Leeds nostalgia: Bramhope’s deep history

Bramhope June 1966

The combined street lamp and road sign above the old village cross base at Bramhope, near Leeds.

Fox and Hounds Public House.

Bramhope June 1966 The combined street lamp and road sign above the old village cross base at Bramhope, near Leeds. Fox and Hounds Public House.

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Bramhope, October 18: 1968: the doorway of St Giles’s Church, Bramhope, offers an unusual view of the double bend on the Leeds - Otley Road, familiar to all motorists heading towards Wharfedale.

On the right among the trees can be seen the old Puritan Chapel, which was restored a few years ago.

Bramhope, 18th October 1968

The doorway of St. Giles's Church, Bramhope, offers an unusual view of the double bend on the Leeds - Otley Road, familiar to all motorists heading towards Wharfedale.

On the right among the trees can be seen the old Puritan Chapel, which was restored a few years ago.

Bramhope, 18th October 1968 The doorway of St. Giles's Church, Bramhope, offers an unusual view of the double bend on the Leeds - Otley Road, familiar to all motorists heading towards Wharfedale. On the right among the trees can be seen the old Puritan Chapel, which was restored a few years ago.

St Giles dates back to 1881 and was built to accommodate a growing population, who could no longer fit inside the Grade I listed Puritan Chapel, which dates to 1649.

The second picture (below) also shows Bramhope, in June 1966 and the combined street lamp and road sign above the old village cross, just outside the Fox and Hounds public house.

Bramhope was mentioned in the Doomsday Book when a Saxon thane called Uchill lived in a manor. In 1095 it passed into the hands of the Percy family and in 1165 it was sold to Ralph de Bramhope.

Bramhope is also famous for its tunnel, just over two miles long and built between 1845 and 1849. Some 24 men died during its construction and they are commemorated in Otley churchyard. The southern portal is castellated and when it was completed, it was lived in for a time by some of those who had worked on the line.

There were possibly up to 2,300 navvies plus their families, with 400 horses brought in for the work. That is said to include 188 quarrymen, 102 stonemasons, 732 tunnel men, 738 labourers and 18 carpenters.

For four years they lived in 200 wooden ‘bothies’ - houses of simple construction - with their families in a field opposite Bramhope cemetery, alongside offices and workshops. There were 100 more bothies elsewhere along the line of the tunnel.

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