TALES AND EVENTS
The Bridge of Boats - 1070
Coachman Killed by Overturning Stagecoach - 2? February 18??
Member of Hotel Staff Shot Dead - February 1781
Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station Cooling Towers Collapse - November 1965
There is a tradition still existing in the minds of local people that without doubt
had foundations somewhere back in time although it is unconfirmed by any
known documentary evidence. This relates to the ‘bridge of boats’
which tells us that John of Gaunt, or one of the early Lacy’s, while
attempting to cross the river with his army, was prevented from doing so
by the fact that the river was in flood.
him from this difficulty, the inhabitants of Knottingley built him a
bridge of boats over which his army could cross. In return for this good
service, they were granted a charter or privilege, constituting all of the
land in the township freehold.
searching for a probable origin of this tale we need to look back to the
year 1070, when William the Conquerer, aware of the news that his
Northumbrian subjects had once again revolted, swore not to leave a
Northumbrian alive to stir up any future rebellions. Marching his army
into Yorkshire his progress was halted at Ferrybridge by the fact that the
enemy had destroyed the bridge and the swollen river Aire threatened to
destroy his army if he dared to cross.
It is stated
that William waited impatiently for three whole weeks before one of his
Norman knights called Lisois (who it is suggested might be the same person
afterwards called Lacy, who was so liberally rewarded for his services)
discovered a Ford by which William and his army were able to cross.
unlikely that the river Aire could be fordable at any point in its swollen
state but after a wait of three weeks it is possible that the waters had
subsided sufficiently to enable the passage of the army at some point
along its bank. Exactly where is not certain but it is known that in 1225,
the inhabitants of Knottingley pastured their cattle on the Marsh on the
Brotherton side of the river, evidence of the fact that easy passage
across did exist.
A bridge of
boats cannot be discounted but admitting that the river had somewhat
subsided it seems likely that a crossing point, probably in Knottingley,
afforded William's army safe passage across.
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Does anyone have further information surrounding the events described on this
headstone situated in the old Ferrybridge Church graveyard?
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On the 13th February 1781, the
Leeds Mercury ran a story about an incident that occurred in Ferrybridge.
A Gentleman, believed to be an
Officer in the Guards, accompanied by a Lady with whom he had been on a trip to
Scotland, booked into the White Swan Hotel in Ferrybridge. After their
departure, a member of the hotel staff discovered that the Gentleman had left
his purse behind. Jarvis Thompson, the under-tapster, was dispatched on
horseback in pursuit of the man with the good intention of returning the purse
to him. He pursued the chaise in which the couple were travelling and on
nearing called out to the Gentleman "stop!, your purse, your
purse". The Gentleman, fearing a Highwayman, promptly opened a window
and shot Jarvis Thompson dead.
An account of the tale in The
Official Guide to Knottingley, circa 1950, goes on to state that "it is an
interesting reflection upon the law in those times, when we hear that the
Gentleman, on being informed of his error, provided liberally for the widow and
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On the 1st November 1965, during
high winds, three out of a group of eight cooling towers at Ferrybridge 'C'
Power Station collapsed, with the remaining towers sustaining severe structural
damage. The towers, each 375 feet high, had been constructed closer
together than was usual and had greater shell diameters and shell surface area
then any previous towers. The design and construction contract for the
towers had been given to Film Cooling Towers (concrete) Ltd. in
High winds were considered to be
the trigger for the collapse, but an inquiry found the exact cause to be
an amalgamation of several other factors in their design:
- British Standard wind speeds
had not been used in the design resulting in the design wind pressures at
the top of the tower being 19% lower than it should have been.
- Basic wind speed was
interpreted and used as the average over a one minute period, whereas, in
reality, the structures are susceptible to much shorter gusts.
- The wind loading had been based
on experiments using a single isolated tower. The grouping of the
towers created turbulence on the leeward ones - the ones that did actually
- Safety margins had not really
covered any uncertainties in the wind loadings.
There had been, it was decided, a
serious underestimation of the wind loading in the initial design.
Fortunately, no one was killed or injured in the accident.
tower comes crashing to the ground during high winds at Ferrybridge 'C'
Power Station in 1965.
aftermath of the incident. Three
of the eight cooling towers were
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