"SKIPTON, a parish in the West riding of the county of YORK, comprising the market-town of Skipton, the chapelry of Bolton-Abbey, and the townships of Barden, Draughton, Embsay with Eastby, East Halton with Bolton, and Stirton with Thorlby, in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-and-EWCROSS, and the township of Hazlewood with Storiths, and part of that of Beamsley, in the upper division of the wapentake of CLARO, West riding of the county of YORK, and containing 5479 inhabitants, of which number, 3411 are in the town of Skipton, 44 miles W. from York, and 211 N.N.W. from London. The name, which is variously spelt in Domesday-book, as Stiptone, Sceptone, or Sceptetone, was probably acquired from the vast number of sheep anciently fed in the vicinity. About the close of the reign of William the Conqueror, a castle was built here by Robert de Romille, which, in the great civil war, was garrisoned for the royal cause j but having been invested by the opposing party, it was surrendered, after a siege of three years, December 20th, 1645, having held out longer than any other fortress in the northern part of 1;he country; in the following year an order was issued from the parliament for its demolition, which, in 1649, was partially carried into effect, but it was soon after restored by the Countess of Pembroke, who occasionally resided in it; in more modern times it has undergone a thorough repair, and is still a magnificent and commodious residence. The town is situated in a valley of great fertility and beauty, near the river Aire, and is skirted on the south-west by the Leeds and Liverpool canal, which partly passes through it, affording great facility for the conveyance of goods. It consists chiefly of two long and wide streets, one crossing the other at its termination, nearly at right angles, which are partly paved, and well supplied with water, conveyed through pipes from a spring that rises upon Rumbles moor; the houses are neatly built of stone, obtained in the immediate vicinity. The adjacent vale is celebrated for its productiveness, and is a fine grazing district: from the surrounding hills are some beautiful and picturesque views. There is a small subscription library. The situation of the town is highly advantageous to the purposes of trade, of which the spinning and weaving of cotton form the principal branch: there are several cotton-mills upon the neighbouring streams, and an extensive brewery for porter and ale. The market is on Saturday, when a small quantity of grain is brought for sale; and there is a large market every second Monday for fat cattle and sheep: fairs are held on March 25th, Saturdays before Palm and Easter Sundays, the first and third Tuesdays after Easter, on Whitsun-eve, August 5th, and November 23rd, chiefly for sheep, horned cattle, pedlary, &c.; and September 23rd for horses. The local affairs are under the superintendence of a constable, who is appointed annually at the manorial court leet: the general quarter sessions for the West riding are held here at Midsummer, in the town hall, which is a neat stone building, situated on the east side of Sheep, street Hill. The living comprises a rectory and a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, the former rated in the king's books at £4. 0. 10., and the latter, which is endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, rated at £10. 12. 6., and both in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity: it immediately adjoins the castle, and is the work of different periods, but principally in the later style of English architecture; four stone seats, with pointed arches and cylindrical columns, in the south wall of the nave, are supposed to be the only remaining parts of the original edifice; the tower, which stands at the west end, was repaired by Lady Clifford, Countess Dowager of Pembroke, in the year. 1655; there are several monuments to different members of the family of Clifford, Earls of Cumberland; and beneath the altar is a family vault, which was their place of interment from the dissolution of Bolton priory to the death of the last Earl of Cumberland. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. The free grammar school was founded in 1548, and endowed with lands in Addingham, Eastby, and Skipton, by the Rev. William Ermystead, the annual proceeds of which amount to upwards of £600; the master is appointed by the vicar and churchwardens, and has an agreeable residence, with pleasure grounds and gardens attached; boys are admissible from all parts, and there are about sixty in the school. They are eligible to the exhibitions of Lady Elizabeth Hastings, in Queen's College, Oxford; and the school has two exhibitions in Christ's College, Cambridge, founded by William Petyt, Esq., who gave £200 to the college for that purpose. The Clerk's school was originally endowed, by the Rev. William Ermystead, with lands of great value at Wike, near Harewood, in Yorkshire, which, by mismanagement of the trustees, have been lost, and a prescriptive payment, amounting to £12 per annum, is made to the master of the boys' National school, who is also clerk of the parish; this school and a National school for girls are further supported by voluntary contributions, the school-house having been also erected from a similar fund: the number of children in both is one hundred and sixty. Sylvester Petyt, Esq., Principal of Bernard's Inn, and a native of this parish, bequeathed a library for the use of the parishioners, which is preserved in the church; and the sum of £24,048 South Sea Annuities, for various charitable purposes, especially for the payment of £20 per annum to Christ's College, Cambridge, for an augmentation of exhibitions for the free grammar school, for apprenticing twelve poor children of parishioners annually, the interest of £ 100 for the librarian, and of £ 50 to buy books for poor boys at the grammar school. The principal remains of the old castle are the western doorway, and several round towers. George Holmes, an eminent antiquary, who republished the first seventeen volumes of Rymer's Fcedera, was a native of this town."
