Hill, stand near the river in the south of the parish, opposite Ellerton village.
In 1829 48 inhabitants formed the Thorganby with West Cottingwith Association for the Prosecution of Felons. It existed until 1843, when it was merged with a similar York-based society. (fn. 25)
In 1379 there were 88 poll-tax payers in Thorganby and West Cottingwith. (fn. 26) In 1672 76 households were recorded in the hearth-tax assessment, of which 26 were discharged from paying. Of the 20 chargeable households in Thorganby 14 had one hearth, 3 had 2, and the others had 3, 4, and 11 hearths, the last presumably the manor-house. Thirty households paid the tax in West Cottingwith, of which 20 had one hearth, 8 had 2, and the others had 3 and 10 hearths, the last again the manor-house. (fn. 27) There were 65 families in the parish in 1743 (fn. 28) and about 60 in 1764. (fn. 29) During the 19th century the population fluctuated. It rose from 201 in 1801 to 403 in 1811, but fell to 342 in 1831, rose to 407 in 1861, and fell to 345 by 1901. (fn. 30) There were 358 inhabitants in 1931, 278 in both 1951 and 1961, and 237 in 1971. (fn. 31)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1086 there was one estate of 3 carucates at Thorganby held by Ralph Paynel. It had been held before the Conquest by Merleswain. (fn. 32) The overlordship may have passed to William de Vescy by 1166 (fn. 33) and in 1284–5 John de Vescy was overlord of all but 2 bovates. (fn. 34) By 1329, however, the overlordship had passed to Geoffrey Lutterell (fn. 35) and in 1346 18 bovates were held of the Lutterell fee. (fn. 36) Nothing more is known of the overlordship. A mesne lordship may have been held by Simon of Stonegrave in John's reign, (fn. 37) and in 1284–5 'the heirs of Stonegrave' were mesne lords. Another mesne lordship was held by the Playce family. In 1284–5 'the heirs of W. Playce' held an intermediate lordship between Vescy and Stonegrave, (fn. 38) and in 1329 it was held by William de Playce. (fn. 39) Neither of the mesne lordships has been traced further.
The demesne lord in 1228 may have been Robert de Meynell, who then claimed the advowson. (fn. 40) He was apparently succeeded by Hubert de Vaux. Hubert's daughter Maud married Thomas de Multon who, in the mid 13th century, granted THORGANBY manor to William de Breuse. (fn. 41) Richard de Breuse was in dispute over the manor in 1267–8 (fn. 42) and held rights of free warren in Thorganby in 1275–6. (fn. 43) Thomas de Multon's widow Maud was nevertheless in possession of 22 bovates in 1284–5 (fn. 44) and her son, another Thomas, died seised of the manor in 1295. (fn. 45) It may have been his son, also Thomas, who before 1309 enfeoffed Ralph of Maunby of the manor, (fn. 46) and in 1316 Ralph was returned as lord of the township. (fn. 47)
The manor passed to the Saltmarsh family in 1336 on the marriage of Ellen, daughter and heir of Thomas of Maunby, with Edward of Saltmarsh. (fn. 48) In 1346 the Saltmarshes held 14 bovates in Thorganby. (fn. 49) Edward Saltmarsh (d. 1482) was succeeded by his son John, and another Edward Saltmarsh (d. 1548) by his grandson Thomas. From Robert (d. 1603) son of Thomas Saltmarsh the manor passed to Robert's son Thomas, (fn. 50) and it was sold in 1616 by Philip Saltmarsh to Sir James Altham, William Austin, and others. (fn. 51) It was subsequently divided and in 1641–2 Arthur Annesley, later Viscount Valentia, bought half from Richard Vaughan, earl of Carbury, and half from Richard Taylor and John White. (fn. 52) It was held by the Annesleys (fn. 53) until Arthur Annesley sold it to Thomas Bradford in 1801, when it comprised 1,039 a. (fn. 54)
Bradford sold the manorial estate in separate lots between 1802 and 1810. (fn. 55) The largest holding, of 243 a., went in 1802 to John Dunnington, (fn. 56) whose family had held a small estate in Thorganby since, it is said, 1685. (fn. 57) The manorial rights and 69 a. went to Thomas Kendall in 1810 (fn. 58) and he sold them in 1815 to John Dunnington, (fn. 59) who had taken the additional name Jefferson in 1812 on inheriting the property of a distant relative, Robert Jefferson (d. 1811). (fn. 60) The Dunnington-Jeffersons subsequently increased their holding in Thorganby, (fn. 61) and retained it until 1964, when Sir John Dunnington-Jefferson, Bt., sold it, then comprising 3,080 a. in Thorganby and West Cottingwith, to Mr. J. B. Eastwood, (fn. 62) who was the owner in 1972.
