Knottingley and Ferrybridge Online West Yorkshire
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Also by Terry Spencer

The following studies by Terry Spencer are now available on the Knottingley website:

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century the August Bank Holiday period at Knottingley abounded in fun and frolic with the Feast as the hub of the festivities. The fair was supplemented by community sports and of the sporting element within the town none was more prominent than Knottingley Town Cricket Club.

Situated on the southern bank of the River Aire, to the north side of Aire Street, lies Knottingley Flatts. Today, the Flatts occupy only a small portion of the original layout which comprised the greater part of Knottingley Ings.

The modern image of the fair is one of outdoor entertainment for pleasure seeking people but such a concept is one which has developed over the last two centuries being born as a result of the Industrial Revolution.

Prior to the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 local people relied for health care in the event of sickness or serious injury upon charitable institutions such as Pontefract Dispensary and Leeds Infirmary.

The application by Knottingley Urban District Council for a grant of arms was made to the College of Arms, London, in mid 1942.

That there was a glassworks at Ferrybridge is indisputable for it was both documented and photographed. That it was situated on the north bank of the River Aire "..where the Parish of Brotherton merges into the Parish of Ferrybridge" is confirmed by map reference. The doubt lies not in the existence or location of the furnace but with its origin.

The township of Knottingley, situated three miles north-east of Pontefract in the Wapentake of Osgoldcross, developed from a 6th century Saxon settlement in a forest clearing on the south bank of the river Aire. By the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 the settlement had acquired the status of a manorial vill

As the process of industrialisation and urban development gained pace in the second half of the nineteenth century the provision of public spaces such as municipal gardens and parks for the purpose of public recreation and amenity became increasingly desirable.

Percy Bentley, scion of a prominent Knottingley family, was born in that town on the 18th January 1891, the son of James William and Helena Bentley, and was baptised in the parish church of St. Botolph on the 11th February.

On Wednesday, 25th September 1918, a committee previously sanctioned by Knottingley Urban District Council in meeting assembled, met in the Council Chamber at Knottingley Town Hall to consider the form of memorial to the men who had fallen during the Great War.

No less than the citizens of its larger neighbour, the inhabitants of the village of Ferrybridge decided to honour those drawn from the community and slain in the Great War.

For approximately a decade from the mid 1940's the 'K' Sisters, Marjorie and Pamela Kellett, were prominent throughout the town and district of Knottingley as all-round entertainers who harnessed their talent to providing public enjoyment and in so doing raised large amounts of money for local charities.

The new cinema, one of the earliest purpose-built picture houses in the country, was situated on an oblique strip of land some 560 square yards in extent, adjacent to Ship Lane at the junction with lower Aire Street. The hall was designed to seat 600 people: 500 in the area and 100 in the balcony.

In 1752, eighteen residents of the township of Knottingley in company with John Mitchell, the Parish Constable, agreed to be bound over in the sum of £10 each to observe the legal and moral obligations attendant upon being granted a licence as an innkeeper.

In the Spring of 1994, the recently deceased and much lamented Edwin Beckett arranged for the installation of a clock at the top of the Town Hall turret. The event was celebrated in verse by Mrs Joyce Bell who concluded her eulogy by stating that her mother, Dolly Lightowler, had always wished to see a clock set in the "bare face" of the Town Hall - a wish which had now come true.

Awareness of a link between my native Knottingley and the Prince's statue came quite recently when Mrs Shirley Bedford of Knottingley informed me that her great grandfather was the master of a barge which had transported the statue from Hull to Leeds in 1903.

It was in the course of a recent conversation with Roger Ellis that the subject of nicknames arose, following which, in an idle half-hour, I casually began to compile a list of those I recalled. My list quickly exceeded fifty in number and I was seized by a natural desire to list as many more as I could obtain.

The origin of Knottingley Band is obscure. In 1980 the Band celebrated its conjectured centenary year, the date being taken from an old letterhead of 1880.  However, a subsequent documentary source has been located which indicates that the genesis of the Band may lie much further in the past.

The burgeoning spirit of civic pride found practical expression on 29th October 1864, when a group of prominent citizens of the town formed the Knottingley Town Hall & Mechanics’ Institute Company Limited.

