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—  District  —
View of south Settle from Castlebergh

Logo of The Craven District
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates: 53°57′N 2°01′W / 53.95°N 2.02°W / 53.95; -2.02
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial countyNorth Yorkshire
Admin. HQSkipton
 • TypeCraven District Council
 • Leadership:Alternative - Sec.31
 • Executive:Conservative
 • MPs:Julian Smith
 • Total454 sq mi (1,177 km2)
Area rank18th
Population (2011 est.)
 • Total55,400
 • RankRanked 315th
 • Density120/sq mi (47/km2)
Time zoneGreenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time (UTC+1)
ISO 3166-2
ONS code36UB (ONS)
E07000163 (GSS)
OS grid reference
Ethnicity96.1% White
2.0% S.Asian[1]
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—  District  —
View of south Settle from Castlebergh

Logo of The Craven District
Shown within North Yorkshire
Coordinates: 53°57′N 2°01′W / 53.95°N 2.02°W / 53.95; -2.02
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Ceremonial countyNorth Yorkshire
Admin. HQSkipton
 • TypeCraven District Council
 • Leadership:Alternative - Sec.31
 • Executive:Conservative
 • MPs:Julian Smith
 • Total454 sq mi (1,177 km2)
Area rank18th
Population (2011 est.)
 • Total55,400
 • RankRanked 315th
 • Density120/sq mi (47/km2)
Time zoneGreenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time (UTC+1)
ISO 3166-2
ONS code36UB (ONS)
E07000163 (GSS)
OS grid reference
Ethnicity96.1% White
2.0% S.Asian[1]

Craven is in recent times the name of a local government district in North Yorkshire, England that came into being in 1974, centred on the market town of Skipton. In the changes to British local government of that year this district was formed as the merger of Skipton urban district, Settle Rural District and most of Skipton Rural District, all in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It comprises the upper reaches of Airedale, Wharfedale, Ribblesdale, and includes most of the Aire Gap and Craven Basin.

Additionally, the name Craven is much older than the modern district, and once encompassed a larger area. This history is also reflected in the way the term is still commonly used, for example by the Church of England.


Craven: “The exact extent of it we nowhere find”
Thomas Cox1730[2]

Craven has been the name of this district throughout recorded history[3] but it was never defined until 1974; its boundaries differed according to whether considering administration, taxation or religion.[4]


The name Craven is probably derived from the pre-Celtic cravona, meaning stony region[5][6] and from the Celtic craeg, a crag: steep rugged rocks. These interpretations are supported by the Old English name of the wapentake that covers most of it, Staincliffe, being in effect a translation of crag: stán, stone + clif, steep rock face.[7]


The first datable evidence of human life in Craven is ca 9000 BC: a hunter's harpoon point carved out of an antler found in Victoria Cave. Most traces of the Mesolithic nomadic hunters are the flint barbs they set into shafts. Extensive finds of these microliths lie around Malham Tarn and Semerwater. Flint does not occur in the Dales, the nearest outcrop is in East Yorkshire. On higher ground microliths are found near springs at the tree line at 500 m (1,600 ft) indicating campsites close to the open hunting grounds. The valley woodlands were inhabited by deer, boar and aurochs, the higher ground was open grassland that fed herds of reindeer, elk and horse. No permanent settlements have been found of that age, hunting here was seasonal, returning to the plains in winter.[8]

After 5000 BC Neolithic long-distance trade is indicated by the distribution of stone axes many of which were of hard volcanic rock with a cutting edge made by polishing. Lithic analysis can identify their quarry source. Axes found in Yorkshire originate in central Cumbria and are found as far as eastern Yorkshire suggesting they were traded for the flint there. But most finds are in Ribblesdale and Airedale indicating that Craven was their trade route through the Pennines. Farmers permanently settled in Craven, bringing domesticated livestock and used those stone axes to clear woodlands, probably by slash-and-burn, to increase areas for grazing[8] and crops.

