Clapham

CLAPHAM, a parish, in the union of Settle, W. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, W. riding of York, 6 miles (N. W. by W.) from Settle; containing, with the townships of Austwick and Lawkland, 1853 inhabitants, of whom 890 are in the township of Clapham with Newby. This parish comprises by computation 24,340 acres, of which a very small portion is arable, about 1000 woodland, and the remainder one vast tract of moor of mountainous elevation; within the parish is the base of Ingleborough mountain, and the prevailing scenery is of bold and romantic character. The manor of Clapham, which extends only over part of the township, was the property of the De Clapham family, from whom it was purchased in the reign of Charles I., by the Morleys, whose descendant is the present lord. The substratum abounds with limestone; and near Ingleborough Hall is one of those remarkable caverns that frequently occur in limestone districts, though seldom of such extent, or possessing features so strikingly interesting. The cavern was many years since explored for 50 yards, and found to contain several chambers, connected by passages, through which a stream of pure water, rising in the mountain, pursued its course. In 1837, a sudden and very considerable increase in the stream issuing from what was supposed to be the extremity of the cavern, led to further search; and on an opening being made, a spacious and lofty region was discovered at least 880 yards in length, to which the chambers previously known were but a vestibule. This magnificent cavern, though in some parts so contracted in height as to render it necessary for the visiter to stoop, is generally, both in width and elevation, of ample and stately dimensions, resembling the interior of a stupendous baronial mansion; the roof is richly adorned with stalactites and other beautiful concretions, and the general effect exceeds in splendour any thing of the kind in the kingdom. The village is situated on the stream above noticed; fairs for cattle are held on Sept. 27th and Oct. 2nd. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 17. 1.; net income, £150; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Chester, with a reversion at his death to the Bishop of Ripon. The church is an ancient structure. A chapel was erected in the village of Austwick in 1840.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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