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Help and advice for RIPON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

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RIPON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

"RIPON, a market town and ancient borough, in the parish of its name, the liberty of its name and wapentake of Claro, West Riding, is 212 miles from London, 68 n.n.e. from Manchester, 24 n.w. from York, 27 n. from Leeds, 25 s.s.e from Richmond, 12 n.n.w. from Knaresborough, 11 n. from Harrogate, and 6 n.w. from Boroughbridge. The town is pleasantly situated between the river Ure and the small river Skele, not far from their confluence: over the former there is a handsome bridge of twelve arches, and within little more than a mile there are five other bridges over these streams. Ripon obviously derives its name from its situation on the Ripa, or bank of a river, and was called by the Saxons Hrippun: it is a corporate borough, and received its first charter in the reign of Alfred the great, its government was originally vested in a chief magistrate, called Vigilarus, or Wakeman, whose duty was to cause a horn to be blown every night at nine o'clock, and if any inhabitant, after that time, sustained loss by his shop being robbed, the community was compelled to render him adequate compensation for the injury, by an annual tax on every inhabitant. The custom of blowing the horn is still continued at the front of the residence of the mayor, but the tax and benefit arising from it have long since been discontinued. This borough first sent members to parliament in the 23rd of Edward 1st, and continued so to do until the 1st of Edward 2nd; it then ceased to be represented; but in the last parliament of Edward 6th the privilege was resumed. The borough is chiefly the property of Mrs. Lawrence, of Studley, who possesses the major part of the burgage tenures, in which the right of election was vested before the Reform Bill passed. The borough was severely contested in 1832, (being the only contest for 114 years,) by T.K.Staveley and J.S.Crompton, Esqrs. of liberal principles; and General Sir Charles Dalbiac and W.Markham, Esq. in the conservative interest; when the two former were returned; the numbers polled being for T.K.Staveley 168, J.S.Crompton 168, General Sir Charles Dalbiac 162, and W.Markham 159; the mayor is the returning officer. The new Boundary Act (an appendage to the Reform Bill) defines the limits of the borough to comprise the township of Ripon, and also all such part of the township of Aismunderby-cum-Bondgate, as is situate to the north of the point on the south of the town of Ripon, at which the Ripley road meets the Littlethorpe road, and which is the southern extremity of the nearly disjointed portion of the said township of Aismunderby-cum-Bondgate. The Archbishop of York has here a criminal court and prison for the liberty of Ripon. Justices are appointed, on the nomination of this prelate, by his majesty's commission, who, with the mayor and recorder, hold sessions for the town and liberty. The mayor, recorder, twelve aldermen, and twenty four common councilmen, form the corporate body of the town; the dean and chapter have likewise a prison, and court for the decision of causes, within the manor, called canon fee. Ripon was once celebrated for the manufacture of spurs of a superior quality; hence the old proverb, when speaking of a man of integrity.

' He is true steel as Ripon rowells;' it was also noted for manufacturing woollen cloths, but both these trades have long ceased to exist. A great number of saddle trees are made here, there is also a considerable varnish manufactory, and a tannery --- the latter belonging to Mr. N.York. Several corn mills are situated on the Skele and Ure, besides an extensive flax spinning mill, near the town, the business of which is carried on by Mrs. J.Coates. A navigable canal comes up to the town, by which coals, &c. are brought, in vessels of about thirty tons burthen, from Hull and York. The market place is very spacious, measuring 104 yards by 98, surrounded by good houses, and ornamented with a beautiful obelisk, in the centre, ninety feet high, on the top of which are the arms of Ripon; it was erected in the year 1781, by William Aislabie, Esq. of Studley, who represented this ancient borough in parliament for sixty years; on the south side of the market place stands an elegant town hall, built in 1831, at the expense of Mrs. Allanson, of Studley: it comprises a handsome suite of assembly rooms, and a committee room for the meetings of the corporation, with other suitable apartments.