The purpose of this study is to consider the topography of modern day Knottingley and formulate a theoretical model concerning the development of the settlement during the medieval and post medieval eras as reflected in the field systems adopted.

An A-Z listing of Knottingley field and place names.

One of the most impressive and graceful houses ever built at Knottingley was Lime Grove. The large attached house was the residence of the Carter family and was built to the orders of Mark Carter at Mill Close, Hill Top, about 1808.

Conflict is fuelled by finance so it is unsurprising that following the outbreak of war in 1939, local savings committees were established to encourage people to curb personal expenditure and invest surplus cash in the National War Savings Scheme in order to assist the cost of the war.

The township of Knottingley became a semi-autonomous parish in 1789 following the ecclesiastical reorganisation of that period but remaining under the patronage of the Vicar of Pontefract until it became an independent parish in 1846

Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History


by TERRY SPENCER B.A.(Hons), Ph D.

MARCH 2008

The entrance to Lime Grove, Knottingley

One of the most impressive and graceful houses ever built at Knottingley was Lime Grove. The large attached house was the residence of the Carter family and was built to the orders of Mark Carter at Mill Close, Hill Top, about 1808.

Mark Carter (1777-1853) had moved to Knottingley from Howden at the turn of the nineteenth century and in 1801, in partnership with Edward Gaggs of Knottingley and John Seaton of the Pontefract banking family, had established a common (i.e. public) brewery in part of the former manor house of the Wildbore family adjacent to St Botolph’s church. The business prospered and by 1807 the partners who traded under the title Gaggs Carter & Co., had purchased land at Mill Close and the construction of a purpose built brewery had commenced on the site. Lime Grove was built next to the brewery as an onsite residence for Mark Carter and his family, Carter being the one who brought expertise in brewing to the partnership having learned the trade at the Carter family breweries at Howden and Market Weighton.

Despite Carter’s expertise the business almost folded when a financial crisis in 1810 resulted in the collapse of Seaton’s Pontefract Bank, forcing Robert Seaton from the partnership and destabilising the company.

By prompt action and the financial support of the two remaining families the two partners survived in business and continued to prosper until in 1836 Mark carter retired and returned to Howden where he died in 1853. Carter was succeeded by his eldest son, John, who remained in residence at Lime Grove and following the death of Edward Gaggs in 1840, gradually obtained complete control of the brewery concern which at that date traded as John Carter & Co. (1)

Lime Grove stood at the south side of the brewery buildings, the rear of the house opening directly onto the brewery yard thereby affording access to the brewery plant at all times. Being contemporaneous with the brewery building, the house was built of brick lime rendered and colour washed white. The building was roofed with tiles of Yorkshire sandstone. The two main floors of the house were occupied by the family with attic rooms in the roof space for the domestic servants, dormer windows providing light and air. A centrally positioned main entrance on the south side of the house with a squat quintuple porch contained a door with a rounded arch, which although lending an appearance of strength to the entrance was not very elegant.

Unfortunately, the designer and builder of Lime Grove and the brewery building is not recorded and therefore there is no indication as to why brick was chosen as the principal building material at a time when a superabundance of limestone ensured that all vernacular building in and around Knottingley was undertaken using that material. The fact is all the more significant given that the senior partner in the brewery concern was Edward Gaggs whose family, resident in the town from at least the seventeenth century, owed its wealth to their business as lime merchants, owning several local limestone quarried. (2)

John Carter married three times, the first and second wives being resident at Lime Grove. Carter’s first wife was Christiana Lund whom he married at Leeds Old Church on the 28th October 1830. Christiana bore seven children of whom, two daughters, Maria Anne, born 1834 and Maria Jane, born 1840, and a son George William born 1842, survived into adulthood. The Census Return of 1841 provides the first official glimpse into the Lime Grove household with somewhat puzzlingly, John (4) and Elizabeth (1) being the only children recorded. The data reveals four inhabitants in addition to the family members, Elizabeth Frear and Ruth Mattinson, both aged 20, Jane Pease (15) and Ann Frear (14) household servants presumably although no detail concerning their role or place of birth is recorded.

