Cowesby is one of a series of villages that lie in the shadow of the western escarpment of the moors. Like many villages in the area, Cowesby has a Danish name. The village is rather dominated by geology – to the east is a perfect semi-circular embayment caused by a vast landslip, and lined with woods, while the road south to Kirby Knowle runs through a small valley that was originally formed by melt water from a glacier that was retreated up the vale of York. As the water melted the hill west of the valley was still under the ice, and so the melt water carved a valley across the exposed side of the hill. From 1863 the rector of Cowesby was John Oxlee, the son of John Oxlee, a gifted linguist and controversial early nineteenth century theologian.
Grid Reference: SE 465 898