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MALHAM

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MALHAM, in the parish of Kirkby Malhamdale, west-division and liberty of Staincliffe; 6 miles E. of Settle, 9 from Kettlewell, 12 from Skipton. Fairs, July 1, and Oct 15, for sheep. Pop. 262.

Malham, situated in a deep and verdant vale, is chiefly remarkable, on account of an immense crag of limestone, called Malham Cove. It is 286 feet high, stretching in the shape of the segment of a large circle across the whole valley, and forming a termination at once so august and tremendous, that the imagination can scarcely figure any form or scale of rock within the bounds of probability that shall go beyond it; at the bottom of the Cove is an outlet for the waters of the lake above. In rainy seasons, however, the overflowings of the Lake spread themselves over the shelving surface of the rocks below, and, precipitating from the centre of the cove, form a tremendous cataract of nearly 300 feet. Malham Tarn, or Lake, the former word signifying in the dialect of the north of England, a small Lake, is of a circular form, and not less than a mile in diameter. Its situation is high and bleak: but is inestimable for its fishery of Trout and Perch, which grow to an unusual size.

This Lake may be considered as the source of the Aire; which bursting out in an abundant torrent from among the noblest rocks in Britain, instantly declines into a silent and insignificant stream, but in its course towards the sea, becomes, in a mercantile point of view, one of the principal rivers in the county.

Not far from this village is Jennett's Cave, so called from a supposed Queen or Governess of a numerous tribe of Fairies, which tradition assures us, anciently resorted here: it is a spacious and loomy cavern, surrounded with evergreens; no place could be more calculated to produce those fanciful ideas, than this ivy circled Mansion, when visited by moonlight, where imagination might see


"Aerial forms athwart the solemn gloom,
"Tremendous sweep, or seem to sweep along."

Mr. Hurtley, the author of "A Tour to the Caves," is a native of Malham.

[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]