Adel, Leeds

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Adel Church
Adel Church
Adel is located in West Yorkshire
 Adel shown within West Yorkshire
Metropolitan borough City of Leeds
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS16
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Leeds North West
List of places

Coordinates: 53°50′56″N 1°35′06″W / 53.8489°N 1.5849°W / 53.8489; -1.5849

Adel is a suburb in North Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is situated between Cookridge, Holt Park, Weetwood and Alwoodley. To the north are the villages of Arthington and Bramhope and the market town of Otley. In common with many areas of Leeds it is not easy to define the boundaries of Adel, but Adel Church and the two schools are well to the east of Otley Road, the A660, although the post office is on that road. There is one pub in Adel and there is a restaurant/pub on the Otley Road around the corner from Gainsborough Avenue(Adel).


Drawing of Adel by W. Braithwaite in 1878.

Adel is situated near the site of a Roman fort, the ancient road from Tadcaster to Ilkley passing nearby. (The footpath by the side of Long Causeway was said to be made from the original Roman stones, until they were removed by the council in the 1960s because they were unsafe. Some of the footpath has been replaced, starting at the junction between Long Causeway and Stairfoot Lane, and continuing up to the entrance of Bedquilts playing fields.) Several inscribed stones from the Romano-British period were discovered in Adel, also a number of Anglo-Saxon stones were discovered in the church foundations during restoration work in 1864. Some of these items are on display in the Leeds City Museum, Cookridge Street.

The Roman name for the area was Burgodunum. It is probable that a Saxon village sprang up around the fort and that a church was built in the village. Adel is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Adele. Another spelling used until 1816 is Addle. Most recent authorities derive the name from the Old English adela ‘dirty, muddy place’,[1] but arguments have also been made for a personal name Ada + Old English lēah 'open ground, lea'[2] (compare the terminus spelling of nearby Headingley DB: Hedingelei & hedingeleia).

The parish of Adel stretched to the River Wharfe in the north and included Adel, Arthington, Breary, Cookridge and Eccup.

In 1152 the nearby Cistercian abbey at Kirkstall was founded. At the same time, the church of St John the Baptist was built in Adel to replace the older Saxon building. Although the present church is Norman, it looks quite similar to the late 7th century Anglo-Saxon church in Ledsham village, "the oldest church (and the oldest building) standing in West Yorkshire".

Adel Church[edit]

The Church of St John the Baptist, Adel parish church, is described as "one of the best and most complete Norman churches in Yorkshire".[3] It is a Grade I listed building; the sundial, mounting block and several memorials are Grade II listed.

It was built 1150-1170 and has been little altered since, although a bell-cote was added in 1838-39 by R. D. Chantrell. The doorway, protected by a modern wooden roof, has an ornately carved arch; inside, there are 81 decorative corbels on the north and south walls, and the chancel arch has 37 grotesque beakheads. The medieval font has an oak canopy by Eric Gill, and possibly a leper's window survives in the chancel though the evidence for this is poor given the nearest Leper Colony was some distance away and other churches were much closer.

The doorknocker, often referred to as a Sanctuary Ring, of Adel Church is a replica, as the original has been stolen. Because of thefts of stones from the graveyard, all the church's paving stones are engraved with crosses.

The paternal grandparents of The Duchess of Cambridge married at Adel Church in December 1946.[4]

Adel today[edit]

Adel Crags - rocky outcropping

Adel is a mainly residential area of Leeds close to Adel Crags and the Meanwood Valley Trail and has a distinctive countryside feel. Adel also has two primary schools, St John the Baptist Primary School and Adel Primary School.

Adel is within the Adel and Wharfedale ward of Leeds City Council and the Leeds North West parliamentary constituency whose local MP is Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland.

Close to Adel Church is York Gate, an old farmhouse with a landscaped garden and a pavement maze in the driveway. The gardens are open to the public on regular occasions.

Also close to the church is the Adel Memorial Hall and sports ground. The hall was opened on 14 November 1928 as a memorial to those killed in the First World War. The engraved 20 ton stone outside the hall was moved from Adel Moor in May 1922 and erected on the site of the then future hall. The hall is home to the Bowmen of Adel, who hosted the Scorton Arrow in 1962, 1967, 1970 and 1988, and also Adel Players, an amateur dramatics group founded in 1945 that puts on three productions a year.

Adel is home to Headingley Golf club, the oldest golf club in Leeds.

Just to the west is the University of Leeds sports grounds and (now closed) Bodington Hall, which was previously the university's largest hall of residence. Leeds Adel Carnegie Hockey Club is based here.

Adel is linked to Leeds city centre by buses, including the 28, operated by First Group.

Asda in Holt Park is incorrectly called 'Asda at Adel', perhaps because, although geographically incorrect, the term Adel is a historical term that can be traced back many centuries, whereas the term 'Holt Park' does not predate the area itself.

Location grid[edit]


  1. ^ Mills, A. D. (2003). Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-852758-6. 
  2. ^ Alaric Hall, 'On the Etymology of Adel', in Wawnarstræti (alla leið til Íslands) lagt Andrew Wawn 65 ára 27. október 2009, ed. by Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Margrét Eggertsdóttir and Þórunn Sigurðardóttir (Reykjavík: Menningar- og minningjasjóður Mette Magnussen, 2009), pp. 39-42;
  3. ^ Wrathmell, Susan; Minnis, John (2005). Leeds. Pevsner architectural guides. Yale U.P. p. 268. ISBN 0-300-10736-6. 
  4. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams; Wood, Michael J. "The Ancestry of Kate Middleton". Retrieved 2010-11-17. 

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