Also by Terry Spencer
The following studies by Terry Spencer are now available on the Knottingley
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
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.
NINETEENTH CENTURY KNOTTINGLEY:
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
KNOTTINGLEY PLAYING FIELDS:
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.
CAPTAIN PERCY BENTLEY:
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.
KNOTTINGLEY WAR MEMORIAL:
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.
FERRYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL:
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.
THE 'K' SISTERS:
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 PALACE CINEMA:
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.
KNOTTINGLEY PUBLIC HOUSES & BREWERIES:
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.
KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL CLOCK:
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.
STATUE OF THE BLACK PRINCE:
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.
KNOTTINGLEY SILVER BAND:
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.
KNOTTINGLEY TOWN HALL:
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.
FIELD SYSTEMS AND PLACE NAMES OF OLD KNOTTINGLEY:
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
GAZETTEER OF KNOTTINGLEY PLACE NAMES:
An A-Z listing of Knottingley field and place names.
LIME GROVE AND THE CARTER FAMILY
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.
WAR SAVINGS WEEKS:
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.
SELECT VESTRY RIOTS 1874:
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
Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History
KNOTTINGLEY PUBLIC HOUSES & BREWERIES
circa. 1750 – 1998
by TERRY SPENCER B.A.(Hons), Ph D. (1998)
NAMES AND LOCATIONS OF EARLY INNS
Most of the public houses in existence by the mid-eighteenth century
had their origin in that century. However, one or two may be of earlier
descent for the maritime trade and the development of the limestone
industry, which developed apace from that time. were already well
established by the seventeenth century. The earliest establishments were
supplemented during the nineteenth century by a substantial number of
public houses and although some of them invariably ceased trading the
majority continued in existence beyond the mid-twentieth century.
One may reasonably conject that the earliest victuallers were sited in
the vicinity of the Flatts in Aire Street and the Holes, Hill Top, where
the lime routes terminated. There the activities of the two emergent
occupations conjoined and created the demand for liquid refreshment. The
names and locations of the pre-nineteenth century inns are, sadly, not
officially recorded, for the victuallers trade, although well regulated,
only vouchshafes the names of the licensees at that time, for it was not
until 1882 that official records named the premises occupied by the
various applicants. All information concerning Knottingley inns prior to
that date is drawn from scant miscellaneous sources.
However, the information provided by the Recognizances of 1882 and
that contained within the contemporaneous Baines Directory accords well
with information drawn from earlier sources and indicates that with the
single exception of the Cherry Tree and the Rising Sun, those public
houses listed in 1822 were already established by the end of the
Until the third decade of the nineteenth century the principal road
through Knottingley was along a line commencing at the western edge of
Hill Top and running via Chapel Street, through Aire Street and Marsh
End to Fernley Green at which point it rejoined the Weeland Road at the
eastern extremity of the township. Not unnaturally, the public houses of
the town were located at sundry points along the route outlined, as
confirmed by reference to the following table.
NAMES AND LOCATIONS OF PUBLIC HOUSES IN KNOTTINGLEY
TOGETHER WITH THE NAMES OF THE LICENSEES, 1822
|NAME OF HOUSE
||Hill Top – West
||Hill Top – Central
||Hill Top – East
|Duke of York
||Holes – off Hill Top
||Aire Street – West
|Wagon & Horses
||Aire Street – West
||Aire Street – Central
||Aire Street – Central
||Aire Street – West
||Island – Aire Street
||Racca Green – East
Comparison of the names of these early day public houses reveals a
duality which reflects the occupational basis of the township in the
eighteenth century. Thus, amongst the cluster of inns within the central
area of Aire Street and its immediate environs where open access to the
river provided the site for the towns most intensive maritime activity,
were public houses such as the Ship, Anchor, Royal Oak and Admiral
Nelson, whose names were clearly influenced by nautical association.
Conversely, within the same area were inns such as the Wagon & Horses,
Buck, Blue Bell, Dog and the Three Horse Shoes (unlisted, but known to
have been in existence at that date) the names of which reveal an
element of rustication associated with the agrarian life of the town.
The latter group of names was the predominant one for it was augmented
by those such as the Cherry Tree, Bay Horse and Swan, situated in more
peripheral areas of the township all of which utilised natural imagery
the simplicity of which was readily intelligible to a largely illiterate
local populace when expressed visually through the medium of an inn
In connection with the latter category may also be placed inns such as
the Red Lion and the Duke of York, the names of which echoed a departed
but not too distant feudal age. Indeed, the two elements are not
mutually exclusive for natural symbolism was a feature commonly adopted
as an heraldic device, a fact illustrated by the name of the Rising Sun
Inn, which although of early nineteenth century origin most clearly
epitomises the elemental connection.
A name which belonged to neither of the two categories described above
was that of the Limestone Inn. Situated on the eastern fringe of Racca
Green, the inn name, whilst acknowledging the natural topography of the
town, was identified with an industry which, like the maritime trade,
represented a long established but nonetheless incursive feature within
the traditional agricultural context of the township.
The fifteen licensees named in 1822 were people of some material
substance, each being bound in the sum of £30 with an additional surety
of £20 being pledged by a third party as guarantor. The substantial
increase in the bond probably reflects the attempt by the authorities to
raise additional revenue in order to supplement the cost of the fairly
recent Napoleonic Wars as well as a desire to ensure a greater degree of
respectability amongst publicans. Indeed, the post war period witnessed
mass unemployment as the 300,000 men discharged from the army
exacerbated the problems arising from the adverse effects of the
Industrial Revolution to create a slump which promoted social discontent
for which a public house was an ideal forum.
Amongst those listed in 1822 was Ann Pickering of the Buck Inn, the
only female applicant. Ann Pickering may have been a direct descendent
of Robert Pickering who had featured in the list of 1752, thus revealing
a continuous family connection with the victualling trade albeit not
with the same premises for Robert Pickering was associated with the sign
of the Cherry Tree whilst Ann Pickering resided at the Buck Inn. A
further nominee who had featured in earlier lists was William Darnbrook.
Darnbrook, who was also a vessel owner stood surety for several
contemporary applicants, thereby upholding the tradition of mutality
which is evident in recognizances throughout the second half of the
eighteenth century. Two other publicans of obvious material substance
named in 1822 are George Burton and John Robinson, although the latter
was declared bankrupt shortly thereafter. Both men were local
shipbuilders and vessel owners trading within the town from the last
quarter of the preceding century. Robinson stood as bondsman for Ann
Pickering whilst Burton was guarantor for Mark Hepworth of the Dog Inn.
Terry Spencer, 1998