Coxwold is a village and civil parish in the Hambleton District of North Yorkshire, England and located within the North York Moors National Park. It is situated 18 miles north of York and is where the Rev. Laurence Sterne wrote A Sentimental Journey.

Coxwold - - 124929.jpg
Coxwold village looking up the hill
Coxwold is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
Population259 (Including Newburgh. 2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceSE534771
Civil parish
  • Coxwold
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townYORK
Postcode districtYO61
Dialling code01347
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°11′16″N 1°10′57″W / 54.187700°N 1.182400°W / 54.187700; -1.182400Coordinates: 54°11′16″N 1°10′57″W / 54.187700°N 1.182400°W / 54.187700; -1.182400


The village name is derived from Saxon words Cuc, meaning cry and valt, meaning wood.[2]

The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book as part of the Yalestre hundred by the name of Cucvalt. The lord of the manor at the time of the Norman invasion was Kofse, but passed to Hugh, son of Baldric[3] and thence to Roger de Mowbray. Before 1158, the manor and lands of Coxwold passed to Thomas Colville. In return for the lands, Thomas had to swear allegiance to Roger de Mowbray. Thomas de Colville's estate included the manors of Yearsley, Coxwold and Oulston as well as other properties and land in York, Thirsk, Everley, Nunwick, Kilburn and Upsland. The Colville shield is proudly displayed at one of the roof intersections in the twelfth century Norman church at Coxwold.[4]

Successive generations of Colvilles held the estate and lands of Coxwold until 1405 when Thomas Colville viii was murdered, probably at the instruction of Richard le Scrope Archbishop of York, who, in turn, was acting on behalf of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. The bulk of the Coxwold estate was then granted to the Uhtred-Neville family.[4]

While in possession of the Coxwold estate, the Colville family gave generous grants to Byland Abbey and Newburgh Priory but, at the turn of the fourteenth century, there were some disputes between the monks of Newburgh Priory and the Colvilles over rights to land around Coxwold.[4]

In 1304 Sir Thomas Colville v started a tradition of a weekly market to be held in the grounds of the manor of Coxwold. He also established a two-day annual fair to celebrate the Assumption, a tradition that survived uninterrupted in Coxwold Manor for some five hundred years.[4]

Sir Thomas Colville vii (of Yearsley and Coxwold) became famous following a jousting incident before the Battle of Crecy in 1346 when he crossed the river to joust with a French knight who had been hurling abuse at the English king. He later joined the retinue of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster who was the third son of Edward III and by far the richest noble in England.[4]

At one time, the village had a station on the Thirsk and Malton Line. It opened on 19 May 1853, but closed on 7 August 1964 as part of the reorganisation of the national railway system.[2][5] In 1603, Sir John Harte, who was born in nearby Kilburn, North Yorkshire, built a Grammar School in the village, which closed in 1894. He was also a Lord Mayor of London.[2][5]


Coxwold lies within the Thirsk and Malton UK Parliament constituency. It is part of the Stillington electoral district of North Yorkshire County Council. It is also within the White Horse ward of Hambleton District Council which returns one councillor.[6][7] A new Coxwold village website was launched in 2018.


The village stands on a slight incline where most of the dwellings are located, with the church at the top of the hill. At the bottom of the hill was the village smithy, now a private house with Forge Cottage becoming a holiday cottage. The Fauconberg Arms Inn is located on the main street. The inn bears the arms and motto of Baron Fauconberg[8] and offers accommodation and a restaurant.

According to the 1881 UK Census, the population was 313.[2] The 2001 UK Census put the population at 185. The census recorded that of that population 161 were over the age of sixteen and of those, 92 were in employment.[9]

The nearest settlements to Coxwold are Husthwaite 1.6 miles (2.6 km) to the south-west; Carlton Husthwaite 2.4 miles (3.9 km) to the west; Kilburn 2 miles (3.2 km) to the north-west; Wass 1.7 miles (2.7 km) to the north-east and Oulston 1.6 miles (2.6 km) to the south south-east.[6]

Green's Beck runs south-westwards through the village to join Mill Beck to form Elphin Beck to eventually flow into the River Swale.[6]


The village had a local Primary School from 1863 until 1974.[5] The village is within the primary education catchment area of Husthwaite Church of England School,[10] and within the secondary education catchment area of Easingwold School.[11]


St Michael's Church, Coxwold
Chancel of St Michael's Church, Coxwold

Since 700 AD Coxwold has had a church on the site at the top of the hill. The present church was built in 1420 in the Perpendicular style with an unusual octagonal west tower and is dedicated to St Michael. The chancel features a unique tongue-shaped communion rail (early 18th century). Laurence Sterne was appointed vicar in 1760.[8]

Notable residentsEdit

The Rev. Laurence Sterne lived at Shandy Hall from 1760 to 1768, and the house was named by him. Shandy Hall is located on Thirsk Bank at the north-western end of the village and was originally built in 1430 as a parsonage for Coxwold's village priest. It is a small brick building, with a mossy, stone-covered roof, wide gables, and massive chimney-stacks. It was originally a timber-framed, open-hall house but was considerably altered in the 17th century. The stone tablet above its doorway states that Sterne wrote Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey at Shandy Hall. This is not entirely accurate, for two (of the nine) volumes of Tristram Shandy had already been published in 1759 before Sterne moved to Coxwold.[8]

Sir George Orby Wombwell, 4th Baronet, the last surviving officer of the Charge of the Light Brigade is buried in the village churchyard. In more recent times, the village was the home to the Coxwold Pottery, run by Peter & Jill Dick.

Notable buildingsEdit

To the south of the village is Newburgh Priory, a Grade I listed[12] stately home built on the site of a former Augustine Priory. The original Priory was built in 1145 by Roger De Mowbray, but fell victim to the Dissolution of the Monasteries carried out by King Henry VIII. The King sold the estate to Anthony de Bellasis, whose family took the name of Fauconberg upon the creation of the Baronetcy. The estate passed to the Wombwell family in 1825 at the end of the male line, and remains in their possession today.[13]

To the north of the village lie the ruins of Byland Abbey, a Grade I listed building,[14] which was founded in the 12th century by Savigniac monks.[15]


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Coxwold Parish (1170216821)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Bulmer's Topography, History and Directory (Private and Commercial) of North Yorkshire 1890. S&N Publishing. 1890. pp. 669, 670. ISBN 1-86150-299-0.
  3. ^ Coxwold in the Domesday Book. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Yearsley: A Genealogical Story Part 1: The Early Years
  5. ^ a b c "History". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Ordnance Survey
  7. ^ "Your Councillors". Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Pevsner, Nikolaus (2002). Yorkshire: the North Riding (2nd ed.). Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09665-8.
  9. ^ "2001 Census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Education". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Secondary admission arrangements for the Northallerton area". North Yorkshire County Council. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Listed Building". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Newburgh Priory". Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Listed Building Gd I". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Abbey". Retrieved 1 December 2012.

External linksEdit

  • [1] For the village of Coxwold web site.
  • Coxwold by