Cross Keys

The earliest record we have of The Cross Keys Inn as a public house is contained in the Constable’s Record of Expenses which was found in the boiler house of St.Mary’s Church, Thixendale in the 1990s. At the bottom of the first page it notes- “1793 To The Cross Keys a licence…..5/-”.

Before the Cross Keys was built, the land was part of Brigham’s Garth (garden / yard).

The Cross Keys is first clearly identified in this map of 1851 , at which time John Towse was landlord.

John Towse was followed by brother David Towse, who was landlord around 1881.

This photo from the 1890s has the Cross Keys in the background.

Another photo from 1890s shows the Cross Keys and Jewison’s Row (David Harrison, his daughter Ellen, and her stepmother Jane): Cross Keys. 1890s

Son Robert Towse took over as landlord (around 1891) then brother John (around 1900).

Robert Towse was also a shoemaker and plied that trade from the room over the arch to the left of the pub.

It would appear that the property belonged to property speculators who sold it to John Smiths Brewery somewhere between 1899 and 1911.

Subsequent publicans include Albert Briggs (around 1901).

Elizabeth Shipley ran the pub until she died in 1906. She was followed by Isobel and Herbert Williamson.

The Cross Keys and Jewison’s Row can be seen here in 1907 and the 1920s

In 1913, William Brown was landlord, followed by son Arthur.

Thomas Hesslewood was landlord in 1929. William Hesslewood was landlord in the 1930’s. William and then Hubert and Jessie seem to have run it up to the 60s.

Mrs Joan Tolley: My aunt and uncle Mr and Mrs Climpson had the “Cross keys” late 1950s and 1960s. My Mother bought the old derelict cottage next to the pub and had it rebuilt and refurbished in late 1960. She was the person who called it “Round The Bend”. Mother did start “Teas” at the cottage but don’t suppose they are still there. My daughter used to spend her summer school holidays with her Nan and my husband and I would collect her and spend one or two weeks of the holiday there. I have some very happy memories of Thixendale and the lovely countryside all around. I was very interested to read of “Don” who lived in the caravan, this was at the end of my Aunt’s garden at the pub and my daughter remembers having tea in the caravan when she was there.

(Also see Climpson)

John Smiths finally put the pub up for auction in 1968 when it was bought by Anne Preston. Subsequent owners were:

- Ron Leeming (1972).
- Vernon and Margaret Hartshorn (1977). Vernon managed to demolish the arch completely with his caravan!
- Terry and Sandra Towner (1980). They re-opened the cellar and started serving cask ale again.
- Pete and Anita Dunkin (1983). They built the extension with a pub kitchen which could become a pool room if the catering didn’t take off!
- Steve and Mary Anstey and Paddy Clooney (Mary’s Brother) (1986). Steve’s family moved into Round The Bend next to the pub in 1968 so he may be classed as “almost” a local !

The stable block, which still had the stalls and hayracks, etc when we moved in, was converted to 3 bed and breakfast rooms in 2001 mainly by Steve who had taken redundancy from the automotive industry in 2000.

Paddy was the landlord until his retirement from the business in 2011 when Steve took over that role.

Steve and Mary retired 31st October 2022.