Arthington - Leeds District - West Yorkshire

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Arthington, Leeds District, West Yorkshire


This is the fourth in my series of articles about civil parishes. Initially this is a study based on maps and whatever information can be gathered from books and websites, illustrated by Geograph photographs. I have not cluttered the text with credits, as the photographer's name (and also the image title) can be seen when the cursor hovers over the thumbnail. Eventually I hope to explore the parish, find more information and take many more photographs. Meanwhile I hope that others might do the same.


Maps consulted:
For a map showing the boundary of Arthington see LinkExternal link. I have shown the 20C boundary in violet and the boundary of the hamlet of West Brearey in magenta. Part of West Brearey was transferred to Bramhope CP at some time after 1851, perhaps when civil parishes were formed in 1866. East Brearey was a hamlet of Adel cum Eccup township. This article includes only the part of West Brearey that is in the modern civil parish of Arthington.

Architectural information is for listed buildings is from the ImagesofEngland website. Links to the latter are provided where there is a photograph that does not duplicate one on the geograph site. These are identified by 'IoE link'.


Arthington was listed in Domesday Book, held by Richard de Surdeval from the Count of Mortain.
It was divided into smaller holdings at an early date. West Breary was a hamlet (but see note 2 above), and Creskeld might have been, as it was a separate manor described as a vill in the 13C and in the 15C. There were two forges in the park of Creskeld in 1352, but in Pool township; Pool and Creskeld manors were in the same ownership in 1508, so the park might have extended over the township boundary. In a later agreement of 1395 permission was given to use trees in Creskeld Wood, presumably for the making of charcoal as fuel for the forges, and a channel was to be made to convey water to a water-wheel. (Faull and Moorhouse 1981). It would seem likely that the forge was adjacent to the watercourse that runs along the parish boundary to the west of Creskeld Hall. The 1851 map gives Kirkskil instead of Creskeld, and Jefferys's map shows 'Kers Kilns'. Could this name be from 'kilns' meaning furnaces?

Arthington was a township of the ancient parish of Adel, in Skyrack wapentake. It became a civil parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1866, and part of Leeds Metropolitan District (in West Yorkshire) in 1974.


Arthington consists of the south side of Wharfedale between the civil parishes of Pool and Harewood. The underlying rock of the Millstone Grit series, which is quarried at Arthington Bank and Black Hill, the latter in West Brearey. There are large areas of flat farmland on the alluvium beside the river; some of this is washland, and subject to periodic flooding. There might once have been a lake here, dammed by a moraine following the last glacial period.

The A659 road from Otley to Tadcaster forms the spine of the road system, following the river on the south side. The village is not nucleated, but is strung out along the main road. The Leeds to Harrogate railway cuts across the valley at right-angles, joined by the abandoned branch to Otley, which continued to Burley-in-Wharfedale where it joined the Bradford to Ilkley line.

The population in 2001 was 561.


Ed. M.L.Faull and S.A.Moorehouse, West Yorkshire: and Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, West Yorkshire MCC 1981
Nikolaus Pevsner and Enid Radcliffe, The Buildings of England Yorkshire, West Riding, 1967


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Creskeld Lane climbs to Bramhope, and from it at SE257437 a bridleway leads westwards down into a valley, along the northern side of Coats's Wood. There are boundary stones on the eastern bank of the stream, in Long Baulk Wood The bridleway led to the former Bramhope Corn Mill, just over the boundary.

At SE259436 another bridleway goes eastwards to Arthington Bank Top; here also is the driveway to Wood Top Farm. The 1:10000 map does not show a track along the central part of the bridleway, so perhaps it is just an 'invisible' route across pasture like many field paths. Past this point we enter the hamlet of West Breary, still in Arthington although the surburban development is contiguous with the built-up area of Bramhope.

At SE257432 Creskeld Drive is a suburban road within the old territory of West Breary, and at SE257431 Creskeld Lane reaches the Arthington / Bramhope boundary at Breary Lane.


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

The A649, Arthington Lane, was part of the medieval road from York to Otley, important because the manor of Otley belonged to the Archbishop of York. A turnpike trust was formed to improve the highway from Tadcaster to Otley in 1752-3. The road has generally kept its medieval twists and turns, but at some time after Thomas Jefferys surveyed Yorkshire for his map of 1775, a new road was built from the foot of Rawden Hill to Harewood Bridge, bypassing Weardley and the Harewood estate.

At SE256448 a boundary stone marks the entry into Arthington, as the road crosses a stream.

Then at SE257448 is the entrance to Arthington House Farm.

SE2545 : Arthington House by Derek Parkinson

Next, at SE258448, Arthington Garth is a late 20C development.

At SE259448 the Wharfedale Inn (formerly the Station Hotel) and the railway bridge (named Pool Bridge).