The Saltmarsh family had a manor-house at Thorganby in the mid 16th century (fn. 63) and in 1672 a house there had eleven hearths. (fn. 64) Both the Old Hall in West Cottingwith and Thorganby Hall opposite the church existed in 1772. (fn. 65) The Old Hall, a square two-storeyed brick building of early-18th-century date, may have passed to John Dunnington, the owner in 1817, when he inherited the Jefferson estates in 1812. (fn. 66) Thorganby Hall was probably the manor-house of the Annesleys and it may have been the 'hall house' sold in 1802 by Thomas Bradford to John Dunnington, (fn. 67) whose son owned it in 1817. (fn. 68) The present house was built in 1822, a date which appears on both the north and south fronts, together with the arms of the Dunnington and Jefferson families. The hall, built of grey brick, has a front of three bays, the central one surmounted by a pediment. Outbuildings, which belonged to the earlier house, include stables and a coach-house incorporating a dovecot, (fn. 69) and among the farm buildings are a large barn (fn. 70) and a wheelhouse. After the 1840s, when Thicket Priory became the manor-house, (fn. 71) the hall was usually let to private residents or occupied by the estate steward. (fn. 72)
The largest estate at West Cottingwith in 1086, of 2¾ carucates, was soke of Aughton manor and was held by Niel Fossard of the count of Mortain. (fn. 73) It apparently passed to the Mauleys on the marriage of Isabel of Turnham, granddaughter of Joan Fossard and Robert of Turnham, with Peter de Mauley in the early 13th century; (fn. 74) in 1284–5 the overlordship of the estate was held by another Peter de Mauley. (fn. 75) The Mauley overlordship was last mentioned in 1319. (fn. 76) A mesne lordship was held throughout the 13th century by the Hay family, (fn. 77) and this was also last mentioned in 1319. (fn. 78)
Early demesne tenants of this fee were Roger son of Roger, who founded Thicket priory for Benedictine nuns and endowed it with 4 bovates in Richard I's reign, and Thomas son of Roger, who before 1190 granted a further 4 bovates to the priory. Other gifts to Thicket of a bovate by Picot and of an assart of waste by Geoffrey of Fitling and Hugh of Bolton, together with a toft in Crossum, were confirmed in 1204. (fn. 79) In 1231 and 1284–5 the priory held 10 bovates of the Mauley fee. (fn. 80) Other land was granted to the priory from the Vescy fee in 1319, (fn. 81) and in 1535 Thicket's estate in West Cottingwith was worth nearly £5. It also had an estate worth £1 in Thorganby. (fn. 82) At its dissolution the priory included a church, chapter-house, cloisters, hall, two parlours, bakehouse, buttery, kitchen, and various chambers. (fn. 83)
The priory's former estate in Thorganby and West Cottingwith was let by the Crown to William Wytham in 1540, (fn. 84) before being granted in fee to John Aske in 1542. At the same time Aske acquired the former Ellerton priory estate. (fn. 85) In 1596 another John Aske sold his West Cottingwith estate to John Robinson. (fn. 86) Before his death in 1601 Robinson sold the estate to his younger sons Arthur and Henry. (fn. 87) The latter sold it in 1622, part to Robert Ducy and the rest to Humphrey Robinson, (fn. 88) who was the son of John, the eldest son of John Robinson (d. 1601). (fn. 89) Humphrey (d. 1626) was succeeded by his son Richard (fn. 90) and Sir William Ducy sold his father's part to Richard in 1659. (fn. 91) The estate was conveyed to Richard's son, another Richard, the same year (fn. 92) and was held by Humphrey Robinson in the 1680s and in 1718. (fn. 93) It was sometimes described as a grange. (fn. 94) In 1752 Nicholas Robinson (d. 1754) left it to his daughter Sarah, who had married Henry Waite in 1752, (fn. 95) and Waite adopted the additional surname Robinson. In 1760 he sold WEST COTTINGWITH manor and about 450 a. to Emanuel Jefferson. (fn. 96) In 1801 the Revd. Nicholas Waite Robinson sold 23 a. to Robert Jefferson (fn. 97) and in 1803 the remainder of the estate, comprising 220 a., to Joseph Dunnington. (fn. 98) In 1812 John Dunnington succeeded to the Jefferson estates and the land subsequently descended with Thorganby manor. (fn. 99)
A manor-house may have been built by the Robinsons on the site of the former Thicket priory in the earlier 17th century. The capital house of Thicket was mentioned in 1656 (fn. 100) and in 1672 Richard Robinson occupied a house with ten hearths. (fn. 101) About 1720 it was a plain square building with mullioned and transomed windows. (fn. 102) The house was apparently known as Thicket Hall in the later 18th century (fn. 103) and as Thicket Priory in 1803, when it was sold to Joseph Dunnington. (fn. 104) The present Thicket Priory, a rambling red-brick mansion in the Tudor style, was built near by in 1845 by Edward Blore for the Revd. Joseph Dunnington-Jefferson. (fn. 105) It was sold by Sir John Dunnington-Jefferson to the Carmelites in 1955 (fn. 106) and has since been a nunnery.