Christiana died on the 6th May 1845 and was buried at Howden and Carter took as his second wife, Sarah, daughter of Henry Longdon, proprietor of the Phoenix Foundry, Sheffield. John Carter, who had business interests in Sheffield at that time, may have met Sarah through business association with her father. (3) The date of the marriage is not known but the Census of 1851 lists Carter as being married although no wife is recorded. Three Carter children are listed, Mary Anne (17), Maria Jane (11) and George William (9). Only two servants are named, Elizabeth Frear and Mary Banks, an unmarried servant, aged 29. The absence of Sarah Carter’s name suggests that she may have been visiting family or friends and such being the case she would probably have been accompanied by her maid.

The 1851 Census Return also provides an indirect indication of the financial and social status of John Carter who is listed as both merchant and common brewer as opposed to a decade earlier when only the latter designation was accorded him. Examination of Carter’s business interests reveals both the nature of and reason for his growing wealth and social progress.

By the 1830s Knottingley Brewery was such a commercial success that profits were accruing faster than they could usefully be absorbed by reinvestment in company development. As early as 1843 Carter calculated that he had made a clear profit of £6,695 and between 1843 and 1845 had personally saved £2,284 with the company showing clear profit of £8,979 in the latter year and a little over £9,000 the year after. (4)

A goodly proportion of Carter’s wealth came from interest on loans, usually at between 4% - 5% annual interest. The occasional default on loans, particularly by publicans to whom Carter supplied liquor and other goods, resulted in a number of inns, often with adjacent land and buildings, being added to the company’s property portfolio, extending the number of public houses belonging to the brewery chain. (5) In addition to commercial properties Carter acquired cottages and dwelling houses, arable and meadow land in and around Knottingley all of which brought in rents. Carter’s wide business interests also resulted in the acquisition of land and property at more distant locations such as Batley, Morley, Keighley, York, Sheffield and Bradford, all areas of rapid urban expansion in which property and land was at a premium. (6)

For over twenty years from the late 1830s Carter invested money in sailing vessels associated with Knottingley’s thriving maritime trade and by the mid nineteenth century was at the forefront of investment in railway development, both nationally and locally, withdrawing from maritime investment as the rise in the value of railway shares prompted a decline in the profitability of local shipping. By the mid 1860s Carter had £12,800 invested in various railway companies. (7) Carter also held interests in breweries at Wakefield and Sheffield (8) and an earthenware factory at Burslem, Stafford. (9)

When Thomas Bell, a local chemist, began to manufacture coal gas for commercial use Carter was quick to invest money in the establishment of the Knottingley Gas Light Co. Within a few years most business premises in the town were gas lit, followed eventually by street lighting and Carter was the Chairman of the company. (10)

Carter inherited and expanded upon his father’s role as president of sundry local savings clubs and was frequently named as a trustee in the wills and legal affairs of business associates, organisations and friends. (11) One of the most significant indications of Carter’s social standing in this respect was his trusteeship of Mrs Brown’s Charity which had been established in 1811-12 for the benefit of poor widows and the education of young girls in Knottingley. In 1840 Carter was nominated as one of three trustees and remained so until his death in 1873 by which time the sole responsibility for the administration of the charity had long devolved on him. (12)

An active Anglican and a Liberal in politics, Carter was nevertheless respected and trusted by those of other denominations and political persuasion and frequently attended events and functions promoted by local Nonconformist groups by invitation. Here again Carter was in demand as a trustee on behalf of such bodies and served in that capacity in respect of the Kellington Methodist Chapel (1844) and Ferrybridge Methodist Chapel (1858). (13)

