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For other uses, see Settle (disambiguation).
Settle town centre
Settle is located in North Yorkshire
 Settle shown within North Yorkshire
Population 2,421 [1]
OS grid reference SD816640
   – London 200 mi (320 km)  SE
Civil parish Settle
District Craven
Shire county North Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SETTLE
Postcode district BD24
Dialling code 01729
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Skipton & Ripon
List of places

Coordinates: 54°04′20″N 2°16′55″W / 54.07213°N 2.28189°W / 54.07213; -2.28189

Settle is a small market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is served by Settle railway station located near the town centre, and Giggleswick railway station which is a mile away. It is 29 miles (47 km) from Leeds Bradford Airport. The main road through Settle is the B6480, which links to the A65, connecting Settle to Skipton and Kendal. The town has a population of 2,421 according to the 2001 Census.


Settle is thought to have 7th-century Anglian origins, its name being the Angle word for settlement. Craven in the Domesday Book shows that until 1066 Bo was the lord of Settle but after the Harrying of the North (1069 - 1071) the land was granted to Roger de Poitou.

In 1249 a market charter was granted to Henry de Percy, 7th Baron Percy by Henry III. A market square developed and the main route through the medieval town was aligned on an east-west direction, from Albert Hill, Victoria Street, High Street and Cheapside and on through Kirkgate. This road led to Giggleswick where the citizens attended the parish church. The first bridge over the River Ribble was mentioned in 1498.

During the English Civil War, the Cliffords, the lords of the manor were Royalists, but their subjects were not. John Lambert of Calton in Malhamdale, was a general in Cromwell's army and his troops camped at Settle in August 1651 while on the road to an encounter in Lancaster.


Daniel Defoe wrote "Settle is the capital of an isolated little kingdom of its own surrounded by barren hills."[2]:p.163 Because of its remoteness Settle saw mostly local commerce.[3] The old roads were pack horse trails[2]:p.105 and Drovers' roads along hilltops[4]:p.6 because the valley was soft and swampy before field drainage and the dredging of stream estuaries.[2]:p.105

In the 1700s textile industrialists supported by traders and landowners campaigned for a turnpike to connect with growing industrial towns. The minute book for the Keighley and Kendal Turnpike Trust shows that most investors were mill owners from the Giggleswick district.[5] In 1827 the trust, having miscalculated the cost of road maintenance, was in debt by £34,000 [2]:p.172. When in 1877 the trust was terminated, the investors received on average 54% of their deposit. The investors had benefited in that Settle was now well connected and its cotton mills boomed. The mill owners imported coal and, like the heavy industries that exported agricultural lime and sandstone masonry, welcomed the turnpike for access via carrier waggons to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Gargrave. The first passenger stagecoach arrived in 1763. The Mail Coach was running regularly in 1786. The Union coach for passengers ran each way on alternate days in the early 1800s, and daily by 1840.[4]:p.5


The "little" North Western Railway reached Giggleswick in 1847 and in 1849 the railway company constructed Station Road from Giggleswick to Settle. In 1875 the Settle to Carlisle Railway was built, opening to goods traffic in 1875 and to passengers the following year when Settle Station opened along with a goods warehouse, cattle pens, signal box and water cranes.[6]

In the late 18th century cotton spinning became the town's main employment. Bridge End Mill was converted from corn milling to cotton spinning. John Procter operated mills at Runley and King's Mill which were taken over by his son Thomas. He built the row of workers' cottages, Procter's Row in Lower Kirkgate. In 1835, Dog Kennel Mill and Brennand's Weaving Shed, Settle had five mills employing 333 people.[7]


Settle is served by a town council made up of 11 councillors. The mayor is elected annually. There was no election in 2010 as 11 people put their names forward.

Settle is in the Settle and Ribblebank ward of Craven District Council. There are two councillors both representing the Conservative party.[8] The town is in the Ribblesdale division of North Yorkshire, where it is represented by a Conservative councillor. It is twinned with the French Mediterranean seaside town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.


