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Craven and the Northwest Highlands

Harry Speight
Published Elliot Stock, London, 1892

Harry Speight (1855-1915) was a Bradford local historian and genealogist who wrote a considerable number of interesting books about the Dales and West Yorkshire. His writing is considerably more reliable than the works of many other Victorian authors, though at times a little flowery, and containing some unsubstantiated local tales. Some of his writings were also published under the name Johnnie Gray, for example Through Airedale - from Goole to Malham.

The three chapters from his book Craven and the Northwest Highlands which concern Malhamdale are reproduced here.


Otterburn - Gomersall family - A local poet - Otterburn Hall - Monastic cell at Otterburn -  Drift hills - Post-glacial lake - Opening of pre-historic barrow -  Description of contents  - Remains of ancient ring-dwellings - Traces of Open Field cultivation - Ancient name of Ryeloaf Hill - Danish Camp - Roman villa at Gargrave - Effect of anticlinals on landscape-Kirkby Malham - Stocks and Ducking Stool - Last use of Ducking Stool in Craven - Calton and General Lambert  - Calton in old times - Hanlith Hall - Hanlith Moor - Ancient barrow - Unique glacial boulder - Malham.

There are a few things of interest, chiefly antiquities, lying between Gargrave and Otterburn and Malham, that have not apparently hitherto been noticed. I therefore propose another prospecting tramp with Mr. W. Gomersall, of Otterburn, than whom no one is better acquainted with the locality. As the surveyor of the district under the Game Act of 1875, and also as a practised geologist, possessing one of the best self-obtained collections of local fossils I have seen, he knows, perfectly, every inch of the ground. His family originally sprang from Gomersal, in the Spen Valley, where he was born ; his uncle, Lieut.-Col. Gomersall, being a much-respected officer under Wellington in the Napoleonic wars. His father, about 1820, purchased an estate at Otterburn, and the son William, then a boy of three, was brought up a gentleman farmer, a pursuit he has followed ever since. Mr. Gomersall has always been a keen sportsman, whether in the hunt, or with the rod or gun, and though now past his 70th year, is still active and vivacious, and I hope he will pardon me saying, can jump a wall or run a race with the best man of his years in the country. He knows the Dale country intimately, and besides being an authority and an occasional writer on agricultural matters, is author of an interesting and excellently-written brochure entitled Hunting in Craven. The village, or rather hamlet, of Otterburn is very prettily placed on the banks of the crystal Otter, and is, as near as possible, situated in the centre of the Deanery of Craven. In the following descriptive stanza, the aspects of the place are very happily hit off :

Straight I tell thy place of hiding,
Heart of Craven!
With thy seven rustic hearths,
With thy seven apple garths.  -
Triple byways thither turn,
Link themselves across the burn ;
Ivied bridge their trysting place,
Where the lindens interlace ;
Where the sombre, sable yew
Veils the passer' s nearer view,
There I tell thee, there thou hidest,
Heart of Craven!

The writer of the above lines, the Rev. W. J. Gomersall, a son of the above Mr. Wm. Gomersall, who has been living now some time in London, is gifted in no ordinary degree with the feeling and capabilities of the true poet. He has recently written the following very beautiful poem, which I am tempted to quote, as besides containing many local allusions of interest, it is, I think, one of the most sympathetic and exquisite compositions in verse ever penned by a native of the Craven Dales. The lines are entitled,


On receiving one from my daughter Sibyl during her sojourn in Craven after a dangerous illness  - a reminiscence of April 22nd, 1891.

Awake, sweet bloom, that sleep'st between
The leaflets my young love has sent
From where skies weave an April tent
O'er Otter's gently sloped ravine.

Fair visitant, no tongue of earth
Makes vocal what thou tellest me
Of Love's unconscious tyranny :
Love plucked thee from thy place of birth.

'Twas only Love's despotic hand
That doomed - forgive what Love hath done,
For thou fresh cords of love hast spun
Betwixt me and my native land-

That beauteous land which thou hast left:-
Oh ! can it be thy comrades there,
Who gild the slope and glad parterre,
Are pained to think that thou art reft!

That thou must perish far away
From meadows of thy golden reign?
The joy thou giv'st would turn to pain,
Were grief to fret thy gentle clay!

Shar'st thou the law that plants a cross
In human breast?  - We cannot prove,
In things that live and breathe and move
As thou, what echoes of our loss

Throb through creation's lower life,
In language we can never hear,
Sounds that come not our senses near,
Insensate they by sin and strife;

Yet heard by thee and all earth's flowers:
I would not do thee conscious wrong,
For thou hast stirred a patriot's song
By leaving thus thy native bowers

To waft me home where Sibyl's feet
Skim the bright meads thou once dids't bless,
Till Fancy shares the fond caress
Which greets my child when loved ones meet;

Till Fancy seems with them to wind
From croft to croft, from hill to hill,
Ay, even sees a tear distil,
As some old joy comes back to mind;

Till Fancy seems with them to stand,
Enthroned amidst the clustered hills,
And hears the song of distant rills
Come wafting up the shadowed land!

* * * * * * *

'Tis eve !  - and now we pass the wood,
The bridge, the minnow-haunted stream-
Sweet bloom, thou bring'st a pleasant dream,
For hark 1 the voice of Otter's flood

Floats through my brain this April night  -
I see familiar Sharp Haw loom
Majestic through the crescent gloom,
And Rylstone's legendary height,

And Ryeloaf's top, like temple dome,
Whence runlet raptures hie them down
To Otter's little hamlet town
Sweet bloom, thine and my native home!

Little more than fifty years ago the country about Otterburn looked bare and cold, but by judicious planting it wears now quite a sylvan aspect. The old Hall was for many years occupied by Mr. William Nightingale, the celebrated coursing judge, who farmed something near a thousand broad acres in the district. He was an ardent sportsman, and hunting to him was something more than "furious riding after a nasty smell," for nothing pleased him better than the invigorating life in the open air, rural sights and sounds, and all the picturesque and gladsome adjuncts of the chase, - the music of the huntsman's horn, the scarlet-coated horsemen, the hounds in full cry, and the sound-winded jocund troops on foot! Among the latter might once have been seen old "Bobby" Ash, of Otterburn, a tall, hale, lithe old chap, who didn't look half his age, but who had just tapped at the door of the century, when he was taken away in February, 1888.

Otterburn, five hundred years ago, contained fourteen families, two of which, according to the Poll Tax of 1379, kept servants, but the principal taxpayer in the township at that time was the blacksmith, John Bollington, who paid 6d., while every other householder was assessed at 4d.

In monastic times it was mostly abbey land, held by the monks of Fountains and Bolton. In connection with the last-named monastery mention is made in the Calend. Rot. Chartarum, or Charter Rolls of the time of Edward II., of Radolphus de Otterburne, who held lands at Otterburn and Malham, and whose daughter married one of the Claphams. The monks had probably a chapel or cell here, as there was a Ricardus, clericus de Otterburne, cont. Ebor, living in the time of Henry III.

The dale on this side of Settle lies on the eastern watershed of England, and is remarkable for the many curious rounded grassy hillocks, which are especially numerous and of large size in the neighbourhood of Gargrave, Coniston, and Hellifield. They are often thrown up as much as 150 feet above the land on which they lie, and are often, too, as many feet long or wide, being composed of loose gravel and sand and ice transported stones (some over a ton in weight) that speak of the time when enormous glaciers descended from the north moors and from Ribblesdale, a few miles beyond. A section of any of the mounds shews that the largest embedded boulders do not lie at the bottom, but that they remain at all elevations throughout the mass. Undulating shales and stratified limestone form the base on which the deposits rest; the contour and composition of which are well seen in the numerous railway cuttings in the district.

The pasture land between Bell Busk and Otterburn has no doubt once been a large lake, and is still low and swampy. In July 1881, when the greatest local flood, perhaps, of this century occurred, it was a sight not to be forgotten. With the exception of a bit of low wall peeping up here and there, the scene presented was that of a permanent, deep lake, about whose far-extending surface wild water-birds were skimming and diving as if it had been an old familiar haunt.

