Langdale's Yorkshire Dictionary:


A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire

For the year 1822, by Thomas Langdale

Yorkshire Dictionary - Rivers and Canals:


The AIR, or AIRE has its source from above Malham, about 5½ miles north-east of Settle; it takes the name of Aire a quarter of a mile below Malham, at the junction of Malham Tarn-water and Gordale-beck, and runs south by Kirby- Malham, Airton, Calton, Conistone, Gargrave, and passes by Skipton, where it runs by the side of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, by Keighley and Bingley to Leeds, passing through which place, and running to Castleford, about 3 miles north-west of Ferrybridge, it receives the Calder, than passes by Brotherton, Ferrybridge, Snaith, Rawcliffe, and collecting, during its course, many tributary streams, joins the Ouse below Airmyn, 3 miles south-west of Howden. It is navigable as far as Leeds.

The CALDER flows on the borders of this county and Lancashire and enters the former at Todmorden, 12 miles west of Halifax, passes by Elland, Kirklees, Dewsbury, Sandal, Wakefield, and runs into the Aire at Castleford.

The DEARNE rises north-west of Barnsley, a little above Bretton-Dikes, and passes by Darton, Barnsley, Darfield, Bolton, Adwicke, and joins the Don, near Conisbrough.

The DERWENT takes its rise in the North Riding, a little north of Harwood-Dale, about 4 miles distant from the east-coast, and takes a southerly direction parallel to the coast, until it comes near Ganton, when it takes a west and afterwards a south-west direction, and passes by the town of Malton, to which it is navigable from the Humber, for vessels of 45 tons burthen. It is the boundary between the North and East-Ridings, from its junction with the little river Hertford, until it arrives near Stamford-Bridge, where it enters the East-Riding, and, passing by Elvington, Bubwith, Wressle, joins the Ouse at Barmby.

The DON takes its rise west of Penistone, on the borders of Cheshire, and passes by Wortley, Sheffield, Rotherham, Conisbrough, Doncaster, Barnby and Fishlake, leaving Thorne about 1 mile on the east; after which it runs north towards Cowick, near to which place it divides into two streams, both of which are soon lost; one in the Aire, near Rawcliffe, and the other in the Ouse, near Goole. --It is navigable nearly to Sheffield. --Over this river, between Snaith and Thorne, there is a wooden bridge which turns upon a pivot, and affords a passage for the numerous shipping employed in the inland trade.

The FOSS, a small stream which rises near the Western end of the Howardian Hills, in the North-Riding, passes by Stillington, Haxby, and joins the Ouse at York. --It was made navigable by a subscription of £25,000 in 1793.

The HULL takes its rise in the Wolds, not far from Driffield, (East-Riding) pursues a southern course, and passing the town of Beverley, to which it is united by a canal, falls into the Humber at Hull, contributing to form the port. --A canal from Great-Driffield communicates with this river.

The HUMBER is formed by the junction of the Ouse and Trent; the former having first received the Nidd, Wharfe, Derwent, and Aire. It divides Yorkshire from Lincolnshire, and falls into the German Ocean at Spurn-Head. --It has a canal communication with the Mersey, Dee, Ribble, Severn, Thames, and Avon.

The NIDD has its rise at the upper-end of Nidderdale, about 3 miles north-east of Kettlewell; after running a considerable distance from its fountain, enters the earth, by a wide and rocky cavern, called Goydon-pot- Hole: then taking a subterraneous course of some miles, again emerges to the light by two issues, whose waters are soon united, a little below Middlesmoor, and passing by Ramsgill, Pateley Bridge, Hampsthwaite, Killinghall, Ripley, Knaresbrough, Ribston, Walshford, Cowthorpe, and Nun-Monkton, where it empties itself into the Ouse.

The OUSE, a name given to the river Ure, after its junction with the river Swale, about 3 miles below Boroughbridge, whence it proceeds by Nun-Monkton, to York; and passing by Naburn, Nun-Appleton, Cawood, Selby, Barnby, Airmyn, Hooke, Goole, and Whitgift, receives the Trent, where it forms the Humber, having, during its course, received the rivers Nidd, Foss, Wharfe, Derwent, Aire, and many other tributary streams.

