A Brief History of Tang Hall

‘ Tang Hall ‘ may seem a Chinese sounding name but in fact it is quite English. Its origin lies in the forest of Galtres, ‘ a boar wood ‘ which for centuries stretched across the plains to the East of York. In about 1900, in the vicinity of Heworth, already a pretty little village at the edge of the forest, there was still a large swamp fed by the Foss and a number of becks.

In the Middle Ages the western part of this area, that nearest the City, was artificially flooded and stocked with fish to form the King’s Pool. That’s why there was never a wall built between what is now the end of Navigation Road and Peasholme Green, the water itself was defence enough.

To the east of the artificial lake was the swamp land called ‘ The Tang’. The name derives from the French word ‘ Etang ‘ ( a lake, a pond, a pool ) or more probably from the word ‘ Tongs ‘ ( a fork made by the joining of the two little becks which now run through the area and later enter in Foss Islands Road.

The Northern beck flows through the eastern end of Stockton Lane and Apple Tree village – The Southern one springs up in the Derwent area and runs through Stamford Bridge, Murton and Osbaldwick Village.

Their united waters wound their way under the present ‘ old tip ‘ of bushes and rubbish before emptying itself into the River Foss, a tributary of the Ouse. The land between the two becks where the two becks join was overlooked by a Manor, the Starkey family home, called ‘ Tang Hall ‘, the hall by the pond, or the Hall at the Tongs. That manor house was demolished and replaced by a new club which itself has since been demolished. Flats now stand on the site.

The 1926, 1947 and 1982 floods demonstrated perfectly well what the Tang Hall area looked like at the turn of the century.


A Turning Point in Tang Hall

In 1926 clay from the area now known as St Nicholas Fields was used to make bricks for the new houses of Tang Hall, in fact since 1922 building was in progress in the western part of Fifth Avenue and Carter Avenue. In 1926 the sale of the Starkey’s estate came as a boom in the business, a new world was taking shape between Tang Hall and Melrosegate. People rushed to rent houses provided by the council. It was rewarding to leave the slums of Walmgate and to enjoy dwelling in the countryside on Tang Hall, a land of freedom between the becks.


A Brief History of Heworth

The name Heworth is Anglo-Saxon and means ‘ a high enclosure’. In Pre-Roman times the Heworth area was mostly a boggy waste with Birch and Aspen, and the small settlement which was situated down the street – now still called Heworth Village – was on higher ground.

Remains of flints have been found in the Walney Road area and we know there were Iron age farms near York.

The Romans came to York in 71AD from Brough to Malton then across the Derwent at Stamford Bridge to York. There was a Roman road south of Stockton Lane, and at 210 Stockton Lane remains have been found of a Roman Villa. At Apple Tree Farm, Bad Bargain Lane, remains of Roman coffins were found in 1959. There was a Roman Cemetery in Layerthorpe; one coffin was hidden in the railway cuttings.

An Anglican cemetery was found in the Glen Road area in 1879. Seventy six cinerary pots were found.


The Thwenge Family

The Thwenge family were Catholics and lived in the old Manor House, now demolished, which was situated on the corner of the now Walney Road opposite the Walnut Tree Public House. The Thwenges were related to the Thwenges of Upper Helmsley and Kilton Castle, near Whitby. When Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church in Rome he declared himself Supreme Head of the church in England when the Pope refused to agree to his divorce from Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. His daughter Elizabeth I introduced new prayer books and decreed that everyone must attend the Anglican Church and swear an oath to the Sovereign as Head of the Church or be severely fined and imprisoned if caught harbouring Catholic Priests. Most people conformed but a small group, preferring to cling onto their old Catholic faith, refused to attend church and said masses instead in their own homes. They were known as Catholic Recusants. One such family was the Thwenges of Heworth. They were constantly being presented in the Quarter Sessions for their recusancy and fined. In 1592 Anthony Page, a Catholic Priest, was caught hiding in an outhouse at Heworth Manor House. The Thwenges eventually sold their Manor of Heworth to the Agars.


19th Century Heworth

There was a first attempt at enclosure of Heworth Moor in 1776 but it was not actually enclosed until 1822 when awards of land were made to holders of ancient messuages ( houses ) in Heworth. Most of the large houses in Heworth Green were built at this time, and in the 1830’s the new housing was begun in the East Parade area, Eastern Terrace area. The Glen, now demolished, was a large Victorian house, the home of Mr Leak of Leak & Thorp of York. The shop assistants boarded with Mr Leak at this house. The Glen Gardens were laid out in 1915, this area had previously been fields. Part of Heworth’s commons and pasture were replaced by Monk Stray owned by the Freemen of Monk Ward.