Mr. Gomersall took me to see one of the large natural grassy mounds, just mentioned, which he and Mr. Tiddeman discovered on Nov. 4th, 1885, to have been appropriated at a remote period for sepulchral purposes. It lies in a field close to the left of the road going from Otterburn to Hellifield (21/2 miles), and less than a mile from the former place. It is soon recognised, although, - and the pity is, it has been cut through for the sake of the fine sand and gravel it contains, and now only about half its circumference remains. It is incidentally noticed by Pennant in his Tour from Downing to Alston Moor (1801). It was a perfect circle, about 30 yards round, and one of the finest and most shapely barrows in the whole district. It had evidently been trimmed by the ancient peoples before conversion into a lodgment for the ashes of the dead.

Two large earthenware urns were found in it, buried from one to two feet below the surface. The largest was quite plain and measured 12 inches in height and 10 3/4 inches in its upper diameter. It seems to have been a reliquary of some early hunter or warrior celebrated in the arts of war. It contained a very good copper knife or dagger, of lanceolate-leaf shape, and pierced with a single rivet hole, and there was also a sharp-pointed bone, like a packing needle, 3 inches long, with a hole at the thick end, and another small object or copper-fastening, the use of which cannot be exactly defined. (A similar knife-dagger has been found at Driffield, in Yorkshire. See Dr. Evans' Ancient Bronze Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain and Ireland, (1881) page 224.)

The other urn contained a similar piece of thin metal binding. This vessel was made of a badly-tempered clay, and was much broken and rotten, and measured perhaps 10 inches in height and 8 inches through. Its collar was ornamented with rude dots, extending 2 1/2 inches down the sides. The urns were separated from each other by a space of 45 inches from centre to centre, and lay along a line E.N.E. and W.S.W., each being covered with a stone slab. On removing the latter, some broken and rudely-ornamented potsherds were discovered, as well as a smaller and very perfect urn, of bowl shape, impressed with diagonal lines; and the base of another, upside down, covering calcined bones of a human subject.

A few months previous to these discoveries, Mr, Hargreaves, junr., of Wenningber, the adjoining farm, found loose in the gravel a very beautiful incised gem of amethystine quartz, which Dr. Evans, F.R.S. President of the Society of Antiquaries, pronounces to be of good Roman workmanship. It depicts a figure holding in one hand a long wand or stick, with a ball at each end, and some shorter or thicker object in the other. The subject is difficult to interpret. Close beside it there was also found a thin silver coin, both articles, though of widely-differing age, having evidently fallen from the surface on disturbing the soil. The coin is an Irish penny of Henry III., struck at Dublin, and, says Dr. Evans, not very common. It reads "HENRICUS REX III., AND RICARD ONDIVE"  - Richard on Divelin  - Richard at Dublin being the moneyer. It was probably dropped by its 13th century owner.

Formerly, along the top of the barrow there was a rectangular trench, its longest diameter lying east and west, with an outlet on its north side about three feet wide. A portion of this outlet still remains perfect, but, as stated, the whole mound has been greatly despoiled. It is a pity indeed that there is no acting society, or anyone apparently responsible for the preservation of, at any rate, the more uncommon of these sepulchral mounds. They are of great historic value, and at all times are objects of genuine interest to the intelligent traveller. On crossing the fields a few hundred yards to the south we come to a well-preserved circular enclosure. At first sight it looks as if the artificially-raised bank had originally been intended to support a circle of stones, but this has probably been formed with the object only of resisting the thrust of poles, used in the construction of a tent by some long forgotten family. The interior diameter of the circle is 27 feet, and the sloping bank forming it is 5 feet through at the base and 3 feet across the top. It is two to three feet high, with an opening at the north-west angle 4 feet wide. Mr. Gomersall tells me that he has dug about several parts of the enclosure but discovered nothing. It occupies a commanding position, and in looking north is right opposite Otterburn Hall.

A little south again, in the Crane Fields, about midway between Crane Field Lathe and a conspicuous row of trees on the field slope, about a half-mile N.W. of Bonber farm-house, is another similar, but less perfect, enclosure. It is 27 feet inside diameter, and 5 feet across the base of the bank, but this has been partly cut through in old times by the plough, as indications of ancient furrows and trenches in these fields, once waving with corn, or green with potato tops, abundantly Troves. The remains of a very much more perfect ring-dwelling lie about 100 yards S.E. of the last, and near the field bottom. This is again on the level, and precisely of the same dimensions as the others described, with an opening, or doorway at the north-west angle. In the South Field belonging to Otterburn Hall, about 300 yards south of the railway, and close to the fence, there is a sunk-dwelling, or shallow, circular pit, once deeper than now, but still noticeable and well-defined. It is 8 1/2 feet across, with a thick earth bank, 6 feet wide, round it, and trenched on its west side. In this field we perceive traces of furrows, and strips or reins belonging to the old Open Field system, indicative of a time when the ground was ploughed and produced a variety of crops. Many of these pit and ring-dwellings have doubtless been filled up and destroyed hereabouts from this cause. An old road ran along the north side of these old plough-lands, and this single shallow pit has escaped destruction owing, no doubt, to its lying contiguous to the road. They are all, I think, referable to the period when Baal worship prevailed in Craven, as previously explained in this work, and also in my Airedale book in connection with Baildon and Bell Busk.

Accompanied by Mr. Gomersall on another occasion we left Otterburn for Hanlith Moor and Malham by a route, perhaps, better imagined than described. Walls and brooks are, of course, minor obstacles, but when it comes to worming yourself through stout quickset hedges, discretion indeed, had proved to us the better part of valour. However, when two or more ardent investigators mean "business," the hazards of the route are not to be thought of. The view from Otterburn Bridge is very pleasing, with, northwards, the round top of Ryeloaf filling the background, and looking, as my companion observed, like the dome of St. Paul's! It rises on the watershed of England, its western becks draining into the Irish Sea, and its eastern into the German Ocean. I wonder how many people, - old natives even, know the real name of this fancifully-caricatured mountain? My friend seemed astonished when I told him that originally, and in old maps, it was called Inglehow. There is a smack of the old beacon or summit-fire in its designation, which, I make no doubt, originated, like Ingleborough, the name of the hill.

The stream that comes down from its south-western slopes and joins the Otterburn Beck near the Pot House, a little above the picturesque Lumb cascade, was and is also called Ingle Beck still, but the mountain, from some supposed resemblance to a baker's form of rye-loaf, has been so-called past the recollection of the oldest inhabitant. The Roman Camp at Stockdale Lane end, above Settle, lay only two miles to the west, and this prominent height, which commands a view westwards even as far as the Irish Sea, was, doubtless, utilized as a signal to warn the garrison on the approach of an enemy. There were other camps to the south and east, but these will be referred to presently.

Proceeding from Otterburn Bridge northwards along an occupation road, which emerges into a field-path above the east bank of the beck, and within view of the cascade above mentioned, we ascend about 100 yards from the path into a field on the right, called Firbank, which was all open moor prior to the enclosure effected in 1813. Here there is a substantial outline of another of these level ring-dwellings, but much smaller in its dimensions than those above described. It is excellently preserved. Its internal diameter is 12 feet, and the sloping bank, formed apparently for the double purpose of protection and adaptation to withstand the thrust of poles for the tent, is 5 feet through at the base and 3 feet at the top. There is likewise an opening or doorway 3 feet wide on the south-west side. A little higher up, at an elevation of about 750 feet, and close to the west side of the fence dividing the townships of Airton and Otterburn, is a large and tolerably well-defined earthwork, very suggestive by its position and shape of an ancient camp. The rampart on the west side is from 10 feet to 15 feet deep, and the enclosure, which is in the form of an ellipse, is about 200 feet in diameter. The site is an exceptionally good one, commanding as it does a wide extent of country, open to all points of the compass. The cairns on Ryeloaf, Kirkby Fell, Pike Daw, the majestic front of Malham Cove, the cairn on Gordale Crag, the bare summit of the Weets, the rocky top of Cracoe Fell, Norton Tower, the far-off silvery-gleaming cascade in Waterfall Gill, Rylstone, Flasby Fell, Cold Weather Fell, Pendle Hill, Whelpstone Crag, and Tosside Moor, are comprehended within the circle of this beautiful and extensive panorama.

