Mark’s History: That ‘monstrous abortion’ – Richardshaw Lane!

richardshaw lane pudsey
Photo: Bing Maps

So is it Richardshaw Lane, Rickershaw Lane or Ricardshaw Lane? writes Mark Stevenson.

On all of the Ordnance Survey Maps from the 1840’s onwards, it is spelt Richardshaw Lane. Strangely though on the 1841 and 1851 census, it is Richardshaw Lane but on the 1861 census, it is Ricardshaw Lane and thereafter it goes back to Richardshaw. 

There is a book from 1887 called The History And Antiquities Of Pudsey (where Richardshaw Lane is). It is by Simeon Rayner. The following is his explanation taken from the book:

“When the Angle chieftain, Stanning, looked from his hall towards the noon-day sun his vision was bounded by the slope which the Celt called the “hwpp” where the footpath now runs.

He called it the “hrice,” as we call it a rig, or as people of culture and superior education tone  it down, the ridge. It was then wood-grown, shady, verdant, and sacred to the foot of the hunter. The  leafy garment that shaded it, the Angle called a “Scua,” which custom and superior education has  so softened that we know the word as a shaw.

And  so “the wood on the ridge” — the rig-wood — became in Angle speech the “hrice scua,” and as the feet of after generations trod a path to that  wood the path became the “hrice-scua” lane, which  the changes of time twisted so slightly that for twenty generations the path was known as Kikershaw Lane. 

But alas! by the advancement of learning, the truth-telling designation had to be clothed in new garments, and from the awkward hands of its blundering tailor it came forth as that monstrous abortion Richardshaw Lane!”

Whatever the way of saying it, for the best part of 200 years it has been officially known as Richardshaw Lane.


  1. Monstrous abortion. What a dreadful expression!
    Surely a writer could express themseves in a more elegant manner. For me an otherwise interesting piece is lost by this distasteful outburst.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.