Roman occupation

In the first century the Romans, having trouble controlling the Brigantes in the Yorkshire Dales, built forts at strategic points. In Craven one fort, possibly named Olenacum,[9] is at Elslack 53°56′27″N 2°06′58″W / 53.94078°N -2.1160°E / 53.94078; -2.1160.[10] Through this fort passes a Roman road linking two major centers: Bremetennacum at Ribchester Lancashire and Olicana at Ilkley Yorkshire. This road has been found by archaeologists to run northeast up Ribblesdale c1km east of Clitheroe and then to turn at 53°53′35″N 2°20′29″W / 53.893°N -2.3413°E / 53.893; -2.3413eastwards passing c1km north of Barnoldswick.[11] To the west of Craven another road has been proved to run north from Ribchester via Lancaster to the Roman Calacum near Kirkby Lonsdale. Although it seem inevitable that to complete the triangle there would be a third road direct from Olicana to Calacum, where the A65 now runs past Settle and Ingleton, indisputable traces of it have not yet been found by archaeologists. However a Roman farm has been uncovered at Gargrave on that route.[8]:39


Map of the Wapentakes c. 1000 AD

To collect the Danegeld in 991–1016 the Anglo-Saxons divided their territory into tax districts. The Wapentakes of Staincliffe and Ewcross covered the region we call Craven but also areas beyond it such as the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire; and Sedbergh in Cumbria to the North.[12] The Church was still using these areas in 16th century.

Norman Conquest

The Domesday Book, on folio 301v, lists the arable land In Craven

The Great Domesday Book of 1086 did not use the later Wapentake district names in this part of England, as it usually did, but instead used the name Craven. In the west this included Burrow, Melling, Wennington and Hornby[13] in Lonsdale, reaching further west than any later descriptions. Archives[14] show that Melling included farmlands in Ergune (Arkholme parish) and Hornby in Ghersinctune (Gressingham parish) and some consider Craven may have reached c8 km further to the west coast.[15]

Although it suggests the length, the Domesday Book does not tell us the width of the boundaries of Craven, for in it only arable land was noted and ploughing was at that date a minor part of Craven agriculture, although cultivators had probably been reduced in numbers by the Harrying of the North. The valley bottoms are usually boggy, shady frost-hollows, with soils of glacial boulder clay very heavy to cultivate. So farms were limited to the well-drained slopes, but not too far up for that is unusable moorland. The band of useful soil in between is so full of rocks that grazing oxen was the living in Craven, with some sheep marginal.[16] Because grazing land was not tallied in the Domesday Book the full areas of the estates of the manors can only be induced[15]

Areas of arable land on folio 301v of the Great Domesday Book[14]
Location[15]Modern name[14]Acres, approxHectares, approxTaxpayer/s
ChersintoneGrassington360150Gamel Bern[17]
FreschefeltThreshfield480195Gamel Bern
BradleiBradleys Both840350Arnkeld, Thorkil, Gamel
EsebruneEastburn270120Gamel Bern
ChichelaiKeighley720290Ulfkeld, Thole, Ravensvartr
WilsedeneWilsden360150Gamel Bern
AcurdeOakworth12050Gamel Bern, Vilts
Mellinge, Hornebi, WermigetunMelling-with-Wrayton, Hornby-with-Farleton, Wennington1080440Ulf[17]
In de hb (in the same places as Ulf)Melling-with-Wrayton, Hornby-with-Farleton, Wennington18073Orm[17]
Tornetun, Borch.Thornton in Lonsdale, Burrow-with-Burrow720290Orm

The farmlands were progressively taken from the Anglo-Scandinavian farmers and given to selected Normans. For example by 1086 all the lands listed on folio 327r under Craven had been taken from Gamel Bern and given to Gilbert Tison.

Areas of arable land on folio 327r of the Great Domesday Book
Location[15]Modern name[14]Acres, approxHectares, approxTaxpayer/s
ChersintoneGrassington360150Gamal Bern had them. Gilbert Tison has them
LiptonLinton240100Gamal Bern had them. Gilbert Tison has them
FreschefeteThreshfield240100Gamal Bern had them. Gilbert Tison has them.
EstbruneEastburn240100Gamal Bern had them. Gilbert Tison has them
SteutetuneSteeton360150Gamal Bern had them. Gilbert has them
Glusebrun & ChelchisGlusburn and Chelsis360150Gamal had them. Gilbert has them
AcurdeOakworth12049Gamal Bern had it. Gilbert has it

In 1086 Roger of Poitou was Tenant-in-chief of the western side of Craven: Ribblesdale and the Pendle valley.[19] In 1092 he was granted also Lonsdale to defend Morecambe Bay against Scottish raiding parties. He ruled both until 1102. The lord of the east side of Craven, that is from Grassington down to Keighley and eastward, was Baron Robert de Romille. To defend against the Scottish raiders he built the first Skipton Castle in 1090.