Almost due east, 4 miles off, is the similarly-shaped camp on Scarnber, and at a shorter distance south that on Steeling Hill, west of Coniston. All these I take to be Danish. The principal vill of the parish, Kirkby, close to, was unmistakably a Danish settlement, and had probably not been wrested from the Anglo-Saxons without a hard fight. The first church was most likely destroyed by them. Moreover, the form of castrametation, (which, however, cannot always be relied on in this district), the absence of any discoveries of Roman or other relics, and the proximity of the undoubted Roman camp on High Hill, also favour this belief. The Romans appear to have swept the higher ground to the north, crossing Malham Moor from Wharfedale by the streets into Ribblesdale, and by Ebor* Gate on High Side to the camp above Settle. (*Mr. Morrison, M.P., of Tarn House, is inclined to regard this spelling as misleading on the Ordnance Map, and that it is more likely to be from the old parish family of Heber than from the Latin name of York. The "Gate" is at the junction of three large parishes, viz., Settle, Long Preston, and Kirkby Malham, but how the name has originated it seems now hard to say. The Hebers held various scattered lands at Airton, Calton, and Malham, and also in Langstrothdale, at Littondale Head, but whether at any time their possessions extended to this point I have not yet been able to discover. In two fines for the years 1542 and 1544 Thomas Hayber, of Elslack, appears as plaintiff, and John Lambert, of Calton, as deforciant, regarding certain properties at Skipton, Calton, Airton, Malham. &c., and certain rights of pasturage in West Marton, and free hunting, fishing, and hawking through the whole of East and West Marton.)

The magnificent and palatial Roman Villa at Gargrave (the gorgeous floor-tiles of which were unearthed in the middle of last century), doubtless the temporary refuge of Agricola and the Emperors who visited Craven in the first and second centuries, was not contiguous to any Roman highway ; the warm and sheltered site having been chosen for its comparative seclusion and safety. It is quite certain that the more powerful and defiant hordes of Brythonic Celts, not to be overcome or influenced by Roman arms and style, retreated to the caves and to the remote high lands, where, all through the Roman occupation, they continued to live and to die, and were buried in accordance with the familiar rites of their ancestors. No doubt many instances of treachery and revolt took place amongst those sympathising native Britons, who were in the yoke of the Roman usurpers, especially when they offered help and food in times of stress and famine, which, as is well known, were of frequent occurrence in these barbarous and inhospitable regions.

In walking from the camp towards Kirkby Malham, we have favourable opportunities for observing the effects of the limestone anticlinals, or foldings of the rocks, in shaping the landscape. They produce a succession of undulating, highly-inclined lines, having an easterly and westerly range with a dip north, frequently of 80° to 90°, or almost vertical. In one or two places the stone has been quarried and burned for lime on the spot. Crossing Scosthrop Lane, and following the path onward into Kirkby Gill, we descend to the other side of the ravine, where there are deep exposures of the Yoredale beds, with their alternating shales, inclined at a sharp angle in the same direction, north. On the north side of the stream above, where it shallows out, there is an old "stinking" well. The water, which is strongly impregnated with sulphur, is frequently resorted to, and is said to have the same beneficial effects, when drunk, as the waters at Harrogate.

Lingering about the picturesque little village of Kirkby, with its fine old church (a garrison in the Parliamentary Wars) and memorials of Cromwell and Lambert, I was shewn by Mr. Gomersall what seems to have escaped the notice of every observer here, namely, the remains of the old parish stocks. They are buried in rank grass and nettles, and concealed by the west wall of the bridge, on the north side of the stream, opposite the inn. How long they have been there, and whence they were removed, no one now seems to know exactly.

Another form of punishment, not previously mentioned, in vogue at Kirkby in the "good old days" was the ducking-stool. But this was practised not on women scolds only, as was usually the case in our villages, but the sterner sex, too, came in for a share of its operations, as the last trial proves: This was at the School Dub, where the chair was fixed to a moving beam, suspended over the water in the usual fashion. The incident is hardly now within living recollection, but the facts are vouched for, and they relate probably to the last use of the ducking stool in Craven. The victims were "Cappy" Trotter, of Kirkby, and his wife, who were taken, according to the writ, and chained back to back, and then well soused amid the huzzas and general approbation of a crowd of onlookers. Trotter was a tailor and cap-maker, and applied to have his wife ducked as a scold. He felt sure of his case, but the neighbours thought differently. We have all heard what the raven said to the crow - " Psha ! Get out of that you blackamoor," forgetting that he himself, was of the same sable hue. The magistrates listened attentively to the complaint, and came to the conclusion that both were guilty, and that neither was one shade better than the other. So they, much to Cappy's dismay, ordered a joint infliction. (No record of anyone called Trotter has been found in any Malhamdale records to date. Ed.)

Calton, by the way, on the other side of the Aire, was the home of General Lambert, Commissary General of the northern army during the Civil Wars, and to whose military genius the successes of Cromwell and the strange turn of events at that tempestuous period is in large measure owing. Lambert died a political exile in Guernsey some three years after the Restoration. The old Hall which he occupied was accidentally burnt down in the lifetime of his son, and eventually replaced by the present white house built about 80 years ago on its site. The whole township of Calton was at one time parcelled out amongst the three prosperous abbeys of Fountains and Bolton, in Yorkshire, and Dereham, in Norfolk. Fountains held the water corn-mill at Scosthrop, valued in 1540 at 40s. On the dissolution of religious houses, the manor of Calton and a portion of the lands were acquired by John Lambert, who lived at Calton, and was a J.P. of the West Riding, and grandfather of the great General. There appears to have been a chapel here, as I find mention of a William de Calton, clericus, in the following deed relating to a feoffment of land, &c., in the adjoining townships. This ancient decree, which was witnessed at Kirkby-Malham in the year 1380, is interesting also for the several local names it bears :

Willus de Calton, cler.. Johes Couper, Robtus Carter, capellani, dedimus Johani Malhome, &c., omnia tras, &c., que hemus ex feoffamento p' dicti Johis in villis de Haghenleeth [Hanlith], Kirkby. Otterburne, Flastby, Preston, Smethon, Notton, Darrthington, Wadsworth, and Thorpe. Testib. Willo de Rilstone, Henrico de Pudsey, Nicho de Scardburgh, Willo de Daine, Willo Scorchbuf. Dat apd Kirkby die Jovis p'ximu post f'm sci Trinitas, 3 Ric. II.

There are several places in this vicinity which still bear the name of this mediaeval chapel, as Chapel Fell and Chapel Laithe. The latter is stated by the inhabitants of the district to have been built of the stones of an ancient chapel, of which all recollection has perished. There was also a public-house here in 1379, as appears by the returns of the Poll Tax.

From Kirkby we have now to cross the river and ascend the Moor Lane by Hanlith Hall, a picturesque old seat, long the home of the Serjeantson family. My companion, Mr. Gomersall, remembers that at the marriage in 1850 of Mr. Wharton Wilson, the present baronet of Eshton Hall, he and his bride took up their residence here for some little time. The event was celebrated by Mr. Wilson accepting the mastership of the Craven Harriers, and on his removing afterwards to the south of England he held a like position in connection with the Vale of the White Horse.

In about 11/4 miles we arrive at a newly-erected gate across the lane, which we have to open and get over a stile on the left about 30 yards above the gate. At the top of the field here, and not far from the unenclosed moor, there is a circular earthen mound or barrow. It appears at some time or other to have been dug into, for there is an opening two or three feet across, now partially filled up, in the centre of the heap. The base of the outer circle is 40 yards round, the bank of earth being 10 feet from the outer base to the middle of the bank top, which is 50 feet in circumference at the top of the bank, and owing to the excavations in the middle gives it the appearance of a "ring dwelling." Its position here would seem to indicate a late Celtic origin. The elevation is about 1000 feet above sea level, and it looks north full into the dark Gordale glen.

