Village of the Week: Bramham has been a commuter belt since Roman times and has just saved its post office

Dubbed part of the Golden Triangle, Bramham is certainly a village that exudes wealth, grandeur and that touch of something else.

It is after all a frequent destination on the Royal calendar for the year.

Nestling between Leeds, York and Wetherby, Bramham - or Bramham cum Oglethorpe if we are to use the correct name - falls within the phrase that has been coined by estate agents and even the media.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leeds, York and Wetherby are all sought after places to live and work and Bramham could easily fall into the bracket of being a commuter town as millennials seek the work life balance of city and country living.

Bramham Memorial CrossBramham Memorial Cross
Bramham Memorial Cross

Footballers too, as the Leeds United training ground at Thorp Arch is not too far away.

The population has gradually been increasing since the turn of the 20th century.

By 2001, the village had a population of about 1,750, about a quarter of whom were under the age of 19 and well over half (62 per cent) were under the age of 44, making it a village of young people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were 674 households, a growth of 20 per cent on the 1991 census.

Bramham's village church and rooftops through the treesBramham's village church and rooftops through the trees
Bramham's village church and rooftops through the trees

It seems to fit with the boom of Leeds and city living lifestyles, and it comes with a price tag that only footballer style wages might afford.

The most expensive property for sale in Bramham is £2.1m and the cheapest is £350,000, and is a terraced house at that.

While this does take a place forward, do some of the more traditional and usual facilities become in the main under-used and deemed not viable and close?

It is possibly what happened with the Post Office.

Bramham Parish Centre.Bramham Parish Centre.
Bramham Parish Centre.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, there is a lot more to Bramham than footballer’s wives and detached houses, there is a sense of community, contributed to by history and heritage.

In April, Bramham village shop and post office had closed with many residents at a loss as to the best way to access their bank accounts, access their pensions and post their parcels as the next nearest facility was more than a mile away.

But an application was made to the Post Office Retail for a post office service to re-open in the Premier Convenience Store on Front Street, Bramham.

It did and it was done for the older folk in the village.

The SwanThe Swan
The Swan

New Postmistress Kirti Patel said: “Bramham is small village and we’ve done this for the community, especially for the elderly. It’s taken us a long time to get here but we’ve done this with the full support of the local councillor and the community.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Going right back, to the possible beginning of Bramham, though would have us with the earliest English-speaking settlements in England.

The commuter belt existed even then, of sorts, as Bramham is at the crossroads of the east-west Roman road from York through Tadcaster to Ilkley and the north-south Great North Road, now the A1.

But the ‘ham’ part of the place name is associated with the growth of Anglo-Saxon culture in post-Roman Britain - so fifth to sixth centuries.

Bramham was also associated with the Magnesium Limestone belt – a rock formation in the north east of England - from the Permian period, which itself spans 47 million years from the end of the Carboniferous period some 298 million years ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bramham is recorded in the Domesday Book as the Manor of Bramham and the Holder in 1066 was Ligulfr. An estimate of the total population of Bramham in 1086 was 68. Bramham's value in 1066 was 160 shillings but only 50 shillings in 1086 after the Harrying of the North.

Bramham is an estate village in the so called 'golden triangle' between Leeds, Wetherby and York.
Village of the week.
3rd October 2023.Bramham is an estate village in the so called 'golden triangle' between Leeds, Wetherby and York.
Village of the week.
3rd October 2023.
Bramham is an estate village in the so called 'golden triangle' between Leeds, Wetherby and York. Village of the week. 3rd October 2023.

It will be worth a fair bit more now.

The first link between modern Bramham and historical Bramham is 1150 when the oldest part of All Saints Church was built.

Some of the older houses in the village were made from limestone and stone from Bramham was said to have been used for the pendants and hanging ornaments on the vaults and ceilings of York Minster.

Perhaps one of the lesser known back stories of Bramham is its role with the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF) and the First World War.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In March 1916 an aerodrome was built near the village and it was home to 33 Squadron of the Flying Corps who were tasked with the air defence of Leeds, Sheffield and York against further Zeppelin attack.

When the RAF was formed in 1918, RFC Bramham became called RAF Tadcaster, and hosted American pilots and ground staff for training following America joining the First World War the year before.

The aerodrome was closed down in December 1919 and just one hangar remains and is a listed building.

When a historical account is written of Bramham in years to come it will surely include Leeds Festival and Bramham Horse Trials - two very different but equally anticipated events in the social calendar of music fans and equestrians respectively.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leeds Festival has brought Eminem, Liam Gallagher and Jay Z to Bramham. Bramham Horse Trials has brought Princess Anne, her daughter Zara Tindall is a competitor.

Bramham Horse Trials is held at Bramham Park, an 18th century country house and estate.

It was built for Robert Benson, the 1st Baron of Bingley back in 1698 and stayed within the family until there were no male heirs and titles were extinguished.

Eventually, via an illegitimate daughter it came back to the 1st Baron’s nephew, but a fire in 1828 left the house derelict and it stayed that way for much of the remainder of the century.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

George Lane Fox (1931–2012) moved into the Hall and put the estate on an up-to-date financial footing, and founded the trials in 1974.

Today Bramham Park remains a private residence in the hands of his son, Nick.