Drax, North Yorkshire

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Drax, The Church of St Peter and Paul - geograph.org.uk - 1219854.jpg
The Church of St Peter and St Paul
North Yorkshire UK location map.svg
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Location within North Yorkshire
Population488 (Census 2011) [1]
OS grid reference SE667284
Civil parish
  • Drax
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SELBY
Postcode district YO8
Dialling code 01757
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°43′55″N0°58′48″W / 53.732°N 0.980°W / 53.732; -0.980 Coordinates: 53°43′55″N0°58′48″W / 53.732°N 0.980°W / 53.732; -0.980

Drax is a village and civil parish in the Selby District of North Yorkshire, England, about 6 miles (10 km) south-east of Selby, best known today as the site of Drax power station. It was historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974. [2] The village primary school closed in 2017. [3]



Drax primary school Drax school.jpg
Drax primary school

Drax has a Church of England parish church, dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. In the reign of King Henry I (1100–1135) William Paynel founded a priory of Augustinian Canons at Drax. In 1868 it was reported that traces of the priory could still be found [4] but fieldwork in the 1980s and 1990s has failed to find any physical remains of it. [5]

By the mid-13th century, Drax was a borough of local significance. However, an inquisition held in 1405 stated that the local manor was of no value, as it had been flooded by the Ouse, and the borough was not even mentioned, leading George Sheeran to claim that flooding may have led to the abandonment of the town, or at least the end of its borough status. [6]

However, the inquisition post mortem for Richard Lely of Drax, held in 1422, indicates that his part of the land was not completely worthless, although the mill was ruined. His son John inherited and the property then passed to John's daughter Joan, who had been born and baptised at Drax in 1424. She was married to John Babthorpe in 1441 when witnesses to her age gave depositions at York Castle, and she recovered her property out of wardship. It may be that those who held the land while she was a minor neglected it, so that there was little for her husband to pass on to their heirs. The survival of the priory until the Reformation might suggest that the area continued to be farmed. The main crops were wheat and grain.

The Huntsman public house The Huntsman - geograph.org.uk - 865329.jpg
The Huntsman public house

In 1667 Charles Read (1604–1669) founded Drax Grammar (now called The Read School) as a grammar school: It is an independent boarding school. [7] Read was born at Darlton, Nottinghamshire and became a wealthy shipper in Kingston upon Hull. Two years later, Read's will endowed the school at Drax and founded further grammar schools at Tuxford in Nottinghamshire and Corby Glen in Lincolnshire. [8]

Read also funded the building of six almshouses in Drax for elderly people, stipulating that they should be for three men and three women. [9]

Drax had two railway stations: both are now closed. Drax Hales railway station was on the North Eastern Railway's (NER) Selby to Goole Line: British Railways closed it in 1964. Drax Abbey was on the Hull and Barnsley Railway (H&BR): the London and North Eastern Railway closed it in 1932. In 1970 British Rail reopened about 3 mi (5 km) of the H&BR from Gowdall Junction and a short length of the NER through Drax as a freight-only branch line to supply coal to Drax power station. [10]

Drax power station

Drax Power Station Drax villagepower.jpg
Drax Power Station

The former Central Electricity Generating Board commissioned Drax power station, located in the neighbouring civil parish of Long Drax, in two phases in 1974 and 1986. It is the largest power station in the United Kingdom, producing around 8% of Britain's electricity, and is the second-largest coal-fired plant in Europe. It has a potential consumption of 36,000 tonnes of coal a day and produces 1.5 million tonnes of ash a year. It is both the United Kingdom's largest producer of carbon emissions, and one of the UK's most carbon dioxide-efficient power stations.

Drax Power Station now produces half its output by burning biomass. This is controversial as the wood pellets it burns are claimed by environmentalists and researchers to produce more carbon dioxide than coal. [11]

Related Research Articles

Drax Power Station Biomass power station in North Yorkshire

Drax power station is a large biomass power station in North Yorkshire, England, capable of co-firing petcoke. It has a 2.6 GW capacity for biomass and 1.29 GW capacity for coal. Its name comes from the nearby village of Drax. It is situated on the River Ouse between Selby and Goole. Its generating capacity of 3,906 megawatts (MW) is the highest of any power station in the United Kingdom, providing about 6% of the United Kingdom's electricity supply.