SE2544 : Wharfedale Inn, Arthington by al partington SE2544 : The Wharfedale, Arthington Lane,  Arthington by Alexander P Kapp SE2544 : Railway  bridge by Alexander P Kapp

The Wharfedale Inn is opposite Station Road, which leads to the site of the former Arthington Junction Station (SE257444) which was at the southern fork of a triangular junction.

SE2544 : Disused building -and goat by Chris Brierly

Station Road has a row of houses along it, and is a public footpath leading to Staircase Lane, Bramhope.


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Creskeld Lane climbs from the A659 to Bramhope, and from it at a sharp bend at SE260439 a bridleway leads eastwards to Arthington Bank, passing along the north side of Crag Wood. The 'crag' is Har Rock, at SE263437, and it might be possible to visit it as maps show footpaths through the wood. Here is a view of Wharfedale from the path:

SE2643 : From Crag Wood by Chris Brierly

Here is the path near the eastern (Arthington Bank) end, and at the junction with Arthington Bank (SE269437), next to the entrance to Arthington Quarry.

SE2643 : Bridleway  to Creskeld Hall by Alexander P Kapp SE2643 : Bridleway near Arthington Quarry by Roger Foyle SE2643 : Entrance to Arthington Quarry by Alexander P Kapp SE2643 : Money quarry by John Illingworth

There is another bridleway to the south, along a little valley. Here is the view westwards at SE263436:

SE2643 : View to Crag Wood by Chris Heaton

From this bridleway a footpath curves round to West Beary, where at SE261433 High Ridge Farmhouse, Nos 73 and 75 Breary Lane East, was in a group of buildings named 'West Breary' on the 1851 map. It has the date 1626 in raised lettering on the lintel of a Tudor-arched former doorway on the single-storey rear wing. The house is built of coursed squared sandstone, with a slate roof with gable copings and kneelers. IoE linkExternal link


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

At the road junction at SE261447 Creskeld Lane goes to the south and Warren Lane to the north. On the NW corner of the crossroads a chapel was shown on the mid-20C OS map.

Continuing first along Arthington Lane, the Post Office is on the north side, at SE262447, if it hasn't been closed, and at SE267447 the school is on the north side ('Parochial School' on the 1851 map). There is a driveway to Mill Farm (at SE 268 450), shown as 'Arthington Mills (Corn)' on the 1851 map. This is a view of Mill Farm from Arthington Lane:

SE2645 : Mill Farm. by Steve Partridge

At SE269446 on the south side of Arthington Lane, Crag View and Ivy Cottage, Holme View, are a pair of cottages, built of coursed squared sandstone with quoins and a stone slate roof, as an eye-catcher, in the 19C. The central two-storey part is Crag View, and the wings are single-storey with screen walls at first-floor level, topped by an open pediment and battlements. IoE linkExternal link. A row of six cottages, Nos. 5 to 10, was built in the early to mid-19C of coursed squared sandstone with quoins and dressings of the same, and a Welsh slate roof. All have a wide recessed arch at first-floor level, merging into the eaves. The row of cottages was originally symmetrical, with the ones next to the end slightly recessed, but No.5 on the right has been extended in a similar style, but without the blank arch.
IoE linkExternal link

Up Creskeld Lane at SE261446 there were buildings in 1851, and an 'engine' by the stream.

SE2644 : Farm buildings belonging to Creskeld Home Farm by Derek Parkinson

Creskeld Grange Farmhouse, SE261445, was built after 1851.

At SE259443 Creskeld Hall is a large house on the west side of the lane. It was mostly built in the 19C, but the kitchen wing and the chapel may be late medieval in origin, although much altered. The house is set around a small courtyard with the kitchen wing forming the west range and the former chapel, converted to a billiard room, the north range, which also has a 19C two-storey porch in Jacobean style. Former chapel, altered as a billiard room and now of less interest. In 1240 Hugo de Creskeld granted the manor to the Abbots of Kirkstall, which is why it was called 'Kirkskill Hall' on the 1851 map. There is part of a moat behind the house.

The former settlement of Creskeld was at Hassocks, SE261443, north of Hezicar Wood. The mid-20C map shows a roadside well here. Then the climb up to Bramhope becomes steeper.

SE2644 : Creskeld Lane by Chris Brierly

Along Warren Lane, at SE261448 a row of houses has been built on the west side. The lane was called Sandbed lane in 1851, Sand Bed being the name of the field within the meander of the river.

