Giggleswick (St. Alkald)

GIGGLESWICK (St. Alkald), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Settle, W. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, W. riding of York; containing 4134 inhabitants, of whom 875 are in the township of Giggleswick, ½ a mile (W. by N.) from Settle. This place, in the Domesday survey Ghigelswic, is supposed to have derived its name from Gikel, one of its Saxon proprietors, of whom mention occurs in Leland: the manor passed from its ancient lords to the Percy family, and Henry de Percy obtained from Edward II. a grant of free warren in all his lands of Giggleswick. The parish includes the townships of Settle, Rathmell, Langcliffe, and Stainforth. It embraces a deep and picturesque vale, watered by the river Ribble and its tributary, Tems beck, which flows through the village; and comprises by computation 17,090 acres. The vale is, at its head, rocky, narrow, and forked, but opens into fertile tracts of meadow and pasture land, and towards the south expands into a wide plain. To the north are the high mountains of Pennigant and Ingleborough, and on the east the projecting rock called Castleberg, which rises to the height of 210 feet above the market-place of Settle, and is supposed to have been crowned with a fortification, from which it derived its name: this rock anciently served as the gnomon of a rude but magnificent natural sun-dial, pointing out by its shadow on some masses of rock in the vale the precise hour of the day. Here are several large cotton factories, affording employment to between 500 and 600 hands. The road from Leeds to Kendal intersects the parish. The village, which is situated on the west side of the vale, is neatly built; and the approach to it from the north has a truly picturesque aspect, from the high ridges of limestone, and the numerous yew-trees which spring out of the clefts. Above the village was a pool of water, now dried up; and at the base of a ledge of rocks called the Scar, extending for two miles in length, is a well, noticed by Drayton, in 1612, as ebbing and flowing with the tide, though thirty miles distant from the sea. This, however, is not the case: the well ebbs and flows in the space of twenty-five minutes, and the cause is supposed to be a natural syphon formed in the rock through which the water passes; but in very dry or very wet weather, no variation is observable.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £21. 3. 4., and in the patronage of J. N. Coulthurst and John Hartley, Esqrs., with a net income of £550; impropriators, Thomas Clapham, Esq., and others. The church is a spacious and handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower: on a brass in the middle aisle is an inscription to the memory of the Rev. W. Paley, and Elizabeth his wife, parents of Archdeacon Paley. Churches have been erected at Settle, Rathmell, and Stainforth. The free grammar school was founded by Edward VI. in the seventh year of his reign, and endowed with property previously belonging to the collegiate church of St. Andrew, in Acaster. The tithes, lands, and premises forming the endowment, were, at the period of the foundation, of the yearly value of £23. 3., subject to the payment to the king of £3. 3.; in 1800 the income had increased to £400, and at present it amounts to about £1140 per annum, owing to the inclosure of Walling Fen. There is no restriction as to the number of the scholars, or their place of birth or residence; the institution has long enjoyed a high degree of reputation, and possesses an exhibition of £38 a year to either of the universities, founded with the amount of various benefactions. Archdeacon Paley received the rudiments of his education in this school, of which his father was head master for nearly 55 years. A national school is endowed with £35 per annum; and upwards of £100 yearly, the interest of money and rent of land, bequeathed by several individuals, are appropriated to the poor.

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