Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

Fishlake History Society

Recording historical information before it disappears

The phenomena of detached enclaves of local townships and parishes. The case of Fishlake and Sykehouse.


In this part of Yorkshire detached enclaves or parts of townships and parishes are quite common. They often consisted of pasture land situated in another parish or township, for example, on moors suitable for grazing. These enclaves are completely separate from the parent parish which can appear puzzling to modern observers. There are a variety of reasons that explain this phenomena which I will try to briefly examine, with examples.

Perhaps the principle explanation which illustrates the purpose and origins of separated lands is the need to share good quality grazing lands between neighbouring townships. The practice provided a solution to the problem of accessing usable lands in this marshland edge township during medieval timed and beyond. Thus pasture land tended to be allotted or shared to various local parishes and townships. Fishlake and Sykehouse, held land on Thorne Moor called Inclesmoor (Inclesmoor was first documented in 1200) from medieval times. Some of this land is illustrated and recorded on a map of the moor, dated 1406-1407 deposited in The National Archives. In addition, lands in Hadds, also at Thorne, are described in a deed of 1316 as being in the township (village) of Fishlake.
Much new lands were gained after extensive land reclamation works, this applied particularly to lands on Thorne and Hatfield Moors. As Dr David Hey states in his "The Making of South Yorkshire", "Each township had detached portions upon the moors, well away from the parent settlement". Clearly some allotments are Medieval in origin, whereas others date from later land reclamation, particularly that undertaken during the 17th century by Vermuyden and later by the Commissioners of sewers. Again, in 1630 after land reclamation various local townships including Fishlake, were allocated lands in Dikemarsh, Thorne.

Within the township of Fishlake we find on the 1854 6inch OS map these detached portions from neighbouring places includes
land on the West Nab in Fishlake (originally a common, West of the village) belonging to the parishes and townships of Hatfield, Stainforth, South Bramwith and Sykehouse. So lands belonging to Fishlake could be found five or six miles away in Hatfield Woodhouse. This practice worked both ways for example lands in Sykehouse at Pincheon Green belonging "to Thorne detached". .

The Dean and Chapter of Durham, the rectors of Fishlake and Sykehouse, held a number of estates belonging to Fishlake but outside the parish boundaries. These are all classed as detached portions of the parish or township and are recorded as such on a map of 1883.


See 1883 Dean and Chapter of Durham maps below. Thanks to Dean and Chapter Library.


Map 2


Map 1


Clowns Farm at Hatfield Woodhouse, about 400 acres.
Bull Moors at Hatfield Woodhouse, about 150 acres.
Reedholme Farm at Thorne, about 130 acres.

About 470 acres at Thorne North Common sold about 1910 to create the present mining community of Moorends, Thorne. This land belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Durham and shown as part of Fishlake parish on 1st edition of 1 inch to a mile OS map 1840. Later the rents were shared between the livings of Fishlake and Sykehouse.

In another instance portions of land or even farms were occasionally bequeathed to monastic institution during medieval times for there financial maintenance. In Fishlake, for example, we have land belonging to the monastery at Nunappleton. In more recent times the enclosure map of 1825 records land belonging the vicar of Kirk Sandal etc. I have not traced the precise origin of these detached portions but in some cases they seem to have been bought for the augmentation of poor clergymen's salaries

This all seems to show a long practice of mutual sharing of good lands and useful resources with neighbouring communities. I feel that this local problem of scatted pockets of good or suitable lands must to some extent be responsible for the appearance of detached portion in this locality.

Rob Downing February 2020.