Hence, a descent may be made by way of Hanlith Gill, at the northwest corner, where the wood is thinnest, and crossing the stream where the Yoredale shales overlying the grits, thrown down by the Fault forming Malham Cove and co-extending line of scars, are bared in fine section by the perpetual abrasion of the descending waters. Going along the fields towards Malham we soon enter Geld Flats Lane, and in the field on the left, about 80 yards above the Gordale Beck, is a splendid and almost unique example of an ice-transported boulder of Silurian conglomerate. It is composed of hundreds of rounded fragments of Silurian grits and limestone, cemented together with carbonate of lime, and forming a curious-looking "pudding-stone." It appears to have been partially destroyed or, perhaps, reduced in size by the disintegrating action of the weather. Its longest axis lies east and west, and its present (1891) measurements are : length 5 feet, height 3 feet 9 inches, thickness at base 2 feet, and at top 1 foot 6 in. An examination of the surrounding walls, as also of the fences on the road between Kirkby and Malham, shews that there have been similar blocks of conglomerate deposited in this neighbourhood, and which are all the silent witnesses of a time when the whole of Malham Moor, and the high land around was a vast winding-sheet of frozen snow, when a huge glacier descended this dale towards Bell Busk and Gargrave, and gradually retreating northwards, left great tongues of ice in the Gordale glen and the deep passes about Malham, depositing these boulders and gravel on their tracks. To see this remarkable relic requires only a few minutes' walk from Malham. Go up Finkle Street and on Geld Flats Lane (round by Lister's photo-studio) about 200 yards, and in the field on the right, about 50 yards from the wall, the stone will be found in position, where it has stood for thousands of years. It is a great curiosity, and it is to be hoped that it will be preserved.


Physical and medical aspects of Malham - Family of Malham - Ancient homestead - Inns - Unexplored caves - Skirethorns bone cave - Plants - Additions to British lichens - Birds of Malham Moor - Bordley - An old grange of the Fountains monks - Bordley Hall and the Procters - Ancient chapel and burial ground - Confiscation of estates for murder - Ancient stone circle - Walk to Grassington - Pre-historic camp and tumuli.

MALHAM, in spite of its 640 feet of elevation, is both physically and medically well circumstanced. (The reader must not understand this to imply a plethora of local medical practitioners. We refer to the life-giving properties of the air. The district will not maintain a single doctor ; the nearest being at Settle and at Gargrave, and in cases of urgency a mounted horseman must be despatched, which means a roughish journey out and home of twelve to fifteen miles!) It is situated in the shelter of that stupendous limestone barrier of beetling crags, which, extending from Ingleton through Austwick eastwards to Wharfedale, forms what is known to geologists as the Mid Craven Fault, and which at Malham culminates in two of the most magnificent scenic wonders in the north of England, the Cove and Gordale Scar. This natural amphitheatre of towering hills and rocks protects the village from every gale but the south, so that at all seasons it receives the full advantage of the sun. The air is mild yet bracing, and that it is exceptionally pure is evidenced by the survival of certain local maritime and Arctic plants, which have retained their habitats with surprising vigour through all the atmospheric vicissitudes and climatic changes of unnumbered ages. Malham gave name to a family of ancient renown, some of the early members of which doubtless had a residence here. They were officers in the Royal cause during the Civil Wars, and their estates here were afterwards alienated to the Listers, now represented by the noble house of Ribblesdale. The family of Malham has long been extinct. Whitaker says that William de Malham married a daughter of John Feghers, or Fezar, and this William I find in the Escheat Rolls, preserved at the Record Office, held lands in the time of Edward II. at "Malhom, Calton, Ayrton, Eston, Gargrave, Conystone, et Foghisser [Fogga.]" The extensive properties in East and West Malham were originally part of the Percy Fee, and passing through various owners were ultimately acquired by the monks of Bolton and Fountains, as explained in my Airedale work. An old corn-mill at Malham came into the possession of the monks of Fountains through Sir John le Aleman, Kt., in the time of John, or early in the reign of Henry III.

There was a good old house at Malham with fine Tudor mullions, standing in the early part of this century near some old yew trees a little way up Finkle Street, but nothing remains of it now but portions of foundations, and a door-lintel, inscribed 1634 HL, which is built into the wall at the junction of Finkle Street with Dead Man's Lane. The old Prior Hall and Deer Park enclosure are just above it. Possibly this house was built by the Listers, and is on the site of a still older one. For a retired country place like Malham, five miles from the nearest railway-station at Bell Busk, and dependent largely on tourist traffic, the accommodation is both ample and excellent. There are two inns and a good temperance hotel, besides a number of smaller houses where clean and comfortable private lodgings can be obtained for any length of time. There has, no doubt, been an inn at Malham many centuries. That there was a public-house here at any rate as early as the reign of Richard II looks likely by the tax of 12d., levied in 1379, upon Richard Wilkokson and his wife, who must have leased it probably with some land at Malham.
(In 1496, Henry Preston, a freeholder, held a toft, a croft, and an oxgang of land of the abbot, " in Malham, quondam Ricardi Willokson, filii Willielmi de Malham," by military service, suit of court, and the payment of 6d. Huby's Rent.. p. 21. Richard Wylcokson was the tenant in 1361. Reg. Rent. f. 187. One Richard Waylok then also resided here. Ibid. 187b  - Surtees Soc. Pub. vol. 42, p. 367.)
There was no inn then at Kirkby.

The principal inn, the Buck, doubtless received its name when the shaggy-horned monarchs of the glen roamed the adjoining hills and corries. It may not be generally known that the admirably-executed sign of this inn, as well as those of the Swan and Grouse, at Gargrave, were painted many years ago by Sir M. Wharton Wilson, Bart., of Eshton Hall.

The district of Malham is now so well known, that I shall forbear bursting into rhapsodies on the merits of the Cove and great Scar at Gordale, as well as of the innumerable other sights and panoramic prospects of various entertainment to the visitor. This is singularly no neighbourhood for explorable caves, for beyond the well-known little Fairy Hole at the waterfall, dedicated to the Queen of the Malhamdale fairies, one Janet or Jennet, there is no accessible cavern in the immediate district. That the limestone is fretted with many and curious underground channels, and possibly some chambers of large extent, goes without saying, but these have not yet been revealed to human gaze. It is even believed that behind Malham Cove there is an immense vault, and several elongated openings in the mountain which conceal the mysterious courses of the Aire, one of whose tributaries bubbles into daylight at the foot of the majestic Cove. There are also appearances of an extensive cavern to the west of Malham, beyond Gordale in the direction of Lee Gate, for in going up the road towards Lee Gate, as far as the road that turns over Calton Moor, and about 100 yards up the field on the left, there is a low narrow opening in the limestone, and when stones are thrown into it the echo and noise of their reboundings may be heard some time afterwards. There are also couple of low holes on the north side of Malham Tarn, and in a pasture called Long Close, above Skirethorns, there is an orifice, now choked with earth and clay, which may prove to be a bone-cave. A little to the south, near Height Farm, is the recently-opened cavern in a small ferny cliff of limestone, in which has been found bones and teeth of various animals and birds, as well as evidences of human occupation in the immediate neighbourhood. The cave, which is situate at an altitude of about 1200 feet, has not been fully excavated yet. This is a rich district for plants, a fact that is well known among naturalists all over the kingdom, and also abroad. Even the unprofessed wanderer over the hills and scars will find the profusion of certain kinds here a feature that cannot but arrest attention. In flowering plants, mosses, and lichens, the district abounds in great variety, and also in some species which, singularly, have not been found elsewhere on these elevated and similarly-disposed rocky regions. To the list of lichens given in my work on Airedale, I have pleasure in adding the following recent local discoveries, which are new to the British Islands, and are described in manuscript by Dr. Wm. Nylander, of Paris.

(A detailed description of the plants has been translated by Mr. Abraham Shackleton and Mr. Thos. Hebden, and appears in the Naturalist for Jan., 1892.)

Verrucaria Malhamensis, on damp, shady rocks near the ground at Malham and Gordale; V. spurcella, on limestone walls, ditto; V. cataleptoides, f. ferruginosa, and V. limitata, on limestone crags, Malham; V. peloclita f. continuella, on damp rocks, Malham; Lecidea (Biatora) rubidula, on limestone crags, Malham and Gordale*.
(*Much speculation has arisen from time to time respecting the meaning of Gordale. I venture the opinion that it is from the Celtic gorw, rugged or rough, thus Gordale is the rugged or rough dale. It may, however, be derived from the Danish word geir, which is used in Denmark to denote a narrow slip of ground. The old Dane-named thoroughfare, Finkle Street, (D. viscid, crooked) moreover, winds out of Malham to Gordale.)

The very rare lichen Leptogium fluviatile, it is interesting to know; still occurs "in the stream Malham." It was originally discovered by the celebrated Dr. Richardson, F.R.S., an ancestor of the Richardson-Currer family of Eshton Hall, &c., in 1724, and it has since been frequently noted and recorded by botanists in the same spot. It is generally in fruit about the month of June.

