Ann's Places

Adney Bridge, Shibden Park

Adney Bridge at Shibden Park
Adney Bridge by Kerstin Holzgraebe

Adney Bridge, a small bridge that leads from Shibden Hall to the Gatehouse in Shibden Park, was so named by Anne Lister. Anne had this bridge built in 1835 as she renovated her home, Shibden Hall, employing the services of John Harper, an architect from York. Adney was the nickname that Anne gave her wife, Ann Walker and mentioned this name throughout her diary entries which cover their relationship. It is sometimes spelled with an ”e” (Adney) and sometimes without (Adny). Anne and Ann took the sacrament together on Easter day in 1834 at Holy Trinity Goodramgate, York and considered themselves married. Their union is widely considered to be the first known lesbian marriage in England.

The first time we know that Anne called Ann ”Adney” was in a letter to her aunt on 13 June 1834

“Miss W- [Walker], whom I shall in future call Adney, is however quite well -”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/780

She mentions this nickname, this time spelt “Adny”, in her dairy for the first time on 15th June 1834

“Adny lay down while I wrote out yesterday and today till 10 5/…”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/17/0043

.

How do we know the name of Adney Bridge?

Anne Lister mentions Adney Bridge multiple times in her diaries while it was being constructed.

11 September 1835

“then went with him [Mr. Husband] to set out the Lodge bridge to be called Adney bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0096

16 September 1835

“then with Booth at the farm yard buttress and afterwards (after 6) went with him to Adney bridge – afraid of the turn being too sharp –“

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0097

17 September 1835

“at Adney bridge – had Mr. Husband and Charles and James Howarth and Robert Schofield and his man Joseph Sharpe to get an oak down to make room for bridge-road –“

[AL received a note from Parker and Adam]

“the note was brought to me by John into the wood at Adney bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0098

18 September 1835

“just looked at the Adney bridge masons, and the 2 underfooting George’s room and stood by Booth and his 2 masons at the farm yard gate lowside buttress till after 1 – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0098

19 September 1835

“went to the Lodge – the men gone but saw that there was good progress with Adney bridge –“

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0100

21 September 1835

“with Booth explaining about backing up Adney bridge etc – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0100

23 September 1835

“out again about 10 ¼ and at 10 ½ sent one of the Adney bridge masons to help at the farm yard buttresses – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0101

26 September 1835

“with Mr. Harper at the Cascade bridge and at Adney bridge, and in the new farm yard – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0104

29 September 1835

“the workmen came at 7 40/.. and John told Mr. Gray who went downstairs almost immediately – I found him and them or Mawson and part of them clearing away and setting out the new road from Adney bridge into the Wheatfield – “

“Cockroft in the course of the morning came up for a short plank for Adney bridge, and let a large stone slip on to the calf of his leg and bruise and hurt it a good deal – had George’s tincture bottle applied and I got him a glass of stiffwarm brandy and water – Mr. Husband at Adney bridge and about twice during the day – “

“got a nice sycamore and 2 young oaks and 2 hollies from this side of Adney bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0106

12 October 1835

“I out at 9 ½ a.m. and all the day at the Cascade bridge except just peeped at Adney bridge and into the new farm yard and sent off at 3 10/.. Booth’s 2 masons (his ½ brothers) in consequence of the rain –“ 

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0111

15 October 1835

“then to the new road and Adney bridge the bridge to be finished next week – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0112

17 October 1835

“then at the Cascade bridge till drinking time at 10 then ½ hour at the glen bridge alias Adney bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0113

19 October 1835

“then at the Cascade bridge till 10 ½ – then ½ hour at Adney bridge and top of the Wheatfield when William Green called me in to A- [Adney]”

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0115

27 October 1835

Adney bridge measured off – I shall have the account tomorrow – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0120

6 November 1835

“Mr. Husband came at 9 – said I should not be ready for ½ hour so he sent up Mr. Harper’s measurement of work at Adney bridge, and his calculations for the water wheel – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0125

10 November 1835

“then went down to Mr. Husband for a minute or 2 – he brought me the bill for Adney bridge labour £39+“

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0127

28 November 1835

“out in the farm yard and at the Cascade bridge and with Frank at Adney bridge planting long small sycamore (taken from the middle of where the new fish pond or Cascade bridge upper pond is making) against Adney bridge end, and planting there also an old oak root slipped down from above near the Lodge – “

“at Adney bridge with Frank and his son filling up the bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0134

1 December 1835

“at Adney bridge (Frank filling it up – lowering the road 18 inches at the end of the bridge towards the Lodge) – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0137

22 December 1835

“asked if I should have any objection to their working on Christmas day – if the men did not work they would drink – agreed with Robert, better work than drink – should not like their working immediately about the house but would send them to fill up Adney bridge – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0148

11 January 1836

“In the afternoon had the men filling up Adney bridge from cuts made into the high bank towards the Southwest – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0159

16 January 1836

“found the men Robert Mann + 3 just beginning their work after dinner at cutting down stuff near Adney bridge (far side) and filling up the bridge and barrowing away the good stuff farther on in the wood against the road throwing it over 3 large old tree-roots (firs) that we bedded in the bank to hold up stuff and give more breadth to the road – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0162

19 January 1836

“some time with Robert Mann + 3 – they finished shifting the water drift scale from the far side of the road to near the Cascade bridge on the great embankment opposite the house and in the afternoon they finished cutting down the scale from under the Large beeches close to Adney bridge thus widening the approach to the bridge sufficiently – “

“with Robert Mann and company all the afternoon at Adney bridge – will rough wall the scale, so as to hold it up, letting in the stones by bit and bit by taking out stuff to bed them fast in the scale rock – will do this at 3/6 per rood of 7 yards × 1 yard high – “

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale, SH:7/ML/E/18/0163

We know this information from Anne Lister’s diaries, which were recognised by UNESCO in 2011 to be ”a comprehensive and painfully honest account of lesbian life and reflections on her nature” and note in the UK Memory of the World register. The diaries consist of over 5 million words.

All transcriptions of Anne Lister’s diaries and the letter by Leila Straub.

In Search of Ann Walker’s research into Ann’s life is ongoing, therefore new discoveries may change the way we chronicle her life in the future.

How to cite this article:
Diane Halford (2022) “Adney Bridge, Shibden Park”: In Search of Ann Walker [Accessed “add date”]

Diane Halford

Loves the archives, macaroni cheese, baseball and travelling. “When an adventure is offered, you don’t refuse”

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