Information on Skipton, Yorkshire
By the standards of the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton is a metropolis with over 14,000 residents. It’s a market town, located on the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal just south of the Yorkshire Dales, 16 miles northwest of Bradford and just off the A65 Road. The town grew around Skipton Castle, constructed originally with a wooden keep in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. In the 12th century William le Gros strengthened the keep with stone, and today the castle is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England giving excellent views over the surrounding area. Skipton’s history is intrinsically linked to the trading of sheep and woollen goods. Its name is derived from the Old English sceap (sheep) and tun (town or village). It became a prosperous market town and the woollen trade increased in the 18th century with the arrival of the Leeds –Liverpool canal. This 130 mile stretch of water was one of the marvels of the industrial revolution, and Skipton is close to its Northernmost point. Today the canal is still a focal point of the town, with many brightly decorated canal narrowboats to be seen moored in the centre of town. Skipton retains its essentially Norman layout dominated by the Castle, the parish church, and traditional cobbled market place with from which run passageways or ginnels, which were originally narrow medieval landholdings known as tofts and crofts. Today these are busy pedestrian thoroughfares containing shops, pubs and cafes.