In birds, too, there is plenty of life and interest on these wild uplands. About Malham Tarn may generally be seen the shy waterhen, and flocks of teals and coots, and sometimes a few mallards will be observed. The beautiful little grebe and marsh-loving redshank are said to nest regularly in the vicinity of the tarn, and on one occasion, at least, the rare tufted-duck has likewise done so. The ring ouzel, wheatear, partridge, snipe, red grouse, golden plover, dunlin, lapwing, and curlew, also frequent the adjoining moors, and impart a singular yet acceptable feeling of companionship to the rambler in these impressive solitudes. Who is not familiar with the long-drawn, half-mournful, oft-repeated "pee-wit" of the lapwing as on steady wing the bird, or birds (it is said to be a foreboding of ill-luck when there are seven) follow close above the tourist's head while on tramp over the lonely fells? Or with the peculiar cry of the curlew, too, as with long beak and outspread wings, the alarmed bird sails sharply off and afar up, preferring a safe distance to the wanderer's presence?

Where the grey moor spreads wild and wide,

Afar the curlew's wind-borne whistle floats ;

Or where on level shore an ebbing tide

Leaves rippled sand-flats, soft the plaintive notes

Surprise the ear, while high on curving wing,

Speed the shy birds to some secluded spring !

The curlew is exceedingly shy and unapproachable, so much so that there is a saying in the Hebrides that to kill seven of these birds is enough for a sportsman's lifetime.

The chief "city" or capital of Malham Moors is Bordley, which is reached by a walk of about four miles from Malham village by Gordale Bridge and Lee Gate House. In these days of railroads and rapid communication, a more out-of-the-way spot for the site of a community of human dwellings could hardly be imagined. Surrounded by a billowy " sea " of wild, bleak fells, rising to the north to over 2000 feet in elevation, and on the road to nowhere in particular, it is one of those places which only the adventurous tourist in these parts is likely to discover, and probably more by chance than design, but now and again in a lifetime. It is, however, a very old and productive settlement, having been tenanted in Saxon times, and at the Conquest held by one Suartcol, who had the manor, comprising a couple of profitable carucates, and who also held the manor of Hetton. (Bordley, hitherto an independent, though the smallest, township in the Union, has recently been disfranchised, and linked again with the old manor of Hetton. It retains its guardian, however, until March, 1893.)

When the monks and herdsmen attached to Fountains Abbey had their flocks on Fountains Fell and the surrounding moors, they often frequented this remote hamlet, making it their occasional home, and where they had a large grange and chapel. For journeys were regularly made by them to and from the distant abbey, by way of Kilnsey, (where the annual sheep-shearings took place) and across the high moors on which Bordley stands, and where also their spacious Bercary or Shepherds' Lodge formerly stood. Although the village is high and exposed, and, contrary to its shade suggesting Domesday name, Borelaie, is unprotected by woods and hedgerows, at an altitude of over 1200 feet above the sea, yet the place is well farmed, and its rich meadow-lands, Mr. Gomersall tells us, can fatten a beast between November and May without the aid of cake and corn, and some of whose limestone pastures can send fat wethers of 25 lb. per quarter to market in the Autumn on similar conditions. It used to be a more important place than it is now, and had a good many more houses, especially during the time when, about a century ago, the Autumn cattle fair was held on Boss Moor (1100 feet), a little way off to the south. There was then an old-established public-house, called the Waste inn, at the head of the lane leading from Malham and Settle to Kilnsey and Grassington, and close to Bordley, but there are no traces of it now.

The Procters were the principal family located at Bordley in ancient times, and some of their descendants now live at Rylstone. They lived at Bordley Hall, above the beck side, which is now let, but still their property. The Fells and Tennants were also settled here at an early period, and all these families are perpetuated in the district by such names of places as Procter's High Mark, Tennant Gill, Fells' Land, &c. In the Feet of Fines for the year 1596, I find certain parties to a transfer of property were Thos. Fell and Richd. Sheffeld (plaintiffs), and John Tenant and Anthony Fell (deforciants), regarding "two messuages with lands in Bordeley, Kilnesaye, and Arnecliffe, and the moiety of a watermill in Arnecliffe." Other early transactions of a similar nature between these families also occur.

The Procters were a family of great consequence in monastic days, and were connected with the wealthy monastery at Fountains. They were at first tenants of the monks, and sometime after the dissolution of the Abbey acquired a large portion of their estates. In 1596-7, Stephen Procter, of Warsell, near Ripon, an officer in the court of Elizabeth and James I., and who was knighted at the Tower of London in 1603-4, purchased from the Greshams the whole manor and lordship of Fountains, and certain other premises, for the sum of £4500. Some years afterwards, in 1611, Sir Stephen erected, at a cost of £3000, Fountains Hall, which was built out of the ruins of the Abbot's house. The Procters settled at Bordley probably towards the end of the 15th century, and have resided there almost uninterruptedly since. The old Hall at Bordley appears to have been re-built, according to a date at the back of the house, in 1749. It was formerly much larger, and had seven entrances, but there are now only two. There was a private chapel attached to the Hall, where the family were wont to welcome their monkish guests, and where doubtless many a prayer of thanksgiving has been heard, for safely-ended journeys across these savage fells. Attached to the chapel was a grave-yard, now known as Chapel Garth, from which several tombstones have been removed, and since used as flagstones for the barn floor.

A very interesting will of an early member of the Bordley family, one Geoffrey Procter, who died in 1524, is printed in the 5th volume of the Surtees Society's Publications. It is a quaint document, singularly elucidatory of the life and habits of the higher class of Craven yeomanry of the 15th and 16th centuries, but is unfortunately too long for quotation here. A grandson of this Geoffrey Procter, also named Geoffrey, lived at Malham, and purchased the manor of West Malham from the Greshams, to whom the said manor had been granted by deed dated Oct. 1st, 32nd Henry VIII. In the following year, 1541, he sold to John Lambert, the founder of the family at Calton, the house and land at Calton, and by fine passed in 1544 he and his wife Wenefreda, sold to one William Preston, four messuages with lands in Malham and Hanlith. It seems, however, that this Geoffrey Procter was executed at York in 1551, for the murder of Hugh Diconson, whereby his estates were forfeited to the Crown. (See “Memorials of Fountains Abbey,” Surtees Soc. Pub., vol. lxvii., p. 346)

By deed dated 16 May, 6th Edward VI., (1552,) the manor of West Malham, with 80 messuages, 80 cottages, 2 watermills, and 2 windmills, with lands there and in Arncliffe, was again sold to one James Altham.

To the north-east of Bordley, and near the long wall (at the second gate-way) that skirts the road past the Heights Cave to Skirethorns and Grassington, is a relic of the far-distant era, when warlike hordes of skin-clad Celts occupied these remote wastes during, and long after, the Roman invasion; preferring, as they did, their own mode of life and form of worship to that of the conquering usurpers. This pre-historic relic consists of a round stone and earthen mound, about 150 feet in circumference, and 3 feet high, and was formerly surrounded by a circle of upright stones, only three of which are now left standing. On one side was a large flat stone resting upon two others, and known as the Druid's Altar. On the adjoining land an ancient iron spear-head was found some years ago, and fragments of rudely-fashioned pottery have also from time to time been turned up in the same neighbourhood. Similar stone-encircled mounds have been found on the Yorkshire Wolds.

From this point the tourist is barely four miles from Grassington by a decent down-hill road. This is one of the prettiest and best known resorts in Wharfedale, and the charming and wondrously luxuriant Grass Woods (long may they remain !) there, are as great a feast to the eye of taste as they are a treasure-land of interest to the botanist ; in vegetable wealth, indeed, unrivalled by any similar area of woodland scenery in the shire of broad acres. At the last meeting of the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union at Grassington, on June 20th, 1891,  - a beautiful and unclouded day, ever to be remembered,  - above 180 species of flowering plants and ferns were noted in the course of the day's ramble, chiefly in these woods! But this is by no means exhaustive of everything that grows in this fairy-land of shrubs and flowers. The number might, by a close observer, be very nearly doubled. In a field called the High Close, above Grassington village, there are some ancient stone and earthen ramparts, which cover a considerable area. They are in two parts, in the plan of a Roman camp, and in the angles are several undoubted tumuli. These appear to be early British, and when examined may yield remains of the Roman-Celtic period. An old paved road can be traced upwards from the Wharfe by Scar Street, and through the village to the camp. Last autumn when at Grassington, I was told that while lately laying down water-pipes near Hardy Grange some portions of this old pavement had been dug into two feet below the surface. At Dry Gill about 6 miles from Grassington, on the Pateley Bridge road, are the celebrated Stump Cross Caverns. They were accidentally discovered during a search for lead in January 1860, and have since been opened out and are now shewn to visitors on application at the adjoining Moor Cock inn. The caverns, which are entered down a flight of about 50 steps, consist of a number of galleries and chambers one above the other, and these rival, perhaps, in their stalactitious adornments any of the finest spar-caves in England. The explorable extent is about 1,000 yards. Craven Cross, the Stump Cross, so-called from an old way-side cross, stood on the road close by, and marked the boundary of Craven on the east, where it joined the old Forest of Nidderdale. The cross seems to have been demolished shortly after the Reformation. On the same road, a little beyond, is Greenhow Hill, (1441 feet) the highest village in Yorkshire.


