Brick and Brickmaking in and near Haxby in the Vale of York

Researched and Compiled by Patsy Pendegrass of the Haxby & Wiggington Local History Group and John Nottingham family historian and relation to the Driffield family.
​With revision and added images by Dr J Kenny.  


Many thanks are due to everyone who has helped with this project. Particular thanks to Peter Addyman, Helen Carey, Alan Clark, Will Durrant, Margaret Holland, Brian Mann, Betty Pulleyn, Tom Smith, Peter Walls and members of the Haxby Local History Group who have helped with information and photographs. Thank you also to Linda Cox of Haxby Library for unlimited access to its extensive range of newspaper cuttings, photographs and memoirs. Thanks are also due to Mr and Mrs Findlay for giving permission for us to use the photographs of the former Driffield brickworks. 


This blog is derived from an online publication that I created to show what can be done in making community publications more accessible as they go out of print. I worked as temporary editor of the online publication Internet Archaeology back in the 1990s, covering maternity leave for Judith Winters. As a result of this I thought I would take the Internet Archaeology approach to creating an online republication of a booklet written by Patsy Pendegrass at the Haxby & Wiggington Local History Group and published it on line through the TimeLine York Plus web pages, somewhat hidden away in the useful links section. So I have reworked the same document again as a Blog. After writing this blog it became apparent that a thorough family history of the Driffield family, one of the big brick makers in the village had been completed by John Nottingham. It is with great thanks to John for the family history contained in this blog.

Brick making is such an important part of the local history of our historic landscape that anyone can study without any formal experience that I thought an example of what can be achieved should be given another airing. The story of Haxby bricks follows a similar pattern across the country. Demand began to grow in the 1700s and brick was produced at first at small works near the supply of clay., sometimes just enough to build one or two houses. As towns grew and streets of terraced housing were built so the demand increased and many small brick works (on small outcrops of clay) closed, whilst others expanded their works to greater and greater sizes. Many brick works on the Vale of York are now replaced by fishing ponds or were back filled as council dumps. The life of the brickworks can be followed using old maps like those available at the Library of Scotland.

Here then is an example of what can be done (Jon Kenny):

History of Brickmaking in the Environs of Haxby

In common with many places in the Vale of York, Haxby is situated on layers of clay, sand and gravel. Over the centuries these materials have been used in the construction of buildings and the manufacture of pottery. Brickmaking is one of the industries that has developed in this area. There are many early records of bricks being made and used.

The Romans used bricks for their buildings in Eboracum. Roman brick kilns have been found in the Peasholme Green area of York. It is thought that brickmaking continued until at least the 3rd Century and possibly longer.

The kilns shown in Figure 1 below, were used during the Roman occupation of Britain between the 1st and 4th Centuries AD. This photograph shows one of a group of 20 similar kilns found at Wattisford near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. They can still be seen on display at Henry Watson’s Potteries in Wattisford. The pots or bricks would be packed inside. A dome would have been formed of slabs of wet clay and grass. The kiln would have been fired with wood and brushwood to around 900 degrees centigrade. Similar Roman kilns would have been used in the York area. 

Figure 1: Roman Kilns in Wattisford, Suffolk.

To this day Roman bricks can be seen on a corner tower of the ancient Roman wall in the Museum Gardens and in the Roman pillar found in the under croft of the Minster. Roman bricks and tiles have been found in various places in and near York including tiles found in the masonry of Askham Bryan church (Smith 2004).

The find of interest to Haxby people is the Roman tile found in 1966 in a drainage ditch at Grange Farm, Crossmoor Lane, Haxby. There is speculation that a villa may have been there.

Evidence of brickmaking after the Romans left our shores is sparse. It is not until 1379 that it is recorded again. The poll tax list for York that year includes Willelmus Watson, tyghler (Cowling 2001).

In 1563 ‘clay pytts‘ are mentioned in a document concerning lease of land in York at Hob Moor (Smith 2004).

In 1620, not far from Haxby, Thomas Baites, a brickmaker from Clifton, agreed to make 100,000 bricks for the building of New Parks, a substantial house near Easingwold, said to have been a royal hunting lodge (Mennim 1995).

