23rd February 2016
Few people appreciate the history of Burley, but living in this diverse neighbourhood has roots dating back to the Doomsday Book when the majority of the district was forest stretching up from the River Aire (Cardigan Fields and Vue Cinema complex) up to an including Headingley. The area became known as Headingley-cum- Burley which incorporated the three boroughs of Burley, Headingley and Kirkstall but the earliest record of ‘Burley’ is in 1195 when it was referred to as Burteg and around 1200 as Burcheleia, which derives from ‘burh’ which means ‘fortification’ and ‘leah’ which means open space.
Today, Burley offers no ‘fortification’ although ‘leah’s’ can be found on The Village Green (corner of Burley Road and The Village Street) and Burley Park – which offers lovely walks, flowerbeds, mature trees and wildlife as well as tennis courts. The allotments on St Michael’s Lane and Beechwood Crescent appear to be age-old open spaces but in reality these are built on an old quarry that was back-filled by the Council and opened as allotments in 1892, with further remodelling and re-launched as ‘Burley Model Allotments’ in 1958.