View from Castlebergh

Settle was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It is located in Ribblesdale, at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, within a few miles of the Three Peaks. Immediately overlooking the town is Castlebergh, a 300 feet (91 m) limestone crag, and to the east is Malham which was in the former Settle Rural District. The River Ribble provided power for Settle's former cotton mills, and is now being harnessed by Settle Hydro, a micro hydroelectric scheme, to provide 50 kW of power to the National Grid.


Settle's market is held weekly on Tuesdays in Victoria Hall in the town centre.[9] Settle Town Hall was sold by Craven District Council to a developer.[10] The Square is surrounded by local businesses, most of which are family-owned, with some offering items for sale unique to the Settle area. The Naked Man is believed to be the oldest cafe in the country.[11]

The annual Settle Storytelling Festival [12]takes place in October each year, the 2014 Festival will take place between the 10th - 12th and will be the 5th Festival to date. The Festival brings internationally known and award winning artists to the town and boasts a range of paid for and free events suitable for all age ranges. The Festivals attracts visitors from around the world and audiences have more than doubled in size since the first Festival in 2010. The Storytelling Festival is produced by Settle Stories an arts and heritage charity based in Settle Town Hall. Settle Stories also run a Learning Programme[13] and the W.R. Mitchelle Archive. [14]

The Folly[15] is a 17th-century Grade I listed building on the main street. In 1996 the North Craven Building Preservation Trust[16] purchased part of The Folly, restored it and opened it to the public in 2001. The Folly houses the Museum of North Craven Life and hosts exhibitions during the open season. There are permanent displays, including the Settle to Carlisle Railway, Robert (Mouseman) Thompson furniture, and local history. The rest of building has been purchased by the trust. The museum is independent and run by volunteers.

The Gallery on the Green[17] is thought to be the smallest art gallery in the world: drawings, paintings, photographs and other works are housed in a former BT telephone kiosk. Gavagan Arts at Linton Court Gallery[18] is situated in a courtyard off Duke Street. The gallery presents a series of temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.

The district has several caves where prehistoric remains have been found, the most notable being Victoria Cave, so called because the inner chamber was discovered in 1837 on the day of Queen Victoria's accession. Victoria Cave contained remains of mammoth, bear, reindeer and hippopotamus; a harpoon head carved from antler; flint implements, and other ornaments. The discovery of flint is noteworthy as it is not found naturally in the area. Craven Museum & Gallery[19] in Skipton has an exhibition of items which includes a bear's skull found in one of the caves.


The composer Edward Elgar visited Settle on many occasions to visit his friend Dr Charles William Buck. There is a blue plaque at Cravendale to commemorate this.[20]


Settle has two schools, with Settle Primary School[21] and Settle College.[22] Settle Middle School closed as part of the money-saving measures taken by North Yorkshire County Council. To the west of the town is Giggleswick School, one of the principal public schools in the North of England, founded in 1512.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Census, 2001
  2. ^ a b c d Brayshaw, Thomas; Robinson, Ralph M (1932). The Ancient Parish of Giggleswick. London: Halton and Co. OCR copy by North Craven Historical Research Accessed 30 September 2012
  3. ^ "History". Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Introduction To The Main Roads of Kendale". British Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Brigg, John J (1927). The King’s Highway in Craven, with sketch maps. 
  6. ^ Hudson, Phil; Hudson (2005). "Settle History". Settle Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  7. ^ Baines History of the Cotton Manufacture (1835)
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Settle Street Market & Victoria Hall Indoor Market". Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Settle Town Hall was sold by Craven District Council to a developer The Craven Herald
  11. ^ Settle Online Website
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ The Settle Folly
  16. ^ "North Craven Building Preservation Trust". Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  17. ^ The Gallery on the Green, Settle
  18. ^ Gavagan Arts at Linton Court Gallery, Settle
  19. ^ Craven Museum & Gallery, Skipton
  20. ^ Leeds Daily Photo "Plaque to Edward Elgar English Composer"
  21. ^ Settle Primary School
  22. ^ Settle College

External links[edit]