There is no doubt that brickmaking was being established- maybe not for the small houses but certainly for more notable buildings. Brickmaking usually develops where there is a lack of readily accessible stone and a shortage of local timber. This would be the case here. The Forest of Galtres was becoming smaller and smaller and people were no longer being allowed to gather wood as they had in the past.

Before the late 17th Century most of the small houses were still being made with timber using a few wooden beams with the walls constructed of interlaced twigs smeared with mud, (the process known as wattle and daub). Now the chimneys and sometimes the gable ends were starting to be built in brick. There was a need for bricks and with transport being difficult in those days local brickmaking was being developed.

John Nottingham consulted the enclosure maps for Haxby (1769/71) which showed the old fields around the village, that were assigned to the more influential villagers as they were enclosed. It was from these smaller landowners that the brick makers such as the Hotlbys and the Driffields obtained their land for building their brick yards. These brick yards were occupied until the clay ran out, or the business failed.

There are records of several brickfields in the Haxby area from around the late and early 19th Centuries but they may have been here earlier.

There was one at Suet Carr (see Figures 2 and 3 below) (Mennim 1995) on the way to Sutton on the Forest possibly on the site of what is now ‘The Terracotta Centre’ on the B1363 and there was another one north of there on Hinterlands Common (see Figures 2 and 4 below) (Mennim 1995) to the north east of the Sutton Road.

Figure 2: The Locations of Brickfields in the Haxby Area, north of York.
Figure 3: Suet Carr Brick and Tile Yard 1856 and 1913.
Figure 4: Brick and Tile Yards at Hinterlands Common.

There was another brickfield at the side of the Foss Navigation near Sheriff Hutton Bridge (see Figures 2 above and 5 below) (Mitchell 2000). The bricks were possibly being needed for the building of the new canalisation of the River Foss.

Figure 5: Disused Brick and Tile Yard at Sheriff Hutton Bridge.

A brickyard at the end of The Village in Strensall (see Figures 2 above and 6 below) near the railway, was still in operation until the late 1950s and there still is a brickyard in Alne specialising in the manufacture of tiles.

Figure 6: Brick and Tile Works at Strensall.

A brickworks was established in 1902 in New Earswick (see Figure 2 above and Figure 7 below) to make the bricks for the new houses of the Joseph Rowntree Village. In the 1920s Roman artefacts were discovered there and there is speculation that this may also be the site of a Roman tilery. The area is now a nature reserve.

Figure 7: New Earswick Brick and Tile Works.

York itself had many brick works notably at Hob Moor (see Figure 8 below) and other parts of Dringhouses (see Figure 8 below), Heworth (see Figure 9 below), Layerthorpe (see Figure 9 below), Acomb (see Figure 8 below) and several in Lawrence Street (see Figure 10 below).

Figure 8: Brick Ponds and Brick Works at Hob Moor, Dringhouses and Acomb.
Figure 9: Heworth Pottery and Clay Workings.
Figure 10: Layerthorpe and Lawrence Street Brick and Tile Works.

Brick Making in Haxby

We have no firm evidence of brickmaking in Haxby before 1771. At this date an Enclosure Award document lists 4 bricklayers / masons but no names or places are given.

Mr John Arnitt and Mr William Linfoot are named in 1823 Raines Directory as living in Haxby but it does not say where they worked. Another document lists 3 others William Ellis, Hannah Foster and John Hugill.

In 1840 Thomas Linfoot, bricklayer, is mentioned.

Looking at the old maps of Haxby there are 4 brickfields shown at various dates. There are two on York Road (see Figure 11 below). A large concern on the left side looking towards York and another smaller one on the right side shortly before Eastfield Avenue is reached.

Figure 11: Driffield’s Brickworks South of Haxby.

There was another small brickfield at the beginning of Station Road behind the terrace houses on the left (see Godfrey Ellis’s Brick Works in 1913 map Figure 12). There was also a large brickfield on the north side of North Lane situated opposite St. Mary’s church hall and originally stretching northwards, possibly almost reaching Crossmoor Lane (see Pulleyn’s Brick Works in Figure 12 below).