The RIBBLE rises in the wapentake of Ewcross, about 11 miles north of Settle; it runs south by Horton, Settle, Gisburn-Park, Clitheroe, Mitton, crosses Lancashire, and falls into the Irish Sea, below Preston.

The RYE rises in Snilesworth, (North-Riding) passes through Bilsdale, by Rivaulx-Abbey, Helmsley, Butterwick, Wycomb, below which place it runs into the Derwent, having previously received the Dove and Costa. --It gives name to the wapentake of Rydale. The Rye sinks above Helmsley, and rises at a small distance from its proper channel, about 1 mile below.

The SKELL rises a few miles north of Pateleybridge; it passes by Grantley, Fountain's-Abbey, through that part of Ripon called Skelgate, below which it empties itself into the Ure. --It is a small river, but of great utility to the inhabitants of Ripon, supplying them with excellent water, by means of an engine erected by W. Askwith, Esq. by which water is conveyed into every house, at a small annual rent.

The TEES rises between the counties of Westmoreland and Durham, beyond the north-west extremity of the North-Riding, and taking an easterly direction near Cronkley, divides it from the county of Durham through its whole extent, and falls into the German Ocean below Stockton; it is navigable for vessels of large burthen from the Ocean to Yarm, when the spring tide rises 7 feet.

The SWALE rises near Wild-Boar Fell, on the borders of Westmoreland, after which it passes through a vale from thence, called Swaledale, by Richmond, Catterick, Ellerton, Langton, Morton, Maunby, at which place there is a Ferry, Skipton-Bridge, Topcliffe, Helperby, and runs into the Ure at Myton. The Swale, the Esk, and the Rye, though considerable streams, are scarcely capable of navigation, for having their sources in very mountainous countries, they are shallow, rapid, and, as well as other streams in this Riding, except the Wiske alone, subject to sudden, violent, and frequent floods. --An Act was some years since obtained, for rendering the Swale navigable to Morton, with a branch up Codbeck (--this brook is generally called Codbeck, and even so long since as 1612, by Drayton, in his Polyolbion; but it evidently derives its name from the British Word Cottae, signifying woody: so Cottae Alpes, to distinguish them from Graoe or Craggy Alpes) to Thirsk, and an other up Bedale-beck to Bedale; but the navigation was never completed. --The benefits arising from, and the necessity of such a Canal, or one up the Wiske, which was surveyed some very few years ago, must be evident to the most careless observer.

The URE rises on the borders of Westmoreland; passes by Askrigg, Middleham, Masham, Tanfield, Ripon, and Boroughbridge; where after being joined by the Swale at Myton, passes by Ouseburn, where it changes its name from Ure to Ouse, and proceeds to York. --It is navigable with the aid of a short canal, for Vessels of 30 tons, as far as Ripon, (West-Riding) where, on account of the rapidity of the stream, all prospect of navigation ceases.

The WHARFE rises above Oughtershaw, and runs by Beckurmonds, Deepdale, Yokenthwaite, Hubberholme, Buckden, Starbottom, Kettlewell, Conistone, Burnsall, Appletreewick, Barden-Tower, Bolton-Abbey, Ilkley, Otley, Arthington, Harewood, crosses the great north-road at Wetherby, passes by Thorpe Arch, Tadcaster, and joins the Ouse from York at Nun-Appleton.

The WISKE rises on the breast of the hills near Osmotherley, taking a southerly, and afterwards a northerly direction, as far as Staddlebridge, leaving the Monastery of Mount-Grace on the right, where it changes its course westerly, passes by West-Rounton, Appleton, and Smeaton, than veering to the south, passes by Danby, Yafforth, Otterington, and Kirby-Wiske, a mile below which, it empties itself into the Swale.


The RIVER FOSS NAVIGATION proceeds from the junction of the River Foss, with the Ouse at York. Its course is the river Foss, as far as Farlington. Common; thence, by a new cut to Marton-Lordship, and the river Foss to Stillington-Mill; the total length is about 13 miles.

