Yoxall Village a history past and present
So, for a start, where is the village in relation to other places in Staffordshire? The ‘History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire’, William White, Sheffield, 1851 states:-
“Yoxall is a large and well-built village, in a pleasant valley, on the Ashbourn road, near the south-western border of the now enclosed forest of Needwood, seven miles NNE of Lichfield. It was anciently a market town, and is a member of the Honour of Tutbury. The parish includes several hamlets and scattered houses, and contains 1496 inhabitants, and 4791 acres of land, of which 1200 acres are new enclosures in the Yoxall Ward of Needwood Forest. Lord Leigh is lord of the manor, but the greater part of the parish belongs to other proprietors.
The hamlets of Yoxall parish and their distance and bearing from Yoxall village are as follows:
Hoarcross, two and a half miles N, and partly in Newborough and Hamstall Ridware parishes, Hadley-End, one mile SW, Longcroft, three quarters of a mile E, Morry, one mile W, Olive Green, one and a half miles W, and Woodhouses, half a mile E.
Hoarcross Hall, now the seat of HC Meynell Ingram, Esq, was anciently the residence of the Willes family, and was rebuilt by its late possessor, Lord Scarsdale, who occupied it as a hunting seat. Longcroft Hall was long held by the Arden family, and is now the seat of BH Allen, Esq. Yoxall Lodge, two and a half miles NE of Yoxall, is the seat of Thomas Gisborne, Esq, and was the residence of the late Rev Thomas Gisborne, who was revered as both a divine and poet.”
Staffordshire County Council on their website state:-
The village of Yoxall is situated north east of the city of Lichfield. The river Swarbourne flows through it to join the Trent and it is thought that the original Anglo-Saxon settlement may have been on the river’s west bank. As a result of the river there are two bridges, Trent Bridge and Hall Bridge.
The first part of the name, Yoxall, is thought to derive from the Old English, geoc, which has more than one meaning including ‘a measure of land’ or the ‘yoke of oxen’. The second part of the name may derive from ‘halh’ meaning a small valley or hollow. The generally accepted meaning of the name is ‘a secluded piece of land large enough to be ploughed by one team of oxen’.
In the Domesday Book Yoxall is recorded as Locheshale, part of the lands of the Bishop of Lichfield and held by Rauen and Alwin as tenants. There was enough land for four ploughs to till. Many of the buildings in the main street with modern fronts have much older structures behind them. In particular Reeve End Cottage has the remains of a fourteenth century timber-framed house which had an aisled hall, said to be the only surviving one in Staffordshire. This feature suggests an original owner of some wealth and status at the time of its building.
In 1532-1533, 35 families were recorded in Yoxall, 12 at Bond End, 18 at Snails End, 16 at Woodhouses , 8 at Morrey and 11 at Hoar Cross, making a total of 550 persons in 100 families. By the time of the Hearth Tax assessment of 1666, 149 households were recorded in the constablewick of Yoxall. This would have included all the hamlets already mentioned. In 1689 Celia Fiennes travelled through Yoxall but sadly gave no description of what she saw.
Yoxall’s parish church is dedicated to St Peter. It was largely rebuilt between 1865 and 1868 by the architect Woodyer. A Roman Catholic church is situated at Wood Lane, originally built in 1795 and enlarged in 1854. The original building was disguised so that it did not look like a church at a time when Roman catholics were still subject to some persecution. The village also had two Primitive Methodist chapels.
Yoxall remained a farming community until well into the 20th century with a number of agriculturally related trades located in the village. A Victorian village shop which was formerly situated in Hadley Street was removed in its entirety and re-assembled at the County Museum at Shugborough. A cottage hospital, the Meynell Ingram Cottage Hospital, endowed by the Meynell-Ingram family, was built in 1873.
Notable connections with the village are the family of Mary Arden, the mother of Shakespeare, who purchased Longcroft Hall, now demolished, in 1576. Yoxall Lodge was the home of Rev Thomas Gisborne, a friend of William Wilberforce who frequently visited the village to meet with his friend. George Walton, the father of Izaak Walton the angler, also lived at Yoxall.
As with many villages in Staffordshire, Yoxall has a strange phenomenon. Horses refuse to pass the spot where a skeleton of a boy was discovered. He was proved to be the apprentice of the local blacksmith. The boy committed suicide because he received such ill treatment at the hands of his master and was buried in unconsecrated ground.
For those interested in knowing more about the village of Yoxall, I have included several items which I hope will be or interest to both casual and serious researchers of Yoxall village:
Links to the following can be found in the sidebar to the right:-
1 – Yoxall village in Domesday Book of 1806.
2 – History of Yoxall village, by the Reverend Stebbing Shaw. Published in 1798, this is the definitive history of Yoxall village in his book titled ‘The History and Antiquities of Staffordshire. Ancestry UK has given permission for the village of Yoxall to be reproduced on my website. Contrary to Revd Shaw, the village of Yoxall was included in the Domesday Book of 1086.
3 – Yates 1798 Map of Staffordshire – For those interested in seeing where Yoxall village is located and which places are nearby, this map ties in well with the 1798 book by Revd Stebbings Shaw. Yoxall is on the right side of the map, approx. ref 43 on the top and ref 46 on the side.
A more basic map of Staffordshire shows the location of Yoxall relative to larger towns and cities more clearly, at map reference F/G (top) and 7 (side).
4 –Yoxall village today still has a Parish Council, with a website that keeps both residents and visitors in touch with affairs and events in the village.
5 – Photos of Yoxall village Past and Present.
6 – Several books, booklets and essays have been written on Yoxall:
- ‘A Social History of Yoxall in the 16th and 17th centuries’ by Denis Stuart, published by University of Keele.
- ‘The Yoxall Bridge – Ashbourne Turnpike Road, 1766-1889’, by Yoxall History Class, edited by Denis Stuart, Published 1979, by Dept of Adult Education, University of Keele.
- ‘Yoxall – A walk through history’, by a local history class led by Denis Stuart
- ‘Olde Yoxall’ by Betty Housecroft. This booklet was published by Betty, a resident of Yoxall village for 23 years at the time it was written.
7 – YOXALL researchers may well come across a reference to a Hamlet/Township called Yoxall in Kansas, USA. But where is it? Is there such a place? If there is, logic suggests it would be named after someone called YOXALL. Well, yes and no. The Yoxall Township of Osborne, Kansas, USA is recorded by some sources as a place name. But after trying to find this place on USA maps, researching local newspapers and contacting libraries in the Osborne area, it appears that Yoxall was simply used as a postal address for an area in the Bloom Township of Osborne, Kansas. A John Frederick Moses YOXALL was Postmaster of Osborne City from 1874 to 1880.