Editor’s note: Were Pulleyn’s and Ellis’s Brick Works nearer to each other on Station Road? The pond on the map below appears on the 1854 map too with no reference to a brick works (see 19th and 20th Century Brick Works map in Figure 13 below for both 1854 and 1913 maps).

Figure 12: Disused Brickworks in Haxby.
Figure 13: Growing numbers of Brick Works in Haxby.

Family History

Many Local History and archaeology groups have family history skills in their membership. That was certainly true of Haxby & Wiggington. The work of Patsy Pendegrass and John Nottingham drew together lots of fascinating detail about the brick making families of Haxby. Her main resources were the Census and Trade Directories as well of course as the memories of local residents. John Nottingham’s history of the brick making (and laying) families is recommended for even more detail, some of which can be found here (Nottingham 2008) (Jon Kenny).

The Holtbys

In 1833 Thomas Holtby is known to have bought some pieces of land in Haxby and had a brick making business (Nottingham 2008). It is possible that Holtby had the brick field on the west side of York Road marked on the 1854 map (see Figure 13 above). Holtby himself (see Figure 14 below) was a dashing, well-known person. A coachman for over 20 years, he drove the London to Edinburgh mail coach. When the railway arrived and began to put the mail coach out of business, he turned his attention first to horse breaking and then brick making. He ran the business for some time but it was not a success. He lost a lot of money.

Figure 14: Thomas Holtby.

The Driffields

The ponds left by a large brick works on the east of York Road can still be seen today, situated behind houses no’s. 103 and 105,(see 1913 map in Figure 13 above). The Driffield family had probably started this new works after 1854, it is certainly in existence by 1913 (see Figure 13 above). This family was associated with brick making there until about 1937 (Nottingham 2008).

William Driffield was born in Easingwold in 1779 and married his wife Elizabeth circa 1805. She was born in 1781 in Stillington. Her family were brick and tile manufacturers. They had 9 children including Francis born in 1821 and George born in 1823. Francis became a farmer / brick maker and George became a brick maker, drainer and well sinker (Nottingham 2008).

Francis Driffield married Lucy. The image in Figure 15 below shows Francis and Lucy Driffield and their family in 1870. He died in 1876 and Lucy died in 1900. Both are buried in St. Mary’s churchyard. George was also buried in St Mary’s churchyard in 1891 (see their grave marker in Figure 16 below) .

Figure 15: The Driffield Family 1870.
Figure 16: Francis and Lucy Driffield’s Headstone.

1851: The census returns find the Driffield families at different stages in their lives. The 1851 census shows 70 year old Elizabeth Driffield was living at Brickyard House on York Road along with her sons Henry and Francis, both brick makers.

William Bunstan was also recorded as a Haxby brick maker in the 1851 census but it does not show where he worked (Nottingham 2008).

1860: Francis and Lucy’s daughter, Hannah born in 1860, married Mark Boldison who was a brick maker.

In the 1872 Trade Directory, William Holtby is listed as a brick and tile maker of Greenfield House, Haxby. In another directory, the firm is listed as Holtby and Hinton and in 1871 and 1872 Eliza Holtby was the owner. Tom Holtby left the brickmaking business in 1851 but there may be a family connection (Nottingham 2008).

1881: The 1881 census shows Lucy Driffield a widow of 43 with 6 children, one of them John, aged 14, a brick maker’s labourer. William Herbert, a brick maker’s labourer also lived there. George Driffield lived in a separate house with his wife, son and daughter. His son Tom (see Figure 17 below) was also a brick maker. Elizabeth Driffield’s other son. Henry, left brick making but his son, John, is shown as a brick and tile maker.

The 1881 census also shows another person in the brick trade – James Clifford, tile maker, He may have worked at the Driffield’s
brick works or he could have been employed at the brick field on the other side of York Road or even at one of the other two brick fields not far away (Nottingham 2008).

(Two of George Driffield’s granddaughters, Hilda and Rita, were owners of The Hilbra Stores during WW2.).

