Horton in Ribblesdale

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Horton in Ribblesdale
West Riding
Churchyard, Horton In Ribblesdale.jpg
Pen-y-ghent behind Horton in Ribblesdale churchyard
Grid reference: SD807726
Location: 54°8’59"N, 2°17’46"W
Post town: Settle
Postcode: BD24
Dialling code: 01729
Local Government
Council: Craven
Skipton and Ripon

Horton in Ribblesdale is a small village in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It is in the broad Pennine district of the county known as Craven, and in Ribblesdale, the upper dale of the River Ribble. It is also on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, to the west of Pen-y-ghent.

Its population in the 2001 was 498 people in 211 households.


It is first attested as Horton in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the suffix in Ribblesdale was added already in the thirteenth century to distinguish it from another village of the same name in the West Riding, which is known simply as Horton. The place-name Horton is a common one. It derives from Old English horu ('mud' or 'dirt') and tun ('settlement', 'farm' or 'estate'.[1]


Horton in Ribblesdale is part of Ewcross Wapentake. It became a parish town in the early 12th century when the church of St Oswald was established. This church was historically associated with the Deanery of Chester, and was part of the Diocese of York – though, today it is part of the Diocese of Leeds. The surviving parish records date back to 1556.

In the 13th century the village and parish were ruled by rival monastic orders at Jervaulx Abbey and Fountains Abbey. Their dispute stemmed from a 1220 transfer of property here by William de Mowbray to the Fountains monks, which challenged the primacy of an earlier grant by Henry III to Jervaulx's predecessors at Fors Abbey. Not until 1315 was this dispute firmly settled, when Edward II confirmed the Abbot of Jervaulx as Lord of Horton in Ribblesdale.

During the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the monks' interests at Horton in Ribblesdale was attributed with an annual income of £32 and 5 shillings; and was given to the Earl of Lennox. He, in turn, disposed of the manor lands about 1569 or 1570 to a syndicate consisting of John Lennard, Ralph Scrope, Ralph Rokebie, Sampson Lennard, William Forest, Robert Cloughe and Henry Dyxon.

It seems the manor lands were eventually held solely by the family of John Lennard, the first named member of the syndicate. His daughter Lady Anne Lennard married Sir Leonard Bosville of Bradburne in Kent and together they sold their interests at Horton in Ribblesdale during the reign of Charles II to a partnership consisting of Lawrence Burton, Richard Wigglesworth and Francis Howson.

In 1597 Horton in Ribblesdale, like much of Yorkshire, was struck by a plague. This is confirmed by the parish burial register, which lists 74 deaths that year compared to just 17 deaths during the preceding and succeeding years. Those lost to this epidemic amounted to roughly one-eighth of the parish's population.

In 1725, local squire John Armistead left an endowment to establish a free grammar school here.

Visitor attractions

Horton in Ribblesdale is the traditional starting (and finishing) point for the Three Peaks walk. The Pennine Way and Ribble Way long-distance footpaths pass through the village.

The region is also popular for caving and potholing; Alum Pot and the Long Churn cave system are just to the north of the village, and Hull Pot and Hunt Pot on the western side of Pen-y-ghent.

The Three Peaks walk is an endurance challenge of 26 miles' distance, including 5,000 feet of ascent and descent of the mountains of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, all to be completed in under 12 hours. It attracts thousands of walkers each year. The circuit is also used for a fell race in April, while the Three Peaks cyclo-cross race also visits the three summits in the course of a longer 24-mile route on the last Sunday in September. Participants in both the running and cycling race regularly achieve winning times of around three hours, and sometimes both races in the year are won by the same competitor.


The Grade I listed[2] village church is dedicated to St Oswald. It has a complete Norman nave, south door and tub-font and is the most complete of the Norman churches built in the Yorkshire Dales after the Norman conquest and the Harrying of the North that followed.[3]

The square tower was built later. The lychgates to enter the churchyard are roofed with slabs of Horton slate.[4]

About the village

Horton has two pubs, The Crown Hotel and The Golden Lion, a village store as well as a café and tea rooms.

The village post office that was previously located in the village store is now located in the Crown Hotel. In 2006 a villager controversially installed a radio telescope.[5] Other buildings in Horton are typical of the area. 17th century yeomen's farmhouses can be found on the edge of the village, and later cottages can be seen nearer the centre of the village. In the 1870s the new railway prompted the building of Victorian terraced housing. Later the local quarrying of limestone led to the building of housing for the quarrymen.[4]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Horton in Ribblesdale)


  1. 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. HORTON.
  2. National Heritage List 10207496]St Oswald's Church, Horton in Ribblesdale: [1]St Oswald's Church, Horton in Ribblesdale Horton in Ribblesdale]
  3. Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. "Norman". Out of Oblivion - A Landscape through time. http://www.outofoblivion.org.uk/norman.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 CragFace (1999). "Horton in Ribblesdale". GrassingtonWeb. http://www.grassingtonweb.co.uk/villages/hortonribb.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  5. Newsquest Media Group (2006). "Telescope man wins first-round victory". The Telegraph & Argus. http://archive.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/2006/3/24/186276.html. Retrieved 2007-09-03.