Methley Grange is now demolished. Returning from the River Aire, Methley’s boundary, a track on the left led to ” the old river”. At this corner on the south side, stood this fine residence, mentioned in the 1817 records.
Formerly owned and occupied by Mr. William Read, gentleman, who held musical evenings there, and James Wade, maltster, and then later by Mr Giles Denison as a freehold farm, the property was offered for sale by auction at the Rose and Crown Inn, Methley, on August 28th 1862. It was described as a valuable freehold farm in the occupation of Mr Giles Denison and called Boatstake or Methley Grange.
It offered a comfortable residence for family and servants, had garden in front, vegetable garden at rear and orchard. There was a good water supply (actually from a well), mines of excellent coal, estate tithe free and near to the navigable River Aire.
The property was bought 1862 by Lord Mexborough for £7000. Mr Giles Dennison and later his son, Thomas, continued to occupy the property until the death of the son in 1904. The house was later occupied by tenant farmers of the Mexborough Estate and was eventually divided into two houses.
In 1915-1916, the land at Boatstake was occupied by S. (Sunny) Huddlestone from F.Denison. Huddlestones became large market gardeners in the village, later principally at Moorhouse Farm. Huddlestones had land at the Coney Moor 1923-24.
On the north side of the track to the old river, just further along than the Grange, were five cottages, most probably occupied by workers on the estate. The cottages are shown on the 1786 map.
Oxbow Ponds, Lower Mickletown
Two lakes were formed when meanders in the river became so pronounced that flood conditions cut off the bend altogether. Later the ‘cut off’ portion silted up, isolating the bends for ever from the river and forming two curious horse-shoe shaped lakes. They were becoming overgrown and rather derelict after being tried and then abandoned by several angling clubs.
In 1991 the 16 acre site was leased from the Methley Estates by a Pickering businessman, Mr. James Over and developed for fishing and also to encourage wild life – flora and fauna. A car park was been made, a bailiff appointed, the lakes cleared of overgrowth, while trees, shrubs etc. on the banks were preserved, walkways round the lakes were opened up and the whole area improved. The lakes themselves were restocked with carp, tench, rudd, roach, pike and perch and over 70 angling platforms placed.
The area was opened for fishing September 1991 and is proving to be a popular amenity. Water fowl and Water plants flourished and there were water lilies on the small pond.
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