Haxby Residents Memories: John Driffield’s relatives still live in Haxby. The Helen Carey, who married into the family quotes:

‘During a discussion with John Driffield and his brother, I was shown some photographs relating to their Uncle Charley (son of Tom Driffield, see Figure 17 below). On one paper I noticed Charley’s address was given as The Brickyard, York Road, Haxby. It appears this had belonged to John’s Great Grandfather, Tom, who lived on York Road. I believe this is now, ‘The Old House’. At a later date a bungalow was built next door for Tom’s daughter, Annie ‘.

No information has been found about the other brick field on the west side of York Road but it is thought that a large pond (see map in Figure 13 above) in the garden of 200 York Road was on the site.

Figure 17: Tom and Charley Driffield.

The Pulleyns

Figure 18: John Pulleyn, date unknown.

The brick works to the north of North Lane (Back Lane in 1913 map in Figure 12 above) were owned by Francis John Pulleyn. The ponds were situated in the field was alongside Hawthorn Ave. The works made bricks until the early 1920s. The brick field situated behind Ralph Butterfield School belonged to Godfrey Ellis (Figure 12 above). His name is mentioned in a list of brick and tile makers in the York area in 1909 and again in 1913. (In the Baines Directory for 1823 there is a William Ellis. It is not known whether there is a family connection).

The photograph in (Figure 18) below is reproduced by Peter Walls and depicts John Pulleyn.  John Pulleyn was the first builder in the Pulleyn family and father of Francis John, who founded the Pulleyn Brickworks. Two further photographs loaned by Peter Walls show members of the Pulleyn Family (see Figures 19 and 20 below).

Figure 19: left to right – Francis John Pulleyn, Mr Copley and Francis John’s two sons, Stanley and Verdun.
Figure 20: The Pulleyn Family Swimming in the Former Brick Pond.

The Ellises

Haxby Residents Memories: The late Mrs Conning, resident of Haxby, writing in the 1970s stated:

‘The other brickyard was on Towthorpe Road and belonged to Mr Godfrey Ellis. It was not nearly such a big affair and eventually it was used as a refuse tip and the land was built upon’.

It is thought that Mrs Comings may have been describing this brick field, unless there was another brick field on Towthorpe Road.

Other Brickmakers and Brick Layers

In 1841 William and Jonathan Dobson, Thomas Jackson and George Clark were all bricklayers living in Haxby. 

Christopher Peckett is recorded as a Haxby brickmaker in 1871. His son, also Christopher, is recorded as a tile maker. In 1901 George Peckett is recorded as a brick and tile manufacturer (own account) and his brother Christopher a brickmaker labourer.

In the 1881 census James Clifford who lived at Haxby Village, Eastend, York Road was a tile maker. 

There were other brick and tile makers connected with the industry in Haxby. Andrew Bulmer lived in Layerthorp in York but he
owned a brickyard in Haxby. When he died in 1883 he left the business to his wife, Elizabeth Bulmer.

In the 1891 census it is recorded that she lived on York Road, Haxby and in 1901 she was still in charge of the business and her
residence was Greenfield House. It is not known whether in fact she was the owner of the other brickfield on York Road or whether the two businesses of Bulmer and Holtby were connected.

William Goodwin is recorded as a brickyard labourer. He lived on York Road in 1891.


In chronological order (as far as is known)


Methods of Brick Making

A description of how the bricks were made has been given to Haxby Local History Group by Peter Walls, nephew of Tom Pulleyn who became owner of the North Lane brick works after the death of his father, Francis John Pulleyn. Betty Pulleyn, sister-in-law of the late Tom Pulleyn, has also given us information.

‘The clay was dug out with a spit (spade) (see Figure 21 below). It was made into a big heap. The pond was flooded and left over winter. It was then emptied and was pumped out. The clay was then dug again to turn it over. The pond was flooded again. Now it was right for bricks. Bob Oliver wheeled it out. The clay was tipped on to a trestle table. It was cut with a knife and shaped and steadied with a lump of wood. Ben Shaw did this. It was put into a mould and Tom Pulleyn carried it off. The ‘truck’ was carried (using looped handles) 50 yards and then put down.