The LEEDS AND LIVERPOOL CANAL begins out of the River Mersey, at low water, just at the lower extremity of the town of Liverpool, by Bank Hall, and goes over the river Alt to Mill House, it then takes a large half circle round the town of Ormskirk, and crosses Toadbrook, near Newborough whence it proceeds, by the Douglas-Navigation to Wigan and Blackburn; it then proceeds in a circular course to Burnley and Colne to Foulridge, near Pendle-hill, where a basin is cut to supply the Canal, of which it is the head. The Canal here, begins to fall to Leeds, and goes from Foulridge, by Salterford, East-Marton, and crosses the river Aire, near Gargrave, by Thoralby, Stirton, and the town of Skipton, by Bradley, Kildwick, near the town of Keighley, and by Bingley; a little below which it crosses the river Aire again, passes Shepley, and takes a semi-circular course round the Idle, near Apperleybridge, Kirkstall Abbey, by Burley and Holbeck, to the town of Leeds, making in the whole, a course of 127 miles, with 838 feet fall. There is also a collateral cut from near Shepley to Bradford. The fall on the Yorkshire side, is 446 feet; and on the Lancashire side, 529 feet.

The HUDDERSFIELD CANAL joins Sir John Ramsden's Canal on the south side of Huddersfield, and taking a westerly course, runs parallel with the river Colne, which it passes twice, passing Longwood, Slaithwaite, and Marsden; from Marsden, under Pule-moss and Brunn-Top, there is a tunnel of nearly three miles and a half long, which brings the Canal to Rasp-Mill, on the Digglewater, and within about two miles of Dobcross; passing which, it takes the route of the river Tame, the windings of which it frequently intersects, and passes within one mile of Lidgate, by Mossley, Stayleylbridge, and there joins the Ashton and Oldham Canal on the south-side of Ashton, being a course of nineteen miles and five furlongs, with 770 feet lockage.

The BARNSLEY CANAL joins the river Calder, below the town of Wakefield, and passes Crofton, Felkirk, Royston, and Barnsley, whence it takes a circular course to Barnbybridge, near the town of Cawthorne, where it joins the Dearne and Dove Canal, the length about 14 miles. There are several rail-ways to the Canal, from Barnsley, and others from Barnbybridge. The fall from the junction with the Dearne and Dove Canal, is 120 feet to the river Calder.

The DEARN and DOVE CANAL commences from the cut which has been made for the accommodation of the river Don navigation, between Swinton and Mexbrough, and proceeds by Wath, Wombwell, and Ardsley, to near Barnsley Canal, which joins the river Calder. There are two small branches, one parallel with Knolbeck-brook, at the Iron-Work at Cobcar-Ing; the other along the head stream of the river Don, to Worsbrough-bridge; with a proposed extension of this branch, near one mile and a half, to Rockcliffe-bridge, adjoining the grounds of Earl Strafford, at Wentworth-Castle. The branch to Cobcar-Ing is one mile and three quarters, and is level, by means of some deep cutting at the extremity. The branch to Worsbrough-bridge, is one mile five furlongs in length.

The STAINFORTH and KEADBY CANAL commences at the river Don, about a mile to the west of Fishlake, and runs parallel with the river opposite to Thorne; whence in a line due east, it passes Crowle, and Keadby, where it joins the river Trent. There is a branch about a mile across Thorne's Common, to a place called hangman-hill, which joins the river Don. The total length of this Canal is between 14 and 15 miles, and running through a part of the fenay country has little elevation, and no lockage, except out of the rivers at the extremities.

The CALDER NAVIGATION commences at the junction of the Air and Calder at Castleford, passes by Wakefield, to Horbury-bridge, Dewsbury, Cooper-bridge, Brighouse, Elland, and Salterhebble, where goods are left for Halifax, Sowerbybridge, and then joins the Rochdale and Manchester Canal, and passes by Hebden-bridge, to Rochdale and Manchester. --There is a branch from Cooper-bridge, to Huddersfield, of 3 miles, called Sir John Ramsden's Canal, which joins the Huddersfield and Ashton Canal.

The AIRE of CALDER NAVIGATION commences at Selby from the river Ouse, and proceeds by Haddlesey, Knottingley, Ferrybridge, Brotherton, and joins the Aire at Castleford, and whence it proceeds up the Aire to Leeds, where it joins the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Transcribed from
Langdale's Yorkshire Dictionary

by Colin Hinson © 2007