FIELD SYSTEMS AND PLACE NAMES
OF OLD KNOTTINGLEY
TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D.
PORT OF KNOTTINGLEY :
GAZETTEER OF PLACE NAMES
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Lying just west of St Botolph’s Church and within the former demesne of
the manorial lords, Manor Farm is commonly mistaken for an old manor
house. Although of considerable antiquity, the farm house is of later
construction than either of the two buildings which were the manorial
halls. By the seventeenth century the tenant of the newly established
manor farm, had an obligation to supply the nearby manor house occupied
by the Ingram family, the manorial lords, with victuals and to oversee
the working of the adjacent farmland. It is claimed that the last bull
baiting in England was held in a nearby garth shortly before the ‘sport’
was outlawed in 1823.
An area on the north eastern edge of Racca Green now occupied by Foundry
Lane and its environs. Manor Fold was the place to which the town pinder
brought the beasts which grazed the greens and commons and lanes and
verges of the town by day for safety during the night.
An enclosure in excess of two acres situated behind the Manor House of the
Ingrams at Hill Top. By the time of the construction of the mansion in
the seventeenth century parkland was no longer an exclusive hunting
preserve but had become a retained area of natural beauty close to the
manor house and regarded as an amenity and a status symbol. The
rectangular park bounded by the river, is still discernible today, being
retained as pastureland, although only a few of the trees which provided
adornment in past ages remain.
An area of land lying at the northern end of Middle Lane at its junction
with Weeland Road and Morley Lane. The Morley Lane housing estate now
occupies the major part of this site.
The residence of the Moorhouse family, Marine Villa was built in the
eighteenth century, its name reflecting the prominence of the maritime
trade of the town, being one of the major business interests of William
Moorhouse Senior. The pleasure gardens which formerly stretched in front
of Marine Villa occupied the ground on which the Knottingley Swimming
Pool and Sports Centre and The Close now stand. Following the departure
of Moorhouse Junior’s successors from the town in the third quarter of
the nineteenth century, Marine Villa was purchased by William Jackson
and held by his heirs until shortly after the Great War. During that
time the building became known locally as the Hall. The house was
occupied by the Hartley family for some years in the mid twentieth
century. From the mid 1960s Marine Villa was in the ownership of the
Knottingley building and construction company, McLauchlan Ltd., being
utilised as company offices. Thereafter, the building served the same
function for the supermarket company, G.T. Smith & Sons for several
decades until the end of the twentieth century. When Smiths’ sold the
business to the Co Operative organisation, the building became defunct
and fell into a state of disrepair. Early in 2004 the supermarket group
W. Morrison acquired the existing supermarket and Marine Villa site and
demolished both buildings in order to erect a new, enlarged store and
filling station. Thus was a further element of the town’s heritage
despatched to oblivion in the interests of commercialism. O tempora O
MARINE VILLA (ROAD) LANE
A roadway to the south of Hill Top which connects Weeland Road with Spawd
Bone Lane via Knottingley Playing Fields. Marine Villa Lane (Road) is
but the latest of several other names which have identified the
location. Originally the Lane was merely a headland dividing two
furlongs of the open fields of the manor of Knottingley. The nature of
the land was obviously unstable leading to the adjacent pathway becoming
known as Shiften Lane, which over time became corrupted linguistically
to Shitten Lane. In the more decorous society of subsequent centuries
the Lane was referred to as both Ratten and Rotten Row until with the
construction of Marine Villa in the eighteenth century, the name Marine
Villa Road was adopted.
MARLPIT CLOSE / LANE
Situated within the South Field the marlpit consisted of an area of soil,
the composition of which was sandy, containing elements of fine gravel.
Such soil was used on the heavy clay soils found in some areas of the
great fields in order to make them more suitable for cultivation.
MARSH END / LANE
Marsh End was the name of the area to the east of Aire Street which was the
location of the water meadows forming the common pasturage of the
manorial vill and Marsh Lane (often mistakenly referred to as Stocking
Lane) was the pathway which provided access to Bank Dole and the
adjacent pastureland and following the extension of the town fields
eastward, via Trundles Lane to Stocking Lane and the outlying common
MATT ALLEN CLOSE
A personal place name for an enclosure of about one acre of land situated in
the South Field. The Tithe map of 1842 refers to Matthew Allen Close and
the 1857 Rate Book names the site as Matt’w Allen Close, confirming the
origin of the name.
Meaning of name and location unknown, perhaps an enclosure named for an
Probably land composed of various types of soil. The location of the close
was within the furlong known as Waithwaite Field which also contained
another furlong known as Stoneylands, indicating the variable texture of
Two areas of pastureland situated south of Simpsons Lane near its junction
with Spawd Bone Lane. Comprising six acres of land, the smaller two acre
plot contained several scattered buildings indicative of a homestead and
MIDDLE FIELD CLOSE
A two acre enclosure situated on the west side and adjacent to England Lane
which cut through the north-east corner of this site.
Leading off Weeland Road at the south side of the section originally named
Banks Lane (c.f. supra) this lane, as the name implies, ran through the
middle of the smaller of the three common fields of Knottingley Manor.
From the eighteenth century, following the opening of several quarries
in the Middle Field area, the lane became one of several busy lime
routes along which limestone was conveyed to the town’s waterways.
MIDDLE FIELD QUARRY
Opposite the east end of the pathway presently known as The Bendles,
situated close to the southern side of Cow Lane Bridge, the site is one
of the early quarries which were located close to the centre of the
township, being worked out in the eighteenth century. The defunct quarry
site was owned by Widow Sefton at the clos of the century but by the
early decades of the nineteenth century a public house known as the
Mariners Arms had been erected thereon under the proprietorship of
George Sefton. By 1870 the inn was closed but the derelict building
remained until it was demolished in the early twentieth century. The
site remains overgrown and unoccupied to this day.
