View of the River Nidd from the ruins of Knaresborough Castle
Knaresborough shown within North Yorkshire
|OS grid reference|
|- London||186 mi (299 km) SE|
|Shire county||North Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||Harrogate and Knaresborough|
Knaresborough // is an old and historic market town, spa town and civil parish in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is located on the River Nidd, 4 miles (6.4 km) east from the centre of Harrogate.
Knaresborough is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Chenaresburg, meaning 'Cenheard's fortress'. Knaresborough Castle dates from Norman times; around 1100, the town began to grow and provide a market and attract traders to service the castle. The present parish church, St John's, was established around this time. The earliest name for a Lord of Knaresborough is from around 1115 when Serlo de Burgh held the 'Honour of Knaresborough' from the King.
Hugh de Morville was granted the Honour of Knaresborough in 1158. He was constable of Knaresborough and leader of the group of four knights who murdered Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170. The four knights fled to Knaresborough and hid at the castle. Hugh de Morville forfeited the lands in 1173, not for his implication in the murder of Thomas Becket, but for "complicity in the rebellion of young Henry", according to the Early Yorkshire Charters.
The Honour of Knaresborough then passed to the Stuteville family. When the Stuteville line was broken with the death of Robert de Stuteville the 4th in 1205, King John effectively took the Honour of Knaresborough for himself. The first Maundy Money was distributed in Knaresborough by King John on 15 April 1210. Knaresborough Forest, which extended far to the south of the town, is reputed to have been one of King John's favourite hunting grounds.
Although a market was first mentioned in 1206, the town was not granted a Royal Charter to hold a market until 1310, by Edward II. A market is still held every Wednesday in the market square. During Edward II's reign, the castle was occupied by rebels and the curtain walls were breached by a siege engine. Later, Scots invaders burned much of the town and the parish church. In 1328, as part of the marriage settlement, Queen Philippa was granted "the Castle, Town, Forest and Honour of Knaresborough" by Edward III and the parish church was restored. After her death in 1369, the Honour was granted by Edward to their younger son, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and since then the castle has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster. After the accession of Henry IV the castle lost much of its importance in national affairs, but remained a key site in regional administration for another century.
During the Civil War, following the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, the castle was besieged by Parliamentary forces. The castle eventually fell and in 1646 an order was made by Parliament for its destruction (but not carried out till 1648). The destruction was mainly done by citizens looting the stone. Many town centre buildings are built of 'castle stone'.
Culture and community
The town's major event is the Great Knaresborough Bed Race, held on the second Saturday of June each year. The event was first staged in 1966; The 2011 event attracted 25,000 people to the town.
An annual town centre arts summer festival, FEVA (Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts), has run since 2001.
The town was used in the opening election sequence in the first episode of the ITV comedy series The New Statesman and some exterior shots for the series were filmed around Knaresborough.
Sights in the town include the remains of Knaresborough Castle, Mother Shipton's Cave, the House in the Rock, and St Roberts Cave (dating from the Middle Ages). Knaresborough is the site of Ye Oldest Chymist Shoppe in England, opened in 1720 and the Courthouse Museum in the castle grounds.
The principal areas of public open space are the Knaresborough Castle grounds, Horseshoe Field, the King George V Playing Field and Jacob Smith Park, a 30 acres (12 ha) parkland on the edge of the town, bequeathed to Knaresborough by Miss Winifred Jacob Smith in 2003.
Near to the castle are Bebra Gardens, formerly the Moat Gardens, renamed after Knaresborough's twin town in Germany. The Borough Bailiff public house, currently owned by the Samuel Smith Brewery, is the oldest pub in Knaresborough.
Knaresborough is served by Knaresborough railway station, on the Harrogate Line between Leeds and York. The town is four miles from junction 47 of the A1 (M) Motorway (Great North Road), and on the A59 which links York and Wallasey. It is further served by Transdev and Connexions who both run buses in the area.
Knaresborough Town F.C. are the town's predominant football team and are based at Manse Lane; they play in the West Yorkshire Football League. Knaresborough Celtic also provide youth football with junior teams from Under 6s to Under 17s.
The town has two cricket clubs. Knaresborough Forest Cricket Club were Nidderdale League Division 3 winners in 2005, afterwards promoted from Division 2 as runners-up in the following season. Knaresborough Cricket Club have a ground on Aspin Lane, where adult teams play in the Airedale & Wharfedale Senior Cricket League and junior teams play in the Nidderdale Junior Cricket League.
- St Robert, a 12th-century hermit whose cave can be found near the River Nidd.
- Ursula Southeil, known as Mother Shipton, was a medieval seer said to have been born in a cave south of the town.
- John Metcalf, known as "Blind Jack", lost his sight in childhood and was a violin player, local guide, bridgebuilder and roadmaker. A public house in the market square bears his name.
- Robert Aagaard, a Knaresborough manufacturer, founded the youth movement Cathedral Camps.
- Eugene Aram, the 18th century scholar and murderer lived here.
- Squadron Leader James Harry "Ginger" Lacey DFM & Bar, Second World War RAF fighter pilot, attended school in Knaresborough.
- Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. KNARESBOROUGH.
- "A Brief History". Harrogate council. 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- "Knaresborough Castle". Knaresborough online. 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- Turner, Dr Maurice. (1990). A Brief History of Knaresborough
- Kellett, Arnold (1991). Historic Knaresborough. ISBN 978-1-870071-66-6.
- Kellett, Arnold. Knaresborough (2003) The History Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-3017-3.
- "Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs". Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Knaresborough bed race attracts 25,000 people", The Press, 13 June 2011, retrieved 16 August 2011
- Bed Race Rules, Knaresborough.co.uk, retrieved 16 August 2011
- FEVA – Knaresborough Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts
- "Park is left for public to enjoy". Rippon Gazette. 24 December 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2013.