At SE262449 Warren Farm is on the east side. The farmhouse was rebuilt in the early 18C. The front is of this period, with a doorway not quite centrally placed with a circular window above and a window on each side on each floor. It is built of coursed sandstone with quoins, with a Welsh slate roof. At one side there is a lintel with the date 1623 and initials W.M. At the rear there are mullioned windows, possibly of the 17C. There is a barn with attached stable adjacent to the house.
LinkExternal link


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

At SE262453 there is a water pumping station on the east side. The wagon house, now used as a store, is an unusually complete survival. It was probably built in the later 19C (after 1851), of red brick in Jacobean style, with sandstone dressings and a slate roof. It has a two-span roof with a wagon doorway under each gable. LinkExternal link

At SE262454 the lane turns to the west, under the Wharfedale Railway Viaduct. This carries the Leeds to Thirsk Railway over the River Wharfe, and was built of sandstone blocks in 1845-9. The Engineer was Thomas Grainger. There are twenty semicircular arches carried on very high rectangular piers, following a line curving towards the north-east. The piers have rounded-nose cutwaters, and the arches have rusticated stepped voussoirs.

SE2645 : Arthington Viaduct by Roger Crowther

The lane originally led to Castley Ford, across the River Wharfe, but now stops at the gateway to the sewage works. Here is the view from the viaduct. There is a long straight bank; is it a flood bank or does it contain the sewer (or both)?

SE2645 : From the Wharfe viaduct by DS Pugh


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

From Black Hill Road, above the quarry at SE270434, a bridleway leads westwards to Creskeld Lane.

At SE272433 Bank Top Farm hides behind a screen of trees alongside the road. It is shown on the 1851 map, and the lane curved to the south around it just as it does today.
Here is the entrance to the farm and the road at the entrance.
SE2743 : Entrance to Bank Top Farm, Arthington by Alexander P Kapp SE2743 : Bank Top Farm, Blackhill Lane by Roger Foyle

Bank Top Lane goes past the farm and diagonally down the hillside past Bank Side, where it becomes Allums Lane, to Bedlam Lane. It has become part of a long-distance footpath called the Ebor Way. Here is the lane near Bank Top Farm:

SE2743 : Bank Top Lane by Chris Heaton


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Entering the square from the west along Arthington Lane (A659), the village hall has built into a wall a disused VR postbox that was formerly opposite the church.

SE2744 : Victorian Letterbox at Arthington Village Hall by Steve Partridge SE2744 : Victorian Letterbox at Arthington Village Hall (2) by Steve Partridge

Black Hill Road leaves Arthington Lane southwards from SE273446. The term 'Road' rather than 'Lane' and the straightness of Black Hill Road as it climbs the hillside suggest that it might have been set out as part of an enclosure award. At Bank Foot Farm, SE272441, the road turns abruptly to the south-west in order to reduce the gradient. This steep hill is called Arthington Bank.

Arthington Hall, SE273449, is a country house, which is mostly an early to mid-18C rebuilding of an earlier house, altered again and extended in the later 19C (designed by Waterhouse). Built of coursed dressed sandstone, with a slate roof. The main block is a rectangular range of nine by five bays, in Classical style. A balustraded parapet is carried round the block. The former porch has been replaced with a conservatory, with ashlar pilasters separating very large windows which fill each bay. The west front has two additional parts to the rear, the first of one storey with a large bay-window, and dormer windows lighting the roof space. The second addition is of two storeys with a balustrade matching that of the main block. Inside there is an oval stairwell with an unusual wooden 'flying staircase' mounting in two flights and returning in one. The third photograph is of the rear of the house.

SE2744 : Arthington Hall, Arthington by Bill Henderson SE2744 : Arthington  Hall, Arthington by Bill Henderson SE2745 : Arthington Hall,  Arthington. by Bill Henderson

There are a few interesting features in the grounds: an 18C stone dog kennel, c.50m SE of Arthington Hall. This is built of stone slabs, on a plain plinth, with a slab roof; it has a round-headed doorway in the south end.

The former 18C stable block is c.50m east of Arthington Hall, and is now a house. This is of two storeys and seven bays, with a pedimented three-bay centre projecting forwards slightly.

The ha-ha to the east of the east drive to Arthington Hall is also probably 18C. This is a low retaining wall of dry-jointed coursed squared sandstone, with a flat coping. Ha-has keep the cattle out of the garden without obstructing the view.
IoE linkExternal link

On the south side, of Arthington Lane (A659) at SE274446, The Grange (Arthington Grange on the 1851 map) was built in the mid to later 18C, with a 19C addition at the rear. It is of three storeys, built of coursed squared sandstone with quoins and a stone slate roof with prominent kneelers at the ends of the coping.
IoE linkExternal link

There is a (probably) 18C cold store c.20m south of "The Grange" This has sandstone walls and a turf roof, and is built into a bank. It has a plain doorway with a rectangular lintel, and an arch-vaulted roof inside.

Continuing along Arthington Lane, at SE275447 on the north side, just before the church, the house on the left was called 'Old Bedlam' on the 1851 map. ('New Bedlam' is at SE288431).