Carter’s most prominent civic role was, however, as the Chairman of Knottingley Select Vestry from 1837-1873. The annually elected committee of 20 prominent landowners and businessmen of the township included Mark Carter during the early decades of the nineteenth century until his retirement in 1837. John Carter had joined his father on the Select Vestry in 1832 and despite the membership of several able, long-serving members of his father’s generation, such as William Moorhouse, Thomas Jackson and Edward Gaggs, Carter was the undisputed Vestry Chairman for over 30 years. (14) The Census Return of 1861 identified Carter as a Brewer and maltster employing 3 clerks and 9 labourers but more significantly in terms of social status, as Commissioner for Income Tax and a Property Tax Commissioner. The appointments are of singular distinction for they conferred upon the appointee the necessary duty to examine the private and business affairs of all individuals in the Knottingley area, a duty only bestowed on one accepted by the public and particularly by the peer group of the office holder, as one commonly accepted as being fair and trustworthy. It is interesting to note that despite his social prominence Carter was never appointed to the magistracy, a distinction accorded to his friend, William Moorhouse. As a brewer Carter was debarred by the law from serving as a J.P. but had the assurance of the Lord Lieutenant of the County of Yorkshire that upon retirement he would receive appointment to the bench. (15) A further position held by Carter was that of agent for the Liberal Party and the serving M.P. for the Pontefract Borough constituency. In this capacity Carter served as host to a number of prominent politicians at his Lime Grove home. (16)

Naturally, social status and civic prominence carried not only duties but financial burdens and obligations in the time honoured tradition of noblesse oblige. Numerous examples of benefaction are recorded in Carter’s personal account books. The humanity of the man and particularly the sense of appreciation to past and serving members of the brewery workforce is evident by reference to entries such as:

To Mary Proctor, wife of late brewer, 10 shillings – a gift”, and again, “Present to Mr. Skelsey [company traveller] to go to the seaside - £1” (17)

The same generosity brought gifts to employees at Xmas or at time of illness as in 1866; “To Jervis Wynn £3-8-0 as a present for faithful service and towards his doctor’s bill.” (18)

Following illnesses suffered by Carter and his wife, Sarah, the Lime Grove servants were rewarded for their care and within a month of Sarah’s death the account book records the sum of £50, “…paid to Miss Margaret Longdon for her loving and unwearied attention to my late dear wife during her long and last illness.” (19)

Sundry subscriptions to local organisations, annual shows, sporting clubs, churches and other organisations reveal wide patronage, while a glimpse of the private man is seen when Carter, going through his late wife’s personal effects, found £17-10-0 in a purse and resolved to reserve the sum to defray the cost of iron railings for her grave, a poignant incident for Carter and for all who have undertaken a similar painful exercise. The generosity and humanity of the man was clearly acknowledged in his obituary in a local newspaper-

…ever ready to forward by the aid of his purse and active sympathy, every measure brought forward by his fellow townsmen.” (20)

Sarah Carter died on Christmas day 1870 following a series of protracted illnesses and was interred in Knottingley cemetery which had been opened in 1858. It is of passing interest to note that in November 1861 John Carter had purchased a vault in the newly opened Anglican burial ground lying adjacent to that opened by the Sheffield General Cemetery Co., in 1837. The purchase may be an indication of Carter’s intention to be buried there with his Sheffield born wife. Second thoughts occurred, however, and in January 1870 Carter sold the double plot occupied by the vault for £22-10-0, one of the few recorded times that Carter lost money on a financial transaction. (21)

At the time of the 1861 Census the domestic needs of the family were taken care of by Charlotte Clough and Mary Aldred, unmarried domestic servants in their early twenties. A survey of Lime Grove staff over the period 1851-1891 reveals a number of locally born servants together with a slightly larger number from further afield, suggesting that recruitment was undertaken on the basis of personal application and recommendation or perhaps in the case of local personnel, engagement at local hiring fairs such as the Pontefract Statutes Fair.

Apart from John and Sarah the only family resident at Lime Grove in 1861, Mary Anne, was John’s daughter by his first wife. John’s son, George William Carter, had entered Caius College, Cambridge, earlier that year. After gaining his M.A., George became a bencher of Greys Inn where in 1871 he became a barrister at law. The Census of that year shows John, a widower, aged 67, and George William, his unmarried son, aged 29, as living together at Lime Grove, their domestic requirements being met, presumably, by ‘outside’ labour.

The 1871 Census described George William Carter as a non-practising barrister who was an active partner in the brewery concern which employed “about 40 men and clerks”. It is clear that John Carter was contemplating retirement and shortly before his death he married for a third time and moved out of Lime Grove. The bride was Hannah Martha, daughter of John Senior of Leys Farm, Darrington Leys. Hannah was a mature 67 year old widow, formerly married to John Hall Bywater, a Knottingley doctor who had died in 1863. Hannah, who brought to the marriage a substantial dowry of land and property, was, however, to outlive John Carter by some 34 years, dying 2nd January 1907. The likelihood of such an eventuality may have prompted John to purchase a property situated at the junction of Ferrybridge Road and Weeland Road at Hill Top, formerly known as Mount Pleasant. The refurbished property, known as The Grange, was part of a marriage settlement made shortly before their wedding.