In 1086 a carucate in West Cottingwith, which had been held before the Conquest by Grim, was in the hands of Erneis de Burun. (fn. 107) The estate evidently passed by 1115–18, like most of Burun's holdings, to Geoffrey son of Pain, and after 1153 to William Trussebut. (fn. 108) After the death of William's son Robert the estate was divided in 1194 between his three sisters, the lands in West Cottingwith passing to Hilary de Builers. (fn. 109) On her death in 1241 the property passed to William de Ros, grandson of Rose, another of the sisters, who was the wife of Everard de Ros. (fn. 110) In 1284–5 Robert de Ros was overlord. (fn. 111) The Ros family was last mentioned in connexion with West Cottingwith in 1309. (fn. 112) An intermediate lordship was held by Simon at the bridge in 1284–5, but nothing more is known of it.
The demesne tenant of the whole carucate in 1284–5 was Ellerton priory, which also held 3 bovates of the Mauley fee and 2 of the Vescy fee. (fn. 113) The prior was returned as lord of the township in 1316 (fn. 114) and in 1535 Ellerton's estate there was worth about £7. The priory also held land in Thorganby worth £1 6s. (fn. 115) Both holdings subsequently descended with the former Thicket priory estate. (fn. 116)
A third Domesday estate in West Cottingwith was a berewick of Thorganby and consisted of 10 bovates, held in 1086 by Ralph Paynel. (fn. 117) The overlordship of 5 bovates descended, like Thorganby, to John de Vescy and in 1284–5 mesne lordships were held under him by Maud de Vaux (referred to as 'de Multon'), the heirs of Stonegrave, and the heirs of Playce. John of Allerthorpe was demesne lord of these 5 bovates, although one of them had been held since c. 1235 by St. Mary's abbey, York, with whom John was disputing the title. (fn. 118) John's son Thomas granted 2 bovates to Thicket priory in 1319. (fn. 119)
The overlordship of the other 5 bovates had passed to Robert de Percy by 1284–5, when the demesne lord was Thomas in the willows (in Sallicibus). Ellerton priory, however, had held 2 of Thomas's 5 bovates since c. 1275 (fn. 120) and it may later have acquired the remainder.
St. Mary's abbey held 3 bovates in West Cottingwith in 1284–5. (fn. 121) They were retained until the Dissolution (fn. 122) and in 1582 the Crown let a bovate of former abbey land to Edward Batley. (fn. 123) In 1586 Robert Atkinson held former abbey property there and in Thorganby. (fn. 124) In 1284–5 a bovate in West Cottingwith was held by the chapter of York. (fn. 125) Nunburnholme priory had land in West Cottingwith worth about 1s. in 1535. (fn. 126) It was let by the Crown on several occasions in the later 16th century, the last being 1587, when it went to Christopher Ridley. (fn. 127) Nothing more is known of these three estates.