The places of worship here, are the Minster, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Wilfred, a noble gothic structure: the first stone of this edifice was laid in 1331, but it appears, from dates in the choir, that it was not finished until 1494; it is a deanery, in the dioceseof York; and is both collegiate and parochial; the King is patron. For length and breadth it is one of the best proportioned churches of its kind; its form is that of a cross; the length inside from east to west is 266 feet 5 inches --- breadth of the west front 43 feet, and, including the two towers of 29.5 feet each, is in the whole 102 feet external measure. The monuments are very numerous and deserve the attention of the curious. Over the screen is a fine toned organ, built by Mr. Booth, of Leeds, in 1833. Trinity church, the erection of which cost 13,000. was built in 1826-7, at the sole expense of the Rev. E.Kilvington, M.A. It is in the Gothic style of architecture, in the form of a cross, having lancet windows, a beautiful groined arch, and other enrichments; and contains upwards of 1,000 sittings, 200 of which, according to the act of parliament for building the church, are free. There are also two chapels belonging to the Wesleyan methodists, and one each for the independents and primitive methodists. Here is a free grammar school, founded in 1546, by Edward Vth: among the eminent men who received their education at this school were Dr. Bishop Porteus, and Dr. M.Hutton, archbishop of York. Several other excellent charitable institutions afford to the younger branches of the poor clothing and education; the aged and infirm find shelter and support in several well endowed hospitals, and a dispensary yields medical aid to all who ask it. A neat theatre was built in 1792, it is now converted to a riding school and depot for the Yorkshire Hussar Yeomanry Cavalry. The air of this part is salubrious and pleasant, and the surrounding country well wooded, highly cultivated, and interspersed with numerous gentlemen's seats and picturesque villages. Amongst the principal seats may be named Newby hall, the seat of Earl de Grey, four miles hence; Studley park, the residence of Mrs. Lawrence --- which beautiful domain is situate nearly three miles south west of Ripon; the park and pleasure grounds, consisting of about 650 acres, are open every day for visiters until five o'clock (Sundays excepted) --- the views are many and grand. At the north east end of the town, and at a small distance from the minster, is a remarkable tumuli, called ' Ellshaw, or Alice Hill:' it is wholly composed of sand, gravel and human bones, and tradition says that it was thrown up by the Danes, as a depository for their dead. An excellent market is held every Thursday, abounding with all kinds of agricultural produce; and the fairs are the first Thursday after the 20th day after old Christmas Day, May 13th and 14th, the first Thursday and Friday in June, Thursday after the 2nd of August, first Thursday in November, and the 23rd of November, for cattle, hardware, cloth, &c. By the census for 1821 the parish of Ripon contained 14,115 inhabitants, and in 1831, 14,804, of which last number 5,080 were returned for the borough and township, which, before the reform bill passed, were co-extensive."


"BEWERLEY, is a small village and township, in the parish of Ripon, pleasantly situate on the south west side of the river Nidd, about one mile from Pateley Bridge, containing, at the census taken in 1831, 1,310 inhabitants."


"DACRE, and Dacre Banks are two hamlets, comprised in the township of Dacre and parish of Ripon, in the lower division of Claro wapentake, West Riding; 4 miles s.e. from Pateley Bridge, and about 6.5 miles from Ripley. Flax spinning and the linen manufacture prevails in this township; which contained, in 1831, 698 inhabitants."


"PATELEY BRIDGE, is a small market town in the township of High and Low Bishopside, in the parish of Ripon, and wapentake of Claro, West Riding, 9 miles n.w. of Ripley, 11 s.e. of Ripon, and 15 n.e. of Skipton; it is situate on the river Nidd, about three miles from the eastern extremity of Craven. From time immemorial several extensive lead mines have been wrought within two or three miles west of this town, and by the employment they have afforded to the inhabitants of it and the neighbourhood, the place has derived much benefit; for some years past, however, owing to the unprecedented low price of lead, the number of hands employed is greatly diminished, and the wages paid to the few who continue at work are so low as to compel those with a family to have recourse to parochial assistance, which has augmented the poor rates, here, to a very alarming extent. The quantity of pure ore raised in the neighbourhood amounts to about 1,200 tons annually. The river Nidd and several brooks, which fall into it, within a few miles of this place, afford very eliglible sites for mills requiring water power, which of late have been taken advantage of, and many erected, particularly for spinning flax; the principal of which belongs to Messrs. J.&G. Metcalfe, near the town; Messrs. T. Kirkby & Son, & Mr. H. Kirkby, at Smelthouse mills, and Messrs. F. Thorpe & Co. of New York; there are besides, several corn mills, and one for manufacturing lead into sheets, pipes, &c. belonging to Mr. T. Hutchinson. Pateley Bridge is part of the manor of Thornton with Bishopside, of which the Archbishop of York is lord, and holds a court leet twice in the year: and it is one of the stations appointed, by the new Boundary Act, for receiving votes at the election of members to represent the West Riding of the county. The land around here is mountainous, the valleys are extremely fertile and productive, and the scenery throughout the dale is diversified and romantic, especially in the vicinity of Bewerley hall, the delightful residence of John Yorke, esq. About half a mile from the town is a church of considerable antiquity; and, on account of its great dilapidation, it was deemed expedient to erect a new one on a more convenient site, which was completed in 1827: the expense defrayed by voluntary subscriptions, aided by a liberal allowance from the commissioners appointed by parliament for building new churches. The old one is now entirely deserted, except for funerals. The new structure is a plain substantial Gothic building, containing three hundred free sittings, and is altogether sufficiently capacious to accommodate nearly one thousand persons. It is dedicated to St. Cuthbert: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Ripon; the present incumbent is the Rev. Thomas Umfreville Stoney, A.M. There is also a methodist chapel, and in the immediate neighbourhood one belonging to the independents. The market is held on Saturday, which is but thinly attended: there are fairs for cattle, which take place on the first Saturday in February, and every alternate Saturday until the third Saturday in May; the Saturday before Easter, and the first Tuesday after the 10th of October. The population of Pateley Bridge is returned with the township of Bishopside, which contained, at the last census, 1,843 inhabitants."


"WILSELL, is a small hamlet, in the parish of Ripon, one mile and a half s.e. of Pateley Bridge. It contains an extensive tannery, belonging to Mr. Constantine, but the labouring classes are principally employed in the weaving of linens for the neighbouring manufacturers. About one mile and a half south is a small village called New York, where are an extensive flax and thread spinning mill, and a linen manufactory. Population returned with the parish."

[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]