Sawley, Ripon

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West Riding
St Michael And All Angels - - 1023661.jpg
St Michael And All Angels
Grid reference: SE248677
Location: 54°6’18"N, 1°37’19"W
Population: 299  (2011[1])
Post town: Ripon
Postcode: HG4
Local Government
Council: Harrogate
Skipton and Ripon

Sawley is a village and civil parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire, four miles west of Ripon. From this position, the Yorkshire Dales are to the west and the North York Moors and coast are to the east. The village is located within the Nidderdale area of outstanding natural beauty. This village is not to be confused with another in the West Riding, within the Ribble Valley.

In the 1870s, Sawley was described as "a township-chapelry, with a village and four hamlets, in Ripon parish, W. R. Yorkshire."[2] The township's four hamlets were Cowbush, Hungate, North Pastures, and Rispleth.[3]


Sawley dates back to the Saxon era[4] where it gained its name from Old English and the Anglian dialect. From this period, Sawley is directly translated as "Willow-tree wood".[5] The village is thought to have been the main source of stone for the construction of Fountains Abbey in the 10th century. The world heritage site which is now maintained by the National Trust is approximately two miles away from the village.[6]

Sawley is mentioned in the Domesday Book as "Sallai” or “Sallaia", in the Burgshire Hundred of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It comprised 18 villagers, 21 smallholders, 1 freeman, and 1 thane, with 40 ploughlands, a meadow of 85 acres, woodland of 1 league, a mill and a fishery. In 1066 the Lord was Ealdred, Archbishop of York St Peter. After 1086 the created Lord of the Manor title was given to the new Archbishop of York, Thomas of Bayeux, who also became Tenant-in-chief.[7][8]

Census data of Sawley dates back to 1871, with the earliest total population figure being 341.[9] The population has been relatively constant with the highest population record being in 1881 with 372 and the lowest available data being in 1961 with 251. According to the 2011 census, Sawley had a population of 299.[10] This is only one less than the 2001 census where the population was 300.

Historically, Sawley's industry was mainly based in agriculture with 36.7% of the working population working in this industry.[11] This has dropped in the following years with agriculture now only accounting for 12% of Sawley's industry, based on 2011 census figures.[12] The decline in agriculture follows a similar pattern to the rest of Britain with a major decline in agriculture due to increased trade as well as a shift towards secondary industry and tertiary industry.[13] This now means that the main industry in Sawley is now 'Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motor Cycles', with 14.9% of people being based in this industry.[14]

Present day

Sawley is currently described as a "hamlet or isolated settlement in inhabited countryside" by the Office for National Statistics. This can be seen with Sawley's distance to certain services. For example, the nearest railway station lies just over nine miles away from the village centre.[15] There is also only one public bus and four school bus routes which serves the village.[16] The main types of housing are detached and semi-detached, majority of which are privately owned.[17] In the last six months, the average house price was £224,375, the majority being detached houses which averagely sold at £402,000.[18]

Sawley hosts the annual 'Green Festival' and 'Jazz on the Green' afternoon as well as various other events throughout the year. Community events such as participation with the 'Yorkshire in Bloom' competition during spring and summer are put in place, giving a greater community feel.[19]

Places of interest

Lacon Cross

Lacon Cross: one of 23 Grade II listed buildings in Sawley,[20] listed on 6 March 1967.[21] It is thought that this structure dates back to the mediæval period when it was used as a route marker by the monks from Fountains Abbey as well as travellers going through the area.[22]

Village Pump: was installed in 1909 but before this, all water was carried from outside the village. Details about the 'wood-boxed' pump can be found on a plaque on the actual pump itself. The plaque reads, "THE VILLAGE PUMP. After male parishioners refused an offer of a piped water supply in 1905, the parish council gave permission for this hand pump to be installed in 1909. This was the principal source of water until the early 1950s when borehole water became available. A mains supply was finally connected in 1963. Some of the women of Sawley had continued to carry water in buckets for 58 years."[23]

Village Hall: dates back to the 1790s when it was originally a school. It remained a school until 1989 and became solely a village hall.[24] Now, the closest school to Sawley is St Joseph's Catholic Primary School which is approximately 2¼ miles from the village. The closest secondary school is Outwood Academy Ripon which is about four miles away.[25]

Sawley Hall: is also a grade II listed building,[26] built in 1770. The Georgian house was built for Lord Grantley's wife.[27] Between 1940 and March 1947, the hall was a Barnardo's-run children's home, taking in child evacuees from the Barnardo's 'Hull Every Open Door' home at Beverley.[28] The surrounding, "undisturbed" estate is ideal for shooting.[29] The Sawley Hall shooting estate consists of 2,500 acre2 of woodland area, primarily used for shooting pheasant and partridge. From 2009 to 2015, the estate was run by the former rugby league and union player, Liam Botham, the son of England Test cricketer Ian Botham.[30] Near the border of Sawley Hall, there is a great sequoia, one of 3,052 registered worldwide. It is thought that the tree was planted around 1864.[31]

Sawley Arms: is a pub in Sawley. It was the location for a "reunion of the former Yorkshire and England cricketers Fred Trueman, Brian Close, Ray Illingworth and Geoffrey Boycott on 6 July 2005, four of Yorkshire's and England's greatest cricketers". It was here where artist John Blakey made a sketch of the four cricketers to mark the occasion. This would be the last place the four Yorkshire men met together due to Trueman's passing a year later.[32]


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Sawley, Ripon)
  1. "Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  2. Wilson, John (1870–72). "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales". A. Fullarton and Co.. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  3. "Ripon: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868". UK and Ireland Genealogy. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  4. "Sawley Village". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  5. "Key To English Place-Names". The University of Nottingham. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  6. "Sawley Village Hall". Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  7. "Sawley", Retrieved 8 April 2013
  8. "Documents Online: Sawley, Yorkshire", Folios: 303v, 380r, Great Domesday Book; The National Archives. Retrieved 8 April 2013
  9. "Sawley Historical Statistics". A Vision of Britain. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  10. "Sawley (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  11. "Sawley, Industry Statistics". A Vision of Britain. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  12. "Sawley, Industry 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  13. "British agriculture: a history of decline". International Communist Current. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  14. "Sawley, Industry 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  15. "Postcode Statistics: Sawley". UK Local Area. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  16. "Bus routes through Sawley". North Yorks Travel. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  17. "Socio-Demographic Data: Sawley". British Streets. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  18. "Postcode Statistics: Sawley". UK Local Area. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  19. "Sawley Village". Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  20. "Listed Buildings in Sawley, North Yorkshire, England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  21. "Lacon Cross List Entry". English Heritage. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  22. "Lacon Cross, Sawley". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  23. "Village Pumps in North Yorkshire". UK Village Pumps. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  24. "About Sawley". Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  25. "Schools Near Sawley, North Yorkshire". Ofsted. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  26. "Listed Buildings in Sawley, North Yorkshire, England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  27. "Doomsday Reloaded: Sawley Hall". BBC. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  28. "Barnardo’s homes – Yorkshire". Barnado's. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  29. "Sawley Shoot, North Yorkshire". Guns on Pegs. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  30. "Sawley Hall Shoot". Shooting Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  31. "Giant sequoia near the border of the Sawley Hall". Monumental Trees. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  32. Chris Waters (6 October 2011). Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography. Aurum Press Ltd.,+North+Yorkshire%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=O9liUdmHGcSMOLjTgdAO&redir_esc=y. Retrieved 8 April 2013.