Figure 21: Digging Clay: The photograph below belonged to Brian Mann’s father. It is thought to show Haxby men digging a pond for the extraction of clay. The date may be around 1920.

A second description of the brick works:

‘A second pond was dug beside a first one and the first one was then emptied into it by hand. The good clay was then dug out. This was done in Winter. In Summer it was knocked up like concrete and wheeled to a large table where a man filled the moulds (41/2 in. by 3 in. by 9 in. with two handles on them). He then smoothed the clay. A runner, (another man) would take the moulds and lay them in rows to dry. They were turned approx. every 3 days. When they could be handled they were built into dry walls (clamps) with roofing tiles on top to keep out the wet still further. When ready to be burned in the kiln, they were placed in layers with coal slack in between – about 12 foot high and 20 yards square with a draught hole each side. A fire was then started with coal and wood. The firing took 3 weeks. If there were very strong winds the holes had to be covered otherwise the through draught caused some bricks to burn hard before the others.

Mr Pulleyn employed men to make the bricks. Boys helped. Runners earned about £2.00 a week. Bricks were still being made there in the early 1920s. Houses using these bricks were built in North Lane and Park Avenue.’

A further interesting piece of information was discovered: Francis Pulleyn bought the tin building from the Co-op stores when it was no longer used as a shop. It was moved to the brick works site. A further description has been given about the brickyard on the east side of York Road:

‘The making of bricks was carried out during Spring, Summer and Autumn. After being made the bricks were placed on pallets to dry. None were produced during the Winter months because of frosts, snow etc.. During this time Tom and his sons would drain ditches particularly down York Road and over fields etc..

There is also another description of the Driffield’s brickyard written in the 1960s by a member of the Haxby Women’s Institute: 

‘The clay pits some 40 foot deep are now filled with water and make a good nature reserve. Bricks and draining tiles were made here and on the right hand side of the pond nearest to York the old tile house is still standing. The tiles were made and laid out on trestle tables to dry, then packed into the ‘ house” for firing. The firing holes are still intact – it was a 5 day and night occupation to keep the fires alight. Water was pumped from one pond to the other and the housing of the machinery was in buildings like a windmill. The one on Mr. Findlay’s pond (103 York Road) has been restored and has become quite a feature.’ 

Firing the Bricks

The Clamp Kiln.

The oldest method of firing is by clamp (see Figure 22 below). This process was used at Francis Pulleyn’s brickyard. A clamp is a temporary construction of unfired bricks which is usually dismantled after each firing and is erected again near to the clay that is being used. Clamps had level floors of burnt brick. Channels were made in the floor and filled with coke or other fuel. 3 or 4 layers of unfired bricks were placed on edge and then another layer of fuel was added. Then unfired bricks were packed closely together to a height of 14 or 15 feet – usually tilting slightly inwards to prevent falling. Most clamp bricks had a little coke added to the clay. This helped a good temperature to be reached. The blue -black tinges that can be seen on early Haxby bricks will most likely have been caused by the coke. The clamps usually contained 30,000 – 150,000 bricks taking 2 to 3 weeks to burn out.

Figure 22: Three different type of Brick Kiln.

The Updraught Kiln

These were also known as Scotch kilns. They were permanent structures (see Figure 22 above). They were built of burnt brick. Flues ran under the perforated floor. The unfired bricks were stacked on the floor with small gaps between them to allow the heat to circulate. The open top of the kiln was covered with old burnt bricks and turf or very wet clay to conserve the heat. The kilns had to be stoked regularly day and night for 3 or 4 days. Quite often flames could be seen rising from the top of the kilns. Because of this, these kinds of kilns could no longer be used in 1939 when strict black-out regulations came into force during the 2nd World War.

Photographs below (see Figure 23 and 24) of the kilns used at the Driffield’s brickyard suggest that this kind of kiln was used there. These photographs were taken by the Haxby Women’s Institute around 1960. Figure 24 shows a firing hole and Figure 23 the door way for the kiln. 

Figure 23: Door Way at Driffield’s Brick Works.
Figure 24: Firing hole at Driffield’s Updraught Kiln.

