"OTLEY, a small but well-built market town, in the parish of its name, is the upper division of Skyrack wapentake, west riding, is 196 miles from London, 45 from Manchester, 29 from York, 18 from Halifax, and ten from Leeds, Keighley and Harrogate. The town, which is situated on the banks of the river Wharf, in the beautiful valley of Wharf-dale, formerly enjoyed a good woollen trade, but it has long since departed, and established itself in situations more contiguous to fuel and better situated for inland navigation. The principal manufacturing concern here now, is in the hands of Mr. Ackroyd, which is a respectable establishment. The Archbishop of York is lord of the manor, and holds a court baron and leet, for the recovery of small debts, and the magistrates hold their commissions under him. The quarter sessions are bead on January 16th, April 16th, July 16th and October 15th. All these courts are held in the free school room. This scholastic institution was founded by Thomas Cave, in 1611, and reamed ' Prince Henry's school' it was originally well endowed but at the present time the revenue is small. The parish church is a spacious building, and originated in the Saxon times, but nothing now remains of the ancient structure except the north door. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the lord chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. H. Robinson. Besides the church there are three meeting houses belonging to the Methodists and one to the Quakers. The vale of Wharf is adorned with mansions of several distinguished persons, and the views obtained from the elevated situations around here are noble and commanding. The market day, which is on Friday, is of very ancient standing, having existed above nine centuries; it combines the features of a market and fair, and is excellently supplied with calves, sheep, corn, and the common necessaries of life. There are also cattle fairs held every alternate Wednesday throughout the year. By the returns to parliament in 1821, the whole parish of Otley contained 9,358 inhabitants, and the township 3,065 of that number, comprising 1,509 males and 1,556 females."
Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29
by Colin Hinson ©2007