Byard's Leap is not an ancient parish of Lincolnshire, but its history goes back centuries. It was formed as a separate civil parish in 1858 under an act of Queen Victoria. The parish was six miles WNW of Sleaford and 12 miles north of Grantham on the Old Roman Road, just about where the A17 trunk road crosses it now. North Rauceby parish lies to the southeast and Cranwell parish to the Northeast.
It contained a farm of 250 acres, belonging in 1871 to Colonel John REEVE and occupied by Richard BESTALL, and a couple of cottages. In 1913, the farm was still in the REEVE family, but occupied by Thomas MAYFIELD. The parish has since been amalgamated with Cranwell parish.
There is no village here, but the RAF College is nearby. If you are planning a visit:
Take the A17 trunk road between Newark-on-Trent and Sleaford.
Note that there are two protected roadside verges in Byards Leap under the protection of the Lincolnshire Trust.
The area of Byards Leap was once a possession of the Knights Templer. Their records tell us that they held tournaments here. The tournaments of their time were not jousts, but giant mock battles between large bodies of men.
There are many versions of the legend of Byard, the horse that gave the area its name. Some claim that it jumped 500 feet in only three strides when attacked by a local witch. The witch had jumped on Byard's back to escape and sunk her long nails into the horse, causing his prodigeous leaps. Other versions tell us that Bayard was the knight who owned the horse and the horse was frightened by the witch. Huge horseshoes once marked the spot until the 1960s when the A17 roadway was widened and straightened.
Byard is derived from the name of a knight's horse. The horse was reputed to be bay-coloured, and his name Byard or Bayard. It is also possible that the horse's name derives from the Old English Bere or "barley". In many older records the name is recorded as Bayard and that's how you will find it listed in many Directories of the 19th and 20th centuries. The name, today, is rendered without the apostrophy, as in Byards Leap.