Memories of Nevison

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THE item about Fryston’s history (Express May 3) really doesn’t go far enough back.

Before the River Aire was deepened into the Aire & Calder Navigation there was almost certainly a ferry thereabouts.

Otherwise where was the highwayman Nevison going after he, and more particularly his horse, leapt the defile that the Ferrybridge Road was in?

Sadly the defile is no more. The only remnant in the locality is the Nevison Leap pub 400m to the east. There is little evidence left of the former drovers ferry excepting the fact that bridleways on both north and south sides of the river aim straight at it.

Unlike the drovers, Nevison would have aimed to swim his horse and self over without being observed or more important to his purpose, witnessed.

Although the term ‘drovers ferry’ is not quite exact. Most drovers would have had cattle swim across rivers, led and flanked by their dogs, while they took the boat. Some of the drovers’ cattle may have begun their journey to market with a much longer swim, from Scotland’s Western Isles to the mainland!

Before their lairds abused their trusts for a wasteful life in Edinburgh or London, Scotland’s real wealth was in cattle that were driven south to the markets of the lowlands and England to earn a cash income, which the cannier drovers converted into bankers promissary notes to keep them safe from such as Nevison.

BILL HOULDER

Queen’s Avenue

Pontefract