Ferrybridge

Ferrybridge

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 53.714
longitude= -1.281
official_name= Ferrybridge
population = 1,491
metropolitan_borough= City of Wakefield
metropolitan_county = West Yorkshire
region= Yorkshire and the Humber
constituency_westminster= Pontefract and Castleford
post_town= KNOTTINGLEY
postcode_district = WF11
postcode_area= WF
dial_code= 01977
os_grid_reference= SE475245

Ferrybridge is a village situated on the A1 in West Yorkshire, England at a historically important crossing of the River Aire.

The history of Ferrybridge - and its neighbour, Knottingley - dates back to the establishment of Anglo-Saxon settlements along this stretch of the River Aire.

The respective histories of the two settlements of Ferrybridge and Knottingley are closely-linked, bringing glassmaking, shipbuilding, brewing and potteries to the area.

Geologically, Ferrybridge and Knottingley are located on rich soil, over a bed of magnesian limestone.

An archaeological feature at Ferrybridge is Ferrybridge Henge, a prehistoric ceremonial monument dating back to the Neolithic period, constructed during the period 4,500-1,500 B.C. when monuments of this kind began to appear. Ferrybridge Henge remains one of the oldest remaining antiquities in the local area and recently a 2,400 year old chariot burial was discovered there.

Ferrybridge stands at the crossing point of the Great North Road and in 1198, a bridge was built over the River Aire. It is from the construction of that bridge that we find the first recorded crossings of the River Aire at Ferrybridge. The bridge was rebuilt at the end of the 14th. century with seven pillars and a chantry chapel at one end. Until 1810, a toll was payable to cross the bridge.

In March 1461, on the eve of the battle of nearby Towton, an engagement between the Lancastrians and Yorkists ended in a Lancastrian victory, leaving the Yorkist leader, Lord Fitzwalter, dead. That engagement is known as the Battle of Ferrybridge.

Up to the end of the 17th. century, Knottingley was an important inland port in the West Riding as the River Aire was not navigable beyond Knottingley. However the construction of the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal (further to a 1699 Act of Parliament - this was the first navigation scheme passed by Act of Parliament) diminished Knottingley's importance as a port by allowing barges on the River Aire to navigate further upstream to Leeds.

A new canal was authorised in 1820. Cutting through the centre of Knottingley, the new Aire and Calder Navigation Canal was opened in 1826 and connected the new port of Goole with the River Aire at Ferrybridge. The lock at Ferrybridge opened at 10 a.m. on 20 July 1826.

By the end of the Industrial Revolution, Ferrybridge had become a centre for glass production and was well connected, the village being served by its own railway station.

In the 20th century, three power stations were built. The newest of the three, Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station (Ferrybridge Power Station) now dominates the skyline around the village.

The town lies close to Kellingley Colliery, which is situated at the other side of Knottingley. This is West Yorkshire's last remaining operational colliery.


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