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OTLEY:
Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

"OTLEY, a parish, post and market town, partly in the upper division of Skyrack wapentake, and partly in the upper division of Claro wapentake, West Riding county York, 9 miles S.W. of Harrogate, 10 from Leeds, and 3 from the Arthington station, on the North-Eastern line. The Leeds and Bradford railway passes through the parish to Ilkley. It is situated in a valley under the precipitous heights of Almscliffe and Chevin, or Cefn Hill, and is watered by the river Wharfe, over which is a bridge of seven arches. The parish, which is of large extent, comprises the townships of Baildon, Bramhope, Burley, Denton, Farnley, Poole, Esholt, and six others. In Domesday Book Otley is mentioned as Othelai, and is supposed to have derived its name from Otho, its ancient Saxon proprietor. It was given by King Athelstane to the Archbishop of York, who had, an episcopal residence on the site now occupied by the manor house, and held courts of quarter session in the town till the reign of William IV., when the right of appointing the magistrates was transferred by Act of Parliament to the lordlieutenant of the West Riding. It is a polling and petty sessions town, and formerly returned two members to parliament. The town is small, but well built, and is paved and lighted with gas. It has a good supply of water. There are a county court, two banks, savings-bank, mechanics' institute, police station, and gasworks. Its chief trade formerly consisted of woollen manufactures, but these have given place to the worsted and papermills; spinning, weaving, and machine-making are also carried on. A county court is held monthly. Quarter sessions are held here, also petty sessions on the first Friday in each month, at the court-house, Clapgate. The river Wharfe abounds with smelts, eels, grayling, trout, and occasionally salmon. A new road was cut from Leeds through the town in 1841, in order to avoid the steep ascent of the Chevin. A large proportion of the land is in pasture and moorland, including part of Rombald's Moor. Lord Fairfax, the parliamentary general, was born at Denton Park, in this parish, in 1611, and died here in 1671. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, value 300. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a cruciform structure with a tower surmounted by a wooden spire, and containing eight bells. The interior of the church contains monuments of the Fawkeses, Vavasours, Fairfaxes, Pulleynes, and other distinguished families. In addition to the parish church are the following district churches-viz: at Baildon, Bramhope, Burley-with-Menston, Denton, Esholt-with-Hawkesworth, Farnley, and Poole, the livings of which are perpetual curacies, varying in value from 148 to 40. The parochial charities produce about 82 per annum, part of which is distributed to the poor in bread every Sunday, besides a dole at Christmas. There are National and Roman Catholic schools, also a free grammar school at Clapgate, founded in 1611 by Thomas Cave, Esq.; but its foundation has recently been altered by the Court of Chancery. The Wesleyans have a Sunday-school at Walkergate. There are places of worship and Sunday-schools for the Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, Roman Catholics, and Christian Brethren. The Manor House and Westborne Lodge are the principal seats. Otley is under Gilbert's union Wharfedale, which comprises 18 townships The Archbishop of York is lord of the manor, Market day is Friday, and a cattle market every alternate Friday. The principal cattle fairs are held on the Wednesday in Easter week, second and fourth Wednesday after Easter, Whit-Wednesday, and the Monday following 2nd August, also two statute fairs for the hiring of servants on the Fridays preceding and following old Martinmas Day."


"BAILDON, a chapelry in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, 4 miles to the N. of Bradford, its post town. It is situated on the banks of the river Aire, not far from the Midland railway. The woollen manufacture is carried on here extensively, employing about 600 looms. Another local branch of industry is the manufacture of nails. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, of the value of 148, in the patronage of trustees. The church is dedic ated to St. Giles."


"BRAMHOPE, a township in the parish of Otley, and wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles to the S.E. of Otley, its post town. The Leeds and Thirsk section of the North-Eastern railway passes through it. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, of the value of 148, in the patronage of the Vicar of Otley. There is a small endowed school, with an income of 9 a year. Bramhope Hall is the chief residence."


"BURLEY, a chapelry and township in the parish of Otley, wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles to the N.W. of Otley, its post town. It is seated on the banks of the river Wharfe, and contains several large cotton and worsted manufactories. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 89, in the patronage of the Vicar of Otley. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel here."


"CLIFTON, a hamlet in the parish of Otley, in the upper division of the wapentake of Clare, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles N. of Otley, its post town. It is situated on the river Wharfe."


