SKIPTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.
"SKIPTON, (or Skipton-in-craven), a parish and market town in the East division of Staincliff wapentake, and Upper Claro wapentake, West Riding county York, 40 miles W. of York, 216 N. W. of London by road, and 231 by the Great Northern and the Leeds and Colne branch of the Midland railways, on which it is a station. It is situated in the vale of the river Aire, and on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The ancient parish was very extensive, including, besides the town of Skipton, the townships of Barden, Beamsley, Bolton Abbey, Draughton, Embsay, East Halton, Hazlewood with Stonths, Stirton with Thorlby, and the hamlets of Barwick and Drebley, and had a territorial boundary of 49 miles. The parish has lately been subdivided, distinct ecclesiastical districts having been assigned to Christ Church in Skipton, Bolton Abbey, and Embsay. The two last are recta., the great tithes having been ceded to them by the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford. After the Norman conquest this place became the property of Robert do Romeli, who built the castle abort the end of the reign of William the Conqueror. It subsequently passed by marriage into the Albemarle family, but reverting to the crown, was given by Edward II. to Piers Gaveston, after whose death it was given, in 1311, to Robert Lord Clifford, in whose family it has continued, with the exception of a single attainder, for 500 years. During the Great Rebellion it sustained a siege of three years by the parliamentary generals, and surrendered in 1645. Of the castle, which stands at a short distance E. of the church, the greater part is modern, having been rebuilt by Anne Countess of Pembroke as a residence, after having been dismantled by order of Parliament in 1649. The town is laid out in the form of the letter Y, with the market-place near the centre. The only public buildings are the townhall, union poorhouse, mechanics' institute, a savings-bank, and two commercial branch banks. A brisk trade is carried on in corn and agricultural produce, and there are three cotton mills. The population of the township in 1851 was 5,044, and in 1861, 5,454. It is a polling-place for the county elections, and a potty sessions town. The Poor-law Union embraces 47 townships It is also the seat of new County, Court and superintendent registry districts. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, value £307, in the patronage of Christ Church, Oxford. The parish church is supposed to have been rebuilt by Richard HL, but some parts, including the four stone sedilia are of greater antiquity, and formed part of the original Norman edifice. It was entirely restored in 1854 at an expense of £3,000, defrayed by the parish. In addition to the parish church are the following churches, viz: Christ Church, St. Cuthbert's, Bolton Abbey, and St. Mary's, Embsay, varying in value from £150 to £250. The church of St. Cuthbert, once the nave of Bolton Abbey, is a Gothic structure, with stained windows, and was reroofed in 1858. The ancient castle church is now a stable belonging to Sir R. Tutton, Bart. The manor of Bolton Abbey belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, who has a seat here. The parochial register dates from 1597, and that of Bolton Abbey from 1689. The Primitive Methodists have two chapels, and the Wesleyans, Independents, Swedenborgians, and Roman Catholics each one. There is a free grammar school, founded in 1548 by William Ermysted, a canon of St. Paul's, London, which has an income from endowment of £800 per annum, with three exhibitions of £7 each to Christ's College, Cambridge, also National, British, and Sunday schools. There is also at Bolton a grammar school on the foundation of the famous Robert Boyle. The charities produce above £1,150 per annum, including school endowments. About 5 miles N.E. of Skipton are the ruins of Bolton Abbey, and 6 miles N. are the ruins of Barden Tower, once a residence of the Cliffords. Market day is Saturday. Fairs are held on alternate Mondays for cattle and sheep, and on 25th September for horses."
"BARDEN, a township in the parish of Skipton, and wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, in the West Riding of the county of York, 7 miles to the N.E. of Skipton. It is situated in Wharfdale, and contains the hamlets of Barden Dykes and Barden Tower, which latter was one of the ancient lodges erected for the protection of the forest of Skipton. The Cliffords occasionally resided in the tower, and it was here that Henry Clifford took refuge after the fatal battle of Towton and was concealed above twenty years. Barden Fells, once part of the forest, are near the hamlet on the west."
"BEAMSLEY, a township in the parishes of Skipton and Addingham, wapentake of Claro, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles to the E. of Skipton. In this township is a hospital, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, for the maintenance of 13 poor women. There is a chapel in the hospital. The present revenue amounts to £375 per annum."
