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History of Hampsthwaite

The earliest written record of the settlement (circa 1180) is as “Hamethwayt” in the Early Yorkshire Charters.

The name 'Thwaite' comes from the Old Scandinavian word 'thveit', meaning 'clearing, meadow or paddock' and Hampsthwaite could mean the thwaite, or meadow, of Hamr or Hammall, or simply from Heim, meaning home, but it is almost certainly derived from the Old Norse Homp, 'land bordering on a river and liable to flooding' (an alternative possibility was put forward that the name 'Hamps' may derive from the Middle English, 'Hanespe', which means 'summer dry', or dry in summer but this would be an unlikely combination of Old Norse and Anglo Saxon).

Records show that flooding was indeed a feature of the River Nidd, which runs through here, although the Roman road from 'Olicana' (Ilkley) to 'Isurium' (Aldborough) crossed the Nidd at Hamps-thwaite and this led to the development of a market.

Hampsthwaite was situated within the Forest of Knaresborough, which was established as a royal hunting preserve in the time of the Conqueror. The church of Hampsthwaite was in existence soon after the Norman Conquest and was at one time in the possession of the monks of Knaresborough.

The family of the writer William Make-peace Thackeray lived in Hampsthwaite, as did the family of Amy Woodforde Finden (1860-1919) who was best known as the composer of “Kashmiri Song” from The Four Indian Love Lyrics by Laurence Hope. In the churchyard are the graves of Joshua Tetley, the founder of the Tetley's Brewery in Leeds, and his wife Hannah.

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Directory of Hampsthwaite buildings

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Use the links in the Directory to reveal information on village buildings and their occupants.

Featured articles:

Buildings may also be located using the Search box or by means of our  Interactive Map of the village


Preserving Our Past

The churchyard of St Thomas a'Beckett, and its Chapel-of-Ease at Felliscliffe hold within them a wealth of local heritage via their Memorial Inscriptions and Burial Records.

Why so many infant deaths, what was happening in society at the time of burial, was there a war or an illness affecting the population? How many local families are represented there and are there any well known names - or not so well known but with an interesting story attached? Is the design of the Memorial interesting in terms of its art work or the language used?

This section of our website aims to list photographs of all Memorials, together with their Inscriptions and Church Records so that such questions may be answered by browsing or searching both now and in the foreseeable future - even long after some inscriptions may have faded beyond readability.


A History of Hampsthwaite - Books 1, 2, 3, 4 (and 5)

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A History of Hampsthwaite - book series written and published by people in Hampsthwaite.

To Order your copy or copies [Books 1 & 4 are £5.95 each + £3 postage, Book 3 is £6.95 + £3 postage and Books 1,2,3 & 4 (a set) are £25 + £3 postage] send your order with a cheque payable to Hampsthwaite Village Society to:

Hampsthwaite Village Book, Lamb House, Church Lane,
Hampsthwaite, Harrogate HG3 2HB.

Please enclose your name, address and a contact telephone number.

* Covers Postage and packaging for UK mainland only. For postage outside UK mainland, please email for price


Hampsthwaite Residents

A photo gallery of Hampsthwaite residents to add life to our history of the village buildings. Photos are contextualised with the information available to us. See also the article on our War Memorial for information on the sons of Hampsthwaite lost during two world wars and the Gallery section for other photo collections.

We would greatly appreciate comments, corrections or additional contributions - email: Hampsthwaite web site group.


Hampsthwaite Buildings Archive

About this website:

The Hampsthwaite Village Society recently published the third volume in its series of books about the village. The first volume (published in 1999) comprised a collection of reminiscences by long-standing residents of the village.The second volume began a review of village buildings by bringing together articles on its four places of worship (the Parish Church, Methodist Chapel, Felliscliffe Chapel of Ease and the Saltergate Mission Room). The third volume was a reprint of the book “School Memories” published by the village school in 2011 to mark the school’s 150th anniversary. It provides a valuable record of the school and its activities since its opening in 1861.

The next volume, now in course of preparation, will deal with other, mainly domestic, buildings and their histories. This website hopes to support that work by creating an archive of all the village buildings and collecting together every available scrap of interesting information about them.

The website will not simply deal with matters of construction and design but also with the social and human events associated with them. How many residents are aware, for example . . .

Interactive Map of Hampsthwaite

Drag the cursor to reveal different parts of the village and use the zoom tool to enlarge the view.

Click on 'View Hampsthwaite in a larger map' to access StreetView where this is available.


The Yorkshire Roman Roads Project

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In the Historic county of Yorkshire, there are an estimated 1060 miles of Roman road, possibly more, of which about 480 are known with reasonable certainty (45%), making the picture in Yorkshire fairly typical.

Given that Yorkshire has a wide variety of topography that is fairly representative of all the kinds of terrain through which Roman roads were built in Britain and therefore representative of the variations in planning and construction, it makes an ideal starting point for a study of Britain’s Roman roads.


The 'Spanish Flu' - Hampsthwaite 1918

Milly Hebblethwaite was  a delightful and diligent 14 year old pupil at Hampsthwaite school, who came from a growing family who lived in the Hollins.  The previous year the school had given her a prize for her excellent attendance.  She died of influenza on 10th November, 1918;  This was one day before the end of the ‘War to end wars,’ the first World war.
[article by Angela Sansam - June 2020]

Calverley Info

CalverleyInfo is dedicated to the collection and free publication of all historical and genealogical information pertaining to Calverley Parish and the surrounding district and villages - including Hampsthwaite.

Historical Miscellany

A collection of records, documents, photos and film relating to the history of Hampsthwaite


Hampsthwaite Conservation Area

Download a PDF file publication by Harrogate District Council containing a wealth of information on the history, development, architecture, setting and spatial characteristics of the Hampsthwaite conservation area and including a simplified map showing the area boundary.



Gravestone Photographic Resource

The Gravestone Photographic Resource project is an attempt to provide a much needed on-line resource for family historians. When the project first started all the monuments in a burial ground of people born before 1901 were photographed. These images are then used to extract all names and details from each monument. Once all the images have been processed, the information is added to the internet database.Go to the site and search for Hampsthwaite to see the names that appear on the gravestone photographs for St Thomas a Beckett Parish Church

There are currently over 4 billion records available to search. From historical censuses and parish records, to military records and passenger lists, your family's past is waiting to be discovered. To discover your long lost ancestors, start here.

The Unnetie Digitisation Project

The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) has awarded North Yorkshire County Library Service funding to conserve and promote several unique photographic archives stored at the North Yorkshire County Library Headquarters. Contact North Yorkshire County Library Headquarters to search for Hampsthwaite and see old photos of our village

Hampsthwaite info

Historical and genealogical information pertaining to the Yorkshire parish of Hampsthwaite and the surrounding district and villages.