Ilkley (All Saints)

ILKLEY (All Saints), a parish, chiefly in the Upper division of the wapentake of Claro, and partly in the Upper division of that of Skyrack, W. riding of York, 5¾ miles (N. N. W.) from Otley; containing, with the townships of Middleton, and Nesfield with Langbar, 1174 inhabitants, of whom 778 are in the township of Ilkley. This place is by most antiquaries supposed to be the site of the Roman station Olicana, and three sides of the fortifications may still be distinctly traced. Many Roman coins have been found at various times, and, among other relics, an altar dedicated by the Romans to Verbeia, the nymph of the river Wharfe, which is deposited in the cabinet of William Middleton, Esq., lord of the manor. There are remains of intrenchments, also, plainly discernible on the hills of Castleburgh, Counter Hill, and Woofa. The parish comprises by computation 7600 acres, of which a very considerable portion is high moorland, and the remainder arable and pasture in cultivation. Its surface is diversified with hill and dale, and the scenery is in some parts exceedingly beautiful; the higher grounds command extensive and richly-diversified prospects, and from a vast rock called the Hanging Stones is obtained a most magnificent view. The moors abound with grouse, and the river Wharfe with trout and other kinds of fish. Here are some quarries of excellent freestone for building.

The village, which is romantically situated on the banks of the Wharfe, and on the road from Otley to Skipton, is much frequented during the summer months for its salubrious air, and for the virtues of a remarkably clear and cold spring, which issues from the side of a lofty hill in a copious stream, and which, though combining few chemical ingredients, is found to be efficacious in various diseases. Two bathing establishments have been formed; one of them for the benefit of the poor, and the use of the patients of the Ilkley Bath charity, an institution productive of great benefit to the poor of the manufacturing districts. In 1844, a hydropathic establishment was opened; and there are several lodging-houses for visiters. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 13. 9., and in the patronage of the Hartley family; net income, £110; impropriator, Mr. Middleton. The church is an ancient structure, containing a monument to the Middletons dated 1312: in the churchyard are three crosses. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. The free school was founded by Mr. Marshall, who in 1608 bequeathed £100 for its endowment, which was augmented with a bequest of £200 by R. Heber, Esq., in 1691; these sums, with other bequests, now produce about £66 per annum.

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

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