Alwinton : The 18th Century
The clearest impression of the layout of Alwinton in the 18th century is supplied by Armstrong’s map of 1769, which shows a two-row village on an east-west axis at High Alwinton with a mansion immediately to the northeast of the settlement (NRO ZAN PM9). The mansion has been discussed previously in relation to the Horsleys’ holdings in Alwinton during the medieval period.
Although ascribed by Armstrong to a ‘Mr Horsley’, it is more likely that the building he depicts represents the residence of James Selby, who with his brother, Thomas, held land in run-rig on the Hoseden Burn above Alwinton during the 18th century. In 1887, James Hardy recorded (1887, 39; cf. Dixon 1903, 217):
the (run-rig) spits were laid out on a plan, James’s and Thomas’s alternately. James lived at the old Hall at Alwinton . . . . The Hall has been long gone and its site is now marked by 3 or 4 old sycamore trees and ashes.
James Selby died in 1771 and his brother Thomas in 1777. The hall was presumably demolished at some point thereafter. No trace of it can be seen on the tithe map (1846) or the 1st edition Ordnance Survey (c. 1860) and it must have already gone by the middle of the 19th century.
Some idea of the population and range of occupations in Alwinton township can be derived from the 1762 Militia List. A total of 16 adult males were listed along with the petty constable, john Spragen. One of these, Thomas Thompson, is listed as ‘sick’ and his name has been erased. Perhaps his sickness was terminal.
A range of occupations is listed showing that the village acted as a service centre for the surrounding agricultural district. Thus in addition to servants, hirds, a farmer and a labourer, a blacksmith, shoemaker, joiner and merchant are included. Interestingly, two weavers and three tailors are also listed, who doubtless exploited the wool from the extensive flocks of sheep which grazed on the surrounding hills.