KEIGHLEY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1835.
"KEIGHLEY, a market-town and parish in the eastera division of the wapentake of STAINCLIFFE-AND-EVERCROSS, West riding of the county of YORK, 4 miles W. from Bingley, 39 S.W. from York, and 210 N.N.W. from London, containing 9223 "inhabitants. According to Dr. Whitaker, Kihel, or Kilcel, is a Saxon proper name, and Keighley, anciently Kigheley, is "the field of Kihel." This place, according to Camden, gave name to the family of Kigheley, Henry Kigheley having obtained from Edward I. the privilege of a market and a fair, and free warren for his manor here. During the reign of Charles I., this town being occupied by the parliamentary troops, was entered by a detachment of the royalist army, consisting of one hundred and fifty horse, when about one hundred prisoners, with a number of horses and other booty, were captured, on which General Lambert, who -was in the neighbourhood, advancing unexpectedly, attacked the royalists, recovered the prisoners and the principal part of the plunder, killed fifteen of the enemy, took about thirty prisoners, and pursued the rest to the gates of Skipton castle, where they eventually found refuge. The town is situated in a deep valley, near the south-western bank of the river Aire, over which is a stone bridge; the streets are tolerably well paved, and lighted with gas; the houses, which are chiefly of stone, present a mean appearance; the inhabitants are supplied with water from two springs, at the east and west ends of the town, according to the regulations of an act of parliament passed in 1816. A mechanics institute was established in 1823, to which is attached an excellent library. The cotton, linen, and worsted manufactures are carried on with great activity, particularly the last, which affords employment to a great number of persons; the goods are chiefly sold at Bradford and Halifax in an unfinished state, the purchasers being principally foreigners, and merchants from Leeds and Manchester. The modem improvements in the adjacent roads, and the vicinity of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, which passes within a mile of the town, thus opening a communication with the counties of York and Lancaster, have greatly advanced the commercial interests of the town. The market is on Wednesday; and fairs are held on the 7th of November and the 8th of May, for cattle and pedlary. A meeting of the neighbouring magistrates is held here on the first Wednesday in every month; and a court baron, the jurisdiction of which was extended, by act of parliament passed in the 20th of George III., to debts not exceeding £ 5, is held before the steward of the manor, on the Thursday in every third week. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, rated in the king's books at £21. 0.1., and in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a neat and spacious edifice, and was repaired in the year 1805; the tower, which is octagonal and in the Grecian style of architecture, contains a peal of eight bells, and a clock of very curious workmanship. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists (both of the Old and the New connexion), and Swedenborgians. A free grammar school was founded and endowed with messuages and lands by John Drake, in the year 1713, for the instruction of children; all boys born and residing in the town are admitted on the foundation, and instructed in English, Latin, and Greek, if required; the yearly income is £162. 9. 6., and there are about fifty scholars; the master has £100 per annum, and a residence rent-free. In 1716, Jonas Tonson conveyed to trustees a dwelling-house and land, the proceeds of which now amount to £40. 15. per annum, which is paid to an usher for teaching children preparatory to their admission into the grammar school. At Harehill, in this parish, a school was erected and endowed by means of a bequest by Mrs. Sarah Heaton, in 1738, for the support of a master who should teach English and Latin gratuitously: the income is £33 per annum; the children or inhabitants are taught to read, but must pay for additional instruction. A National school for one hundred and twenty girls is supported by voluntary contributions. Five poor boys are apprenticed annually from the proceeds of property devised to trustees by Isaac Bowcock, by will dated February llth, 1669, for this and other charitable purposes. In the year 1775 a large quantity of Roman coins was found at Elam Grange, near this town."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]