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West Riding
Methley Bridge April 2017.jpg
Methley Bridge
Grid reference: SE388265
Location: 53°44’2"N, 1°24’45"W
Local Government
Council: Leeds

Methley is a dispersed village in the West Riding of Yorkshire, to the south-east of Leeds, near Rothwell, Oulton, Woodlesford, Mickletown and Allerton Bywater. It stands between the confluence of the River Aire and River Calder, where the latter is crossed by Methley Bridge carrying the A639 road about a mile south-east of the village.

Parish church

St Oswald's Church

The parish church Saint Oswald's is a 12th century Grade I listed building which had a spire from the mid-18th century to 1937. The spire became unsafe and was dismantled. The Castleford-born artist Henry Moore was a frequent visitor to the church. Nikolaus Pevsner documented the church and Methley Hall as part of his Buildings of England series in the late 1950s. Alan Bennett visited the church in December 1998 as mentioned in his collection of writings Untold Stories (2005), a visit which was filmed as part of a special The South Bank Show charting the writer's early life.[1]


Methley was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as part of the Wapentake of Agbrigg in the West Riding of Yorkshire.[2]

Mining Memorial, Main Street

The buildings on the main streets of today largely date from the 20th century, but the original geographical centre of the village was established near to St Oswald's Church, along Church Side. This is reflected in the 17th- and 18th-century buildings along Churchside and parts of Watergate.[3]

The village has a history of coal mining. At one stage there were five mines in operation in the village – Savile Colliery, Methley Junction, Foxholes (Scholey Hill), Newmarket, and Newmarket Silkstone. The last pit (Saville Colliery) closed in the mid-1980s.

Methley Hall

Methley Hall was the former seat of the Earl of Mexborough. During the fourteenth century the de Waterton family married into the de Methley family and moved to Methley Hall, a large, imposing and solid castellated building, mostly spread over three storeys rising to four by the turreted entrance. An eighteenth century watercolour shows a great hall with a minstrels gallery and grand staircase, decorated and embossed ceiling with a full-length oriel window.[4] Young Richard Plantagenet, Richard of York, lived here from the ages of four to twelve, with Waterton's family until 1423 when national events changed things. Robert Waterton was the custodian of Richard II whilst constable of Pontefract Castle from 1399 and later gaoler of James I of Scotland. He was esquire to Henry Bolingbroke, the future Henry IV. The seat at Methley Hall was conferred in 1410 to Robert's brother John Waterton. The Hall, which featured in a 1907 edition of Country Life, was demolished in 1964, although the Mexborough Estate are still significant landowners in the district. Queen Mary (Mary of Teck), consort of King George V, visited the village in 1935 and stayed at the Hall as a guest of the Earl. Titus Salt leased Methley Hall from the Earl of Mexborough between 1856 and 1865 according to Salt's biographer Balgarnie.

"Fatty Cake" School House

Former school on Watergate

The Old Pinder Green school house is a Grade II listed building dating from 1637 at the junction of Watergate and the main Leeds to Pontefract Road.[5] The school closed in 1881 and became a private residence, now known as the Fatty Cake School House.


Methley was once served by three railway stations: Methley North (closed 1957); Methley Junction (closed 1943); and Methley South (closed 1960). The original railway line through the village was built by the North Midland Railway in 1840 as part of the Derby to Leeds main line. This route now forms part of the Hallam (LeedsSheffield) and Pontefract Lines. The proposed route of the Birmingham to Leeds HS2 rail line would have passed to the west of the village between Scholey Hill, Clumpcliffe and Lemonroyd Lock, where it would have curved west at that point to take trains into Leeds city centre via Woodlesford. The line has now been axed.

Second World War POW camp

Methley was the site of a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. The camp was located on the north side of Park Lane near to The Lodge. The foundations of the POW huts are still visible on close inspection. POWs were used as agricultural labourers on the Mexborough Estate as many villagers had been recruited into the armed forces. The POWs were invited to perform Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night) in German during a Christmas Eve service at St Oswald's Church – an event still remembered by some villagers.[citation needed]

The BBC Inside Out programme (5 December 2011) reported that Artur Braun, one of the inmates of the POW camp, produced a large painting (size 8 ft x 8 ft) entitled 'Our Lady of the ruins' during the winter of 1944–45. It featured the Madonna with child in a ruined city surrounded by desperate people appealing to God for protection from war. The painting is believed to depict the artist's wife (as the Madonna) in the ruins of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau in Baden-Württemberg, (Germany) (the painting clearly shows Freiburg Munster in the background). Braun may have produced the painting after hearing of the death of his wife during an allied air raid on Freiburg im Breisgau (Braun's home town) during November 1944. For many years the painting was owned by a convent in Lancashire, then was sold at auction in 1997.


  • Cricket: Methley Cricket Club
  • Football: Methley United A.F.C.
  • Rugby League:
    • Methley Warriors A.R.L.F.C
    • Methley Royals R.L.F.C.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Methley)


  1. Alan Bennett (2006) Untold Stories (Faber & Faber) ISBN 978-0-571-22831-7 page 244
  2. [http://Methley in the Domesday Book
  3. Leeds City Council (2008) Methley Church Side Conservation Area Appraisal & Management Plan
  4. Houses of Lancaster and York. 
  5. National Heritage List 1313153: Old Pinder Green School (Grade II listing)