14th century

Craven was still suffering from Scottish raiders for example in 1318 they severely damaged churches as far south as Kildwick.[20]

In 1377, in the form of Poll Tax records, the earliest surviving detailed statistics of Craven were collected. From them we can compare the income brackets of various occupations, and the relative worth of villages.[21] The records list every hamlet and village using the wapentake system.[22] The Wapentakes of Staincliffe and Ewcross cover Craven but also areas beyond such as Sedburgh to the North. Young King Richard II had commanded that poll tax to pay off the debts he'd inherited from the Hundred Years' War. Its first application in 1377 was a flat rate and the second of 1379 was a sliding scale from 1 groat (4p pence) to 4 marks. But the third tax of 1381 of 4 groats (1 shilling) and up was applied corruptly and led to the Great Rising of 1381.

16th century

The Deanery of Craven had similar boundaries to the Wapentake of Staincliffe and so included the following areas which are not in the modern secular district of Craven:

17th century hearth tax

These valuable records also define the area by wapentakes. This tax was introduced by the government of Charles II at a time of serious fiscal emergency, and collection continued until repealed by William and Mary in 1689. Under its terms each liable householder was to pay one shilling for each hearth within their property, due twice annually at the equinoxes, Michaelmas (29 September) and Lady Day (25 March). The Yorkshire records of all three ridings are now completely transcribed, analyzed and available free online[23]

History of agriculture


The hills and slopes of Craven are greatly involved in the history of sheep particularly in the history of wool. After 5000 BC the Neolothic farming movement introduced domesticated sheep,[8]:19 but the Roman occupation of Britain introduced advanced sheep husbandry to Britain and made wool into a national industry. Craven was made accessible by major roads from Ribchester up Ribblesdale and from York through Ilkley. The extent of a Roman villa farm excavated at Gargrave implies it practiced grazing on nearby moorland.[8]:39 By 1000 AD England and Spain were recognized as the pinnacles of European sheep wool production. About 1200 AD scientific treatises on agricultural estate management began to circulate amongst the Cistercian monasteries in the Yorkshire dales. These indicated the way to greatest profit was to produce wool for export.[24]

“The famous monasteries under the steep, wooded banks of Yorkshire dales began the movement that in the course of four or five hundred years converted most of North England and Scotland from unused wilderness into sheep-run.”
—George MaCaulay Trevelyan, 1926[24]

Fountains Abbey strongly affected Craven in upper Wharfedale, Airedale and Littondale. In 1200 the Abbey owned 15,000 sheep in various locations and traded directly with Italian merchants. On the limestone fells it held extensive sheep runs managed by granges located at valley heads to access both the moors and the rough pasture of valley sides. Many granges developed into hamlets. The Fountains’ sheep administrative centre was at Outgang Hill, Kilnsey.[8]:60 By 1320 Bolton Priory’s flock at Malham was about 2,750 and it built extensive sheep farm buildings there. Accounts show that a quarter of its cheese was sheep’s cheese, and that most of the Priory’s came from wool sales.[8]:71 It also developed fulling, sorting and grading into industries.[8]:95 Feudal Lords began to imitate monastic management methods for their own estates[24]:95 and in 1350 when the Black Death killed-off half the rent-paying farmers they had the bailiffs substitute sheep-pasture for tillage. The export of wool to the Flanders looms, and the concurrent growth of cloth manufacture in England, aided by Edward III's importation of Flemish weavers to teach his people the higher skill of the craft, made demand for all the wool that English flocks could supply.[24]:314 As the profitability of wool further increased some landowners converted all arable land into sheep pasture by evicting whole villages. Over 370 deserted medieval villages have been unearthed in Yorkshire.[25][25]:146 Henry VIII in 1539 suppressed the Monasteries and sold Littondale and the Bolton Priory's estates in lower Wharefedale and Airedale to Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland and Lord of Skipton.[8]:61 By 1600 the wool trade was the primary source of tax revenue for Queen Elizabeth I. Britain’s success made it a major influence in the development and spread of sheep husbandry worldwide.

