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SKIPTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

"SKIPTON, is an ancient market town and township, in the parish of its name, which is partly in the eastern division of Staincliffe & Ewcross wapentake, and partly in the upper division of the wapentake of Claro, West Riding, 211 miles from London, 44 w. from York, 43 n. from Manchester, 24 w. by s. from Knaresborough, 21 w. by s. from Harrogate, and 10 n.n.w. from Keighley. This town is the metropolis of Craven, and in early writings it is called Sciptone, Sceptone, or Scepteton, evidently from the Saxon Scep, a sheep ; and the name was acquired from the vast tracts of sheep walks which anciently laid around it. Skipton is a place renowned in history ; and its castle (which baffled the efforts of Oliver Cromwell to take it), with the noble families inhabiting it, have been the means of elevating it from a village to a town. Of the castle, as built at the period of the conquest, little remains except the western doorway and several round towers. The town is advantageously and pleasantly situate between the rivers Wharf and Aire, and the Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through it, affording great facility for the conveyance of goods. The Earl of Thanet, as lord of the manor, holds a court leet annually ; and sessions for the West Riding are held at Midsummer, in the town hall, a neat stone building. Skipton is one of the stations named in the new Boundary Act (an appendage to the Reform Bill) for receiving votes at the election of members for the West Riding of the county. Several cotton mills are upon the streams in the vicinity ; and the spinning and weaving of cotton give employment to a considerable number of persons. The parish church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a spacious and substantial edifice, evidently built a different periods ; the living is in the gift of the dean and canons of Christ church, Oxford, and is a vicarage, in the incumbency of the Rev. J. Pering. The other places of worship are a chapel each for independents, Wesleyan methodists, and the society of friends ; besides which, one for the Roman catholics is about to be erected, towards the expense of which, Miss Frances Tempest has munificently subscribed 500. The free grammar school was founded in 1548, and endowed by the Rev. William Ermystead ; boys are admissible from all parts, and there are exhibitions of Lady Hastings, in Queen's College, Oxford, and two others in Christ's College, Cambridge. Here are besides two excellent schools conducted upon the national plan. Skipton lies in the centre of a beautiful district, well adapted to grazing and feeding cattle, and the views are delightful from many of the hills with which it is surrounded. An excellent weekly market is held here on Saturday ; and a good fair for fat cattle and sheep every alternate Tuesday ; the annual fairs are March 25th, Saturdays before Palm and Easter Sundays, the first and third Tuesdays after Easter, Whitsun Eve, August 5th and November 23rd, chiefly for sheep, horned cattle, horses, pediary, &c. The parish of Skipton contained, by the census taken in 1821, 5,479 inhabitants, and by that for 1831, 6,193, of which last number 4,181 were returned for the township."

"EMBSAY WITH EASTBY, is a township, in the parish of Skipton, one mile and a half north from that town. Here are several mills for the spinning of cotton and worsted. The township contained, in 1831, 891 inhabitants."

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