ABERFORD, a market and parish-town, in the parishes of Aberford and Sherburn in Elmet, wapentakes of Skyrack, (lower division) and Barkston Ash, liberties of Pontefract and St. Peter; 6 miles from Tadcaster, 8 from Wetherby, 9 from Ferrybridge, 11 from Leeds and Pontefract, 14 from Selby, 16 from York, 186 from London. Market, Wednesday. Fairs, last Mondays in April and May, first Monday in October, first Monday after St. Luke, first Monday after All Saints, for horses, horned cattle, sheep, &c.; if either of the two last St. days fall on a Monday, the Fair will be held on that day. Principal Inn, the Swan. Pop. Lotherton with Aberford, 427 Aberford, 579, Total, 1,006. The Church is a rectory, dedicated to St. Richard (see Churches for photograph), in the deanry of the Ainsty, value, ~£6. 1s. 8d. Patron Oriel College, Oxford. Aberford is thus singularly situated with respect to the townships, viz. the west side of the town, from the river Cock, (south-end) is Aberford cum Parlington; the east-side of the same end, is Lotherton cum Aberford; and all north of the river is Aberford alone.
Aberford is situated on the great north road, upon the small river Cock, a river rendered famous in history by the battle of Towton, in 1461, a village a few miles lower down; the market is almost discontinued. At the north end of the town is the vestige of a Roman station, to which place the Roman road from Castleford runs. Aberford had once a good trade for pins, but has long since fallen to decay. On the site of the School, endowed by Lady Betty Hastings, in 1738, is built a National school, conducted on the plan of Dr. Bell. About half a mile north from Aberford, is a farm house, formerly a public house and known by the name of the Black Horse, which is said to have been the occasional retreat of the notorious Nevison, and at which house he baited his favourite mare, on his expeditious journey from London to York. This mare was afterwards given to the Gascoignes of Parlington.
Drunken Barnaby seems to have visited this place, for he sings:
"Veni Aherford, ubi notum
Quod aciculis emunt potum,
Pauperes sunt et indigentes
Multum tamen sitientes;
Parum habent, nec habentur
Ulla, quae non tenet venter"
[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]