The purchase of The Grange occurred in July 1871. Situated less than half a mile from Lime Grove the property was sufficiently removed from the brewery and yet close enough to enable John Carter to keep a watching brief on his fiefdom. The refurbishment of the new property almost amounted to a total reconstruction of the interior. John Carter’s private account books provide itemised detail of work costing several thousands of pounds sterling and it is somewhat ironic that having spent a fortune on the premises Carter had hardly taken up residence at The Grange (but was still active in brewery affairs) when he died in October 1873. (22) Following the death of Hannah Martha Carter the house, the ownership of which had been settled on G.W. Carter some three years earlier, commenced a chequered history and is today divided into a series of private flats, yet to all outward appearances, much as John Carter knew it.

Unlike his father, George William Carter was a Conservative in politics being responsible for the establishment of Knottingley Conservative Association, providing its headquarters at his Aire Street Hotel in November 1872. (23) The move was designed as a focus of opposition to the proposed Local School Board established within the township in accordance with the legislative provisions of the 1870 Education Act. The proposal and its reaction split the Select Vestry membership with one faction under the leadership of Sydney Woolf of Ferrybridge Potteries and another, led by G.W. Carter, vying for ascendancy on that body in order to ensure control of the town’s civic affairs. Matters came to a head at the annual Town’s Meeting in March 1873 when a move by Carter’s supporters to secure his chairmanship in succession to this late father, was challenged by adherents of the Woolf faction. (24) Amidst riotous scenes the meeting was abandoned with threats and counter threats of legal action. Cooler heads enabled an eventual settlement of the dispute with the future chairmanship being shared on an annual basis until in 1880 Woolf became Liberal M.P. for Pontefract Borough at which time Carter withdrew from active participation in local politics. (25)

George William Carter had married in 1879. The bride was Elizabeth Macmaster Paget Milling, daughter of John and Bessie Milling of Harlow Manor, Harrogate, although she had been born in Southern Ireland on 22nd May 1850. (26) The wedding took place at St. George’s Church, Harrogate. The couple had three children, two sons and a daughter who were the last generation of the family to be born at Knottingley and live at Lime Grove. The eldest son, John Mark, followed a military career and following action in the Boar War, died of cholera in India in 1903 aged 23. The daughter, Georgina, was born in 1883 and lived until 1970, while William Edward, born 1885, died 1965, was the one through whom the direct line continued, being the father of the present pater families, Thomas Mark Carter of Eccleshall, Staffs.

As the inheritor of Lime Grove, George William Carter commenced a programme of improvement of the property and its surroundings. Initially, the entrance to both Lime Grove and the brewery was via a single driveway. Over the years expansion of the brewery business increased the volume of traffic, creating noise and dirt which was both inconvenient and unsightly to the residents. To obviate the problem, in February-March 1882 Carter realigned the main path to the house leaving the residual pathway as a private access to the brewery premises and creating a new more distant route for general access to the brewery, described by him thus:-

The old Brewery Road which went straight down from Hill Top (dividing Frank’s Close from the Brewery House, Garden and Field in front of the Brewery House) has been done away with, the new Brewery Road has been made across Frank’s Close into Shaw’s Lane and the private carriage drive comes partly into Frank’s Close – the Lodge and stabling is on Frank’s Close property.” (27)

Thus, the new entrance to the brewery was considerably lower down Hill Top, running along the eastern edge of the Close instead of through the centre.

