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Bramham Over The Centuries

Bramham is of ancient origin, owing to its geographical position and its subsequent placement close to strategic routes used by generations, from Roman conquerors to modern travellers. Situated just off the Plain of York, and just south of the three fords of the Wharfe vital to Roman communications, Bramham has a history in some respects unusual for a place of its size.

Indeed, its being virtually surrounded by private lands, latterly of the Lane Fox family, has probably saved it from the sort of development which may yet sweep it up. Meanwhile these brief notes trace some of the important elements in the village's life during the last two thousand years of England's history.

Bramham in Roman Times

For the Romans, eager to exert control over lands they already dominated, and to extend their conquests, a network of efficient roads was vitally important. From York, their northern capital, their main road westwards to Ilkley ran, via Tadcaster, through Bramham (the Toulston and Thorner roads as they are today).

West of the village the road cut past Wothersome to Pompocaeli, those strange remains in the nature reserve of Hetchell Wood, before following a route just off the modern road system to Guiseley and Ilkley. Eastwards the Romans travelled up High Street and along the Toulston road toward Tadcaster.
The main communication from London to Hadrian's Wall and their Scottish ,pre-occupations, succeeded in later centuries by the Great North Road, the Al and the A19, was Watling Street.
This divided into two branches at Headley Bar (on the A64 between the Al and Tadcaster) one route crossing the Wharfe just north of the present Tadcaster bridge, running through the fields north of Copmanthorpe and Dringhouses, to enter York (Eboracum) via the Knavesmire and Micklegate Bar. The second spur (today, as then, Rudgate) crossed Bramham Moor on the edge of the present parish boundary.
Its route from Toulston via St Helen's Ford near Newton Kyme through to Alborough (Isunum) and on northwards largely set the pattern of modern roads.

The Romans, like their successors, found the local elevated vantage points across the York Plain almost as useful as the easily accessible limestone, which was quarried for building both York and Alborough.
It was also used for the many villas which are thought to have dotted the countryside in the area, such as that excavated in recent times between West Woods Farm and Collingham Moor, Dalton Parlours

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