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
FERRYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL
by Dr. TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D.
NAMES OF THE
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. To this end, a war memorial
committee was formed with the aim of raising money to enable a suitable
monument to be designed and erected.
The committee was under the chairmanship of Mr. E.L. Poulson,
proprietor of the West Riding Pottery, Ferrybridge (1) with Mr. E.
Broadley as Vice Chairman. The other members of the committee were
Mesdames E. Bell, G.W. Bell, O. Briggs, T. Booth, R. Firth and Misses K.
Boden and E. Roberts. The committeemen were Messrs. O. Briggs, E.
Skinner, H. Bloor, F. Hodgson, B. Mollett, (?) Foster, and Captain G.W.
Bell, the latter being the Secretary and Treasurer. (2)
A newspaper report in November 1920 revealed an ongoing series of fund
raising events with the object of attaining the sum of £300 for a
permanent memorial to the
"dear lads who gave their all in the great struggle for freedom."
The most recent effort was a concert in the crowded village schoolroom
on the previous Monday evening at which various artists gave their
services voluntarily. At the time of the report about half the required
sum had been raised via promissory or actual donations. (3)
The sum of £250 was eventually obtained by a combination of individual
subscriptions and public events such as galas, concerts, whist drives
etc., but there was still an outstanding sum of £100 at the time of the
inauguration of the Memorial on Sunday 9th October 1921.
Designed and erected by E. Paver & Co., of Selby, the monument was an
obelisk of Aberdeen granite some 6 feet in length standing on a
rectangular base, making an overall height of 13’ 6". On the face of the
obelisk was carved a wreath and a sword and on the base in letters of
lead were the words
"Lest We Forget"
above which in raised granite figures was the date "1914 – 1918".
The die of the obelisk provided the space containing the names of the 38
servicemen who had forfeited their lives in the war.
In beautiful weather a large concourse assembled at the site near the
foot of the Aire bridge, close to the junction of the new road to
Castleford, to witness the unveiling and dedication of the Village
Monument o Sunday 9th October 1921.
A procession formed at the Ferrybridge Council Schools about half a
mile south west of the site, marched to the Monument headed by
Knottingley Silver Prize Band led by bandmaster Samuel Marshall and
followed by civic and military dignitaries, a contingent of 80
ex-servicemen under Sergeant Hines (K.O.Y.L.I.) and representatives of
local social groups and organisations.
Upon arrival at the Memorial, the main platform was occupied by a
group consisting of Colonel and Mrs Moxon, Colonel and Mrs Beadon and
Miss Crossland, the Mayor of Pontefract, Alderman T.J. Sides, JP., CC.,
Captain G.W. Bell, Mr. E.L. Poulson, Rev. Canon Atkinson (Rural Dean)
Rev. A.H. Lees (Vicar of Ferry Fryston) Rev. W. Salisbury (Wesleyan
Minister Knottingley) Captain Forward (Knottingley Salvation Army) Mr.
T. Smith (Prospective Labour Party Candidate) and Mr. E. Jarvis and Mr.
W. Lingard (Parish Councillors) and Mr. W. Swaine (K.U.D.C. Clerk)
On a second platform assembled a choir of adults and schoolchildren
under their conductor Mr. James Wright, while in a reserved enclosure
sat the relatives of the fallen and a group of ex-servicemen. Next to
them seats had been reserved for the bandsmen, members of the St. Johns
Ambulance Brigade, Boy Scouts and others from the procession. Grouped
around the enclosure stood members of the general public.
The ceremony closely followed that conducted at Knottingley a
fortnight earlier and commenced with a short prayer by the Vicar which
was followed by the hymn ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’. The Rev W
Salisbury then delivered a further prayer and spoke the words of the
23rd Psalm. Two further prayers were followed by the public recitation
of the ‘Lords Prayer’. Captain Forward then read the Lesson, Revelations
vii. 9-17, which was followed by the official Silence after which the
hymn ‘On Resurrection Morning’ concluded the service.
The unveiling by Colonel Moxon commenced with the words
"To the glory of God and in proud and grateful memory of the Men of
Ferrybridge who gave their lives for King and Country in a Righteous
Cause, I unveil this monument in their honour. May it be kept in
The dedication of the memorial by Canon Atkinson was concluded by
buglers Simpson and Dailey of Pontefract Garrison sounding the Last Post
and Reveille followed by the singing of the hymn ‘Peace, Peace, Peace’.
On behalf of the Memorial Committee, Captain Bell then formally handed
over the Memorial to the keeping of the Parish Council forever
and this was received by the Chairman of the Council, Mr. E.L. Poulson
with thanks to the Committee and all concerned.
Next followed an address by Col Moxon which in context and sentiment
echoed that delivered at Knottingley previously. Following the Address,
a benediction was delivered by Canon Atkinson and the formalities
concluded with the mass singing of the National Anthem.
Thereafter, more than fifty tokens of remembrance were laid at the
foot of the Memorial by relatives of the war dead. Such was the degree
of interest and emotional duress engendered by the occasion that many
members of the public were still present at the site at eventide. (4)
The removal of Ferrybridge Church to a more centralised and accessible
site within the village in 1952-53, prompted the possibility of
relocating the war memorial within the church grounds, a consideration
made the more desirable by the increased volume of traffic noise and
fumes close to the original site of the Monument engendered by the
increasingly busy A1 road. Cr R. Wilson raised the subject in the
appropriate K.U.D.C. Committee meeting (Ferrybridge forming a ward of
the Knottingley council by this time) which instructed the Surveyor to
enquire into the matter and report back (5)
After exhaustive and somewhat protracted research, the Surveyor
reported in late September 1956 that as the War Memorial was erected by
means of public subscription, the council had no jurisdiction in the
matter and consequently nothing further could be done. (6)
As a consequence of the K.U.D.C. policy of wholesale demolition of
property in Knottingley and Ferrybridge from the middle of the following
decade a decision was taken to re-site the Memorial. A new site on the
north side of the junction of Fishergate and the High Street, close to
the newly constructed Community Hall was approved by the Council in
Autumn 1967. (7) The work was put out to tender and a quotation of
£97-17-0 submitted by H. & H. Fairbairn of Knottingley was accepted
later that year. (8) the reconstruction of the Memorial took place the
Ferrybridge branch of the Royal British Legion endorsed the re-siting
and fully appreciated the efforts of the local council to maintain the
site. In November 1968 Mr. E.M. Austin wrote an appreciative letter to
the K.U.D.C. thanking them for all the care and attention given to the
War Memorial site throughout the year (10) In spring 1970 the council
acceeded to a written request from Ferrybridge Branch British Legion
that the surrounding flower beds be planted with blooms in the legions
colours of blue and gold to commemorate the golden jubilee of the
- Pontefract Advertiser 15-10-1921 p6
- P&C Express 19-11-1920
- Loc cit 14-10-1921 p6 & Pontefract Advertiser 15-10-1921 p1
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1956-57 Housing Highways Lighting and
Allotments Committee Meeting 25-6-1956 p33, p53 & p195
- Loc cit 24-9-1956 p81
- P&C Express 5-10-1967 p4
- Loc cit 2-11-1967 p24
- Although closed from November 1968, it was not until 1970 that work
commenced on the demolition of Christ Church c.f. loc cit 6-3-1969 p19,
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1968-69 Public Works Committee Meeting
- Loc cit 1970 –71 Public works Committee Meeting 21-4-1970 p336
- K.U.D.C. Minute Book 1970-71 p336 Meeting of Public works Committee
OF THE FALLEN AS INSCRIBED ON THE MEMORIAL