"DENTON, a township and chapelry in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Clare, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles N.W. of Otley. It is situated near the river Wharfe, and includes a large tract of moorland. Denton Park formerly belonged to the Fairfax family, from whom it was purchased by Henry Ibbetson, Esq., who built the present mansion. The living is a donative curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 44, in the patronage of Sir C. H. Ibbetson. Edward Fairfax, the translator of Tasso, and Generals Ferdinando and Thomas, successively Lords Fairfax, and commanders in the parliamentary army during the reign of Charles I., were born here."


"ESHOLT, a township in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.W. of Otley, and 5 N. of Bradford. It is situated on the river Aire, and the Liverpool and Leeds canal passes near it. A nunnery was founded here by Simon de Ward in the middle of the 12th century. At the Dissolution its revenue was returned at 19. The village is pleasantly situated on the N. side of the Aire; it contains a worsted-mill, scribbling and fulling mill, and a corn-mill. The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to Hawkesworth, in the diocese of Ripon, value 100. The church is a modern structure, dedicated to St. Paul. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel, and there is a National school for both sexes, also a Sunday school. Esholt Hall is the principal residence. W. Stansfield, Esq., is lord of the manor."


"FARNLEY, a township in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Clare, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Otley, and 11 N.W. of Leeds, its post town. It is situated in the vicinity of the river Wharfe. The surface is undulating, and the land in a high state of cultivation. Freestone is quarried for building purposes. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 40. Tho church is a neat stone edifice, recently rebuilt, in the Gothic style, with two stained-glass windows. A school is held here for the surrounding neighbourhood. Farnley Hall is an old mansion, containing some interesting memorials of the time of the Commonwealth, and paintings by Guido, Vandyck, and Turner. F. H. Fawkes, Esq., is lord of the manor."


"HAWKSWORTH, a township in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 3 miles S.W. of Otley. This township, which is situated on the northern declivity of the valley of the Aire, contains a corn-mill and several worsted mills. Building stone is quarried. There is a considerable extent of unenclosed common. On the summit of Hollin Hill is a Druidical stone called Hawk Stone."


"LINDLEY, a township in the parish of Otley, Upper division of the wapentake of Claro, West Riding county York, 4 miles N.E. of Otley. The village, which consists of a few scattered houses, is situated in the vale of the Washburn rivulet, on the banks of which are some corn mills. The soil is various, with a subsoil of clay and rock. Francis Hawksworth Fawkes, Esq., is lord of the manor. There are remains of the old seat of the Palmes family."


"MENSTONE, a township in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 3 miles S.W. of Otley. The village, which is small, is situated under Runibold's Moor. It was called in ancient documents Hensington. Divine service is frequently performed in a room in the village. There is also a place of worship for the Wesleyans. S. H. Fawkes, Esq., is lord of the manor and chief landowner. The population is partly employed in wool-combing."


"NEWALL WITH CLIFTON, a township in the parish of Otley, upper division of Claro wapentake, West Riding county York, 1 mile N. of Otley. This township, which is of small extent, is situated on the river Wharfe, and is wholly agricultural. The soil is rich, and of, a loamy nature, with a subsoil of clay. Newall Hall and Ashfield House are the principal residences; the former is distant about half a mile, and the latter 1 mile, from Otley."


"NEWHALL, a township in the parish of Otley, Upper division of the wapentake of Claro, West Riding county York, three-quarters of a mile N.W. of Otley. The township is in conjunction with Clifton, and consists chiefly of pasture land. The old hall was anciently the residence of Edward Fairfax, the poet, who flourished in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. At Clifton is a school-house, licensed for the performance of Divine worship."


"POOLE, a township and chapelry in the parish of Otley, upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 3 miles E. of Otley, its post town, and 1 mile from Arthington railway station, on the North Eastern line. The village, which is of small extent, is situate at the bridge over the river Wharfe, of which Poole Bank Hill commands a prospect. A large portion of the inhabitants are chiefly employed in spinning and in paper-making, the latter being carried on to a considerable extent. There are a corn-mill, two paper-mills, and a scribbling and fulling mill. The soil is of a rich description with a subsoil of clay. There are some quarries of good building-stone. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 69, in the patronage of the Vicar of Otley. The church is a stone edifice of recent erection, with a campanile turret containing one bell. A Sunday-school is held at the church. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. John Pulleine, Esq., is lord of the manor."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson 2003


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