The tithes were held by Ellerton priory from 1351 until the Dissolution. (fn. 128) The priory let tithes in West Cottingwith to William Gibson in 1505 and in Thorganby to Edward Saltmarsh in 1533. (fn. 129) The tithes were let by the Crown on several occasions in the later 16th and early 17th centuries, (fn. 130) but by 1609 they were held in fee by George Stable. He sold them that year to Dakins Constable, (fn. 131) who in turn sold them in 1616 to Sir James Altham, William Austin, and others, (fn. 132) and they subsequently descended with Thorganby manor. (fn. 133)
The impropriators let the great tithes of Thorganby, together with a tithe barn, to Edward Saltmarsh in 1621. (fn. 134) The tithes of the whole parish were worth £80 in 1650. (fn. 135) For much of the 18th century the impropriators were members of the Baldwin family, apparently as lessees of the Annesleys. (fn. 136) By 1801 many tithes in Thorganby had been commuted for a total rent-charge of about £21, (fn. 137) and in 1802– 10 the tithes of the manorial estate were extinguished. (fn. 138) In 1785 and 1801 the West Cottingwith tithes were held at lease by John Dunnington, in the latter year for £110, (fn. 139) and at inclosure in 1817 his son received 269 a. for them. Part of Thicket Hall farm, as former demesne of Thicket priory, was tithe-free in 1817. (fn. 140)
Thorganby township had land for two ploughs in 1086, when Ralph Paynel had one plough and four villeins had another. There was woodland a league long and half a league broad. The estate had decreased in value from £1 before the Conquest to 12s. (fn. 141) Reclamation of woodland and waste doubtless went on in the 12th and 13th centuries. Some of the reclaimed land was reckoned in acres rather than bovates and amounted to 45 a. in 1295, all held by free tenants. (fn. 142) Other assarted land took the form of culture, some of which later became part of the open fields while others remained separate. A large area of irregularly shaped closes, called Dunstalls in 1548, (fn. 143) in the north-west of the township and a smaller area called Hall closes in the south-east may have originated as culture. So may other grounds which in 1624 were distinguished from the open fields although apparently divided into strips. (fn. 144) The name Finkle Rudding also suggests an early assart. (fn. 145)
The manor was worth £42 in 1283–4. (fn. 146) In addition to field land and assarts the demesne in 1295 included a small amount of woodland, 19 a. of several pasture, and other pasture called Smithfield. There were also 7 a. of demesne meadow and a tenant held another 5½ a. Rents of bond tenants accounted for nearly £14 and of cottagers for nearly £7. There were also eight freeholders holding 7 bovates and other property for a total rent of about £2 10s. Boon works and renders of hens and eggs were also mentioned. (fn. 147) Services formerly owed to Thicket priory are indicated by rents paid in lieu of two 'sickle boons' in the later 16th century. (fn. 148)
The common fields were first mentioned in 1624, when they were called Wood, Mill, and Middle fields. (fn. 149) Between 1691 and 1785 Middle came to be known as Mickleland field (fn. 150) and in 1802 Wood was alternatively called Little field. (fn. 151) Further inclosures may have been made from the waste in the 17th or 18th century, resulting in a wide belt of regularlyshaped closes which adjoined the common and extended along the western township boundary in 1817. (fn. 152)
Thorganby ings are first mentioned in 1548, together with the Side and Gilde ings. (fn. 153) Meadow land called Hall Bank had been inclosed by 1548 (fn. 154) and in 1817 three closes of that name covered a large area to the north of the ings. Other meadow closes called Pains Bank, adjoining the ings on the south, were mentioned in 1704. (fn. 155) Much attention was paid to the upkeep of the river banks in the ings in the 18th and early 19th centuries. (fn. 156) Stinted pasturage at the rate of one or two beasts to the acre was allowed on the aftermath there in the 18th century. (fn. 157)
The remaining open fields, meadows, and commons in Thorganby, amounting to over 300 a., were inclosed in 1817 (fn. 158) under an Act of 1810. (fn. 159) Allotments totalling 57 a. were made from Mill field, 43 a. from Mickleland field, 37 a. from Wood field, 96 a. from the common, 63 a. from the ings, and 33 a. from more than one area. John Dunnington-Jefferson, lord of the manor, received 140 a. and there were 3 allotments of 20–40 a., 6 of 10–19 a., and 13 of under 10 a.
