History of Allerton Grange Fields

The Allerton Grange area was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1089 under the name ‘Alretun’, literally “Alder Farm”.

Farming was known in this area from the 12th century, when the monks of Kirkstall Abbey opened their medieval Cistercian farm at Allerton Grange (on the site of what is now Larkhill Green). The word ‘Grange’ as in Abbey Grange, Moor Grange and Allerton Grange, refers to ancient farms once owned by the monks of Kirkstall Abbey. The Leeds Guide including sketch of the Environs and Kristall Abbey (1806) describes Allerton Grange as follows:-

Allerton Grange - Saxon for ‘a farmstead where Alder trees grow’. This place formerly belonged to the Abbot and Convent of Kirkstall; and is supposed to have been given to them in the time of their first Abbot, Alexander. The family of the Killing- becks were tenants to it before the dissolution of the house, and afterwards became proprietors of it. (Source: The Leeds Guide including sketch of the Environs and Kirkstall Abbey, 1806, Edward Baines)

Source The Civil, Ecclesiastical, Literary, Commercial, and Miscellaneous History of Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Otley, and the District Within Ten Miles of Leeds

By Edward Parson

Published by F. Hobson, 183

It is possible to trace an historic track from Kirkstall Abbey to Chapel Allerton and Allerton Grange, part of which survives in the roads and lanes of Chapel Allerton village today. The east west route would have been the most important road in the township, used to take wool and other agricultural produce to the abbey grange as well as by monks and lay people travelling between Allerton Grange, Chapel Allerton and Kirkstall Abbey.

Following the Dissolution of Kirkstall Abbey in 1539, the situation changed abruptly. The Abbey ceased to function, forcing a complete change of focus on the surrounding area which led to development increasing along the roads to Leeds.(Source: Chapel Allerton Conservation Area Assessment, 2008).

Allerton Grange Fields has historically been an area classed as Grassland, Plantation and Park according to the Tithe Map of the Chapel Allerton Township dated 1846 (below right) and OS Map 1956 (below left). Note the two tree lined becks which run through the middle of the fields towards Gledhow Beck (The becks were culverted in the 1960s to make way for Allerton Grange High School Playing Fields).

In 1899, Allerton Grange Farm was run by Charles Pollard and Moor Allerton Hall (The White House) was the home of Lt. Col. Lambert and later of R.B. Hopkins. The Pollard family had many farming interests in this area with Charles Pollard at Allerton Grange and William Pollard at Gledhow Grange at the end of the 19th century. (Source: Highways and Byways of Leeds, Gilleghan, John, 1994)

The Allerton Grange Fields and the Allerton Grange School campus was historically part of the late 18th century Moor Allerton Hall Estate (also known as “The White House” and Grange House). See above OS Map from 1801. This grande country house was once used for a Primary School (Old Moor Allerton Hall County Primary School) and was converted to luxury residential apartments in the 1990s. The Grade 2 Listed Moor Allerton Hall and The Lodge and ‘The Drive’ from Lidgett Lane to Moor Allerton Hall is of local heritage and cultural value. It should be noted that in the mid 1800s there were several Mansions in the area, including Moor Allerton Hall (Grange House).See Ordnance Survey Map of 1909 below.

The Grande grade 2 listed Moor Allerton Hall (also historically known as Allerton House. Grange House and The White House) was built in the late 18th century as a country house. The central section of the house has a porch with Tuscan columns and is topped by balustrade parapet. The entrance is flanked by two large bow fronted bays.

Moor Allerton Hall was the home of Lt. Col Lambert, George Smith (cloth merchant), Henry Price Bowring (ship owner/merchant) and R.B Hopkins and Family. (Source: Leodis - Photographic Archive of Leeds)

Moor Allerton Hall was later converted to a Primary School (Moor Allerton Hall County Primary School) by Leeds Education Authority. In the 1990s, following the relocation of the primary school to purpose built premises and grounds, Moor Allerton Hall was sympathetically extended and converted into luxury apartments by Country & Metropolitan Homes.

Moor Allerton Hall (The White House) Above and Below.

The Allerton Grange Field was partly occupied by Allerton Grange School (Main Block) and the Sixth Form block. There were originally two main blocks (two and three story glass, steel and concrete construction) fronting onto Talbot Avenue built in 1955 and 1960 and a third block housing the sixth form built in 1972. Allerton Grange School was one of the first schools to be built in Leeds in the immediate post war years. The School Playing Fields adjacent to the Allerton Grange School - main block were laid out in the late 1950s/early 1960s (now known as Allerton Grange Fields). The red brick modern high tech North East Leeds City Learning Centre (CLC) was built in 2002.

Below – 1967 - Allerton Grange School (main block)

Below -Aerial Photograph of Allerton Grange from 1969, Allerton Grange School (Main Block) and Allerton Grange Fields - far left

In September 2009, a new multi million pound building to house Allerton Grange School opened as part of the governments Buildings Schools for the Future programme. The old school buildings were demolished and some of the land returned to green field with grassland and newly planted trees. Allerton Grange Fields became publicly accessible in 2009 following the creation of a new footpath and cycleway linking Lidgett Lane to Talbot Avenue.

Area surrounding Allerton Grange Fields

The housing to the north, east, south and west of the Allerton Grange Fields is predominantly made up of post World War Two Detached, Semi Detached and Bungalow properties with gabled and hipped roofs with concrete tiles, with a mixture of orange brick, red brick and render walling set in well stocked gardens with driveways and separate garages. Many of the homes have been built around the 1950s which was the age of the consumer. The post-war boom brought massive change in the home, it was out with the old and in with the new. Many of the homes in the area have open plan internal layouts with fitted kichens for all of those new appliances which were coming in the market during the 1950s and 1960s!

There are examples of Pre World War 2 housing in the area, in particular to the east in the Lidgett Parks which includes a set of grande 3 storey Victorian Terraced houses on North Park Avenue backing onto Lidgett Lane Allotment Gardens with fantastic views across Allerton Grange! Examples of housing from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s can be found along Talbot Road and along Lidgett Lane with the Brackenwood Estate built in the 1970s which includes Larkhill Green (built on the site of the medieval Former Cistercian grange of Kirkstall Abbey). For more information, see English Heritage Pastscape website, link here http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=52894