West Ardsley

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Coordinates: 53°42′50″N 1°31′16″W / 53.714°N 1.521°W / 53.714; -1.521

West Ardsley Methodist Church

West Ardsley is commonly used to refer to an area on the south-west edge of the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, possessing a WF postcode in the WF3 (Wakefield) postcode area while the village telephone numbers are "0113", the Leeds prefix. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it roughly approximates to an amalgamation of Tingley, Woodkirk, Hill Top, Upper Green and Common Side. The parish church is at Woodkirk. Being in the middle of several towns, West Ardsley has become a dormitory settlement.

West Ardsley was part of the Ardsley Urban district 1894-1937, which also included Tingley and East Ardsley and was then part of Morley Municipal borough 1937-1974. The village once formed part of the former Municipal Borough of Morley, and is still classed as part of Morley in the census. However, it is technically separate, and is not governed by Morley Town Council. West Ardsley is in the Leeds City Council ward called Ardsley and Robin Hood ward, which elects three councillors to Leeds City Council, and is in the Morley and Outwood parliamentary constituency.

West Ardsley appears on ordnance survey 1:50,000 map sheet 104, however the nearby settlement of East Ardsley (or Ardsley East) is in larger print. In truth, although there are many roadsigns pointing to "West Ardsley" and some clubs and local organisations refer to it in their name, there is no one single, self-contained area with the name. The hamlets of Tingley, Hill Top, Upper Green and Common Side have merged through urban sprawl whilst Woodkirk remains isolated. The post office took the decision to classify all addresses in the former area as "Tingley, Wakefield" whilst Woodkirk remains separate and comes under Dewsbury's address.

Historically, Ardsley is a derivative of 'Erdeslau' - under which name it appears in the Domesday Book. The details are available at the national archive website. In Arthur Mee's The King's England series, he wrote under Woodkirk, "Sometimes called 'West Ardsley'." This was incorrect, yet Woodkirk was the centre of the parish, as it had the church.

West Ardsley is also the home of the annual Lee Gap fair - a horse fair originally chartered by King Stephen in 1139 (citation) - which makes it reputedly England's oldest horse fair. The fair used to stretch over two weeks, but as the horse trade has diminished now takes place only on the first and last days of that fortnight - known as "first o'lee" and "latter lee". Today, the main attendees are Gypsies and Travellers.

There is a historic parish of West Ardsley, whose parish boundaries all fall within the "Ardsley and Robin Hood" ward.

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