Grant of Malham Water in A.D. 1150 - Some old houses on the moors - Capon Hall, anciently Copmanhowe - Middle House and Oliver Cromwell - Other ancient tenements - Local possessions of Fountains Abbey - Particulars of them at the Dissolution - Malham Tarn - A vast prospect - Tarn House  -  Experiences of planting - Malham Moors in the Ice Age  - Tennant Gill - Up Fountains Fell - The View, &c. - Descent into Ribblesdale.

Starting from Malham it is a splendid day's out for a good pedestrian to cross the mountain, and descend to Horton-in- Ribblesdale, by a fair road that quits the main road between Settle and Litton, 1/2 mile on the south, or Settle side of Rainscar, 6 miles from Settle, and 4 miles from Horton. From Malham to Horton, the straight way (10 miles), is of course, by Capon Hall and Sannet Hall, and then turning left about 100 yards to the guide-post to Clapham (6 miles), and descending this lane to Helwith Bridge. From Capon Hall there is an improved road by Westside House north to Rough Close farm, which then continues by Fornah Gill bridge up to Mr. Morrison's Shooting-house. About 1 mile below there is a wonderful natural curiosity called Jingling Hole, which is a deep vacuity in the limestone on Out Fell, or the west side of Fountains Fell. By the route named you get on to the Silverdale road for Penyghent, Ribblesdale, or Littondale Head, as described. Most of the roads about here have been much improved of late years by Mr. W. Morrison, of Tarn House, a convenience for which every traveller in this mountainous neighbourhood must feel sincerely grateful.

Nearly all the houses about Fountains Fell, and in the neighbourhood of Malham Tarn and the High Mark, are of old standing, being mentioned in early charters and valuations belonging to Fountains Abbey. The oldest seem to be Middle House, a mile north-east of Malham Tarn, and Westside House, 21/2 miles to the west of the Tarn.

The Malham Water-Houses are, no doubt, a very old settlement, as the keepers of the monks' fisheries here would be established in the vicinity soon after the acquisition of this valuable water from William de Percy, founder of Sallay Abbey, about A.D. 1150. In the Clifford’s' Household Book there is an interesting entry., in the year 1640, of wages paid to

“R. Wiggen, keeper of Mawater Tarne, for one year, il. xiiis.”

Middle House and Westside House are mentioned in the Poll Tax rolls of A.D. 1379. Under the Malham levy we find a

 “Willelmus de Westsydhowse and ux (wife), and an Adam de Medlehewe and ux ; also under Coniston in Kettlewelldale, there appears a Ricardus de Midlehows and ux ; and likewise under Otterburn-in-Craven is a Johannes Medylhowe and ux ; and at Threshfield also another Johannes Midelehowe and ux”

Doubtless all sprung from the same settlement or old home on Hard Flask.

(There is a local tradition that it was at Middle House that the famous marriage of Martin Knowles and Dorothy Hartley was privately celebrated by Oliver Cromwell in person, the entry of which, attested by Cromwell, appears in the Kirkby Malham Church Register, for January 17th, 1655. A bitter time of the year, indeed, for the great Protector to be in the wilds of Craven.)

Capon Hall, or Capon Ha', is an ancient establishment, too, that arose in the days of the monastery. It was formerly called Copmanhowe, or the hill of the copman, or trader. Copeman means a chapman, and the old Craven word coup is used in the same sense, to barter or exchange, from the Anglo-Saxon ceapan, (s., Ceapmann), German, Kaufen (s., Kaufmann), Swed., Kop ; Dutch, Koop ; Old English, chep or cheep. Cheapside, for example, is etymologically, the street or place of trade. Chapmen, or traders in merchandise, have no doubt flourished in this district since Saxon times, but I suspect the well-known house (now a farm) of Capon Hall was built by some shrewd tradesman who had many a profitable bargain with the old monks, whose numerous well-fed flocks grazed the adjoining pastures, and who had often, in fair weather and foul, trudged the old packman's route this way between Settle and Malham and Wharfedale. The house is called Capon Hall so far back as 1550, as appears in the Will of one Roger Benson, then the owner. It reads :

In the name of God, amen. At Caponhaull opon Malham More, the xxviij. daye of July, in the yere of oure lord God MDL. I Roger Benson of the same, hooll of mynd and seike in my bodie, make my testament and last will in maner and forme foloyng,” &c.
(Regist. Test. Ebor., vol. xiii., f. 660 ; Surtees Soc. Pub.. xlii., p. 370), where the will is printed.)

(“Caponhawe” was sold by the Bensons to George, Lord Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, in the 34th Elizabeth (A.D. 1601)
The earliest occurrence of the name, locally, which I have discovered, is in a Renunciation by Thomas, son of Henry Cupman, of three oxgangs of land in Giggleswick, in Craven, made to the Prior of Finchal, in A.D. 1279. Thus Cupman, or Chapman, is a very old local name.
In Giggleswick Churchyard, I may here mention, lies a Robert Chapman, who was one of the survivors of the Balaklava " Six Hundred," and who died at Settle in 1884.
There was another place called Copmanhowe, consisting of two houses, near Brimham, also the property of Fountains Abbey.)

Between Capon Hall and the Tarn are two farmhouses marked on the Ordnance Maps Higher Tarn Ho. and Lower Tarn Ho., but they are always spoken of as the Train Houses, and in old documents belonging to Fountains Abbey, the former owners, the word appears to be invariably written, Trane, Treyne, Tren, and the like. Whether it comes from the Danish or Icelandic Tiorn, whence our Tarn, or from the old horse training course on the Streets between the two dwellings, I am unable to say, but in Owen's Welsh dictionary, Tran is given as a space, a stretch, a district, and Teyrn as a king.

To the north of the Tarn, and under Fountains Fell, is Tennant Gill Farm. This messuage, recently improved, was built some centuries ago by the Tennants, an old and well-to-do family, of whom we have previously spoken. In 1602, by fine passed in that year, the house, with lands there and in Malhamdale, was sold by a member of this family, Henry Tennant, to one William Anderton. (See Yorkshire Fines in the Record Series, vol. viii., p. 183.)

In a Survey of the several lordships, manors, lands, tenements, &c., formerly belonging to Fountains Abbey, and taken shortly after the Dissolution, there are many interesting particulars relative to the houses and their tenants on these wild, out-of-the-way moors, which may fittingly find a place here. The Record is copied from a paper roll in the possession of the Rev. H. J. Ingilby, of Ripley Castle, with additions from the records of the Court of Augmentations, in the Public Record Office (Particulars for Grants, Gresham, Sec. 5), and indicated in the subjoined text by enclosure within [ ] brackets. The rolls were first printed in the 42nd volume (1863) of the Surtees Society's Publications (edited by Mr. Walbran) ; the transcript being as follows :


This a Manore ; and all the wasts grounds and morez callid Malham morez he the propre soyle of the same late Monastery, and be of the parishe of Kirkby-in-Malhamdale, and contenyth, withe the membres and parcells in this book specified, all the hole maner, lands, tenements, and hereditaments.

