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Milestones in Leeds history mark the progress of a city from village cluster to pulsing modern metropolis c730 The Venerable Bede mentioned the area of Loidis in his famous Ecclesiastical History

1086 Leeds formed part of the vast estate of Ilbert de Lacy of Pontefract and was mentioned in Domesday Book as a cluster of buildings around the parish church of St Peter

1152 The building of Kirkstall Abbey commenced, bringing wealth from sheep farming to the area

1207 Lord of the Manor, Maurice Paynel, built a new town centred on the crossing over the River Aire

1624 John Harrison, a rich cloth merchant rebuilt Leeds Grammar School, founded in 1552, and gave the town St John's Church

1626 First charter granted to the town by Charles I

1643 With Leeds in the hands of Royalists during the Civil War, the Battle of Briggate was fought and won by the Parliamentarians

1661 Second charter granted by Charles II

1700 The Aire and Calder rivers became navigable, connecting Leeds to other rivers and the North Sea

1794 Work began on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which was finally completed in 1816

1834 Leeds' first railway built

1874 Yorkshire College of Science founded, later to become the University of Leeds

1880-1890 Influx of Jewish immigrants fleeing from persecution in Eastern Europe helped to introduce the mass-clothing market

1884 Michael Marks opened his first penny bazaar' in Leeds Market

1893 Leeds became a city

1974 Under new boundary changes, Leeds became a metropolitan borough

1995 The Royal Armouries Museum opened at Clarence Dock

The first known reference to Leeds was by the Venerable Bede in the 7th century when he mentioned the area of Leodis, the second was an entry in Domesday Book. The birthplace of the city was the area around the parish church of St Peter. In 1207, a new town was laid out adjacent to the church, which formed the main streets of the city centre as it is today.

Another important development was the founding of the Cistercian Abbey at Kirksall in 1152 in the Aire valley. The monks of Kirkstall kept flocks of sheep, on garths in outlying areas, and sold the wool to local weavers. Most of the area surrounding Leeds was inhospitable farming country and farmers had turned to weaving to supplement their income. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Kirkstall gradually fell into ruin. The abbey is now one of the 'must-see' sights of Leeds.

The production of woollen cloth and its associated trades dominated the town over the following centuries, from the dyers' workshops in Briggate's yards to the tenter fields, where cloth was stretched and bleached, by the banks of the River Aire. A lively and bustling cloth market was held weekly on the medieval Leeds Bridge, with merchants coming from afar, later moving to Briggate itself, thence to dedicated cloth halls.

By the 18 th century, Leeds was a prosperous woollen town. The discovery and production of coal to the south of Leeds at a time when the factory system was burgeoning, led to people flocking to the town and severe overcrowding in the town centre. To solve the problem, back-to-back houses, for which Leeds

In 1974 Leeds absorbed many of the outlying townships which is important when searching for census records

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