GIGGLESWICK, a parish-town, in the west-division and liberty of Staincliffe; 1 mile W. of Settle, 7 from Kirby Lonsdale, (Westm.) 57 from York. Pop. 746. The Church is a vicarage, dedicated to St. Alkald (see Churches for photograph), in the deanry of Craven, value ~£21. 3s. 4d. p.r. £75. Patrons, J. Coulthurst, and J. Hartley, Esqrs. alternately.
This place has long been celebrated for its Grammar School, founded by King Edward VI. in 1553 on the Petition of John Nowell, Clerk, then his Majesty's Chaplain and Vicar of Giggleswick, and of other inhabitants of the town and parish. The endowment in lands, value £23. 3s. 6d. was part of the possessions belonging to the dissolved Monastery of Nether Acaster, laying at North Cave, South and North Kelthorp, &c. but in consequence of the drainage, inclosures, and other improvements, its present amount is upwards of £1000. per ann. The grant is only for two Preceptors, but there are now three, two for classics, and one for mathematics. The number of pupils is limited only by the want of room, who are admitted "from every quarter of the Globe," if their moral characters be good, and are taught gratis. There are Six Scholarships at Christ College, Cambridge, founded by Mr. Carr, for Scholars educated at this School. The late, Archdeacon Paley, received his classical education at this school, under his father who was Head Master nearly fifty years. --Carlisle.
Here is also a National School, very liberally endowed by the Rev. John Clapham, Vicar, and others; its revenues worth about £50. per ann.
About the centre of that prodigious Scar, called Giggleswick Scar, which skirts the road for nearly two miles from Giggleswick to Clapham, and close to the road side, is situated the celebrated Ebbing and Flowing Well, whose waters, clear as crystal, are constantly ebbing and flowing, although at thirty miles distance from the sea. The changes of ebbing and flowing vary, being considerably influenced by the wetness or dryness of the season; sometimes once in five minutes, at others not more than four or five times in a day. Various have been the opinions given in explanation of this rare phenomenon, but none more in unison with our own, than the following, which we extracted, not as new, either to ourselves or the public, from the Northern Star, of 1817. The writer of the article alluded to observes, that it, "in all probability; results from a simple piece of mechanism, hidden from the observation of men in the bowels of the earth; namely, a valvular construction at the mouth of the spring, or at some point in the subterraneous passage of the water, formed by a loose stone, and suspended horizontally by two opposite points constituting its axis: the valve thus formed will move on its own central points, and uninfluenced by the water to a certain extent, closes the outlet, and consequently causes an accumulation between the valve end the source of the spring: when the water has increased until its level rises considerably above the centre of the valve, the weight of the water turns it upon its axis, and it is poured with velocity into its common course."
Drunken Barnaby, in his Northern Tour, thus describes this well;
Veni Giggleswick, parum frugis
Profert tellus clausa jugis;
Ibi vena prope viae
Fluit, refluit, nocte, die,
Neque norunt unde vena,
An a sale vel arena.
Opposite the Scar, and near the village, is Giggleswick Tarn, a large lake, partly natural and partly artificial.
[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]