Item, the heires of John Yonge for Nappylands, ijs. ; the heires of Henry Preston, vjd. ; the ]ate monistery of Bolton, xviijd. ; and the heires of Thomas Tempest, knight, xijd. ; and lands and tenements in the holdinge late of John Lawson, xviijs. ; Cristofer Lawson, xxs. ; Kateryn Atkinson, xxs. ; Stephyn Fisher, xxxs. ; Richerd Hapton, xs. ; William Knoll. vjs. viijd. ; John Thomson, iijs. ; Henry Slater, vs. ; John Serjantson, xs. (In 1361, Richard Serjauntson held a cottage of the abbot at Malham, at the rent of 2s. 6d.  - Reg. Rent., f. 188. In the Rental of 1357, he is called Scherlantson.  - Ibid, f. 152. Of some descendants of this family, see Whitaker's Craven,p.193.) ; William Arton, xiijs. iiijd. ; Reginald Brashey, xvs vjd. ; Thomas Deane, xvs vjd ; John Atkinson, xxs ; Re. Smythe, xxxiijs iiijd. ; Re. Preston. xxxiijs. iiijd. ; William Windsor, xxxiijs. iiijd. ; Miles Knoll. xls.  (This was the rent of a water corn mill. In 1496, the five tenants in the place of those now preceding Knoll, were John Deyn, John Atkynson, Alice Hogeson, Richard Preston, and William Wyndsover. Richard Wyndesor held a messuage and an oxgang of land here in 1357, at the rent of 10s. and 2d. for boon days. William Atkinson was then a tenant at Malham) ; and j cotage there, boylded upon the wast nere the chapell there, xxd. ; a garthe, some tyme in the holdinge of John Lawson, xxd., and the common of pastore unto the same garth belonginge, xxd. ; in all xvjli. xvijs.


Belonging to the same late Monastery there, and be conteyned in this valew.

Item, ther he iij Shepegats upon the morez callid Malhom morez, that is to say : At Lankarside for a flok of shepe in somer, vs. At Cogill Cote, for a wedder flok in somer. vs. And at Chapell house, for a wether flock in somer, vs. ; whiche be worth by the yere, in all, late in the hands of the Monastery, xvs.



Item, ther be ij Tenements late in the holding of Jaffray Proctour and John Wallok, with lands, medoos, pastors, cocoons, and wastes ther unto belonging, and rents by the yere, lxs.

 (New-house does not appear in the Rental of 1496. Jeffrey Proktour held this tenement in 1496. According to a Genealogy, illustrated by armorial impalements, which was placed in one of the windows of Fountains Hall, by Sir Stephen Proctor, in the time of King James I., this family derived its descent from " Sir Oliver Mirewraye, of Tymbridge, in the countie of Kent ; " the reason of a change of surname being perhaps suggested by the further statement that " Thomas Mirewray, als. Proctor, of Frierhed. mar. Mary, daughter of Thomas Proctor, of Winterborn." Both these places are in the parish of Gargrave, adjacent to that of Kirkby-Malhamdale, and were formerly among the possessions of the abbey of Furness, in Lancashire.  - Val. Eccl., vol. 5, p. 270.)

Rughecloss (Rough Close)

Item, a Tenement in the holding of Jeffray Proctor, with lands, medoos, pastors, commons, and wastes therunto belonging ; by yere, xxs.

Hawthorn Leyse. (Lee Gate)

Item, ther be ij Tenements called Cogilhouse, otherwise Hawthorn leyse, in the holding of John Thomson and Henry Thomson, with lands, medoos, pastors, cocoons, and wastes therunto belonging ; by yere, xxvjs. viijd.

cvjs. viijd. 


MALL WATERHOUSE (Malham Waterhouse)

Parcell of the said Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhamdale. Mathew Toiler and Thomas Toiler holdeth a Tenement or Lodge ther, callid Mall waterhouse, with edificez, landes, tenements, medoos, and pasturs therunto belonging, and renteth by yere at Marten and Pentecost, Iiijs. iiijd.

Item, ther is a Shepegate upon the common morez in somer for a wether flok, and a yowflok, whiche is worth by yere, late in the handes of the Monastery afforesaid, xs.

xiijs. iiijd.


Parcell of the said Manore of Malham, and of the same-parishe of Kirkby-in-Malhamdale. Thomas Deanet holdeth a Tenement there, with the edificez called Tranehouse, landes, medoos, and pastores therunto belonginge ; and rentithe by yere, at the feests of sanct Martyn in wynter and Pentecost, xxvijs.

(Symon de Dene and William de Dene each held a toft and an oxgang of land at Malham, "in bundagio," at the rent of 5s. in the year 1316.  - Beg. Rent. fol. 67. William de Dene and William de Dene, junior, had similar holdings, in 1340,Ibid, fol. 114. In 1361, William de Dene held a messuage and fifteen acres of land in Arncliffe, at the rent of 20s. with three boon days.  -  Ibid, f. 186. In 1403, Agnes, daughter and heir of Nicholas Yong, demised her lands in Litton, for the term of ninety-six years, and gave the reversion to Sir John Deen, Canon of the Collegiate Church of Ripon, and John Mynton, chaplains, The compiler of the President book of Fountains, however, remarks, " quod isti capellani sunt bastardi ;" and that, on their decease, their interest must revert to the chief lords of the fee, as an escheat,  - Pres. Book, p. 125.)

Miles Knoll holdeth a Tenement ther, with edificez callid Tranehouse-hull, with lands, medoos, and pastores therunto belonginge, and renteth by yere, liijs. iiijd.

Item, ther is a Shepegate upon the common morez there, lyeng nere Fontaunce Fells, for a wedder flok in somer, which were in the hand of the ]ate Monastery ; by yere, vs. iiijli. vs. iiijd.

Modo in seperalibus tenuris Thomce Deane, R Knoll, et Agnetis Knoll viduae.


Parcell of the said Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhaindale. Thomas Benson and Richerd Peycok hold a Tenement ther, with edificez, landes, tenements, medoos, and pastores therunto belonging, and renteth by yere, liijs. iiijd.

Modo in tenura Rogeri Benson. Isabellce Carre, et Henrici Peycok.

In the year 1361, the abbot of Fountains had three tenants of this surname. John Benson, who had held at Swinton, near Masham, from or before 1348.  - Reg. Rent, N. 178. Thomas Benson, who for some time had held an oxgang at Rainton, near Topcliffe, ( Ibid, fol. 208), and William, son of Richard Benson, a freeholder at Rigton, in Wharfdale.  - Ibid, fol. 175. A family of this name also were tenants under the House in Nidderdale for a long time, and perhaps Thomas Benson, who appears in the Rental of 1496 as the tenant of a moiety of Copmanhowe, was one of them. Roger Benson, who succeeded him, died in 1550.)

WESTESYD HOUSE (Westside House)

Parcell of the said Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhamdale. Richerd Tollert holdeth, and Richerd Wharf, a Tenement callid Westsidehouse, with the edificez, landes. medoos, and pastores therunto belonginge. and renteth by yere, att Martyn and Pentecost, equally, xlvjs. viijd.

Modo in tenura Thomce Tollere, Milonis Toller, et Edmundi Wharf.


Parcell of the same Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhamdale. The Fishing within a Tern there, callid Malhomwater Tern, late in the handes of the said Monastery, and is worth by the yere vjs. viijd.

FRONGIL HOUSE (Fornagill House)

Parcell of the same Maner of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhamdale. George Sikeswik holdeth a Tenement there, with the edificez, lands, medoos, and pastores therunto belonging, and rentith by the yere, at the Feasts of Sanct Martyn and Penthecost, equally, xxiijs. iiijd.

Modo in tenura Alieiae Sikesmik viduce.

Item, ther is a Shepegate upon the common morez, the nere Fontaunce Fells, for a wedder flok in somer, and wynter, late in the handes of the said Monastery, and is worth by yere, vjs. viijd.

Item, ther be certen Grounds inclosed whiche were late in the handes of the said Monastery ther, over and besides the premissez, whiche be worth by the yeare, xxxvjs. viijd.

lxvjs. viijd.

(Thomas Toller held of the Convent in Arncliffe in 1336.  - Reg. Rent, f. 110. Miles Tollar was one of the abbot's shepherds at Hayshay house, in Nidderdale, in 1480, and several members of that family were similarly occupied about the same time. Many of the abbot's shepherds were Craven men.

Called Fornagilhous in the Rental of 1496, when George Sigesweke held a mediety of that Lodge. Ralph Sigeswike was the abbot's shepherd at Haddockstone, near the monastery, and George Sigeswike at Appelgarth, in 1480.)

DERNEBRUK (Darnbrook)

Parcell of the same Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkby-in- Malhamdale.