The new entrance to Lime Grove was fitted with imposing ornamental gates with lamps to light the entrance. Installed by Walter Macfarlan & Co., Glasgow, in August 1882 at a cost of £43-10-6. (28)

The proximity of Lime Grove to the brewery was always masked by the surrounding trees which were of such goodly profusion and so well sited that numerous photographs taken from diverse angles, reveal little or no trace of the brewery beyond. To the east of the house was an extensive lawned area which gave way to the large paddock known as Frank’s Close which was bisected by the driveway opening out onto Weeland Road at Hill Top. The re-siting of the driveway enhanced the setting by creating a more spacious vista with greenery to the south and east, and the gardens, containing peach houses and a vinery built to John Carter’s specification, were supplemented by tree-fringed paddocks. (29)

In the early months of 1879, George William Carter, in anticipation of introducing his wife to be to her new home, undertook the complete refurbishment of Lime Grove. The roof was restructured, the attic dormers being removed, new hearths were installed, walls replastered and the house completely redecorated. Externally, the original porch was demolished and replaced by a decorated rectangular canopy supported at the front by pillars at either corner, the rear of the canopy being supported by its incorporation into the façade of the house., the whole edifice lending an appearance of elegance and strength. The outside walls of the house were repainted, together with the woodwork, as were the greenhouses. The whole marked a break with the past and heralded a new era. (30)

As befitting the first family of the town, social appearances were maintained, albeit at considerable expense. An example of routine expenditure in this regard is shown in the annual license fees recorded in George Carter’s private accounts in January 1881 concerning modes of family transport:

Dog cart & gig £1-10-0
Broughman & Phaeton £4-4-0
Coachman / Gardener £1-10-0
Armorial bearings £2-2-0
Two [guard] dogs 15-0
Total £10-1-0 (31)

The Census of 1881 records Carter, his wife and a 18-month-old son, John Mark, served by a household staff of three. Elizabeth Turvey, aged 37, was the cook, Harriet Stacey (20) was the housemaid, while Mary May (35) was a nurse and domestic servant. Further along Hill Top the widowed Hannah Martha Carter, described as an annuitant, lived with her three unmarried nieces, Elizabeth Senior (32), Annie Margaret Senior (20) and Susannah Robson, a 14 year old scholar. The Grange residents were served by a cook and a household servant.

As pillars of the Anglican Church the Carters were generous patrons of St. Botolph’s Church. John Carter donated towards the building of the tower, erected in 1871. When the church was comprehensively restored in 1887 George William Carter was a prominent benefactor, donating (inter alia) the beautiful and imposing east window. (32) Even following the departure of the family from Knottingley in 1892, affection for the parish church was retained and when the eldest son, John Mark, tragically died of cholera in India in July 1903, a faculty was obtained to enable a memorial tablet to be inserted in the north wall of the chancel. (33)

Lime Grove, Knottingley, interior view The Knottingley Carter children with their governess The grounds of Lime Grove, Knottingley, in wintertime

By 1891 George and Elizabeth Carter had three young children, John Mark (11), Georgina (8) and William Edward (5). The Census Return shows the two latter as residents at Lime Grove, the elder son presumably being away at school. The resident children were in the care of a 22 year old, Indian born governess, Elizabeth Helen Mc Lagan. The cook, Ann Elizabeth Lumb (34) and two domestic servants, Elizabeth Celia Barker (27) and Mary Annie Darn (23) were household staff.

At The Grange, Hannah Martha Carter now had the companionship of only her eldest niece, Elizabeth Senior, who continued to reside with her aunt as a spinster, until the death of Hannah Martha in 1907.

It was in the year 1891 that George William Carter decided to sell the brewery. The circumstances prompting the decision, whilst unrecorded, are not difficult to define. At a personal level, Carter, a highly educated and sophisticated man with wealth far exceeding that of his immediate forebears and, in practical terms, less directly immersed in the brewery trade, was approaching 50 years of age. With a degree of detachment common to most third generation industrialists, Carter was willing to forego the stressful demands of business life. In this regard Carter was undoubtedly influenced by the changes experienced during his almost two decades of proprietorship. The increasing hostility of the Temperance Movement; intensification of business competition and growing government interference and attendant legislation concerning the brewing industry were factors with implications for health which could hardly have been envisaged a generation earlier. Even when considered solely in an economic context it was apparent that the economic viability of the company was dependent upon financial investment through amalgamation with another company or by conversion of the private business to a public limited company. After a somewhat desultory attempt at the former, Carter settled for the latter format and in April 1892 it was publicly announced that: -

A company is being registered under the title ‘Carters’ Knottingley Brewery Company (Limited)’ to acquire the brewery now carried on by Messrs John Carter & Co., of Knottingley…” (34)

