The Blue Pig (Fagley)
Originally opened as The Ravenscliffe Hotel, this pub was built on the site of an ancient boundary line, the Fagley Beck, a minor stream which runs alongside its roadside wall.
The Blue Pig site on Fagley Lane, between Undercliffe and Calverley is not far at all from the village of Eccleshill, a distance of about ½ a mile. Eccleshill, a name of pre-Saxon latin origin 'ecclesia' via the middle French 'eglise', with a Norman topographical suffix in ‘hill’ has pre-Roman origins as a sacred 'Celtic', likely Brigantian site, with a Holy Well nearby on Summerbridge Crescent, dedicated to St Helena - mother of the Emperor Constantine. This once religious centre piece, of which a processional avenue of trees led to is now merely covered by a man hole courtesy of The Water Board, now Yorkshire Water and the encroachment of modernity.
This well known Emperor, who catapulted adherence to Christianity into his empire from being a popular cult, as an offshoot of Judaism, held office in Eboracum - York. Back then Britannia Inferior, now 'The North' became the centralised power base for Roman Britain demoting Londinium in Britannia Superior - 'The South' to become the provinces second city after York, as continental trade switched to Germania and Scandinavia over Frankish Gaul, France.
York itself means the place where the wild boars are. A tenuous connection to pigs and swine in general. Just a mile or so up the road from Fagley is the Swain House estate, named after swine. Further on the other way towards Tyersal Gap - which is a marker point for a little known 'lost' Roman road is Swain Green. This Roman road follows Silverhill Road adjacent to the Park there, and its very etymology is indicative of the hint of a discovery of Roman coins there.
The T&A Newspaper carried an article on 7/11/08, based the research and observations of Geoff Hutton, who wrote “I have seen it written that Silverhill Road was so-called because of the pit heaps from the coal mines which used to exist there having a silvery appearance. Where the word “silver” appears in a place name, however, it is often indicative of Roman silver coins having been found nearby.”. The piece then went on to include a counter argument, noting that
“The hamlet of Silverhill is comprised of a small cluster of ancient cottages adjacent to Bradford Moor Park Lake. There was a small coal pit near the hamlet, next to where the park lake now is, but its spoil heap, which was on the site of the lake, was never more than a modest mound and is unlikely to have given rise to the name.’
However the Road does lead to the edge of Eccleshill village, and the beginning of Stone Hall Road which leads to the indicatively named Stoney Lane. Similarly to, Moortown in North Leeds has a Street Lane, and Stonegate Road which converge a King Lane, which leads via Black Moor and Camptown to the Roman settlement of Burgodunum, now the upland out-skirts of the village of Adel. The proposed Roman road in North Bradford does indeed make its way onto Leeds, via Tong Street to Drighlington near to where the bypass now begins, where there is not far, by a mile or so in nearby Gildersome another road called Street Lane. The ancient highway had by then passed through what is now Tyersal Gate, through Quarry Gap, crossing Dick Lane and from there up the aforementioned Silverhill Road from Undercliffe Cricket Field and onto Fagley Road. In the other direction it had come from Overmoor at Idle, heading towards a flat of a rising plateau where Eccleshil library now stands. Down one side of the plateau is valley of Bradford down Bolton Road, while the other descent leads to Fagley down Pullan Avenue.
Of the Blue Pigs Pubs social history itself, these folk memory anecdotes from the nooks and crannies of this site may help give you a picture of its past life…
Glenny3363 wrote: » Wed 23 Jul, 2008 9:06 am
I remember Owd Roger! In my youth, me and a friend took it upon ourselves to try drink a pint from every pump, from one end to the other, in one 'sitting' in a pub called The Blue Pig in Fagley (a fair few pumps in those days!!!).We were doing quite well, but when we got to the Owd Roger, the landlord would only give us a half! said it was too strong!!!He must have been right as neither of us, to this day, can remember if we got to the other end of the bar!!!
Paul B wrote: » Wed 23 Jul, 2008 3:23 pm
Yes it has that effect on you lol and i remember the blue pig my dad used to go in there as we only lived over in pudsey.also hi cnosniwere can you buy Owd Roger in bottles ?
Of Eccleshill, this is a key record attesting to the village's status as a centre of pre-Christian ancient ritual activity which thinly veiled itself behind the vestige of Christianity, which came to halt as the millennium encroached. Up until the beginning of the 2015, a mid summers fair known as Eccleshill Carnival, where a girl was crowned the ‘June Queen’ continued to be held on the field known as the Delph, where once an outcrop of crags had dominated the landscape until their destruction through quarrying or ‘delphing’ had blasted them to what is now an unobtrusive gravelly car park.
This brief documentary produced by former Time Team graphics creator, retired freelance CGI artist Mike DeGreasley gives a revealing insight into the places rich history.
As for the Holy Well and its significance in Pre-Christian Britain, these extracts indicate to a brief, but valuable extent to what once was...
“In 1932, local historian W.E. Preston described, “the remains of what was once a fine grove of trees leading up the hillside from the road to its source,” implying ritual commemoration and a procession to the site. Today, this grove is still evidenced by the straight footpath across the main road, leading to the infamous Ravenscliffe estate.
In 1704 a court case was brought against some locals – Mr & Mrs Richard and Sarah White (and their daughter, Mary) – “for diverting the water from its ancient channel.”
In 1867 it was described in the Object Name Book:
“A considerable and well-known spring, it has the appearance of having been a bathing place. A bank has been thrown up on the east side, and a broken wall remains on the other sides. There is no tradition about it. It is likely to have been of some note…in the days of Romanism. Large trees are ranged on either side of the approach to it, forming a grove.””
Of the Blue Pig, it was just one of those legendary pubs. WhatPub records it as a "split- level pub on the Leeds Country Way, within a slice of a golf course. Flooding necessitated the building of the low front wall and tortuous entrance route."
It's definitely not an old coaching inn, having being built during the 20th century. There is no reference to it on sheet 69 of the Hills and Outline Editions 1899 OS (Ordinance Survey) map. The nearby Green Man pub of Undercliffe, which has sadly recently closed after serving ales for nearly 225 years is marked as an ‘Inn’. That opened its doors as The Rifleman way back in 1796, during the height of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Green Man name change came about a mere 13 years later when the popularity of Antiquarianism led to its reopening under new management as The Green Man, a popular pub name of the time linked both to fertility, through the Celtic deity Cocidius also known as Cernunnus and inextricably linked to the later legends of Robin Hood, of which there was also nearby a pub of that name at the Otley, Dudley Hill and Killinghall Road crossroads. This closed in around 2015 and is now a hardware store.
The Green Man is set to become a community centre if the local council provides the funding.
The former Blue Pig was set alight in mid June 2019, the site is now a derelict ruin. It can be surmised the pub served its last pint a decade ago, for the Facebook page of the venue has this as it’s final post:
"### DONT FORGET### BONFIRE NIGHT AT THE BLUE PIG, FAGLEY!! ### HOT AND COLD FOOD ### BEER CHEAPER THAN TOWN ### LARGE FIREWORKS DISPLAY ### KIDDIES WELCOME (must be accoumpanied by an adult!!) ### A BIT OF KARIOKE INSIDE ### BRING YOUR FAMILY ###"
Finally, there are plenty of folk memories of place on this Facebook stream...
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q= ... SEARCH_BOX