Image Credit: Great British Gardens
Adel is a suburb of the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire. Like most suburbs in Leeds, Adel doesn’t have a defined boundary. In total, there are around 19,340 residents living within the area.
Adel Dam is a wildlife reserve which first opened in May 1968. By 1987, it was acquired by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and has been owned and run by them since.
The wildlife reserve is spread over 19 acres, including two hides to watch the local wildlife in their natural habitat. The Leeds Birdwatchers club was formed at Adel Dam.
A popular place to visit is York Gate, which is an old farmhouse with a landscaped garden said to be one of England’s best. Sybil Spencer landscaped the gardens along with the help of her husband and son.
When Sybil’s husband and son died, she carried on caring for the garden for 12 years until she died in 1994. York Gate was then passed on to the Gardener’s Royal Benevolent Society under instruction that it would be open to the public on regular occasions.
Adel Memorial Hall
On the 14th November in 1928, Adel Memorial Hall opened to commemorate those who died in the first world war. Outside the hall is an engraved stone weighing 20 tons, which was moved from Adel moor in 1922 and placed on the site of the then future hall.
Adel Memorial Hall is home to the bowmen of Adel with the Scorton Arrow archery tournament in 1962, ‘67, ‘70 and ‘88. In 1945, Adel Player, an amateur dramatics group, was founded here in 1945 and has since held three productions a year.
Within Adel is a crag called Adel Crag. It’s an isolated rocky outcrop with two crags made from gritstone. Walkers have recorded 17 climbable routes.
The church of St John the Baptist in Adel is described as one of the most complete and best designed Norman churches in Yorkshire. This Grade I listed religious building also has a sundial, mounting block and several memorials that are Grade II listed.
Adel Church was built around 1150 to 1170 in a Romanesque style. Since then, the church has hardly been touched, so what you see today is the original building built all those many years ago.
Within the chancel is thought to be a leper’s window. This was created when people were struggling to get to the nearest leper colony, as it was too far away.
An interesting feature of Adel Church is its bronze Roman door knocker called a sanctuary ring. In 2002, the original which is thought to have been made in York was stolen and soon replaced with a replica.
The design has a monster’s head, a lion, clasping the ring with a man’s head protruding out from the lion’s mouth. It was originally thought that this represented an animal swallowing a person as a warning to humanity’s fate on the day of judgement. Another representation is that there is nothing fearsome about it and so it could show a man waking up, or coming out of the lion’s mouth.
The church discovered that people were stealing stones from the graveyard. To put a stop to this, they engraved crosses on all the stones.
Education in Adel
Adel has two primary schools which are St John the Baptist Primary School and Adel Primary School. Both have a school capacity of 210 pupils. Adel Primary School also has a nursery attached.
There are no high schools, colleges or sixth forms in Adel. The closest high schools, which also have their own sixth forms, are the Abbey Grand Church of England Academy and Allerton High School.
Sport in Adel
Adel is home to the Headingley Golf Club, which is the oldest golf club in Leeds. It also is the home to Leeds Adel Hockey Club, which is the largest hockey club with men, women, mixed and junior teams.
Travelling In & Out of Adel
Regular buses link Adel to the city centre of Leeds, which has a bus station and a railway station. The suburb of Adel doesn’t have its own railway station.
History of Adel
Adel is first thought to have had a Roman name and was called ‘Bugodunum’ meaning ‘fort by the waterway’. However, the Yorkshire Archaeological Society is dubious. This was shortened to ‘Burden’, which has a similar sound to the Celtic ‘Verdun’ in Belgium.
In the 1086 Domesday book, the suburb is called ‘Adele’. Another spelling was found in 1816 as ‘Addle’. It’s thought that in Old English it was spelt as ‘Adela’ meaning ‘muddy place’, but there have been arguments that the suburb was named after someone called ‘Ada’.
Adel is built near a Roman fort site. Close by, an ancient road, said to be built from the original roman stones, passes from Tadcaster to Ilkley. During the 1960s, the council removed part of the stones because of safety reasons.
Evidence has been found from the Romano-British period through inscribed stones. There have also been Anglo-Saxon stones discovered in the church foundations during restoration work in 1864. Some of these stones can be found on display in the Leeds City Museum.