Pool in Wharfedale & Arthington

The river Wharfe in Spring looking from Castley to Pool In Wharfedale

Crossing the Lower Wharfe since the doomsday book times in 1086 has been no mean feat despite fords at Knots Ford and probably Pool where the bridge now stands. Pool bridge was built in 1793 and widened in 1815 and it seems there have been road works there ever since. The volume of water after rain in the dales is massive and has led to flooding many times in near by Castley. Over the years the volume of water must be staggering. This water has been the core of industry at Pool in Wharfedale since the reformation. The original wool mill dated 1673 was swept away with Pool Low Fulling Mill and two bridges. Paper mills (that use lots of water) were built in the 18th century and this trade has been carried on by the Whiteley family and others ever since. A Flour mill was also operated along side the river but the village was located 200 yards away for fear of flooding.

A mile to the east of Pool in Wharfedale on the south side of Wharfedale lies Arthington where records of the Priory go back to 1271 and the then prioress, Sara. Other Cluniac nuns in charge included Maud de Kesewik died 1299, Agnes de Pontefract 1302, Isabella de Berghby 1311 (demoted after leaving from the priory without permission), Sibil Plesyngton 1437, Marjorie Craven 1463, Alice Hall 1496 and Elizabeth Hall 1532. The Priory was surrendered in 1540 to Thomas Cranmer. more history
Staircase Lane running from Bramhope through Arthington to Pool is the place of a ghost story based on a wager with a member of the Dyneley family. Whilst galloping his horse down the staircase he was thrown and killed. The ghostly hooves can still be heard today!

The roads of Old Pool Bank and Pool Bank up to the Dyneley Arms have been the cause of many over-heated car engines and traffic jams as vehicles climbed out of the valley up to Yeadon Airport. These are the main roads between Bradford and Harrogate with other Wharfe crossings at Otley and Harewood. In the village near St Wilfrids church there was a blacksmith and wooden stocks whilst in Arthington there were kilns and forges. There are a couple of pubs, an active village hall and local cricket and football teams.

One of the big annual events approaching Christmas time is the visit of Santa Clause helped by gnomes from Otley Lions on the sleigh.


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2 Responses to Pool in Wharfedale & Arthington

  1. Roger Davis says:

    “Bridge built in 1793”: is that a misprint for 1753? 1753 is the date given in reference works, i.e. when the Dudleyhill-Killinghall turnpike road was built, passing through Pool. The bridge is shown on Jefferys’ map of Yorkshire, published 1771-2, but surveyed 1766-70. It replaced a ferry, not a ford, apparently, though you are right that there was a ford at Knotsford (called also Hasling Ford) and there was another on the other side of Pool, at Castley.

  2. Pat Lazenby says:

    There were other fords in the area. Haldwadford, the medieval name for Leathley Ford and Castley Ford, both found at Castley. Although some records show a ferry at Pool, it is likely that there was a ford at sometime as the name Rother ford, (“rother” is the medieval name meaning chief river) is given to the field name still shown on maps. This is immediately to the north of the river at Pool.
    Walk Mill or High Mill, the fulling mill, has references in Otley Parish records to it being in existence in 1609. This was owned by the Fawkes family of Farnley Hall until sold to the Whiteleys in 1920 after it became disused.
    The paper mill appears to have been originally built by farmer and maltster John Milthorp around 1762 later sold to Michael Nicholson in 1808. It was then let to the brothers Ben, Sam and William Whiteley in 1886, William eventually bought the mill in 1918 from Leeds Corporation Waterworks.
    The “flour” mill, known as the corn mill, has medieval origins and was gifted to the Nuns of Arthington by Thomas, son of Isaac de Pouil in 1254. This has been powered by three streams which ran down, two from Pool Bank and one diverted from Arthington. It was finally demolished around 1936.
    Many historic details on the village of Pool-in-Wharfedale can be found in the book “The Story of a Small Yorkshire Dales Village” available at Pool Post Office Stores.