Keighley (St. Andrew)

KEIGHLEY (St. Andrew), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the E. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, W. riding of York, 44 miles (W. by S.) from York, and 210 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 13,413 inhabitants. This place, anciently Kyghelay, was for many generations the property of the Kyghelay family, who either gave their name to, or derived it from, the manor; and of whom Gilbertus Kyghelay, of Utley, was buried here in 1203, according to an inscription on a stone still remaining in the parish church. In the reign of Edward I. Henry de Kyghelay, a member of the family, obtained the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair, with privilege of free warren for the inhabitants. Towards the close of the sixteenth century, the manor was conveyed, by marriage with the heiress of the last lord, to William Cavendish, created Baron Cavendish, of Hardwick, in 1604, and who was ancestor of the dukes of Devonshire and earls of Burlington. In the reign of Charles I., the town was garrisoned for the parliament, and (in 1645) was attacked by a party of royalists from Skipton Castle, who made many of the republicans prisoners; they were rescued, however, by General Lambert, who, advancing to their relief, compelled the royalists to retire.

The town is situated in a beautiful valley, near the rivulets Worth and North Beck, which, uniting their streams, flow into the river Aire, about a mile below the bridge here, which is a neat structure. The houses are built chiefly of stone. The streets are paved, and lighted with gas from works erected under an act of parliament, obtained in 1824, for the improvement of the town; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from copious springs in the vicinity, conveyed by works established under an act in 1816. A mechanics' institution was founded in 1825, and in 1835 an appropriate building was erected for its use, at an expense of £1050, of which £200 were raised by subscription, and the remainder by a proprietary; the building contains a reading-room, a spacious lecture-room, and a library of 1000 volumes. The worsted manufacture is carried on extensively; and there are two establishments for cotton-spinning, one of them erected about 1780, by Sir Richard Arkwright: a great part of the machinery used in the factories is made in the town; there are two paper-mills, and several large corn-mills. The worsted-stuffs are chiefly sent to the Bradford market. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes within a mile, and, in connexion with other lines, opens a direct communication through Yorkshire and Lancashire with the eastern and western sea-ports. The Leeds and Bradford Extension railway, which connects the West riding with the town of Colne, in Lancashire, was opened as far as Keighley, in March, 1847. The market, which is abundantly supplied with provisions of all kinds, is on Wednesday, and there is a market for cattle every alternate Tuesday; fairs for cattle and merchandise are held on the 8th and 9th of May, and the 7th, 8th, and 9th of November. A very commodious market-place was erected in 1833, on land owned by the lord of the manor, by a proprietary of £25 shareholders. Petty-sessions are held on the last Wednesday in every month, in the court-house, a neat building erected at an expense of £700, in 1831. The powers of the county debt-court of Keighley, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Keighley. The town is a polling place for the West riding of the county.

The parish comprises about 10,160 acres, of which 2000 are peat moor; the soil in the valleys is rich, and in profitable cultivation. The surface is diversified with hills, and the low grounds are watered by numerous rapid streams, descending from the moors, and winding their course into the river Aire; the rugged summits of the hills, the acclivities of which are covered with blue heath, contrast finely with the luxuriant verdure of the vales, and the view of the town, as seen from the several heights, is strikingly romantic. The substratum is partly of the coal formation, alternated with sandstone; and near the town are found large blocks of granite, deeply imbedded in the soil. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £21. 0. 7½., and in the gift of the Duke of Devonshire: the tithes have been commuted for £220, and the glebe comprises 25 acres. The church, an ancient structure modernised in 1710, was rebuilt in 1807, and again very recently. A church, dedicated to St. John, was erected in 1841, at Paper-Mill Bridge, about a mile from the town, on the Halifax road, at an expense of £2500, towards which a society granted £400, and the Earl of Burlington gave the site and £100; it is a neat structure in the Norman style, with a tower, after a design by Mr. Rawstorne, of Bradford, and contains 750 sittings. The living is in the gift of the Bishop of Ripon. Two Church districts, named respectively Eastwood and Oakworth, were formed in 1844, and endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The church for the latter district, called Christ church, was consecrated in November, 1846, and is in the style prevailing in the 12th century; the sittings are all free. Each of the two livings is in the alternate gift of the Crown and the Bishop. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Primitive Methodists, Swedenborgians, and Wesleyans, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The free grammar school was founded, and endowed with a house and garden for the master, and with other houses and lands now producing £162 per annum, by John Drake. Adjoining is a preparatory school, the master of which has a salary of £40, arising from a house and land bequeathed by Jonas Tonson, in 1716. Isaac Bowcock, of Tong, in 1669, bequeathed property now yielding £320 yearly, for apprenticing children, and for distribution among the poor. The union of Keighley contains a population of 36,175, and comprises 6 parishes or places.

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