Downdraught (Beehive) Kiln

The downdraught, circular or beehive kiln was more efficient than the other two types of kiln (see Figure 22 above). It had a domed roof and a perforated
floor. A flue ran under the floor leading to a chimney stack, There were about 8 fire holes and inside these were firebricks. These kilns held about 12,000 unfired bricks. Coal was lit inside the Firehole grates and hot gasses were directed upwards and then downwards from the inside of the dome by the draught from the chimney. The kiln took 14 days to operate and several more days for loading, heating to full temperature, cooling down, and unloading.

The base of one of these kinds of kilns has been found on the site of the brick works in New Earswick (see Figure 25) and another one at the site of the Hob Moor brick works. The image in Figure 25 shows the base of a downdraught (beehive) kiln recently discovered at the site of the New Earswick brick works, (in the nature reserve by lock cottage). The photograph is by Will Durrant, Lock Cottage, New Earswick. The image (in Figure 26) shows three beehive kilns at Porth Wen on Anglesey, the photograph is by D Sallery.   

Figure 25: Base of a Downdraught Kiln at New Earswick.
Figure 26: Three beehive kilns at Porth Wen on Anglesey. Image by D. Sallery.

The Great Rebuilding

The beginning of the I7th Century was the era of the ‘Great Rebuilding’. The ordinary people’s homes were becoming more permanent and brick was starting to replace wattle and daub. Chimney gables, previously made of timber and clay. were now
being rebuilt in brick. The Great Fire of London in 1666 and fires in other cities throughout the country encouraged the use of brick. Many insurance companies in the cities were started around this time with house owners being unable to insure their properties if they posed a great fire risk. Some of the old houses in York and the surrounding villages have a “fire mark” on the wall dating back to the time when insurance companies started to bear the cost of saving burning buildings.

The first brick house in York. in Ogleforth, was built then. It seems that this general trend reached the Haxby area a little later. A lot of brickyards were starting to operate in this part of North Yorkshire possibly not before the beginning of the 18th Century. In the early days the bricks were usually made by itinerant workers.

Early bricks, usually made in clamps, were often irregular in size and shape although Tudor brick makers, at their best. made very
elaborate twisted chimneys and patterned their brickwork by inserting very over-burnt bricks between their often bright orangey-red bricks. There doesn’t appear to be any bricks of this age in Haxby.

Bricks from the mid-18th Century onwards can be seen here. A few of the cottages along The Village date from mid to late 18th Century. The oldest cottages have smaller bricks. The row of  terraced cottages beyond The Hospice shop on The Village was
built with very small bricks indicating that this terrace has some of the oldest houses here. There are also a few garden walls built
with these very old bricks. ​

In many ‘brick’ areas in Britain the Brick Tax Of 1784 played a part in encouraging brickyard owners to increase the size of bricks so that home owners had less tax to pay. Certainly there is a variation in the size of the bricks on the older houses here. The bricks used on the old houses here are predominantly pink, light brown or grey, No doubt the majority came from local brick fields. Some of the more expensive houses were raced with bricks of yellow (or white) marl generally known as ‘Scarborough Buff. The terrace houses on York Road and a few houses on Station Road are faced in this way. These houses on York Road were built in 1904 by Bert Prole. The majority of the bricks used came from the Driffield’s brick yard. There are various areas in York, including the bottom of Huntington Road where there are houses faced with pale bricks – as in Scarborough where the name comes from.

Brick Making Machines at the Great Exhibition 1851

The Great Exhibition of 1851 had various kinds of new machinery on show. These included two machines for use in brick working:

1. Clayton’s tile, brick and pipe making machine (below) enabled two men 10 make 10,000 – 15,000 feet of drain pipe per day:

Figure 27: Clayton’s Tile, Brick and Pipe Making Machine.
Figure 28: Clayton’s Tile, Brick and Pipe Making Machine.

2.  A Mr Williams also exhibited a machine for pipe and tile-making and for making hollow bricks (Figure 29 below) or field drains, much in demand at the time.

One wonders if machinery of this kind was ever used in Haxby:

Figure 29: Williams Pipe and Tile Making Machine.

