Nun Monkton is a little no-through-road village, which terminates at the beautiful confluence of the Rivers Nidd and Ouse.
The Ouse is navigable for a further 20 miles, and river traffic would once have played an important part in village life here. A ferry was first recorded at this point across the Ouse in 1174, when William and Ivetta des Arches founded a priory of Benedictine nuns.
Until 1952 a small passenger ferry was operated from the ‘Ferryfield’, close to the new 2017 pontoon. Relatives of George Wright, one of the last ferrymen of that time (pictured here, taking the Postman across the river!) remember that he worked from the “Ferry Hut”, where there was a wood fire and a high-backed settle. This was situated close to the old Priory Estate water tower. Villagers wanting to cross the water would ring a loud hand bell from the water’s edge to call the ferryman.
In the days before cars became so widely used, as well as locals going between villages, tourists would travel upstream to this pretty spot by the banks of the Ouse on steamboat trips from the Ouse Bridge in York, at a return fare of six pence. On St Peter’s Feast Day, 1878, a new maypole was erected and the steamers “City of York” and “Lady Elizabeth” carried 300 people from York to enjoy the spectacle and celebrations in Nun Monkton!