In more modern times the Industrial Revolution brought factory production of wool cloth to towns further down Airedale and many Craven families, made redundant by agricultural machinery, moved south to work in the worsted mills. However in 1966 the price of wool fell by 40% due to the increased popularity of synthetic fibres. Farmers complain it now costs more to shear a sheep than you can get for its wool and the result is reduced flocks. Although the tough wool of hill sheep is still used for carpet weaving, sheep breeding is now mostly for lambs to sell on for fattening for meat in low pastures.[26]:25


Woodland is an important component of the landscape and are crucial to scenic beauty. The small surviving areas of ancient woodland have high biodiversity value.[27] However the Pennines are now notably lacking in trees despite archaeological evidence showing 90% was woodlands before human settlement. Palynology indicates a coincident decline in trees and increase in grasses. The dramatic shortage of natural woodlands is due to overgrazing and direct clearance for pasture.[28] Since sheep are grazers not browsers they do not affect mature trees however they devour all their seedlings. With a much narrower face than cattle they crop plants very close to the ground and with continuous grazing can overgraze land rapidly. Ancient Common Grazing rights made it impossible to actively grow trees, even for fuel, because coppicing requires enclosure to protect re-growth from sheep.[8]:94 Since 2002 The Yorkshire Dales National Park has encouraged sheep farmers to switch uplands livestock to cattle since they do not graze so intensively. Traditional breeds such as Blue Greys and Belted Galloways can survive the harsh winters and live off the rough grasses just as well a sheep.[29] Since 1968 some moorland has been afforested by the Forestry Commission.[25]:132 Since 2005 the collection of indigenous seeds and propagation by the Dales National Park produced saplings for planting schemes that began in 2010.[27]


In the 16th and 17th centuries Longhorn cattle prevailed in Craven. Good quality bulls were bought communally to improve the livestock on the common land beside each village. In the 18th century they crossbred with Shorthorns: fully grown crossbreeds weighed 420–560 pounds. Some graziers of the Craven highlands also visited Scotland, for example Oban, Lanark and Stirling, to purchased stock to be brought down the drove roads to the cattle-rearing district. In the summer of 1745 the celebrated Mr Birtwhistle brought 20,000 head from the northernmost parts of Scotland to Great Close near Malham.[30]:53 In modern times dairy farming has predominated. After the 1970s Holstein Friesians became the most popular breed.[31]


Pollen analysis shows that the peak of arable agriculture in Craven was 320-410 AD. But outbreaks of pestilence in the 6th century and in the 7-8th century resulted in a shift away from ploughing to grazing. However, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the Danish Viking settlers “were engaged in ploughing and making a living for themselves.”[8]:47 Cultivation lynchet terraces and ridge-and-furrow fields of the Middle Ages are visible alongside many villages particularly in Wharfedale and Malhamdale[8]:69 and tithe records show they grew crops of oats, barley and wheat[30]:21 and in rotation, beans and peas.[8]:71 But the wool boom of the 16th century caused most arable land to be turned into pasture. In the 18th century miller’s records show they had to import wheat to grind and sell as flour[30]:21 but the farmers still grew oats for it formed the principle article of their subsistence, some made into bread and puddings[32] but mostly cooked as oatcakes.

“We were browt up on haverbreead and cheese”
—Mr J Postlethwaite, 1940[30]:27


In the 18th century the national Board of Agriculture commissioned a survey of agriculture in the region with a view of improving it. This was published to the public in 1793 as General view of the Agriculture of the West Riding of Yorkshire[33] a 140-page book detailing every factor. The wide variety of soil composition resulted in tithes ranging from 6 shillings up to 3 pounds per acre and farms leasing from 50 to 500 pounds per year. It details by parish quantities of cattle and crop produced, their rotation and market value. The report recommended more wheat and turnips; more sheep and of better breed; criticized poor drainage and design of farm buildings and taught principles of farm management.

Average wages then paid to employees were 12 pounds per annum with victuals and drink; and to temporary labourers 2 shillings and sixpence per day with beer. Hours of work in winter were “dawn till dark” and in harvest time “six till six, with one hour for dinner and another for drinking”. The author shows concern for their virtue and welfare.


Craven is administered by the Craven District Council which is made up of 30 councillors who represent the 19 wards that make up the district.[34]

The Craven Local Government District since 1974

For representation on North Yorkshire County Council Craven is divided into seven divisions and returns one councillor per division.[35]

On a national level Craven forms part of the Skipton and Ripon constituency which is currently represented by the Conservative Member of Parliament Julian Smith.

Craven District Council allies with other organizations:[36]


The largest town in Craven is Skipton. Other major population centres in the region include High Bentham, Settle, Grassington. Due to expansion the villages of Sutton-in-Craven, Cross Hills and Glusburn now make one urban conglomerate.

