Ardsley, West (St. Mary)

ARDSLEY, WEST (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Wakefield, Lower division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 5¼ miles (S. S. W.) from Leeds; containing 1420 inhabitants. This place, in some documents called Woodkirk, from its ancient church of wood, formerly belonged to Nostall Priory, subordinate to which a cell of Black canons was founded here, and endowed with land by one of the family of Soothill, in expiation of the murder of a child: its revenue at the Dissolution amounted to £17, and the foundations of the building may still be traced. The parish comprises by measurement 2300 acres of fertile land: the substratum abounds with coal of excellent quality, of which there are some extensive mines in operation. Fairs for horses, &c., are held on August 24th and September 17th. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £265, derived from land; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Cardigan, who is lord of the manor. The church, an ancient structure in the early English style, having fallen into dilapidation, was partly rebuilt in 1832, and the chancel in 1834; the ancient stalls and monuments have been preserved in the present structure, and among the latter is a monument to Sir John Topcliffe, chief justice and master of the mint in the reigns of Henry VII. and VIII., who resided at Topcliffe Hall, now a farmhouse. The Wesleyans have a place of worship.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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