Askern Town and civil parish in South Yorkshire, England

Askern is a town and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, England. It is on the A19 road between Doncaster and Selby. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it became a spa town in the late 19th century, but this stopped once coal mines opened in the town. The last mine closed in the 1990s. It had a population of 5,570 at the 2011 Census.

Eggborough Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

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Hull and Barnsley Railway British pre-grouping railway company

The Hull Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company (HB&WRJR&DCo.) was opened on 20 July 1885. It had a total projected length of 66 miles but never reached Barnsley, stopping a few miles short at Stairfoot. The name was changed to The Hull and Barnsley Railway (H&BR) in 1905. Its Alexandra Dock in Hull opened 16 July 1885.

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Goole railway station Railway station in East riding of Yorkshire, England

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Knottingley railway station Railway station in West Yorkshire, England

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Selby railway station Railway station in North Yorkshire, England

Selby railway station is a Grade II listed station which serves the town of Selby in North Yorkshire, England. The original terminus station was opened in 1834 for the Leeds and Selby Railway. The Hull and Selby Railway extended the line in 1840, and a new station was built, with the old station becoming a goods shed. The station was rebuilt in 1873 and 1891, the 1891 rebuilding being required due to the replacement of the swing bridge over the Ouse at the same time.

Drax Group

Drax Group PLC is a power generation business. The principal downstream enterprises are based in the UK and include Drax Power Limited, which runs a biomass and coal fueled power station, Drax power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire. The Group also runs an international biomass supply chain business. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Kirk Smeaton Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Kirk Smeaton is the most southerly village of the large county of North Yorkshire, England. It is also a civil parish in the Selby District. Historically the village was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire until 1974.

Selby–Goole line

The Selby–Goole line was a standard gauge branch line connecting Selby and Goole, built in 1910 by the North Eastern Railway. The line closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching cuts.

Nigel Adams British Conservative politician

Nigel Adams is a British politician who has served as Minister of State without Portfolio at the Cabinet Office since 2021. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Selby and Ainsty since 2010.

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York and Doncaster branch Railway line in Yorkshire, England

The York and Doncaster branch was a railway line that opened in 1871 connecting Doncaster with York via Selby in Yorkshire, England. This line later became part of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) and was the route that express trains took between London King's Cross, the north of England and Scotland. It was opened by the North Eastern Railway (NER) between York and Shaftholme Junction, some 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north of Doncaster railway station. Between its opening in 1871 and the grouping in 1923, the line was used by both the NER, and the Great Northern Railway (GNR). All of the intermediate local stations that had opened with the line in 1871 closed down in the 1950s and 1960s leaving just Selby open between the town of Doncaster and the city of York.

Barlow railway station Disused railway station in North Yorkshire, England

Barlow railway station was a railway station that served the village of Barlow in North Yorkshire, England from 1912 to 1964 via the Selby to Goole line. The area is now known as the site of Barlow Common Nature Reserve.

Long Drax Hamlet and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Long Drax is a small hamlet and civil parish in the Selby District of North Yorkshire, England, about 2 miles north-east of Drax. In 2011 it had a population of 125.

Monk Fryston railway station Disused railway station in North Yorkshire England

Monk Fryston railway station was a railway station serving the village of Monk Fryston in North Yorkshire, England. Previously, Milford Junction and Old Junction served as an interchange between the Leeds and Selby and the York and North Midland Lines, however when they closed in the early 1900s, Monk Fryston was opened to cover for this loss of interchange. Though the station had four tracks through it, it only ever had two platforms. The station closed to passengers in 1959, and then completely in 1964.


  1. UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Drax Parish (E04007735)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics . Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  2. "History of Drax, in Selby and West Riding | Map and description". www.visionofbritain.org.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  3. "Primary school with 10 pupils to close". BBC News. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. "Drax Parish information from National Gazetteer 1868". GENUKI. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  5. Historic England. "DRAX PRIORY (57907)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  6. George Sheeran, Medieval Yorkshire Towns, p.24
  7. "Read School Website | Welcome to the Read School website". Readschool.co.uk. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  8. "Access to Archives". The National Archives. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  9. "Down, East – Drax | British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  10. "A brief history of the H&BR" . Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. "UK biomass emits more CO2 than coal". Ember. 8 October 2021. Retrieved 4 November 2021.

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