Apperley Bridge

The George & Dragon and River Aire.


Apperley Bridge is one of the 'posher' areas of Bradford. It nestles in the Aire Valley and is surrounded by some lovely countryside. It was here that Patrick Brontė and Maria Branwell first fell in love. I don't suppose you can call it a village really, and the corner shop has long since gone. The nearby traffic rushes frantically from Bradford to Harrogate. There is a nice stretch of the River Aire, the Leeds/Liverpool canal and plenty of playing fields. It is on one such field, Rawdon Meadows, that the Bradford City Football team do their training. Many years ago this field was Bradford's first runway for light aircraft. The excellent Woodhouse Grove School is also here. Historians say that a battle took place in one of the other fields.

Apperley Bridge boasts two imposing pubs, The Stansfield Arms and The George & Dragon. The latter is built round an oak tree, you can still see it in the main lounge area. It is said that the tree supported structures in Saxon times. Hammonds famous 'Chop' sauce is manufactured at Apperley Bridge. 

My thoughts turned to Moses when I learnt about the following. It was over 200 years ago when the self styled Prophet Wroe came here. Born at Bowling, Bradford, John Wroe went through an unhappy period in his life, he also suffered an illness which made him go blind for a while. He turned to religion and become a follower of George Turner, who was the leader of the Yorkshire followers of Joanna Southcott, who declared she would gave birth to a Messiah. 


The Stansfield Arms


Prophet Wroe succeeded Turner as the leader of the Christian Israelites, as they called themselves. He had a mission to preach to all nations. He did so in many European countries. Apparently he had the power to heal and rid folk of demons.

He had many followers who believed he had supernatural powers. Over 30,000 people flocked to Apperley Bridge to see him perform a miracle. Like Moses did, he would divide the waters and walk over the dry ground, only this was the River Aire and not the Red Sea.

Well, needless to say, it didn't happen, the water's never budged. Wroe and his followers were pelted with stones and mud by the spectators. Still, the landlord of the George & Dragon must have been happy.