"BOLTON ABBEY, a township in the parish of Skipton, wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, in the West Riding of the county of York, 6 miles to the N.E. of Skipton, its post town. It is situated in a district abounding in picturesque scenery, on the banks of the river Wharfe, and is chiefly interesting as the site of a priory, of which there are extensive and beautiful remains. The priory, originally founded at Embsay, a village about 4 miles distant, by William de Meschines and Cicely his wife, in 1121, was removed to Bolton about 1154, by their daughter Adeliza. It was for canons of the Augustine order, and had a revenue at the Dissolution of £302. The site was given in 1543 to Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, from whose family it passed by marriage about a century afterwards to the Burlingtons, and subsequently to the Cavendishes. The manor is now held by the Duke of Devonshire. A Carmelite monastery is also said to have existed here. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, of the value of £111, in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire. The church, which was part of the old conventual church, is dedicated to SS. Mary and Cuthbert. Here is a free grammar school, founded about 1700 by the Hon. Robert Boyle, which has an income from endowment of £104 per annum. There are some other charities of small value. Bolton Park is an occasional residence of the Duke of Devonshire. The house was originally a gate-house of the priory. The ruins of the priory, consisting chiefly of the walls of the church, partly in the Norman style, stand on a level spot surrounded by rising grounds, on a find bend of the "Crystal Wharfe." Fair meadows, dotted with noble elms, ash, and other trees, abrupt masses of rock overhanging the river, hills covered with rich old woods, and in the distance wild moorlands, are the varied elements of the surrounding scenery. Not far from the priory the Wharfe rushes through a deep rift in the rock, called the Strid. It was here, according to tradition, that the "noble boy of Egremound," son of the Lady Adeliza, was drowned. The genius of Wordsworth has thrown a surpassing charm about the story and the place, in his exquisite poem of the "White Doe of Rylstone.""
"BOLTON BRIDGE, a hamlet in the township of Bolton Abbey, and parish of Skipton, wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, in the West Riding of the county of York, 6 mils to the N.E. of Skipton. A chapel for the benefit of travellers anciently stood here."
"DRAUGHTON, a township in the parish of Skipton, wapentake of Staincliffe, in the West Riding of the county of York, 4 miles E. of Skipton. It is situated near the river Wharfe."
"DREBLEY, a hamlet in the township of Barden and parish of Skipton, in the West Riding of the county of York, near Skipton."
"EAST HALTON, a township in the parish of Skipton, E. division of the wapentake of Staincliff, West Riding county York, 4 miles E. of Skipton."
"EASTBY, a hamlet in the parish of Skipton, E. division of the wapentake of Staincliff West Riding, county York, 3 miles N.E. of Skipton. Together with Embsay, it forms a township. The Wesleyans have a chapel."
"EMBSAY WITH EASTBY, a township in the parish of Skipton, E. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe, West Riding county York, 2 miles E. of Skipton, its post town and railway station on the Midland Counties line, and 10 N. of Keighley. It is situated on a tributary of the river Wharfe, and about two-thirds of the land is enclosed. A priory was founded here in the 12th century for Augustine canons by William de Meschines, but was shortly after removed to Bolton. Skibeden is a hamlet included in the township of Embsay. Limestone quarries are extensively worked, and many of the inhabitants are employed in the cotton and worsted mills. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value £120, in the patronage of Vicar of Skipton. The church is a modern stone edifice, erected on the site of one built about the same time as the priory, and which for a long time was in ruins; the present is in the early English style of architecture, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There are a few small charities. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Swedenborgians have each a chapel. There is a National school for both sexes, also a school supported by the Swedenborgians. A spring in the township still bears the name of St. Cuthbert's Well, the saint to whom the priory was dedicated."
"HAZLEWOOD AND STORITHS, a joint township in the parish of Skipton, upper division of the wapentake of Claro, West Riding county York, 7 miles N.E. of Skipton. It is situated on the river Wharfe, and comprises about 1,800 acres of rough pasture and moorland. The soil is shallow, resting on gritstone. There is a free school, founded in 1700 by the Winterburn family, with an endowment of £15 per annum."
"STORITHS, a township in the parish of Skipton, West Riding county York, 6 miles E. of Skipton. It is situated on the river Wharfe, and is joined with Hazlewood."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013