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 A Brief History of Cawood
Situated on the west bank of the River Ouse, about a mile downstream of the confluence with the River Wharf, Cawood is one of the oldest and most important settlements in Selby District. The village lies at the crossing of the B1223 Selby - Towton road and the B1222 Sherburn - York road, approximately 5 miles north-west of Selby and 10 miles south of York.

Looking to Sherburn Street from The Garth

Cawood earliest recorded mention is in 937 when King Athelstan granted the castle to Archbishop Whulstan. By 963 King Edgar granted the Sherburn estate, which included Cawood, to the Archbishop of York.The estate seems to have extended from the Ouse/Wharfe in the north to the Aire in the south. The Tadcaster to Castleford Roman road formed the western boundary. Edgar's grant to the Archbishopric does not seem to have taken in all of the village as Lords of the Manor, the de Cawood family, resided in Kensbury (or Keesbury) moated manor house. This division of tenure saw the village develop in differing centres rather than the more typical single growth point.

One of the highlights of recent discoveries in local history is the find of the Cawood Sword, complete with its mysterious inscription along the blade. The sword, nearly 1,000 years old, was found in the  River Ouse and remained in private hands for 50 years. The weapon, in a rare good condition, has been acquired by The Yorkshire Museum in York.(The museum is closed for refurbishment and will open on August 1st 2010)

Museum curator, Andrew Morrison kindly brought the sword to Cawood.

For a short video on The Cawood Sword please click here

Kings who visited included King John, in the 13th century,  Henry lll ., Edward l and Edward ll, who all stayed at the castle. Wharfs along the river and tolls to cross it provided the estate with an income. As the Church's influence declined the village established itself with agriculture and the river crossing to York being the main focus. The village enjoyed a market for many years and became a hub of retail with several shops and pubs in its area. A new swing bridge displaced the ferry across the River Ouse and the railway arrived in 1898 to connect the village with Selby. Passenger services ended in the 1920s and the line finally closed in 1964.

Agriculture still plays an important role in the village in terms of local land use. However, with its good links to York, Selby and Leeds, Cawood is predominantly a dormitory village and provides an extremely pleasant living environment.  
The remnants of the Castle. The gatehouse is now a Landmark Trust property

 

 



Cawood  had many shops and services at the turn of the last century but now it has one Post Office/shop and a hairdressing salon. In times gone by there were sweets shops, bicycle repairers, banks and a branch outlet of the local departmental store in Selby, Wetherells.

Wetherells store in Cawood



 


Get help with your research.

Resident and local historian, Margaret Brearley, has transcribed All Saints Parish Church, Cawood, parish records. Baptisms from 1696 to 1884, Marriages from 1703 to 1873 and Burials from 1698 to 1889. Margaret also has a list of monumental inscriptions and burial records from the Rythergate cemetery in the village from 1881 to 2008.

Margaret is happy to check through these records to help with family research. Please call her on (01757) 268666 or click here to email her.

 

 

 


 


The children's nursery rhyme 'Humpty Dumpty' is believed to be about Cardinal Wolsley's 'great fall' at Cawood when he was arrested by King Henry Vlll's men .


Cawood is thought to have got its name from crows in the nearby woods.


The village used to have its own Gas Works, the house remains in Sherburn Street


Now in North Yorkshire the village was once part of the West Riding.


The village used to boast 18 pubs .


There is a Cawood in Kentucky in the USA


 

 

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