Embsay is a village in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England, and together with the neighbouring village of Eastby, form the civil parish of Embsay with Eastby, which had a population of 1,758 in 2001.[1] Embsay is approximately 2 miles (3 km) northeast of Skipton.

Kirk Lane at Green Bottom, Embsay - geograph.org.uk - 110037.jpg
Kirk Lane at Green Bottom
Embsay is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
OS grid referenceSE011533
• London185 mi (298 km) SSE
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSKIPTON
Postcode districtBD23
Dialling code01756
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
List of places
53°58′35″N 1°59′05″W / 53.9765°N 1.9847°W / 53.9765; -1.9847Coordinates: 53°58′35″N 1°59′05″W / 53.9765°N 1.9847°W / 53.9765; -1.9847


At the foot of Embsay Crag, a rock formation north of the village, is Embsay Reservoir. The crag marks the start of Barden Moor, an expanse of open moorland which is open access land and used by walkers.[2] There are two more reservoirs on the moor: Upper Barden Reservoir and Lower Barden Reservoir. Embsay reservoir is the headquarters of Craven Sailing Club.[3]


Embsay was originally a Celtic settlement, possibly founded at the same time as a local monastery, destroyed in a Viking raid in 867AD. The village has a Saxon name and is listed in the Doomsday Book as "Embesie", which translates as "Embe's enclosure".[4] At that time, much of the area was wooded and this was progressively cleared over time to provide farmland. In 1120, Cecily de Romille and her husband founded Embsay Priory.[5] The Augustinian members of the priory dedicated it to Saint Cuthbert and received local tithes. In 1154 they exchanged estates with the de Romille family and moved to Bolton Abbey, which was a more fertile location.[6] The priory flourished and grew rich on the profits of sheep farming and wool trading. In 1305, Edward I granted a charter for an annual fair at Embsay.[7]

The Industrial Revolution resulted in several mills being built in Embsay.[8]


Embsay Village Hall events include film nights, pantomimes, bowls, and jumble sales.[9]

The village has a newsagents on the main road. The dedicated post office closed; a counter in a newspaper shop now serves as a post office. Other businesses in Embsay are a hairdresser and an arts and crafts store. Embsay has two public houses: the Elm Tree Inn and the Cavendish Arms.[9] The Elm Tree Inn and Elm Tree Square take their names from a tree that stood there for many years. It was replaced in the late 20th century because of Dutch elm disease, but in 2006 that replacement was also taken down. A further replacement was planted in 2007.[10]

The village has a Church of England voluntary controlled primary school which receives pupils from Embsay, Skipton and farther away. It was ranked the 141st best primary school in England in 2000, and had risen to 84th place by 2003.[11]

Embsay railway station was built in 1888,[12] and is the current terminus of the heritage Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.[13] There is a bus service between Embsay and Skipton eight times a day on weekdays and three on Saturdays.

The village has a cricket club which competes in the Craven League; its second team was, in 2006, the first second team in the league's history to play in the first division.[citation needed] The village also has a football club. Both clubs play at the same ground on Shires Lane at the north of the village. The club grounds are named the 'Robinson Memorial' after a local family who supported the club. Also at the north of the village is a recreational ground with a climbing frame and small football pitch.[citation needed]

Filming locationEdit

In the 2018 BBC One television series The ABC Murders, Embsay is the location of the fifth murder.[14] Scenes were filmed at the Embsay railway station.[15]


  1. ^ "Parish Headcounts: Embsay with Eastby CP" Craven (Non-Metropolitan District), Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 September 2009
  2. ^ Moore, Lindsey (13 March 2015). "Enjoy a short stroll around Embsay Reservoir". Craven Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ Holmes, Damian (18 February 2017). "Short walk for a dramatic view". Keighley News. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  4. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names (4 ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 166. ISBN 0-19-869103-3.
  5. ^ Speight 1891, p. 224.
  6. ^ "The Priory in History - Bolton Priory". www.boltonpriory.org.uk. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  7. ^ Speight 1891, p. 246.
  8. ^ EEPP 2012, p. 11.
  9. ^ a b EEPP 2012, p. 5.
  10. ^ Tyack, Tom (12 March 2007). "Return of village landmark". Craven Herald. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  11. ^ "The top 500 primary schools". Sunday Times. 9 November 2003. ProQuest 316753120.
  12. ^ "North Yorkshire - Days out: walks, trains and horses". BBC Home. 4 July 2002. Retrieved 19 June 2007.
  13. ^ EEPP 2012, p. 12.
  14. ^ "11 ways The ABC Murders was different from Agatha Christie's original novel after THAT unnerving ending". Radio Times. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  15. ^ https://blog.findthatlocation.com/the-abc-murders-filming-locations-a-very-yorkshire-murder-mystery/


External linksEdit