Skipwith Village and Skipwith Common North Yorkshire UK
Skipwith, Selby, North Yorkshire YO8
You will find Skipwith village about four miles northeast of Selby or ten miles from the historic city of York. It is in the Selby District of North Yorkshire, in the north of England but few people, other than locals, will have heard of it.
Skipwith is an ancient farming village and is pretty as a picture with a real village green, village pond, Chapel and the small but beautiful church of Saint Helens.
Why not take a tour around the village and common with me .....
The History of Skipwith Village
Skipwith village has a long, long history and there is a reference to it in the Domesday book. Here it's described as 'Schiperwic' which may mean 'sheep farm'.
The most interesting buildings in Sipwith are the Hall, the church and the school.
The school, also located on York Road, was founded in 1717 by Dorothy Wilson of York. The school was run by the Parish Clerk until it was taken over by the Local Education Authority. It closed in 1957 and in 1959 became the village hall. There are many events held in the hall including church and Parish Council meetings, Brownies and fund raising events.
Until the 1974 local government reorganisation Skipwith was part of the East Riding of Yorkshire
For more information see British History
Queen Anne manor house in Skipwith
Skipwith Hall began as a Jacobean farmhouse but the house we know today is a Queen Anne ‘manor house’ c. 1700. The medieval manor built opposite the church compmete with moat had been abandoned.
The walled gardens have been in part designed by Cecil Pinsent who created Richard’s Garden. There are mixed borders and an mulberry tree (which I missed) stands in front of the house. Within the four acres is a kitchen garden, created in 2005, a small arboretum and a shell house by the artist Linda Fenwick.
Find out more about the history of Skipwith Hall on the Escrick Park Estate Newsletter
Where is Skipwith and Skipwith Common?
Saint Helen's Church Skipwith and North Duffield
St Helen's Church at Skipwith village
The church of St. Helen came into being around 960AD and you can take a walk through history via the Anglo-Saxon tower, the Norman nave the later additions including a Victorian porch.
Opposite the church you can still see the remains of a moat which would have been attached to a manor.
The hare memorial below is well-known to local people. It looks very like the sculpture Hare Alert By Sally Arnup in the sculpture trail at Newby Hall, Yorkshire. The hare is on the grave of one of the Forbes Adams family who own Escrick park estate and Skipwith Hall.
Skipwith Hare in the grounds of Saint Helen's church
Methodist Chapel Skipwith Yourkshire
Methodists in Skipwith
By 1764 there were two Methodist families in Skipwith but until a Chapel was built the Methodists met in each other's homes.
This Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, a tiny red brick building right on the main road as you approach Skipwith from the north, was first opened in 1869 and it bears the completion date of 13th October 1868 on a memorial tablet which also bears the name of Mr. C. Storr and dated 13th October and is still in service today. Some sources give the date of 1833 for the first Chapel in Skipwith.
According to the Vicar of St Helen's in the 1860s 300 to 400 of the inhabitants of the village were Methodists and so it was no wonder that in 1876 the first tiny chapel was replaced with a larger building next to the parish school.
Path through Skipwith Common
Skipwith Common is a wonderful place to take a stroll, watch birds, walk your dog or look out for Exmoor ponies, but it is more than that. The common is an important natural site an has been designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
It has a long history and there are trace of human habitation that go back as far as 6000BC. The evidence takes the form of flint blades that were found in 1941. There is also evidence that people lived on the common in through the bronze and iron ages too.
Skipwith Common, an ancient landscape of 270 hectares of heathland, was a real common in that it was shared land until it was enclosed in 1901.
In 1941 the Royal Air Force used part of it as an aerodrome and although no longer in use you can see traces of the aerodrome still.
Now Skipwith common is managed by English Nature together with Escrick Park Estate. According to English Nature Skipwith Common is one of the last examples of northern lowland heath left in England. The importance of the site lies in the wide variety of flora and fauna living on the common. These plants and animals are now dependent on this specific area.
Today the 'Friends of Skipwith Common' group oversee the area.
Exmoor Ponies on Skipwith Common
Ponies on Skipwith Moor
English Longhorn cattle
The ancient breed of English Longhorn cattle that graze on Skipwith Common is owned by farmer Richard Parish, of Barlby. The cattle are milky brown and white and were originally used as a draught animals and for dairy products. The pale horns were used to make buttons.
English Longhorn cattle at Skipwith Common
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Blackwood Hall Caravan Site and B&B
Where to Stay at Skipwith
Only a few minutes from Skipwith and right opposite the common you'll find the beautiful country house of Blackwood Hall.
If you're a caravaning or camping enthusiast, you might like to set up camp at Blackwood Hall caravan site. The pitches are in the romantic setting the mature grounds of the hall which is studded with mature trees and has a large pond with geese and ducks.
The Derwent Valley Light Railway
If you're a railway enthusiast you might like to know that The Derwent Valley Light Railway, which was opened in 1912, crossed North Duffield and that there was a station near Skipwith. Sadly the line has been closed.
Skipwith Station on the Derwent Valley Light Railway
More information and sources
- GENUKI: Skipwith
Genealogical and general information about the parish of Skipwith, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.
- Friends of Skipwith Common :: Home
- Skipwith | A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 3 (pp. 89-101)
From 'Skipwith', pp.89-101, K J Allison (Editor), A P Baggs, G H R Kent, J D Purdy (1976)
- Skipwith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- About Skipwith
Find Out More about Yorkshire with this guide to the area and its stories
© 2014 Les Trois Chenes
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