Other Cravens

West Craven

In the 1974 government reorganization of the shire districts some towns were lost to Lancashire but because of cultural history their area is known as West Craven. These are Barnoldswick, Earby, Sough, Kelbrook, Salterforth and Bracewell and Brogden.

Archdeaconry of Craven

The modern Archdeaconry of Craven is much larger than civic District of Craven[43]

The Anglican Church Archdeaconry 542 is named Craven and has four Deaneries: Ewecross, Bowland, Skipton and South Craven.[43] Ecclesiastic Craven is much larger than the civic District of Craven; in particular the north of Ewecross is in Cumbria county, the lower part of South Craven is in West Yorkshire, and south-west Bowland is in Lancashire county.

The Church of England is considering charging their boundary of Bowland to match that of civic Lancashire, but this is unlikely to happen before July 2013.[44]

South Craven

The Deanery of South Craven comprises 20 parishes: Cononley, Cowling, Cross Roads cum Lees, Cullingworth, Denholme, East Morton, Harden, Haworth, Ingrow, Kildwick, Newsholme, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Riddlesden, Sildsden, Steeton with Eastburn, Sutton-in-craven, Thwaites Brow, Utley, Wilsden. Civic boundaries further contrast in that only Bradley, Cowling, Kildwick and Sutton-in-craven are in North Yorkshire, the rest are in West Yorkshire.


Craven comprises the upper reaches of Airedale, Wharfedale, Ribblesdale and the river Wenning of Lonsdale.


A Pennine traverser does not have to climb above 170 m (558 ft)[45] following the river Aire through Craven to the river Lune

Craven was of great topographic significance for the historic North of England for it provides a low-altitude pass through "the backbone of England".[21] It was the Pennine transport corridor from Cumbria and Strathclyde to the Vale of York. Even Neolithic long-distance trade is proved by many finds of stone axes from central Cumbria.[8]

To the route’s north stand limestone mountains of up to 736 m (2,415 ft) above mean sea level[45] and to its south lie bleak sandstone moors, that above 275 m (902 ft) grow little but bracken.[46]

To walk the Pennine moors is "potentially dangerous if the weather is bad and you are ill equipped. If the cloud comes down you will need both a compass and a knowledge of how to use it."
—Jim Jarratt, 2006[47]
Cross-section of the topography of England, coast to coast. In red is shown the altitudes of the valley called the Craven Basin or the Aire Gap. In particular the A683 from Lancaster on the tidal waters of the Irish Sea, via Ingleton on the A65 to Skipton and then on any major road beyond to Goole where the River Ouse is tidal from the North Sea. This Craven Basin or Aire Gap contrasts with the heights of the mountains of the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the north marked in blue, and also contrasts with the heights of the Forest of Bowland and the South Pennine Moors to the south marked in yellow.[45]

The treeless moorland gives no shelter from storms. Even modern Pennine transport can find it a formidable barrier for roads can be blocked by snow for several days. But the Craven route is a welcoming sheltered passageway, and also inhabited along its length.

The railway-builders sought the lowest course through the valleys of Craven and found that to be 166 m (545 ft) near Giggleswick scar at 54°04′27″N 2°19′05″W / 54.074167°N 2.318056°W / 54.074167; -2.318056 (The lowest pass at Giggleswick Scar), and 160 m (525 ft) just East of Hellifield at 54°00′00″N 2°10′00″W / 54.00000°N 2.16667°W / 54.00000; -2.16667 (Aire Gap, the pass between Ribblesdale and Airedale) a point labeled Aire Gap on maps.[48]

The nearest alternative pass through the Pennines is Stainmore Gap (Eden-Tees)[49] to the North, but that is not in Craven’s league for it climbs to 409 m (1,342 ft)[45] and its climate is classed as sub-arctic in places.[50] The nearest low-level routes across the country are the 228 m (748 ft) Tyne Gap over 100 km (62 mi) to the north, or the Midlands just as far to the south.[45]

Natural vegetation

As the Ice age glacial sheets retreated from Craven ca 11,500 BC plants returned to the bare earth and archaeological palynology can identify their species. The first trees to settle were willow, birch and juniper, followed later by alder and pine. By 6500 BC temperatures were warmer and woodlands covered 90% of the dales with mostly pine, elm, lime and oak. On the limestone soils the oak was slower to colonize and pine and birch predominated. Around 3000 BC a noticeable decline in tree pollen indicates that Neolithic farmers were clearing woodland to increase grazing for domestic livestock, and studies at Linton Mires and Eshton Tarn find an increase in grassland species in Craven.[8]