"BARDEN, a chapelry in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE and EwcROSs,West riding of the county of YORK, 8 miles N.N.E. from Skipton, containing 219 inhabitants. The interest of £170, being the amount of various benefactions, is appropriated to the instruction of children and the relief of the poor."
"BEAMSLEY, a township in the parishes of ADDINGHAM and SKIPTON, which are in the upper division of the wapentake of CLARO, West riding of the county of YORK, 6 miles N.E. from Skipton, containing 312 inhabitants. An hospital for thirteen poor women was founded here by Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, under letters patent granted in the 35th of Elizabeth, and endowed with property which, in 1820, produced £357. 9. 4. per annum, from which sum, twelve of the alms-women receive annuities of £16 each, and the thirteenth, one of £18: they have separate apartments, and there is a chapel in which prayers are read daily."
"BOLTON, a township, joint with East Halton, in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE and EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 6 miles E. from Skip ton. The population is returned with East Halton."
"BOLTON ABBEY, a chapelry in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE and EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 6 miles E.N.E. from Skipton, containing 127 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of the East riding, and diocese of York, endowed with £400 private benefaction, and £1800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Pocklington. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, was formed out of the nave of the conventual church belonging to a priory originally founded at Embsay, by William de Meschines, and his wife Cecilia, in 1121, for canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, and removed hither, thirty-three years afterwards, by their daughter Adeliza, who was married to William Fitz-Duncan. In the 26th of Henry VIII., the revenue was valued at £302. 9. 3., and the society was dissolved in 1540. The ruins, which are extensive, are surrounded by scenery celebrated for its surpassing beauty, being composed of a variety of picturesque objects, so arranged as to constitute an almost perfect landscape. Here was also an establishment of Carmelite friars, founded by the Earl of Albemarle, or, according to some, by Lord Gray of Codnor. The Hon. Robert Boyle, in 1697, established a free grammar school, and endowed it with certain houses, lands, and a rent-charge of £ 20: the annual income, amounting to about £100, is, by consent of the master (the perpetual curate), paid to an usher for teaching the scholars: the premises comprise a house and garden in the occupation of the master, and a detached school-room, which is open to all children of the chapelry; the present number, about twenty, receive only an English education, though the school is free for instruction in the classics."
"DRAUGHTON, a township in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-AND-EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 3 miles N.E. from Skipton, containing 279 inhabitants."
"EASTBY, a township, joint with Embsay, in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-AND-EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 3 miles N.E. from Skipton, containing 861 inhabitants. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists."
"EMBSAY, a township, joint with Eastby, in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-AND-EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 2 miles N.N.E. from Skipton, containing 861 inhabitants. William de Meschines, and Cecilia de Romili, his wife, founded a monastery here in 1120, for canons regular,of the order of St. Augustine, which about thirty years after was translated, by their daughter Adeliza, to Bolton in. Craven: a chapel was continued long after its translation. There is a spring in the township still bearing the name of St. Cuthbert's well."
"HALTON EAST, a township in the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the eastern division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-AND-EWCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 4 miles E.N.E. from Skipton, containing, with Bolton, 141 inhabitants."
"HAZLEWOOD, a township, joint with Storiths, in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the upper division of the wapentake of CLARO, West riding of the county of YORK, 7 miles N.E. from Skipton, containing 209 inhabitants."
"STORITHS, a township, joint with Hazlewood, in that part of the parish of SKIPTON, which is in the upper division of the wapentake of CLARO, West riding of the county of YORK, 7 miles E. from Skipton. The population is returned with Hazlewood."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]