Of the three estates at West Cottingwith in 1086 two, those of Ralph Paynel and Erneis de Burun, were waste. They had land for a plough and half a plough respectively and Burun's estate contained woodland two furlongs long and two broad. The count of Mortain's estate had land for five ploughs, although six sokemen and one bordar had only one plough there. (fn. 160)
Reclamation of the waste had begun by 1204, when the king confirmed a grant to Thicket priory of an assart in the township. (fn. 161) In the 13th century a cultura divided into strips lay in West field and another in single ownership lay in or near Dale field; (fn. 162) 'Setecoppe' in West field, 'Skelmerplat', and Lundcroft were other arable plots containing strips. (fn. 163) A 14-acre close called 'Alleridding', mentioned in 1542, (fn. 164) and a piece of open-field land called 'wadgh rudding' in 1652 (fn. 165) also indicate early reclamation. There was apparently also some reclaimed land of the kind usually reckoned in acres, and known as forland, for the former Ellerton priory estate included 'forby land' in 1542. (fn. 166) A 2-acre holding in the 13th century carried pasture rights for 20 sheep in the remaining waste. (fn. 167)
Most of the woodland had apparently been cleared by 1542, when the grant of the Thicket priory estate to John Aske included £2 for the repair of buildings because of the scarcity of trees in the neighbourhood. The open-field area by then included Westow, later West How, field. Much of the reclaimed land was then held in severalty; about 100 a. of the former priory's demesne lay in pasture closes of 2–14 a. each. (fn. 168) Meadow in North Hills was first mentioned in 1540 (fn. 169) and two years later the Thicket estate also included meadow in Little marsh. (fn. 170)
In 1541 the rents of tenants-at-will on the former Thicket estate amounted to about £5 and those of freeholders to about £2. (fn. 171) Much of the former Ellerton priory estate in 1542 was held at lease but two freeholders held a total of 4 bovates. (fn. 172) Former holdings of Thicket priory each paid rents in lieu of four 'sickle boons' in the later 16th century. (fn. 173)
Strips in Scarn Flat were mentioned in the 1650s (fn. 174) and Scarn Flatt field was first recorded in 1665. (fn. 175) The arable area in the 17th century also included closes divided into strips. Such were Park close, which in 1639 contained 'broad lands called Park lands', (fn. 176) and the Open Hacker and Westow close, which both contained strips in 1653. (fn. 177) Communal farming in the closes had ceased by 1817, when they consisted of smaller closes held in severalty. Thus there were then two Park closes, four Hackin closes, and about a dozen West How closes. (fn. 178) Surviving waste land included the common, which was stinted by 1676, when a holding included 3½ beast-gates in it. (fn. 179) In 1777 23 people held a total of 130 gates there. (fn. 180) North and South moors, adjoining the common, were first mentioned in 1715. (fn. 181) A low-lying area called Segg carr in the south-west of the township had been partly inclosed by 1677, when a close there was mentioned, (fn. 182) but 20 'lands' within it were sold in 1688. (fn. 183) By 1817 most of the carr had been divided into half-a-dozen closes. (fn. 184)
A survey of a 468-acre estate in 1777 shows that farms were generally small, only one of the eleven tenants holding over 100 a. Inclosed land accounted for 268 a. There were 150 a. of open-field land, and 52 a. of meadow land, of which 33 a. lay in the ings and 19 a. in North Hills. Seven of the tenants held a total of 53 gates on the common, apparently with no correlation between the size of a holding and the number of gates. (fn. 185)
In 1714 four bylawmen were appointed to regulate the common fields and ings of West Cottingwith. (fn. 186) Their duties continued until 1817, when the remaining common lands were inclosed (fn. 187) under an Act of 1810. (fn. 188) In all, 812 a. were dealt with. Allotments of 47 a. were made from Scarn Flatt field, 107 a. from West field, 48 a. from Dale field, 2 a. from Ling Croft field, 210 a. from the common, 96 a. from North Hills, 60 a. from the ings, 14 a. from South moor, and 4 a. from Segg carr. In addition 233 a. were awarded from two or more areas, and allotments made from West How field and North moor cannot be distinguished. John Dunnington-Jefferson received 250 a. as lord of the manor and 269 a. as impropriator. One man received 70 a. and there were 5 allotments of 20–50 a., 2 of 10–19 a., and 11 of under 10 a.