On poorly drained impermeable areas of millstone grit, shale or clays the topsoil gets waterlogged in Winter and Spring. Here tree suppression combined with the heavier rainfall results in blanket bog up to 2 m (7 ft) thick. The erosion of peat ca 2010 still exposes stumps of ancient trees.[8]

“In digging it away they frequently find vast fir trees, perfectly sound, and some oaks...”
—Arthur Young, 1771[51]

Vegetation in the Pennines is adapted to subarctic climates, but altitude and acidity are also factors. For example on Sutton Moor the millstone grit’s topsoil below 275 m (902 ft) has a soil ph that is almost neutral, ph 6 to 7, and so grows good grazing. But above 275 m (902 ft) it is acidic, ph 2 to 4, and so can grow only bracken, heather, sphagnum, and coarse grasses[46] such as cottongrass, purple moor grass and heath rush.[26] Dressing it with lime produces better quality grass for sheep grazing - such is named marginal upland grazing.[46] This points to the advantage of Pastoral farming near Craven Fault where the lime is so available.



Businesses by industrial sector[52]
SectorQuantity %
Distribution, Hotels and Restaurants97232.8
Transport and Communications1575.3
Banking, Finance and Insurance76025.6
Public Admin, Education and Health2719.1

Economic forecasts for 2010 show that the Craven District's diverse economy, measured in Gross Value Added (GVA), is worth £1.14 billion ($1.87 billion) Since 1998 the value of the District’s economy has grown by 45%. Craven hosts a variety of small businesses - 72% employ less than four people. Businesses that employ above 50 employees (2.2%) are mostly in the south of the District.

Traditional mainstays


The business of agriculture revolves around the Market towns of Craven:

The market days of Craven[54]
Market townStreet marketFarmersCrops auctionCattle auctionOther livestock
BenthamWed1st Sat-Wed: primestock[55]1st Tues: dairy, sheep, seasonals
SettleTues2nd Sun---
Gisburn[56]--Thur: hay and strawThur: prime, dairy, sheep[55]1st and 3rd Sat: breeding, store
Grassingtoninactive3rd Suninactiveinactiveinactive
SkiptonMon Wed Fri Sat1st SatMon: crops and produceMon: prime, dairy, sheep[57]1st and 3rd Wed: store, pedigree

AHDB, the national Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board,[58] issues regional reports with constant updates on agricultural output:

Two thirds of Craven lie within the Yorkshire Dales National Park where traditional landscape preservation is required[36][62]


Silurian gritstones are quarried along the North Craven Fault line above Ingleton and in Ribblesdale. Lower Carboniferous Great Scar Limestone is also quarried in those areas and near Grassington; and Carboniferous reef limestones are quarried around Skipton.[63]


Employment by occupation[64]
Occupation %
Sales and customer service6
Personnel services7
Process: Plant8
Professional occupations12
Associate Professionals12
Skilled Trades16
Managers and senior officials17
Employees by industrial sector 2008[52]
SectorQuantity %
Distribution, Hotels and Restaurants7,38327.8
Transport and Communications7812.9
Banking, Finance and Insurance7,52228.3
Public Administration, Education and Health5,35720.1

In 2008 there were 26,591 employed; 22% were self-employed. In 2010 each Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employee contributed £40,311 to the District’s economy, representing an increase in productivity of 21.9% since 1998; an annual increase of 1.8%. The value of output per capita (estimated to be £19,703) has increased by 32% since 1998.[53]



The proportion of the working age population with high levels educational attainment is above the national average, and 40% of the District’s residents have managerial and professional occupations. Also Lantra's Landskills offers workshops in efficiency and profitability in agriculture, horticulture and forestry with up to 70% funding. Caven is covered in Farm Business Support and Development and Yorkshire Rural Training Network.[65] Yet from 2004 to 2009 there was generally a decline in attainment of about 12% and the number of people in the District with no qualifications increased by 1.8%. Such people have reduced employment options, however Craven College[66] in Skipton is one of the largest Further Education Colleges in North Yorkshire and provides an outreach service to rural areas.[36]


Craven Museum & Gallery in Skipton is one of three museums in the district. It has obtained funding to deliver various projects:

As part of the projects above Craven Museum & Gallery staff worked with both the Museum of North Craven Life, The Folly in Settle[67] and the Grassington Folk Museum.[36][68]


Craven District supports arts through music, theatre, dance, literature, visual arts and festivals. Funding from the Arts Council England (Yorkshire) alone totaled £435,811 between 2006 and 2009. Grants from other sources including the Gulbenkian Fund and Esme Fairburn Trust totaling well over an additional £160,000.[36] A new exhibition gallery was opened in 2005 at Craven Museum & Gallery [4], Skipton, which now hosts a programme of exhibitions each year.


