A short history of Wrose


Wrose was part of the parish of Calverley and in the township and manor of Idle. Of the very early history of the village we know very little, the earliest reference to it being in the Poll Tax rolls of Richard II, 1378/9, where it is recorded "No one remains in this parish". It should be noted that this reference most probably means that there was no one left capable of paying the poll tax following the death of two Vicars of Calverley in one year - mostly likely the result of the ravages of the Black Death. Because the name is probably of old English origin, meaning something like 'on the edge of a cliff', it is likely that Wrose existed as a place name long before this date, most probably as a small farming or husbandry hamlet.

Although it is known that the Manor of Idle was in the possession of the Plumpton family of Knaresborough for many centuries, the records proper begin with the 'inquisition' (a survey) conducted by the Earl of Cumberland in 1583/4 of all property now in his possession, the manor being held at the time by Queen Elizabeth 1 as her honour of Pontefract (almost all land was owned by the crown and granted or let to knights or nobility for a defined period). From this inquisition we learn that the "land of Wrose was cold and bare and suffered from want of water". The total annual rent roll was £2 19s 4d. Local tenants included: Thomas Sowden (35 acres; rent 13s); John Swain (33 acres; 13s); Thomas Walker (38 acres; 12s); John Stephenson (41 acres; 15s) and Thomas Craven. There were also some cottages that were let at 1s per annum and it was noted that all holdings had an attached orchard. It is therefore clear that, within the Manor of Idle, Wrose had its own lands and boundaries as well as common fields (the area today known as The Recreation Field) where the villagers could grow their crops and graze their livestock - hardly the 'cold and bare' land described!

The old houses of Wrose, in the main, lay untouched until the rapid housing expansion of the 1930’s when many of the present semi detached houses were built. Until this time it abounded with fine houses built of stone and dating from the times of Charles I and II and even earlier, but they were in the main destroyed to make way for the new houses. One of these fine houses still stands on Snowden Road on which Thomas Craven and his wife had their initials carved and the date of 1616. Probably the finest of all the 'lost' houses stood behind the present Wrose Bull, a smaller version of East Riddlesden Hall, which was knocked down to provide new road access to the Low Ash estate.

Other ancient houses were at High Ash, Moorhouse Farm, Croft Farm, also known as Wrose Farm (which was where the present youth club stands), and Farm Lane House. Houses still standing in Snowden Road and Towngate have dates of 1636 and 1722, whilst several others date from the early eighteenth century. Other old houses are at Westfield Lane Farm, Miserable corner, Oakbank, Hazlecroft, and Colliers Row. Later, fine Victorian houses were built as befitted their owners' social standing, notably Greenhouse, Well Croft, Westfield House, Moor View House, and Ashfield House.

Until fairly recently there was a surviving medieval (mid to late 16th century) building, the timber-framed threshing barn at Tudor Barn Court. However, due to its poor condition it was demolished in 1998 and the oldest element, the original oak timber frame, was placed into storage.

The Georgian frontage of the house which which fronts Towngate and faces the remains of the old village green belies the much older building behind it to which it is attached. This was originally a farm and also the old ale house of the village where ale was brewed on the spot and sold to locals.

In later years the ale house was bought by Hammonds Breweries who gave it the name Hare and Hounds - although the locals all called it the ‘Bull’ after a large pedigree bull which the farmer kept in a field adjoining the ale house. The licence and name were transferred by Hammonds to the present site in 1956 but the locals immediately applied pressure to get the name changed to the ‘Wrose Bull’, which a Magistrate approved. The site was formerly the home of Dawson Jowett, a descendant of the Dawsons of Wrose. Dawson Jowett was a well respected man in the community and was Master of the Airedale Beagles and the pack of hounds were originally kennelled here. They hunted across the lands of Wrose and Idle. The pack of hounds was later removed to Eldwick where they hunted for many years. Colin Bell was the first landlord of the Wrose Bull for a quarter of a century (and there are many fine stories to be told during his occupation).

The other public house in Wrose is the Bold Privateer. Built by Tetleys, this opened on the 10th October 1957. It was aptly named after the Earl of Cumberland and 13th Lord de Clifford who in the time of Elizabeth I owned all the land in Wrose. He was the Queen's champion at Tilt and fitted out some twelve fleets to fight against Spain. As a 'privateer' his crowning glory was to capture the ‘invincible’ island of Puerto Rico from the Spanish, bringing home much treasure, something that Francis Drake had earlier failed in an attempt to do.

The focal point of the village has always been its Elm Tree planted on 5th November 1867 on the old village green (the remnant of the green remains behind the Wrose Bull at the junction of Snowden Road and Towngate). Unfortunately the tree was smitten by Dutch Elm disease and being in a dangerous condition was removed in March 2000. The event was recorded by Calendar and a large Victorian bottle was found under the tree that may have held some papers as a message but water had seeped in and destroyed whatever had been placed there. However, a fine Ash tree Fraxinus Oxycarpa Reywood was planted on the remaining green to celebrate the Millennium and a time capsule placed underneath in a brick built chamber which will only be opened when the tree dies in hundreds of years yet to come. Hopefully, this will carry on a tradition of tree planting on the same spot into the next Millennium and beyond.

Martin Humphreys, Wrose Historian

Last update: 8th July 2019