In 1801 683 a. of the whole parish were under crops, mainly wheat (222 a.), beans (205 a.), and oats (181 a.). (fn. 189) There have usually been 15–20 farmers in the parish in the 19th and 20th centuries. (fn. 190) Of the 20 in 1851 10 held 100–200 a., (fn. 191) and of the same number on the Dunnington-Jefferson estate in 1964 6 held 100–200 a. and 4 over 200 a. (fn. 192) In 1905 there were 1,450 a. of arable and 1,375 a. of grassland, (fn. 193) and in 1965 grassland still covered about half the area of the parish, mostly in the east and north. (fn. 194) There was little woodland in the mid 19th century, apart from a large plantation which covered the former Thorganby common; (fn. 195) after the plantation had been cleared there were only 89 a. of woodland in 1905. (fn. 196)
In 1086 there were eight fisheries at Thorganby. (fn. 197) Thicket priory had a weir at West Cottingwith in 1332, presumably for fishing; along with others it was said to obstruct boats and cause flooding. (fn. 198) In 1337 it was ordered that Thomas of Maunby's weir at Thorganby should be diminished. (fn. 199)
There was a weaver in the parish in 1379. (fn. 200) A brick-maker lived at West Cottingwith in 1718, (fn. 201) but brick-making had apparently ended by the 19th century, when Brick croft (later field) lay west of the village. (fn. 202) At Thorganby Brick close lay north of the church in 1817. (fn. 203) A horse-mill was mentioned at Thorganby in 1295. (fn. 204) There was a windmill on the former Thicket priory estate in 1542 (fn. 205) and a miller lived at West Cottingwith in 1688. (fn. 206) A windmill stood in West field in 1707 (fn. 207) and in Common Lane in 1850. (fn. 208) Between 1889 and 1893 it was converted to steam power, (fn. 209) but milling apparently ended in the 1920s (fn. 210) and the mill has been demolished. The probable site of a windmill in Thorganby is indicated by a mound near the village called Mill hill. (fn. 211)
Except for overseers of the poor each township had its own officers in the 18th and 19th centuries who kept separate accounts. Both Thorganby and West Cottingwith thus had a churchwarden, a constable, and two surveyors of highways. For Thorganby township churchwardens' accounts survive for 1707–18, and 1826– 62, constables' accounts for 1706–1816, and surveyors' accounts for 183 3–64. (fn. 212) The constable accounted for expenditure on the upkeep of drains, bridges, sluices, and roads. Before 1833 the surveyors' expenses were regularly entered in the constables' accounts; after that date most of the surveyors' expenditure was for gravel, 60–70 tons a year in the 1830s and 1840s and twice as much in the 1850s and 1860s. For West Cottingwith churchwardens' accounts survive for 1715–61, 1769–1806, and 1846–64, constables' accounts for 1709–61, 1777–1807, and 1846–64, and surveyors' accounts for ten separate years between 1720 and 1746 and for 1856–8. (fn. 213)
Overseers' accounts survive for 1718–71 and 1825–71, when there were two such officers for the whole parish. (fn. 214) In the 18th century no poorrates were levied, the rent of the poor's estate providing the only income. (fn. 215) Poorhouses were first mentioned in 1738 and there were three of them in 1764, each divided into two apartments. (fn. 216) A select vestry was formed in 1836 but apparently ceased the following year; its minutes survive. (fn. 217) It had 20 members, met twice a month, and was concerned solely with poor-relief. In 1837 the parish joined York poor-law union (fn. 218) and the four cottages then comprising the poorhouses were sold in 1845. (fn. 219) It became part of Escrick rural district in 1894, Derwent rural district in 1935, (fn. 220) and the Selby district of North Yorkshire in 1974.