Craven Council opened the Craven Pool and Fitness Centre in 2003 and extended it in 2007. The Centre reached the semi-finals in the Best Semi Best Sports Project category of The National Lottery Awards. The Craven Active Sports Network develops opportunities for participation in sport and active recreation, sourcing funding for a variety of projects throughout the District, totaling over £14.5 million in 2001–2011. The National Sport Unlimited Scheme, delivering a programme of sporting activity to 1205 young people and teenagers, brought in £45,000 of external funding.[36]

Notable people

William Craven of Appletreewick, born in a modest family, went to London and rose rapidly to became its Lord Mayor. He is sometimes referred to as "Aptrick's Dick Whittington" suggesting the story of Dick Whittington is based on his life.[69] William was born c1518 in Appletreewick near Skipton. At age 14 was sent to London to apprentice to a Watling Street Tailor. He qualified in 1569 and made such a fine impression that in 1600 he was made Alderman of Bishopgate; in 1601 he was chosen Lord Mayor of London and in 1603 was knighted by James I. He made benefactions to Craven Yorkshire, founding the school in Burnsall.[70]

William’s son John founded the famous Craven Scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and in 1647 left many large charitable bequests to North Yorkshire towns including Burnsall and Skipton in Craven.

After 1660 William's first son William Craven was made the first Earl of Craven by Charles II. However, that title was eponyminous for the estate was Uffington Berkshire; he was in no sense a lord of Craven Yorkshire.

Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford owned and restored Skipton Castle in 1665.