While for a number of years George Carter retained a financial interest in the new company in order to ensure financial stability for the new venture, he had no direct involvement with its administration. (35) Following the sale of the company the Carters left Lime Grove and resided briefly at Twizell House, Belford, Northumberland. In 1894 however, the estate was sold and the family moved to Cliff End House, Scarborough, where they remained for ten years. In September 1904 Carter bought the Eccleshall Castle estate, Staffordshire, where his descendants still reside. It was here in July 1918 that Elizabeth Carter died, followed two years later by George William, age 78. (36)

Following the death of Carter, most of the land and property belonging to the family at Knottingley was sold but the Carter name, retained in the tile of the brewery company, ensured its meaningful presence within the town and neighbourhood for some six decades following the departure of the family from the town. (37)

Lime Grove was part and parcel of the sale to the new company and became the residence of its chairman, John Charles Harvey. In 1901 Harvey, his wife, Emma, five daughters and a son were resident there with a cook, housemaid and nurse, the latter being somewhat superfluous perhaps, the boy being nine years of age. (38) Following Harvey’s death in January 1905 the family moved from Lime Grove (39) and part of the house was used as company offices and laboratory, the bulk of the property remaining unoccupied for a number of years until in 1913, Mr. Tom Jackson of the Headlands Glassworks took a 10 year lease on the house, including the Lodge, at a rental of £55 per annum.

When Jackson vacated the property the house was left empty for four years during which time the premises were sub-divided, making two separate dwelling units, rented by brewery employees. Mr. A. Cherry, manager of the wine and spirit department, occupied one part and the company brewer, Mr. Turner, the other. When Turner left in December 1929, Cherry switched occupancy and the new brewer, Mr. Hutchinson, occupied Cherry’s former abode. Cherry and Turner had each paid 10 shillings per week rent with the company paying the rates. Hutchinson, however, lived rent free, the accommodation being regarded as part of his salary. Hutchinson stayed until 1935 when the company was taken over by Bentleys’ Yorkshire Breweries Ltd. Following the departure of Hutchinson, his former residence was let, together with the garden in front of his dwelling, to Mr. R.H. Birdsall, a self-employed painter and decorator, who paid 15 shillings per week rent, plus rates. In 1951 the property was assessed by Knottingley Urban District Council and the dwellings entered into the Council’s register of local properties in accordance with the terms of the Rent & Mortgage Restrictions Amendment Act, 1933. However, as one part of the property had always been let to an employee of the company there was some uncertainty concerning its inclusion for rent control legislation. As a result the 15 shillings per week rent paid by Mr. Birdsall was regarded as a first letting and the amount regarded as the standardised rent applicable to both dwellings. (40)

The B.Y.B. takeover resulted in the closure of the Knottingley brewery, the company becoming a subsidiary of the parent firm, administering the tied public houses associated with Carters’ Knottingley Brewery Co., Ltd., from offices within Lime Grove. Between 1935 when on-site brewing ceased, and 1968 when the brewery estate was sold, numerous attempts were made by Knottingley Urban District Council to purchase the site. Both parties waxed hot and cold and no agreement could be reached concerning a suitable price. Had agreement been reached it seems probable that Lime Grove would have been used as Council offices in place of the overcrowded Town Hall. As it was, early in 1963 the company sought outline planning permission for development of the site. The application met with initial refusal but an appeal was lodged with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and a public inquiry held in Knottingley Town Hall on the 25th February 1964 resulted in the appeal being allowed. (41) Following the successful appeal Mclauchlan & Co., Ltd., Knottingley based building contractors, sought to purchase and develop the site but negotiations broke down. On Tuesday 9th March 1965 the estate was auctioned at the Queen’s Hotel, Pontefract, with a reserve price of £12,000 and was sold for £20,000. (42) The brewery buildings and Lime Grove were demolished shortly thereafter with the subsequent development of the private residential estate which occupies the site today.

The demolition process also included the felling of the magnificent horse chestnut trees which marked the southern edge of the Lime Grove grounds along the line of Weeland Road from Forge Hill Lane to Brewery Lane, proving adornment to Hill Top which lives in the memory of a few townsfolk today and to the beauty of which old photographs bear mute testimony.

