We don't know how long ago it was, when the forests
that covered most of Yorkshire, a settlement was formed upon the hill, that is
Our County was really an Anglo-Saxon creation, but many
different groups of people invaded and then settled down, each bringing
different cultures and skills.
The Brigantes were here - tribes that occupied the
middle and north Pennines - and each tribe had its own King and Queen.
When the Romans came, some inter-married while others
fought them bitterly.
The Brigantes built quite a few towns, the nearest to
Yeadon being Olicana, now known as Ilkley.
The Romans made roads and built
garrisons around Yeadon.
One road from York to Rochester ran through Adel, over
Otley Chevin, across to Ilkley, and is clearly marked joining the Blubberhouses
road near to Addingham.
Maybe a Roman station on Rawdon Billing overlooked
Yeadon, and we wonder how the inhabitants of our village lived through those
Did they welcome the soldiers?
Or were they perhaps. taken prisoners and forced to
work in the Lead Mines as slaves on Greenhow Hill?
Did the Romans take some of the British Children as
slaves to Rome?
After 300 years of Roman occupation, the Anglo-Saxons
settled down to a life of agriculture, herding cattle, living in small
communities built in clearings in the forests.
This Saxon period lasted 650 years until the Norman invasion
and the first part of it is referred to as the Dark Ages because so little was
known of this time, until excavations and discoveries by archaeologists have recently shown the life lived in those
far off days.
The latter part of the 650 years is called the
Medieval Age, when records were first kept.
In this six and a half centuries Britain was
invaded by Danes, Norsemen, Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who fought the British,
then later settled down and eventually became the English nation, who were later
conquered by the Normans.
The Yorkshire character is a compound of all these
various people who came from Eastern Countries, just as in latter years the
British settled in the new continents of Africa, Australia and America.
The common name "ing" incorporated into place
names in our district meant to the first Angicans "the place of the people
of 'so and so'" Such as Addingham.
The Angles used a name to denote a clearing in the
forest - "Leah" which changed to "Ley" and we are
surrounded by settlements such as Shipley, Guiseley, Otley, Apperley, Burley,
Ilkley and Farnley.
During all this change
there was still a strong Celtic element who formed a kingdom named Elmet and
spread along the lower part of the Aire and the Wharfe.
Leeds named Loidis was within the forest of Elmet.
These Celts were numerous enough to stop the Angles
until Elmet was conquered by King Edwin just after the year 616.
Then the Angles made many clearings and built their
special hamlets, and in Airedale formed Farsley, Rodley, Calverley and many
King Edwin married Aethelberht of Kent who was a
Christian and was converted and baptised at York in 627.
After the peaceful 8th century passed the Danes
invaded, they settled, bringing their own language to enrich the dialect of
Yorkshire for all time.
From them we get "gate" meaning street as in
Briggate and Ivegate.
"fell, beck, mere, moss, heath, ling, thwaite and
moor" as well as words ending in "by" very common in these
parts, were brought by Vikings.
In 1016 Canute of
Denmark became King and so the Danish influence was more and more marked.
Yorkshire was divided into Thirds (Ridings) and the
Ridings into Wapontakes by the Danes.
In each Wapontake there was a meeting place where
great courts were held to pass judgments and laws.
Yeadon was in the Skyrack Wapontake which derived
from the "Shire Oak" at Headingley where the meetings were held.
When the Doomsday book was written, Yeadon, Horsforth
and Rawdon were known as Terra Regis Lands, which meant lands belonging to the
Yeadon was first called Iadun, which later changed to
Yeadon but was spelt at first Yedon which is the way people often pronounced it
in the olden days.
The first record of it says that Iadun consisted of two
manors held by Saxons, whose names were Gamel and Glunier, who were
contributors to the revenues of Kirkstall Abbey.
In those days the people who owned land gave timber,
stone, animals and food to the monks building the Abbeys.