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Ledston village

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Ledston, formerly Ledstone, is a rural villageSmall rural collection of buildings with a church. in the City of Leeds district of West Yorkshire. The village is nine miles (14 km) east of Leeds and two miles (3 km) north of Castleford. The village history is closely connected to Ledston Hall
Grade I listed former country house in West Yorkshire, now divided into residences.
and its owners. It is notable for its association with three women, Mary Bolles17th-century Yorkshire woman uniquely created a baronetess in her own right. and the alleged witch, Mary Pannell and Lady Elizabeth Hastings.

In the 20th century, coal under the estate was mined from Ledston Luck Colliery outside the village where there is now a nature reserve and Enterprise Park.

Geography and geology

Ledston is two miles (3 km) north of Castleford and the River Aire, just east of the A656, Roman Ridge Road, that links Castleford to AberfordRural village and civil parish in West Yorkshire, a historic settlement in the ancient Kingdom of Elmet.. Ledsham is to the north-east and Kippax is to the west. Much of the former townshipDivision of an ecclesiastical parish that had civil functions., which covers nearly 2000 acres (809 ha), is agricultural, parkland or woodland. Ledston Hall is situated on a hill surrounded by a parkland enclosed by a stone wall; the A1M passes to the east.

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Main Street and hall
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Ledston is in undulating country on part of the Yorkshire coalfield and the limestone ridge to the to the east of Leeds where the Carboniferous sandstones of the Coal Measures are overlain by the younger Permian rocks of the Magnesian Limestone.[1] Historically Magnesian Limestone, quarried locally, was used to build Ledston Hall, nearby Ledsham ChurchActive Anglican church in Ledsham, West Yorkshire, possibly the oldest extant building in the county., farmhouses and cottages but brick became the predominant building material for modem residential, commercial and industrial development in the 20th century.[2] A colliery was sunk in 1911.[3]


Ledston and neighbouring Ledsham share their etymology with Leeds which was mentioned by Bede in 731 as Loidis, a region in the Kingdom Of Elmet. Its name means farmstead or estate in the district of Leeds from the Old English Ledes and tun. It was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.[4] A grangeMonastic granges were outlying landholdings held by monasteries independent of the manorial system. They could be of six known types: agrarian, bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle farms), horse studs, fisheries or industrial complexes. with a chapel belonging to Pontefract Priory was built in around 1200.[5]. The priory was founded by Robert de Lacy, whose family had been granted the manor of Ledston with Ledsham, and its endowment included the churches at Ledsham and Kippax.[6]


The Witham family acquired the grange and chapel after the dissolution of the monasteries and held it for three generations.[7] They incorporated the grange into a “compact, quadrangular house”.[8] During the Witham’s tenure, Ledston was associated with withcraft when a local woman, Mary Pannell was accused of having caused the death of William Witham, father of Mary Bolles, and was tried and executed for the crime.[9][10]

Witham’s son Henry sold the hall to Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford who extended the hall.[7] Sir John Lewis who made his fortune as a merchant of the East India Company acquired the hall in around 1653.[8][10] He also extended the hall. The hall passed to his daughter Elizabeth, who married Theophilus Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon in 1672. Their eldest daughter, also Elizabeth, inherited and made alterations to the interior and main facades in the early 18th century.[7] Elizabeth never married, and the house was inherited by her step-sister’s husband, Grenville Wheler, in whose family it remained. It is now owned by the Wheler Trust.


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Miners’ housing at Ledston Luck
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Ledston Luck CollieryColliery nine miles east of Leeds and three miles north of Castleford on the Roman Ridge Road, sunk after coal had been proved under the Ledston Hall Estate in 1909., outside the village, was sunk after coal had been proved under the Ledston Hall Estate in 1909.The Micklefield Coal & Lime Company sank two shafts and by 1915 the colliery was in production.[3] Ledston Luck closed in 1986 and all that remains are the winding houses which were listed by English Heritage on the Enterprise Park.[11] Part of the site is a nature reserve. As the colliery was in a rural area, the company built houses in Ledston for some of the workforce and villas and bungalows near the pit.[12]