Item, they be iij Tenements in Dernbruk with ther appurtenaunces, wherof one is in the late tenure of Thomas Buk, xxxiijs. iiijd. ; one in the tenure of Robert Buk, xiijs. ijd. ob. ; and Rauf Buk, xjs. vjd. ; in all by yere, lxvjs. viijd.

Item, ther is a Shepegate upon the common morez of Dernbruk for a wedder flok in somer, which in wynter wer wont to goo att Bollershatt. vs.

lxxjs. viijd.

Mode in tenura Gregory Buk, Agnet. Buk, James Buk, Margaret Buk, and Rad'hi Buk.

(The family of Dernbrook, of Bewerley, &c., derived its name from a valley watered by the Dernbrook, one of the tributaries of the Skirfare, which rises in the hilly country in the parish of Malham in Craven, intervening between the heads of the rivers Wharf and Ribble. The first footing which the abbot and convent of Fountains obtained here, was when Maud Countess of Warwick granted to them, " Pasturam per totum Gnup et Dernebroc," in the twelfth century (Regret. de Craven, fol 61) ; but I find no account of their disposition of the property, which was subsequently enlarged, until the year 1361, when it was in the tenure of a family whose name has never since been absent from the records of the franchise. In the rental of that year it is set down, under Dernbrochous, " Willielmus de Dernbrok tenet logeam ibidem ; reddit per annum lxs," (Regist. Rent., fol 177), and again, under Arnelyf, " Willielmus de Dernbroke tenet unum croftum, iij acras terme ; reddit per annum vjs. et iij precarias."  - Ibid, fol. 177, 187, 218. We have also a glimpse of his character, in an extract from one of the manor rolls, " Quod Willielmus Dernbruk fecit finem pro venatione in le Fell."  - Ibid, 28.)

MIDLOW HOUSE (Middle House)

Parcell of the same Manore of Malham, and of the same parishe of Kirkeby-in- Malholmedale. Richerd Broun holdeth a Tenement ther, with lands, medoos, and pasturs therunto belonging, and rentith by the yere, at Martyn and Pentecost, xxs.

Item, ther is a pastore for shepe, at the saide Midlowhouse, late in the hands of the said house, and is worth by yere, xxvjs. viijd.

xlvjs. viijd.

Modo in tenura Johannis Broune et Christoferi Broun.]
(In 1496, they paid xxs . each. - John Brown kept the abbot's sheep at Mydlohous, in 1480, when he answered for two hundred, three score, and fifteen wethers, and three score hoggs.  - Comp. Stauri, p. 51. 1 )

When the days are hot and cloudless there is always a delightful feeling of freshness and freedom in the neighbourhood of the Tarn. The great expanse of radiant water, covering over 150 acres, reflects the pure azure of the sky bright and fair as that on Como, and strongly tempts you to throw yourself down in a do-nothing sort of way upon its murmuring, pebbly banks, just as you would upon the shingle or sand by the lapping sea. Just below the Tarn the stream sinks into the fissured limestone, to tumble away through many a chink and unknown cavern, until it emerges once more into daylight at Aire Head, and at the foot of that stupendous wall of time-shattered rock, - the Cove. In viewing the open land round about the Aire Sinks, you are almost overcome by the aspects of sublime vastness, and the feeling arises how insignificant a thing you are among all these thousands of rolling acres, where Time and Life seem as nothing, and where the immensity of the eternal landscape seems only comparable with the spread of the boundless heavens above! The prospect, indeed, is one which moves the imagination more than it does the eye, for the latter is unable to grasp and compass the infinitude of objects comprised within such a majestic scene. In a single "field" here, I am told that 15,000 head of cattle have been known to be grazing at the same time, and then hardly one could be seen ! The person perhaps shut his eyes ; anyway, the statement is an obvious exaggeration, yet it would be no difficult task, we should think, to camp the standing armies of Europe on this vast upland solitude!

On leaving the Tarn to the right, the road runs to the Higher Train House, and Capon Hall is then seen some little distance away on the left of it. On coming to the guide-post to Settle, Malham, and Grassington, you follow the lane close by the Train House, which runs into a cart-road across the open field, and enters the well-kept carriage road to Tarn House, the large and beautiful seat of Walter Morrison, Esq., M.P., J.P., and who in 1883 held the important office of High Sheriff of the county. The mansion was built about a century ago by Thomas Lister, Esq., M.P., first Lord Ribblesdale, and is admirably placed in the screen of luxuriant plantations that rise from the north shore of the spacious lake, and at an altitude of a little over 1300 feet above the sea.

The estate was bought by the father of the present owner in 1851, since which time a great many improvements have been carried out. In planting, for example, large sums have been expended from time to time, which has been a rather costly experience, the owner having only been able to discover, after repeated trials, what sorts would succeed. Since Mr. Morrison acquired the estate, I am told that at least half-a-million trees, in perhaps fifty kinds, have been planted under various conditions and by various methods, and out of these probably not more than 50,000 are alive. The locality does not seem suited either for larches or Scotch firs, while sycamores, beeches, birches, alders, thorns, wych elms, ashes, rowans, and willows, will grow, but exceedingly slowly. Laburnums, lilacs, and Alpine rhododendrons, however, do very well. The best chance seems to be to raise them from the seed on the spot, as trees imported from nursery gardens appear incapable of adaptation to the cold of these high moors. Gooseberries, strawberries, and currants, moreover, will not ripen anywhere here, except in very hot seasons. The gardens, however, around the house look nicely stocked with a variety of hardy shrubs and flowering plants, amongst the latter may be observed the curious ashwhite rays of the Edelweiss, the national flower of Switzerland, and a native of the High Alps.

The tarn has been undoubtedly once much larger and deeper than it is now. The deepest part is only 15 feet, and about 5 feet of this depth are due to an artificial embankment, constructed by the first Lord Ribblesdale, and since rebuilt. Malham Moor, in the Ice Age, was a vast gathering-ground of glaciers, on which snow was perpetually falling and congealing, and on the melting of the ice-sheet the water must have covered the whole of the pooly, black moss on the north-west side, and must also have raised the level of the present expanse much above what it is now. Many pools and swamps also occupied the hollows in the surrounding land, which have since disappeared by the process of denudation in the limestone. When the tarn was first stocked with fish is not known, but that it contained fish early in the 12th century is evident by the terms of the original grant of the water by the younger Percy, as before stated, to the monks of Fountains Abbey :

Sciant omnes, etc. quod ego Will'mus de Perci, d. c. et presenti carta mea confirmavi Deo et S'etn Mariae et Monachis de Fontibus (inte Malewater, et piscariam in eadem aqua, in puram et perpetuam eleemosinani.
(Dodsworth's MSS., Vol. ix. fol. 205.)

A little beyond where the carriage road divides, behind the tarn, you open a gate and follow the road to Water Houses, which are mentioned in the Fountains Abbey rolls, before quoted. The road hence is good and well-maintained right away on by the Stangill Barn and the plantation. At the finger-post for Arncliffe and Settle you leave the main road, and strike up the cart-road which runs between a couple of large, fine trees, (for such an elevation -1500 feet) to Tennant Gill farm. (There is another and shorter way to Tennant Gill from Malham, by ascending the pass across the Prior Rakes, and on the east side of the tarn to the Water Houses)

From this point Great Whernside looms up very prominently in the gap to the south-east, and the surrounding scenery is altogether of a very wild, lonely, and impressive character. You now leave the last bit of "civilisation" behind, and passing to the rear of the house ascend the cart-road about 300 yards until you are well within sight of the two cairns on Thoragill Fell. A wall runs up conspicuously between them to the top, and it is desirable to take the rough track near the wall-side on the right, and keep this guide to the top. The long summit of broken, weathered grit, strikes away to the right, with patches of heath and grass, plentifully interspersed with the clustering leaves of the cloud-berry. And now looking back to the south, you see the whole of Malham Tarn, shining like a silver cloud on the lofty plain it occupies, while far beyond stretch moor and mountain to the familiar cones of Flasby Beacon, and the dim hill-bounded horizon of more distant Lancashire. Seawards giant Ingleborough bares his head to the clouds, while near us the stern and portly front of old Penyghent stands like a guardian-sentinel on the opposite side of the pass. You descend now to Silverdale Head for Settle or Litton, as described.


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