Bricklaying Bonds

Walking around Haxby it is interesting to see the different bricklaying bonds that have been used. On most buildings in Britain
nowadays plain stretcher bond is used but in the past more variations were regularly used. In some places a vast variety or brick bonds can be seen on the old buildings but in Haxby there are three bonds that are obvious. 

The main brick bonds are as follows (see Figure 30):

Figure 30: Brick Bond Types.

Surprisingly. there seem to no buildings in Haxby where Yorkshire bond has used. In fact the only recognisable that cam be on the walls of older houses are Stretcher Bond, Flemish Bond and English Garden Wall Bond. The most used bond was English Garden Wall Bond.

Along The Village the houses where this bond can be seen include numbers 56, 75, 77, 89, 91, 92 and 94.

Those along The Village where Flemish Bond has been used include 59, 65, 67, 69, 78, 85.

There are several of the oldest houses where it is impossible to recognise a definite bond.

Numbers 51 and 53 were built using a mixture of bonds as are many others.

The front elevation of The Tiger Inn and also Old Chestnut House (Mentone) is in Flemish Bond but the side wall is in English Garden Wall Bond,

Some of the old houses are in Stretcher Bond but this may indicate that wall may have rebuilt. Conversely. of the newer buildings of machine brick. (i.e. The Hospice Shop) have built using English Garden Wall Bond on the side walls but plain Stretcher Bond on the front.

The Memorial Hall, built in 1876 has Stretcher Bond at the front but is decorated with bands of dark blue brick.

The Northern Scientific building, formerly the Primitive Methodist chapel built in the  mid 19th Century is attractively decorated at the front with pilasters of orange machine made brick. The side walls are of English Garden Wall Bond.

Almost all of the old walls surrounding gardens in the centre of Haxby were built using English Garden Wall Bond.

The Driffield’s Brick Works

The Driffield’s Brick Works is shown in detail on the 1913 map of Haxby (see Figure 31 below).

Figure 31: The Driffields Brick Works.

We have two photographs of the wind pumps beside the ponds (see Figures 32 and 33 below). They were taken by members of Haxby Women’s Institute in or around 1960. The remains of the pumps are still inside. The water was pumped out of the pond to enable the clay to be dug out. The pumps look much the same today.

Figure 32: Water Pump Wind Mill Tower at Driffield’s Brick and Tile Works.
Figure 33: Water Pump Wind Mill Tower at Driffield’s Brick and Tile Works.

The two ponds, formerly part of the Brick Works are now very pleasant rural places popular with fishermen (see Figures 34 and 35 below).

Figure 34: Clay Pits at Driffields Brick Works, Now Fish Ponds.
Figure 35: Clay Pits at Driffields Brick Works, Now Fish Ponds.

Some Haxby Builders in the early to mid 20th century

In the early 1920s a Derbyshire bricklayer, Joseph Sharp, came to work on the Joseph Rowntree Estate in New Earswick. He eventually established his own business and moved to Haxby, where he became a very influential figure and earned a reputation for building first class houses; his own amongst them.

Ken Johnson worked for Joe Sharp and gave us the following information:

Ken started as an apprentice labourer in late 1931. The apprenticeship in those days was 7 years. Les and Peter Bell were also apprentices at that time. They were taught their trade by Freddy Blows. To start with they were paid 10/- (50p) a week. Ken then
went to work for Sorrell’s and was then in the Army for 3 or 4 years but he returned to Joe Sharp’s after the war.

Bill Shaw and Ted Stones were new apprentices then. Other men who worked there were Ken Tutill, Jack Wrigglesworth, Herbert Freer, Harold Holmes, Harry Turner and Jack Winterburn.

Ken Johnson’s first job was on a house for Alf Bellerby on York Road. Later the house named ‘Tolgarth’ (now on the corner of Holly Tree Lane and York Road), was built for the Whittaker family; a well known bakers in York.

Later Kenneth Ward, the owner of Haxby Hall, moved there and he had an extension built to house the maids from the hall.

