The first mention of Bramley is in the Domesday Book compiled for William the Conqueror in 1086. The name comes from the Anglo Saxon meaning a clearing of broom. It was classified as "waste" by the Normans as it was not considered to be worth their attention. This attitude has not changed with subsequent governments!


Many villages in the area have the Bram (broom) prefix, and also the Ley (clearing) suffix, named by the Anglo Saxon settlers arriving in the Aire Valley during the 7th century.


The area was finally given some status in 1152 when Henry De Lacy was given leave to found a Cistercian abbey at Kirkstall, across the River Aire.


The Cistercians were particularly adept at acquiring land, either as donations from pious landowners seeking favours, or by compulsory clearances of local villages. So what's new!


The land holding of the abbey spread across the valley encompassing all of Bramley, through to Swinnow (Swine Hoe, the piggeries) and Grangefield (Pudsey) a large outlying farm where local peasants were allowed to work for peanuts (hazel nuts probably?)


The abbey was built of granite from the quarry in Bramley Falls Wood, off Pollard Lane, which was carried downstream on barges.


Water was piped to the abbey from Monks Wood across the river in lead pipes from an old sacred spring, which was in later years used by Kirkstall Brewery which was set up on the site, this has since reverted to student accommodation so now handles far more alcohol!


Bramley was awarded a charter to hold a market during the plague of 1644 when Leeds became infected, which was briefly revived in the 1990's.


A beautiful village of stone houses set in squares with open courtyards, supplied by an abundance of small shops, and interlaced by a complex system of "ginnels." The village was surrounded by rural land, used largely for rhubarb farming, and woodland.


All that were reprieved in Bramley's slaughter of 1972, are Stocks Hill and Bramley Falls Wood. A very heavy sacrifice!


St Peter's Church


Stocks Hill


Bramley Village Pump and Horse Trough


One of the Few Ginnels Surviving


The Old House (dated 1460)




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