A church at Thorganby is mentioned in 1228, when Robert de Meynell claimed the advowson. (fn. 221) Presentations to it were made by Richard de Breuse, lord of the manor, in 1268 and 1271. (fn. 222) By 1312, however, Thorganby had come to be regarded as a chapelry of Aughton and in that year the patron of Aughton successfully resisted Ralph of Maunby's claim to present to Thorganby. (fn. 223) Aughton church was appropriated by Ellerton priory by 1351 (fn. 224) and the priory presumably arranged for the cure of Thorganby to be served. In 1442 the inhabitants of Thorganby disputed their liability to contribute towards the repair of the nave at Aughton, (fn. 225) but Thorganby apparently remained a chapelry until the Dissolution. By the later 16th century it was regarded as a separate curacy, (fn. 226) and it so remained until the later 19th century. It was first described as a vicarage in 1872. (fn. 227) In 1967 the benefices of Thorganby and Skipwith were united. (fn. 228)
A grant of the 'advowson' to the archbishop of York in 1558 (fn. 229) can have had little meaning, and in any case it presumably lapsed on the accession of Elizabeth I. The impropriator in 1567 was bound to find a priest at Thorganby (fn. 230) and subsequently the appointment of curates belonged to the impropriators. (fn. 231) After 1872 the advowson of the vicarage belonged to the Dunnington-Jeffersons, and since 1967 they and the Lord Chancellor, as patron of Skipwith, have had alternate turns. (fn. 232)
The chaplain of Thorganby received £4 a year in 1527, (fn. 233) and in 1650 the curate received a stipend of £15 a year from the impropriator. (fn. 234) In 1657 £25 a year was granted to Thorganby by the parliamentary trustees, (fn. 235) but this apparently lapsed at the Restoration and in 1716 and 1727 the £15 stipend was again the sole income. (fn. 236) The stipend was increased to about £26 by 1743, £30 by 1760, and £35 by 1770, and that last sum continued to be paid until at least 1865. (fn. 237) The living was augmented with £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1799 and again in 1827, and by a parliamentary grant of £200 in 1817. (fn. 238) The average yearly net income was £53 in 1829–31. (fn. 239) The benefice was further augmented with £50 a year in both 1867 and 1869, (fn. 240) and in 1914 the net income was £253. (fn. 241)
Chaplains before the Dissolution and curates afterwards may have lived in 'the priest house' at Thorganby, which was let with the rectorial estate in 1582. (fn. 242) In 1743, and probably also in 1764, the curate lived in the school-house. (fn. 243) A parsonage house had been built by 1835 (fn. 244) but in 1839 the curate, Joseph Dunnington-Jefferson, was licensed to live at Thicket Priory, (fn. 245) and he continued to do so until his death in 1880. (fn. 246) The 'old Vicarage', in West Cottingwith, became a private house. (fn. 247) After 1880 the vicar lived first at Thorganby House, a large red-brick 'Tudor' building, and from 1926 until 1967 at Hedley House. Since 1968 the vicar has lived at Skipwith. (fn. 248)
A guild of St. Helen existed in the church and lands formerly belonging to it were granted by the Crown to Francis Barker and Thomas Blackway in 1566. (fn. 249) Other land in Thorganby 'given for a priest in the church there' was granted in 1570 to Hugh Counsell and Robert Pistor. (fn. 250) An obit was established by Edward Saltmarsh in 1531 (fn. 251) and grants of land which formerly supported an obit and three lights were made by the Crown in 1563 and 1566. (fn. 252)
In 1743 Holy Communion was administered four times a year to 40–50 people. (fn. 253) In 1764 there were two services on Sundays and communion was celebrated five times a year. (fn. 254) In 1851 there was an additional service, held in a lecture room. (fn. 255) An assistant curate was employed in the 1860s and 1870s. From 1876 communion was administered at least twelve times a year, generally with about 30 communicants. In 1884, when there were two communion services each month, only about eleven people received. There were then four services each Sunday but by 1894 there were again only two. Communion was administered every Sunday in 1914, (fn. 256) and in 1972 there was always one and sometimes two services each week.
The church of ST. HELEN consists of chancel with north vestry, nave with south porch, and west tower. Except for the tower and chancel arch, the church was entirely rebuilt in the early 18th century. (fn. 257) Little is known of the medieval building. The chancel arch may date from the 14th century. In 1481 Edward Saltmarsh left about £13, together with bricks and tiles, to be used for the fabric. (fn. 258) The embattled stone tower, probably of 15th-century date, is of three stages. There are four square-headed two-light belfry windows, with perpendicular tracery, and a similar window in the first stage. The plain octagonal font may also be medieval.
The nave and south porch were rebuilt by Francis Annesley, lord of the manor, in 1710 and the chancel in 1719, (fn. 259) all of orange-red brick with stone quoins and other dressings. The east window contains Perpendicular-style tracery. The six round-headed windows, four in the nave and two in the chancel, contain leaded glass inserted in 1929. (fn. 260) The porch and north doors are also round-headed, as is a blocked door on the south side of the chancel. A brick plinth capped with stone runs around the nave and a stone one around the chancel. There is a stone string-course a little below the eaves of both nave and chancel. The vestry was probably added in the earlier 19th century and the church was restored c. 1955. (fn. 261) There are Royal Arms of Victoria. A medieval slab in the chancel commemorates Alice, widow of Edward 'Saltuiche', perhaps a member of the Saltmarsh family.
