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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.


All 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.


By 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.



Six years 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.


Copies of the full text of this paper are on sale in KSM Dry Cleaners priced 1.50 or click here to read the article on line









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