Terry Spencer B.A. (Hons), PhD.
March 2008


  1. Spencer T. ‘ A History of Carters’ Knottingley Brewery: Volume 1, The Private Company, 1800-1892’, (referred to hereafter as Brewery History), (1988), pp1-12 for details of the origin and early history of the company.

  2. Sheffield City Archives, Bacon Frank Collection BFM/382

  3. John Carter’s Private Ledger 1837-74, Carter Archive Eccleshall. Also West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, MU/454/459

  4. Brewery History, p49 & p58.

  5. ibid pp50-53.

  6. ibid pp52-53.

  7. ibid pp55-56. Also Blanchard D (ed) ‘Knottingley: its Origins and Industries’, Volume II, (1979), pp72-132 & Gosney R. & Bower R. ‘The Sailing Ships & Mariners of Knottingley’, (undated). For maritime history of Knottingley.

  8. Brewery History pp56-7 & p59

  9. ibid pp59-60.

  10. ibid p60. Ironically, the brewery and Lime Grove were lit by gas produced by the company’s own gas producing plant pre 1877.

  11. ibid pp61-62.

  12. ibid p41. Also, Forest C. ‘History of Knottingley’, (1871), pp60-1 for origin of Mrs Brown’s Charity. For details of John Carter’s trusteeship c.f. ‘Knottingley Select Vestry Minute Book 1823-40’, p220.

  13. Brewery History p46.

  14. Spencer T. ‘Aspects of Civil Administration & Social Development in Nineteenth Century Knottingley’, in. Norfolk M. (ed), ‘The Digest’, Knottingley & Ferrybridge edition, No.37, September 2006, pp9-11, No. 38, October 2006, pp9-11 & No. 39, November 2006, pp9-11.

  15. Brewery History p43.

  16. ibid p44

  17. ibid p46

  18. ibid pp69-70

  19. ibid p47

  20. Pontefract Telegraph 18th October 1973

  21. Brewery History p37

  22. ibid p40

  23. ibid p45

  24. ibid p46

  25. Spencer T. ‘Knottingley Select Vestry Riots 1874, in ‘Aspects of Local History: Knottingley Miscellanea’ (forthcoming)

  26. Brewery History p38

  27. ibid p39

  28. ibid. The brewery fence and gates were requisitioned for war salvage by the Ministry of Works in April 1944 c.f. Carter’s Knottingley Brewery Minute Book 1938-46, W.Y.A.S. Wakefield, 1415-3 p253 & p255

  29. Brewery History p39

  30. ibid

  31. ibid p92

  32. ibid p47

  33. Pontefract Advertiser 11th June 1904

  34. Brewery History pp122-23

  35. W.Y.A.S. Wakefield, 1415-1. Company Minute Book 1892-1923 (n.p.) entry 25th January 1897 for G.W. Carter’s financial involvement. For the history of the new company c.f. Spencer T. ‘A History of Carters’ Knottingley Brewery, Volume Two: The Public Limited Company, 1892-1972’ (forthcoming 2008)

  36. Brewery History p125

  37. ibid pp125-26

  38. Knottingley Census Return 1901

  39. Pontefract Advertiser 4th February 1905. Upon taking possession of Lime Grove in 1892, Harvey paid £75 per annum rent plus maintenance. After relinquishing the post of managing director and chief brewer the following year, the co-directors decided that as Harvey had spent substantial sums of money on repairs and improvements to the property, he should continue in occupation as long as he remained a company director and that future rates would be charged to the company. c.f. W.Y.A.S. Wakefield, 1415-1 (n.p.) entry 23rd November 1893.

  40. W.Y.A.S. Wakefield, 1415-1 Company Minute Book 1954-64. Summary of Residence on Brewery Estate inserted between pp221-22.

  41. ibid p325 & p333

  42. W.Y.A.S. Wakefield, 1415-6 Company Minute Book 1964-71 p13 ibid. The brewery fence and gates were requisitioned by the Ministry of Works for salvage in 1944 c.f. Carters’ Knottingley Brewery Minute Book 1938-46, W.Y.A.S. Wakefield 1415-3 p253 & p255.


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