There were three bells in 1770 (fn. 262) and there are three still: (i) 1738, E. Seller of York; (ii) n.d.; (iii) 1666. (fn. 263) The plate consists of a silver flagon, cup, paten, and basin, said to have been given by Francis Annesley about 1719, and a pewter cup. (fn. 264) The registers begin in 1653 and, except for baptisms and burials for the period 1792–1812, are complete. (fn. 265)
The churchyard was extended in 1897 and 1966. (fn. 266)
The Saltmarshes were recusants in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and two or three Roman Catholics were recorded at Thorganby in the 1620s and 1630s and after 1666. (fn. 267) There were nine protestant dissenters in the parish in 1676. (fn. 268) One Quaker was reported in 1743. (fn. 269) In the 1790s the Methodists usually had 6–10 members at Thorganby and 12–20 at West Cottingwith. (fn. 270) Houses at Thorganby were licensed for worship in 1788 and 1790, (fn. 271) and at West Cottingwith in 1794, 1798 (two), and 1820; a barn at West Cottingwith was licensed in 1819. (fn. 272)
In 1733 Thomas Dunnington devised a house for a school in West Cottingwith and a rent-charge of £2 a year to support a schoolmaster. (fn. 276) In 1743 the schoolmaster was also the curate; there were 12 free pupils, some of them apparently supported by a £2 rent-charge left by Richard Blythe before 1718 to educate poor children, and 18 paid fees. (fn. 277) In 1764 the schoolmaster, again the curate, stated that since 1754 Emanuel Jefferson, owner of the land from which the rent-charge was due, had refused to pay it. (fn. 278) The school-house was repaired, partly at the cost of the parish, in 1768. (fn. 279)
Additional endowments were subsequently provided. A rent-charge of £2 a year was left to the school by Thomas Bradford, probably in the period 1801–10, and Robert Jefferson by will dated 1803 left £10 10s. a year to the schoolmaster to teach 8 children of his tenants. (fn. 280)
In 1819 the school contained 50–60 children, 18 of whom were taught free. (fn. 281) The school was rebuilt in 1820 by John Dunnington-Jefferson at the corner of Hab Lane, in West Cottingwith. (fn. 282) In 1835 there were 27 boys and 14 girls in attendance; the total endowment of £16 10s. was used to teach 20 free pupils. (fn. 283) The school first received an annual government grant in 1856. (fn. 284) By 1865 all the pupils received free instruction, the extra cost of £70 a year being met by Joseph Dunnington-Jefferson, perpetual curate. (fn. 285) In 1871, when it was described as a National school, it had 47 pupils. (fn. 286) By a Scheme of 1879 2/3 of the income of the Poor's Estate were assigned to educational purposes, along with the proceeds of Dunnington's, Blythe's, Bradford's, and Jefferson's charities. Apart from the education of poor children, the objects of the charities were to include the provision of a reading room and books. (fn. 287)
The building was found to be unfit for use in 1903 and a new school was built near by the following year. (fn. 288) The old school still stood in 1972. Between 1908 and 1938 the attendance varied only between 41 and 58. (fn. 289) On the closure of Skipwith school in 1956 its pupils were transferred to Thorganby, but after 1960 the senior pupils went to Barlby secondary school. (fn. 290) In April 1972 there were 42 on the roll. (fn. 291)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
The Poor's Estate was founded by Thomas Saltmarsh, who gave a house, a cottage, and land in Thorganby and West Cottingwith in 1598. (fn. 292) In 1743 the estate was managed by the principal inhabitants, (fn. 293) and in 1764 the income of about £13 a year was distributed by the overseers. (fn. 294) In 1824 the estate comprised 23 a. in West Cottingwith and 8 a. in Thorganby, and the income was about £61. (fn. 295) By a Scheme of 1879 2/3 of the income of the charity were assigned to educational purposes; the poor's share was to be used for gifts of money and goods and for subscriptions and donations for the benefit of the poor of Thorganby. (fn. 296)
Robert Jefferson by will dated 1803 left a rent-charge of £6 a year to be distributed in coal to the poor of West Cottingwith who did not receive regular relief. (fn. 297) By the Scheme of 1879 the income was to be used in the same way as the eleemosynary part of the Poor's Estate, but for the poor of West Cottingwith.
The Poor's Estate and Jefferson's charity, together with the educational charity, were later administered together as the Thorganby and West Cottingwith charity. The total income in 1971 was £148, and the poor's share was distributed in money and goods. (fn. 298)
Thorganby benefited from the charity of John Hodgson for parishes in York poor-law union. (fn. 299)