  1. ^ "Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (Percentages); Mid-2005 Population Estimates". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 28 March 2008. 
  2. ^ Thomas Cox (1731) "Magna Britannia et Hibernia Antiqua Nova'" read online. Retrieved November 2010
  3. ^ "Institute for Name Studies". English Place-Name Society.,YOW. Retrieved 25 August 2010.  Note: Select the Thorton in Craven entry.
  4. ^ Genuki Yorkshire Maps
  5. ^ Mills, A.D., ed. (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford University Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-19-852758-6. 
  6. ^ Rev. Thomas Cox (1720-31) Magna Britannia et Hibernia Antiqua Nova, Or a New Survey of Great Britain read online, Retrieved November 2010
  7. ^ Whitaker, Thomas Dunham (2012) [1805]. The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York (new ed.). London: British Library. pp. 8. ISBN 9781241342692. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p White, Robert (2005) [1997]. The Yorkshire Dales, A landscape Through Time (new ed.). Ilkley, Yorkshire: Great Northern Books. ISBN 1-905080-05-0. 
  9. ^ [1] Roman, accessed August 2012
  10. ^ Ordnance Survey Map OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western areas ISBN 978-0-319-24068-7
  11. ^ Ordnance Survey Map OL41 Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale ISBN 978-0-319-24071-7
  12. ^ The genealogical region of Craven, see map on p.2
  13. ^ The Domesday Book Online, Lancashire Retrieved November 2010
  14. ^ a b c d Domesday Book, National Archives
  15. ^ a b c d Labs of the national archives, Domesday on a map
  16. ^ R Hindley, the History of Oxenhope, pub 1996 Retrieved November 2010.
  17. ^ a b c d Gamel Bern paid the most farm taxes in Craven: twelve curactes four bovates: approximately 1,500 acres (610 ha), and Ulf was next with nine curactes: 1,080 acres (440 ha). Gamel Bern was in fact the bairn of Gamel, Thegn in Mercia, and he the son of Orm or Ulf. Together this family of Noblemen held the most land in Northern England.
  18. ^ Newsholme’s unique church in this hamlet forms part of the farmhouse of Church Farm. Retrieved November 2010
  19. ^ Roger of Poitou is associated with 632 places after the Conquest Open Domesday, The first free online copy of Domesday Book Accessed March 2012
  20. ^ Harry Overend (2003) Kildwick Parish Church Accessed January 2012
  21. ^ a b Harry Speight (1892) The Craven and north-west Yorkshire highlands pp 29–60. read online from p 27; or pdf facsimile, pp 38–69.
  22. ^ ’’Domesday Book: Yorkshire’’ Ian Morris, ed. Morris, Faull, Stinson – Phillimore, 1992
  23. ^ Hearth Tax Online, Roehampton University, 2010 Retrieved 2011-06-24
  24. ^ a b c d Trevelyan, O.M., George Macaulay (1953) [1926]. "2, 7". History of England, Volume=One: From the Earliest Times to the Reformation (3 ed.). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books. pp. 207, 208, 313, 314. ISBN 0-385-09234-2. 
  25. ^ a b c Talbot, Rob; Robin Whiteman (1998). Yorkshire Landscapes. London: Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 0-297-82366-3. 
  26. ^ a b Kelsall, Dennis; Jan Kelsall (2008). The Yorkshire Dales: South and West. Milnthorpe: Cicerone. ISBN 978-1-85284-485-1. :26
  27. ^ a b Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Special Quality of Nature. Accessdate August 2011
  28. ^ Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Limestone wildlife Projects. Accessdate August 2011
  29. ^ Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Limestone Country Project. Access date August 2011
  30. ^ a b c d Hartley, Marie; Joan Ingilby (1968). Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-498-07668-7.  Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales
  31. ^ Donkin, Kevin (2006). Circular Walks along the Pennine Way (1 ed.). London: Frances Lincoln Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7112-2665-4. 
  32. ^ Whitaker, Thomas Dunham (1805). The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, in the county of York. Nichols, Payne etc. ISBN 978-1-241-34269-2. Whitaker’s History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven
  33. ^ Rennie; Broun and Shirreff (1793). General view of the Agriculture of the West Riding of Yorkshire. London: W Bulmer & Co.. 
  34. ^ "Your Councillors". Craven District Council. 5 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  35. ^ "Craven election results". North Yorkshire County Council. June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h The Craven District Plan 2009-2012.pdf (9.8MB)
  37. ^ North Yorkshire County Council
  38. ^ The Leeds City Region
  39. ^ North Yorkshire Strategic Partnership (NYSP)
  40. ^ The North Yorkshire Children's Trust
  41. ^ York and North Yorkshire Cultural Partnership
  42. ^ Welcome to Yorkshire
  43. ^ a b A Church Near You
  44. ^ Church of England report could affect churches across Craven. Craven Herald & Pioneer, 12 February 2011
  45. ^ a b c d e Google Earth Altitudes given by Google Earth maps
  46. ^ a b c page 4 and page 5, Marginal Upland Grazing Sutton Moor, Domesday Reloaded, BBC 1986
  47. ^ "The Watersheds Walk" by Jim Jarratt Retrieved September 2010
  48. ^ Enter "Aire Gap, United Kigdom" on Bing Maps
  49. ^ [2] Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, OL41, Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale ISBN 978-0-319-24071-7
  50. ^ "Regional mapped climate averages". The Met Office. 
  51. ^ Arthur Young (1771) "A Six Month Tour of the North of England’"
  52. ^ a b Annual Business Inquiry 2008
  53. ^ a b Craven District Council Economic Development Unit
  54. ^ Daelnet
  55. ^ a b Richard Turner & Sons of Bentham and Clitheroe
  56. ^ Gisburn is now in Lancashire but is still an auction market for Craven
  57. ^ Craven Cattle Marts Ltd of Skipton also have auctions of seasonal livestock on Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat
  58. ^ The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
  59. ^ a b EBLEX
  60. ^ World record price broken again at Skipton working dogs sale. pdf
  61. ^ Daryco Org UK Daryco Org UK
  62. ^ Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  63. ^ Wilson, Alfred (1992). Geology of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Grassington: Yorkshire Dales National Park Committee. ISBN 0-905455-34-7. 
  64. ^ NOMIS local labour force survey, annual population survey 2001
  65. ^ Lantra Landskills Yorkshire and Humber
  66. ^ Craven College
  67. ^ The Museum of North Craven Life in Settle
  68. ^ [3].
  69. ^ Peach, Howard (2003). "People: Aptrick's Dick Whittington". Curious tales of Old North Yorkshire. Sigma Leisure. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1-85058-793-0. Retrieved 20 August 2008. 
  70. ^ "History of Burnsall School". Retrieved 27 March 2011. 

Further reading

External links