Summary of ‘Tickhill’s Mizendew: A history of the
Maison Dieu almshouses’ by Hazel Moffat
Tickhill’s eight almshouses, known locally
as the ‘Mizendew’, were founded over 600 years ago. Almost
certainly the almshouses had a priest in charge and the
almspeople took part in services there. The Maison Dieu’s altar
was destroyed in 1569 on the orders of a Church Court in York,
and the almspeople from then on had to worship in St Mary’s
Church just across Bride Church Lane from the almshouses. A
further six almshouses were founded on the same site probably in
Elizabeth I’s reign and they eventually became the
responsibility of the Earls of Scarbrough.
the almshouses were rebuilt in 1730 but by the 19th
Century they were in a poor state. The eight Maison Dieu
almshouses were replaced by two single storey blocks with five
homes in one row and three in the other. Each home had a main
room, a scullery and a coal hole. Water came from pumps in the
garden and privies were built in the corner between the two
blocks. The remaining six Scarbrough almshouses were not rebuilt
but some repairs were made.
Men sometimes lived in the Maison Dieu,
however they were intended for elderly women, particularly poor
widows. Many of them lived to a good age, without financial
worries. They lived rent free, received free supplies of coal
and most of them received a monthly allowance of 8/- (40p) until
1911 when it was reduced to 6/- (30p). When an almswoman died
the vacancy was advertised in a notice fixed to the church door.
Until 1856 the three St Mary’s
Churchwardens took it in turns for one year at a time to manage
the Maison Dieu, with the title of ‘Mizendew Master’. They also
collected rents from the tenants of nearly 28 acres of land
scattered round Tickhill which belonged to the Maison Dieu
Charity and provided its income. From 1856 the Maison Dieu was
registered with the Charity Commission and managed by a group of
Trustees including three vicars. In 1882 they sold most of the
land and invested the money to provide an income for the Charity
– of about £50 a year.
the 1960s the Maison Dieu’s accommodation was no longer of an
acceptable standard but there were no funds for modernising or
rebuilding the almshouses. The property was sold to Tickhill
Urban District Council in 1964 and Lord Scarbrough gave his
almshouse buildings to the Council on the understanding that
housing for pensioners would be built there. The almshouse
buildings were demolished in 1967.
later the Council completed a row of six pensioners’ bungalows
on the site. The funds held by the Maison Dieu Charity became
part of Tickhill United Charities and were used to help local
people until 1996 when the Maison Dieu component came to an end.
The full paper “Tickhill’s Mizendew:
A history of the Maison Dieu almshouses” shows for example
how some almswomen lived, how the Maison Dieu charity was formed
and how it was cheated of some of its income.
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