A location adjacent to a stream or into which seepage from a manure heap
drained (c.f. Old English ‘micge’ meaning liquid). Alternatively, the
name could indicate a place plagued by gnats or nidges (O.E. ‘mycg’).
Lack of data concerning location prevents identification and the name
may merely be a personal one.
Land adjacent to Kings Mills which was originally demesne land but by the
late eighteenth century was a series of closes known collectively as
Mill Fields. One close was the site of a dry dock for the repair of
vessels using the river Aire which flowed at the northern end of the
close. Another, to the south and subsequently separated by the
construction of the canal between 1821-26, was the site of the brewery
built by Mark Carter and partners in 1808 and sometimes thereafter
referred to as the Mill Close Brewery.
A lane leading from Mill Bridge via the Kings Mill yard and the fields
beyond and terminating at the junction of Chapel Street and Aire Street
near St. Botolph’s Church. The route was through the manorial demesne
and was the one taken by the local peasantry to have corn ground at the
lord’s mill. Owing to common usage from time immemorial a right of way
through the Mill yard was established and was observed until the late
1970s when the potential danger to the public, resulted in the path
being diverted along the canal bank and around the mill instead of
through the yard.
MIREY BUTT CLOSE / LANE
Land in the south field lying between Simpsons Lane and Cattle Laithes Lane
amidst the irregularly shaped strip holdings formed by the edge of the
common field and known as butts. The initial name element suggests land
of poor quality, probably due to the draining of rainwater onto the
lower level of the butts situated at the bottom of the sloping land.
Mirey Butt Lane was the access route to the said butts, situated close to
Simpsons Lane Hill.
Name of a drainage ditch lying in the great East or Low Field. An adjacent
parcel of land is named as Moor Dyke Close.
As with the above, the name of this plot is derived from its adjacency to
the lane leading onto the moor or common land.
The detached house at the junction of Middle Lane and Weeland Road at the
eastern corner of Marine Grove. The house was the residence of the
Spoforth family, farmers and lime merchants, and later in the ownership
of T.H. Bentley, auctioneer and valuer. During the twentieth century the
premises were converted into a houses and shops but in recent years one
property has again become solely residential.
A short pathway connecting Weeland Road with Spawd Lane. The construction of
the Wakefield – Goole Railway Company’s line in 1845 cut through the
bottom end of Spawd Bone Lane at its connection with Morley Lane
adjacent to Banks Garth. Thereafter, the connection with Spawd Bone Lane
was restored by means of a short right angle, left turn over England
Lane railway crossing.
A large detached brick-built house of the late nineteenth century situated
off Grove Lane, Hill Top. The house was the residence of the medical
practitioner, Erasmus Stone, for whom it may have been built. Stone
retained the ownership into the following century until it was acquired
by J.W. Bagley and was later lived in by his son, Dr. S.B. Bagley.
During the early years of the Second World War the house was commandeered as
the headquarters of a detachment of Army personnel and was later a
Situated in the Middle Field near the boundary with Darrington Leys, this
enclosure of two acres plus, takes its name from the Old English ‘muga’
meaning land on which a stack stands.
Situated between Middle Lane and England Lane, this one-acre plot is named
for the nature of its shape and size.
c.f. Dark lane (supra)
NATIONAL SCHOOL The
The development of the national school movement from the late eighteenth
century resulted in the purchase of a plot of land at Tenters Balk
(lower Ropewalk) in September 1840 for the erection of a school to be
under the trusteeship of the Vicar and five laymen and managed in
accordance with the denominational principles of the National School
Following the establishment of the parish of East Knottingley in 1848 the
administration was transferred as the school was situated within the
boundary of that parish.
As a denominated establishment the school experienced many vicissitudes and
was even compelled to close during the period 1869-72 but reopened under
the joint trusteeship of the two vicars and three members of each
The schoolroom frequently served secular purposes and was a venue for the
annual Town Meeting each March when the members of the Select Vestry and
the town’s officers were elected.
As an educational establishment the school was incorporated into the central
education system administered by the West Riding County Council, being
commonly known within the town as the Church School.
A stone built house situated on the canal bank between Kings Mills and Gaggs
Bridge and originally at the northern foot of Butler Bridge. The house
was built as a residence for the local manager of the Navigation Company
and was in danger of demolition some years ago but was spared.
NEW HALL The
The name of a large storehouse and its appurtenances built on part of the
Flatts by order of Henry VIII in 1527. The precise location is
uncertain. The survey plan in the National Archives, Kew, suggests that
the Hall was situated at the east end of the Flatts close to the Crown
land at Pickhill Garth. However, both the Kings Houses and the Kings
Ferry were situated at the west end of the Flatts on or near the site of
the former religious house of the Cistercian Monks of Meaux, known as
the Priory, which was later the site of the Waggon & Horses Inn. From
the late Middle Ages the Priory site was the only property in the
township which was not freehold.
NINE NOOKS CLOSE
Situated in the Middle Field, this six acre close was distinguished by
having nine right-angle corners or nooks, hence the name.
End house of a limestone built, cement rendered terrace in Chapel Street
which was used by the Salvation Army in the late nineteenth century and
was latterly the headquarters of the Knottingley Womens’ Unionist
Association and the local Conservative Party. The property was a popular
venue for wedding receptions and other social gatherings until
demolished in the 1960s. The origin of the name is not known.
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