In the 1930s, Joe Sharp built several large detached and semi-detached houses on York Road between what is now Holly Tree Lane
and Eastfield Avenue.

During the war Joe Sharp made gas decontamination buildings for the ARP. The ARP siren was situated in a building they built down a lane off York Road. This lane is now Farmstead Rise and the building is now a bungalow. Before the war Mrs Hughes had a house built with ‘rustic’ bricks. Jim Suttill’s house was already built. The 10 Crompton Terrace houses and the Kilvington family bungalow were also built. ‘Plowman Brothers’ delivered the bricks from Green’s brickworks by the railway in Strensall.

Figure 36: Council Bungalows Built by Joe Sharpe.
Figure 37: Council Bungalows Built by Joe Sharpe.

The bungalows in (Figures 36 and 37 above) were built by Joe Sharp. Sorrell’s built several of the Council bungalows on Calf Close but those at the corner of York Road were built by Joe Sharp. They are distinctive in having darker diamond patterns in the brickwork at the front. Several of the semi-detached houses on York Road also have these distinctive patterns. These particular houses were built with a new brick for that time from the Askern Brick Company. The houses in the pictures below were built by Joe Sharp in the 1930s using Askern Brick.

Figure 38: Houses Build by Joe Sharpe.
Figure 39: Houses Build by Joe Sharpe.

More houses built by Joe Sharp are in Eastfield Avenue and Hilbra Avenue (see Figures 38 and 39 above). Joe Sharp died in 1969 aged 81. The firm was then taken over by his relatives and the same firm built three bungalows on The Village. Another well known builder starting work here in the 1930s was Gordon Sanderson. He built houses in Hilbra Avenue and Eastfield Avenue from 1934 onwards. The houses in Hilbra Avenue were built in 1935. Each semi-detached house cost £450 and a detached one cost £600.

Tom Pulleyn built all the houses on the left side of Usher Lane from beyond the shops to Oaken Grove. This row of houses was
formerly called ‘Wold View’.

Mr Meek was a builder here in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He built a large bungalow on the corner of York Road and Eastfield
Avenue and other houses further down Eastfield Avenue.

The very large housing estates that surround Haxby today began being built in the 1960s. They were built by large firms with, as
far as we know, no local connections. At first building took place to the south of The Village and then by the 1970s, 80s and early 90s the houses to the north were built.

In spite of the tremendous leap in population and Haxby now being a town it is gratifying that the centre of Haxby still retains its village appearance. There are sufficient older properties in the Conservation area along The Village and around the green to still
give a feeling of a rural community. The brick makers of long ago would be interested to see the cottages built with local bricks still standing in pride of place in the centre of our attractive town.


Baines Directories.

Cowling G.C., Reprint 2001 ‘The History of Easingwold and the Forest of Galtres’ G.H. Smith & Son.

Garside-Neville S., 2004 ‘Brickmaking in 19th Century York, A preliminary survey’.

Illustrated Exhibitor, The 1851 ‘Great Exhibition of the Industry Of all Nations’ John Cassell London.

Isle of Wight Industrial Archaeology Society. ‘Isle of Wight Brick making History’ (online last checked Feb 2021)

Lynch G., 1997 ‘Brickwork: The Historic Development’

Mennim E., 1995 ‘Sutton on the Forest, Two thousand Years of Change’ William Sessions Ltd. York.

Mitchell T., 2000 ‘Foss Navigation’ William Sessions Ltd. York.

Newspaper Reports and written and verbal reminiscences.

Nottingham, J. 2008. The Brickyards, York Road, Haxby: A Family History of the two Brick & Tile Yards at
York Road, Haxby, North Yorkshire, c. 1770–2008. Unpublished booklet (edition donated to York Library at Haxby). If you would like a copy I have permission to send you a .PDF copy. Please email me at (Link checked on 28/02/2021).

Office for National Statistics. Census Lists (Haxby, York) 1841,1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901.

Smith E.A., 2004 ‘Hob Moor, Historic Stray and Local Nature Reserve’ William Sessions Ltd. York.

Smith T., 2003 ‘A History of Haxby’ William Sessions Ltd. York.

York Trade Directory 1872


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