Image Credit: Chemical Engineer
Aberford is a village that’s part of the City of Leeds Metropolitan Borough. It lies on the eastern outskirts of the West Yorkshire city. The 2011 Census records Aberford as having a population of 1,180.
Education in Aberford
Aberford has one primary school called Aberford Church of England Primary School, which is joined with the parish church next door. Originally a tithe barn, the school, along with most of the village, was owned by Oriel College, Oxford. Now, Aberford C of E Primary is owned by the Archdeacon of York.
Religion in Aberford
St Ricarius Church is an Anglican parish church and is the only religious building in Aberford. Originally built in the 12th century, the current church was rebuilt in 1861 and is a Grade II listed building as of the 3rd of February 1967.
Nellie’s Tree is famous in Aberford where many couples have got engaged. Also called Love Tree, it’s comprised of three beech trees grafted to form the letter N.
Around 1920, a local man called Vic Stead wanted to impress his girlfriend, Nellie. He came up with an unusual idea of creating the letter N. Luckily the idea worked and a couple of years later, Vic and Nellie got married.
Vic and Nellie’s grandson nominated Nellie’s Tree, which won the 2018 English and British Tree of the Year award. A year later, it placed 9th in the 2019 European Tree of the Year award.
Notable Buildings in Aberford
The most notable building in Aberford is the Gascoigne Almshouses. The two Gascoigne sisters, Mary Isabella and Elizabeth, built the building in 1844 with help from designer George Fowler Jones. They wanted to commemorate their dad, Richard Oliver Gascoigne, and their two brothers. The building has been given Grade II status.
Aberford House is another notable building within the village. It’s an 18th-century mansion classically built on Main Street.
The Swan Hotel was originally a staging post before becoming a hotel. People travelling along the Great North Road would stop here to rest before carrying on with the rest of their journey.
The Arabian Horse Inn is one of the very few pubs with that name in the UK. This public house is built in a conservation area.
On the 8th March 1545, a man called John Gascoigne bought the Parlington Estate from Lord Thomas Wentworth. John’s son Thomas built a monument to celebrate the independence of the United States in Parlington Hall.
Sir Thomas Gascoigne was to be the last of the official Gascoigne blood line. It’s said that he died in 1810 of a broken heart soon after the death of his son due to a horse riding accident while hunting. Parlington Estate passed on to his step-daughters husband, who had to take the Gascoigne name. The estate was then passed down through their family.
Between 1813 and 1814, the ‘Dark Arch’ was built. It’s a short curved tunnel that was constructed to protect residents from the traffic of Parlington Lane, mainly horse drawn coal traffic. Dark Arch is said to be haunted.
Parlington Lane was developed to allow for the Aberford Railway, which became known as ‘Fly Line’. This railway line transports coal from the Gascoigne pits to Garforth. Aberford Railway closed in 1924.
After the Gascoigne line ended, Parlington Hall was left to ruin. During the 1950s and 1960s, the hall was slowly demolished and parts used for Lotherton Hall, however the West Wing is still intact. Parlington Hall was used by the army in both wars.
History of Aberford
Aberford is Old English for the woman’s name ‘Ēadburg’ and ‘ford’. This suggests that the village was an area of strategic importance. Aberford was in the ancient kingdom of Elmet, located where the Great North Road crossed over the Cock River, now Cock Beck.
Remains of a Roman fort have been found buried under Aberford house. Finds of Aberford Dykes earthworks that were constructed to defend the crossing have since been revealed.
An Anglo-Saxon ring made of gold was found in 1870 near the village in a freshly ploughed field. It has an engraving of the name ‘Æthelswith’ which is thought to be the name of King Alfred the Great’s sister. The ring was given to the British Museum in 1897.
Aberford was an important place along the Great North Road. Many travellers used the village as a stop off point to rest. Aberford was around 200m between London and Edinburgh.
In the 17th century, the Yorkshire village was the primary place for manufacturing pins. The current bridge in Aberford dates back to the 18th century.