Kirkstall

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Coordinates: 53°49′03″N 1°36′15″W / 53.8175°N 1.6043°W / 53.8175; -1.6043

Kirkstall is a suburb of north-west Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, on the eastern side of the River Aire. To the west is Bramley, to the east is Headingley and to the north is West Park. Kirkstall is around 2 miles (3.2 km) from the city centre and is close to the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. Its main visitor attraction is Kirkstall Abbey. Another landmark is St. Stephen's church designed by the architect Robert Dennis Chantrell. Richard Oastler, a reformer and fighter for children's rights, is buried in a crypt under the church's east end.

In the 12th century Cistercian monks founded Kirkstall Abbey, a daughter house of Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. The Abbey House Museum opposite the abbey tells the story of the community and the town. Henry De Lacey, Baron of Pontefract, gave the land for the foundation of the abbey, and Kirkstall has a few roads named in his memory. The Abbey Light Railway, in the grounds of the abbey, is a tourist attraction, and several historical engines are preserved in working order.

The Kirkstall Festival is an annual event, held in the abbey grounds on the second Saturday in July since 1981. It is a festival of music, local arts and crafts, and is organised by volunteers of the KVCA (Kirkstall Village Community Association).

Kirkstall is part of the Leeds West parliamentary constituency, whose MP is Rachel Reeves of the Labour Party.

Contents

History

During the English Civil War, the bridge over the Aire at Kirkstall (referred to in a contemporaneous account as 'Churchstall') was blown up by Royalist troops from Leeds. After discovering this, a Parliamentary force lead by Ferdinando Fairfax, 2nd Lord Fairfax of Cameron - from Otley - had to cross the river upstream at Apperley Bridge before retaking Leeds in January 1643.

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