At SE276446 on the south side, St. Peter's Church was built in 1864, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (Pevsner and Radcliffe 1967). It is built of rock-faced sandstone, in the Gothic style, with a slate roof. It has a nave with a north-west tower topped by a short spire, north and south transepts, and a chancel. Inside are various brass wall monuments to members of the Sheepshanks family of Arthington Hall; the first vicar was Thomas Sheepshanks. The church has one bell hung for full circle ringing. It is dated 1864, is 29 in dia., weighs 5cwt and its pitch is E-flat. There is a two-train clock by Potts of Leeds, 1910, which drives a single dial on the north side of the tower. It strikes the bell on the hour with a side-hammer. bell linkExternal link

SE2744 : Arthington, St Peter's Church by Bill Henderson SE2744 : St Peter's Church, Arthington, Doorway by Alexander P Kapp SE2744 : St Peter's Church, Arthington, Graveyard by Alexander P Kapp SE2744 : St Peter's Church, Arthington, Spire by Alexander P Kapp

The vicarage is behind the church, and across the road on the north side there is a cricket ground.

At SE279447 Holt Farm on the north side of Arthington Lane, and Ingfield Farm is on the south side at SE280446. These are on the 1851 map. There is a milestone 'Otley 5, Harewood 3' marked. Here is a view of the farmland:

SE2844 : Snowy fields at Ingfield Farm by Derek Parkinson


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Bedlam Lane climbs steeply southwards towards Eccup. Allums Lane is part of the Ebor Way, and climbs at a more gentle gradient to Bank Side at SE280437:

SE2843 : Bank Side Farm by Chris Heaton SE2843 : Ebor Way near Bank Side Farm by Chris Heaton

At SE282438 a track (private?) leads down to North View, in the corner of a wood called Bog Plantation. Watch out for a red kite around here:

SE2844 : Red Kite Above Bog Plantation by Steve Partridge


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

The junction between Arthington Lane (A659) with Rawden Hill is at SE283447. Rawden Hill was part of the medieval main road, which was improved as a turnpike road in 1752-3 but superseded when a new road was constructed past The Nunnery in the 19C.

On the north side of Rawden Hill, at SE285446 just past the first bend, the 1851 map shows a well. In 1851 there was a house called Rawden Hill at SE289446 in the land to the north of the lane, now a wood. At SE288445 Hewland House Farm existed in 1851. In 1851 'New Bedlam' was where Hillside Cottages are now, at SE288441.

To the south, at SE288440 Allums Lane goes to the west from Bedlam Lane; there was a building on the north side of the lane here in 1851.

SE2844 : Allums Lane by Chris Heaton


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE288451 The Nunnery is a house dated 1585, built on the site of Arthington Priory, a house of Cluniac nuns founded by Peter de Arthington c.1155. At the dissolution it was surrendered on 26 November 1540. The Nunnery incorporates some fabric of the former priory, of which there is said to be the remains of a moat. The datestone is in the spandrel of the doorway, and is also inscribed TB and IB. The house is built of coursed squared sandstone with quoins, with a stone slate roof. It has been extended at the rear by an outshot at some time, and also by central wing at the rear. The front has two storeys, with a two-storey oriel window above the doorway. Inside, to the right of the doorway, there was a spiral staircase in the thickness of the wall, which also housed the hall fireplace. The staircase might have been part of a tower of the Priory. The former through passage is indicated by massive round-headed doorways at front and rear. There are various Tudor-arched fireplaces and doorways in the house, and also moulded plaster ceilings. (Pevsner and Radcliffe 1967) (IoE) For information about the priory, see
linkExternal link

SE2845 : The Nunnery by Derek Parkinson

Also IOE linkExternal link

A short distance NW of The Nunnery there is a dovecote built, probably in the late 18C, of coursed squared sandstone with a stone slate roof, It is a rectangular building of three low storeys. Between two square windows on the ground floor, there is a flight of stone steps at right-angles leading to a doorway on the first floor, and above this is another doorway. At the level between these doorways there is a continuous stone ledge around the building for the birds to perch on. The south gable has a square opening (now glazed) on the second floor, with a semicircular perching ledge below it. The gable copings have scrolled ends, and there is a weathervane on the south gable.
IOE linkExternal link


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Past SE290444 The parish boundary is along the western side of Bedlam Hill, and Tinker Close is just in Arthington. It was built after 1851.

SE2944 : Bedlam Lane by Chris Heaton


1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Along Arthington Lane (A659) at SE291450 the boundary with Harewood is reached; There is a boundary stone on the south side of the road. Nun Well, shown on the 1851 map, is at SE291451, a short distance into the field on the north side of the road, and on the west side of the field boundary.

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