SETTLE and the INGLETON FELLS
In 1900 - “The track across the moor from Malham Cove to Settle cannot be recommended to anyone at night, owing to the extreme difficulty of keeping to the path without a very great familiarity with every yard of the way, so that when I merely suggested taking that route one wintry night the villagers protested vigorously. I therefore took the road that goes up from Kirby Malham, having borrowed a large hurricane lamp from the "Buck" Inn at Malham. Long before I reached the open moor I was enveloped in a mist that would have made the track quite invisible even where it was most plainly marked, and I blessed the good folk at Malham who had advised me to take the road rather than run the risks of the pot-holes that are a feature of the limestone fells. The little town of Settle has a most distinctive feature in the possession of Castleberg, a steep limestone hill, densely wooded except at the very top, that rises sharply just behind the market-place. Before the trees were planted there seems to have been a sundial on the side of the hill, the precipitous scar on the top forming the gnomon. No one remembers this curious feature, although a print showing the numbers fixed upon the slope was published in 1778. The market-place has lost its curious old tolbooth, and in its place stands a town hall of good Tudor design. Departed also is much of the charm of the old Shambles that occupy a central position in the square. The lower story, with big arches forming a sort of piazza in front of the butcher's and other shops, still remains in its old state, but the upper portion has been restored in the fullest sense of that comprehensive term.
In the steep street that we came down on entering the town there may still be seen a curious old tower, which seems to have forgotten its original purpose. Some of the houses have carved stone lintels to their doorways and seventeenth-century dates, while the stone figure on 'The Naked Man' Inn, although bearing the date 1663, must be very much older, the year of rebuilding being probably indicated rather than the date of the figure.
The Ribble divides Settle from its former parish church at Giggleswick, and until 1838 the townsfolk had to go over the bridge and along a short lane to the village which held its church. Settle having been formed into a separate parish, the parish clerk of the ancient village no longer has the fees for funerals and marriages. Although able to share the church, the two places had stocks of their own for a great many years. At Settle they have been taken from the market square and placed in the court-house, and at Giggleswick one of the first things we see on entering the village is one of the stone posts of the stocks standing by the steps of the market cross. This cross has a very well preserved head, and it makes the foreground of a very pretty picture as we look at the battlemented tower of the church through the stone-roofed lichgate grown over with ivy. The history of this fine old church, dedicated, like that of Middleham, to St Alkelda, has been written by Mr. Thomas Brayshaw, who knows every detail of the old building from the chalice inscribed "THE. COMMVNION. CVPP. BELONGINGE. TO. THE. PARISHE. OF. IYGGELSWICKE. MADE. IN. ANO. 1585." to the inverted Norman capitals now forming the bases of the pillars. The tower and the arcades date from about 1400, and the rest of the structure is about 100 years older.
"The Black Horse" Inn has still two niches for small figures of saints, that proclaim its ecclesiastical connections in early times. It is said that in the days when it was one of the duties of the churchwardens to see that no one was drinking there during the hours of service the inspection used to last up to the end of the sermon, and that when the custom was abolished the church officials regretted it exceedingly. Giggleswick is also the proud possessor of a school founded in 1512. It has grown from a very small beginning to a considerable establishment, and it possesses one of the most remarkable school chapels that can be seen anywhere in the country.
The greater part of this district of Yorkshire is composed of limestone, forming bare hillsides honeycombed with underground waters and pot-holes, which often lead down into the most astonishing caverns. In Ingleborough itself there is Gaping Gill Hole, a vast fissure nearly 350 feet deep. It was only partially explored by M. Martel in 1895. Ingleborough Cave penetrates into the mountain to a distance of nearly 1,000 yards, and is one of the best of these limestone caverns for its stalactite formations. Guides take visitors from the village of Clapham to the inmost recesses and chambers that branch out of the small portion discovered in 1837.
In almost every direction there are opportunities for splendid mountain walks, and if the tracks are followed the danger of hidden pot-holes is comparatively small. From the summit of Ingleborough, and, indeed, from most of the fells that reach 2,000 feet, there are magnificent views across the brown fells, broken up with horizontal lines formed by the bare rocky scars.
More to follow ....