Settle is a market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is served by Settle railway station located near the town centre, and Giggleswick railway station which is a mile away. It is 29 miles (47 km) from Leeds Bradford Airport. The main road through Settle is the B6480, which links to the A65, connecting Settle to Leeds, Ilkley, Skipton and Kendal. The town had a population of 2,421 according to the 2001 Census increasing to 2,564 at the 2011 Census.
Settle is thought to have 7th-century Anglian origins, its name being the Angle word for settlement. Craven in the Domesday Book shows that until 1066 Bo was the lord of Settle but after the Harrying of the North (1069–1071) the land was granted to Roger de Poitou.
In 1249 a market charter was granted to Henry de Percy, 7th feudal baron of Topcliffe by Henry III. A market square developed and the main route through the medieval town was aligned on an east–west direction, from Albert Hill, Victoria Street, High Street and Cheapside and on through Kirkgate. This road led to Giggleswick where the citizens attended the parish church. The first bridge over the River Ribble was mentioned in 1498.
During the English Civil War, the Cliffords, the lords of the manor were Royalists, but their subjects were not. John Lambert of Calton in Malhamdale, was a general in Cromwell's army and his troops camped at Settle in August 1651 while on the road to an encounter in Lancaster.
Daniel Defoe wrote "Settle is the capital of an isolated little kingdom of its own surrounded by barren hills.": p.163 Because of its remoteness Settle saw mostly local commerce. The old roads were pack horse trails: p.105 and drovers' roads along hilltops: p.6 because the valley was soft and swampy before field drainage and the dredging of stream estuaries.: p.105
In the 1700s textile industrialists supported by traders and landowners campaigned for a turnpike to connect with growing industrial towns. The minute book for the Keighley and Kendal Turnpike Trust shows that most investors were mill owners from the Giggleswick district. In 1827 the trust, having miscalculated the cost of road maintenance, was in debt by £34,000.: p.172 When in 1877 the trust was terminated, the investors received on average 54% of their deposit. The investors had benefited in that Settle was now well connected and its cotton mills boomed. The mill owners imported coal and, like the heavy industries that exported agricultural lime and sandstone masonry, welcomed the turnpike for access via carrier waggons to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Gargrave. The first passenger stagecoach arrived in 1763. The Mail Coach was running regularly in 1786. The Union coach for passengers ran each way on alternate days in the early 1800s, and daily by 1840.: p.5
The "little" North Western Railway reached Giggleswick in 1847 and in 1849 the railway company constructed Station Road from Giggleswick to Settle. In 1875, the Settle to Carlisle Railway was built, opening to goods traffic in 1875 and to passengers the following year when Settle railway station opened along with a goods warehouse, cattle pens, signal box and water cranes.
In the late 18th-century cotton spinning became the town's main employment. Bridge End Mill was converted from corn milling to cotton spinning. John Procter operated mills at Runley and King's Mill which were taken over by his son Thomas. He built the row of workers' cottages, Procter's Row in Lower Kirkgate. In 1835, Dog Kennel Mill and Brennand's Weaving Shed, Settle had five mills employing 333 people.
Settle is served by a town council made up of 11 councillors. The Mayor is elected annually and the current Town Mayor is Dan Balsamini currently serving his 4th year in the role having been re-elected in 2019, 2020 & 2021. The Deputy Mayor is Debbie Rymer first elected in 2021.
Settle is in the Settle and Ribblebank ward of Craven District Council. The population of this ward at the 2011 Census was 3,581. There are two councillors both representing the Conservative party. The town is in the Ribblesdale division of North Yorkshire, where it is represented by a Conservative councillor. It is twinned with the French Mediterranean seaside town of Banyuls-sur-Mer.
Settle was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It is located in Ribblesdale, at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, within a few miles of the Three Peaks. Immediately overlooking the town is Castlebergh, a 300 feet (91 m) limestone crag, and to the east is Malham which was in the former Settle Rural District. The River Ribble provided power for Settle's former cotton mills, and is now being harnessed by Settle Hydro, a micro hydroelectric scheme, to provide 50 kW of power to the National Grid.
Settle's market is held weekly on Tuesdays in the town-centre marketplace and in the Victoria Hall, a short distance away on Kirkgate. Settle Town Hall was sold by Craven District Council to a developer in October 2011. The Square is surrounded by local businesses, most of which are family-owned, with some offering items for sale unique to the Settle area. The Naked Man is believed to be the oldest cafe in the country.
The Yorkshire Festival of Story brings internationally known and award-winning artists to the town and has a range of paid-for and free events suitable for all age ranges. The festival attracts visitors from around the world and audiences have more trebled in size since the first festival in 2010. The event is the largest of its kind in the North of England. The Yorkshire Festival of Story is produced by Settle Stories an arts and heritage charity based in the town.
The Folly is a 17th-century Grade I listed building on the main street. In 1996 the North Craven Building Preservation Trust purchased part of the Folly, restored it and opened it to the public in 2001. The Folly houses the Museum of North Craven Life and hosts exhibitions during the open season. There are permanent displays, including the Settle to Carlisle Railway, Robert (Mouseman) Thompson furniture and local history. The rest of the building has been purchased by the trust. The museum is independent and run by volunteers.
The Gallery on the Green is thought to be the smallest art gallery in the world: drawings, paintings, photographs and other works are housed in a former BT telephone kiosk. Gavagan Arts at Linton Court Gallery is situated in a courtyard off Duke Street. The gallery presents a series of temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.
The Listening Gallery is an audio gallery in an old phone box. The gallery has changing exhibitions and is open 365 days a year and is free to enter. The box is maintained and was created by Settle Stories.
The district has several caves where prehistoric remains have been found, the most notable being Victoria Cave, so-called because the inner chamber was discovered in 1837 on the day of Queen Victoria's accession. The cave is a geological SSSI and scheduled monument. Victoria Cave contained fossil remains. The earliest, at 130,000 years old, include mammoth, straight-tusked elephant, cave bear and hippopotamus, Bos primigenius, Rhinoceros leptorhinus and spotted hyenas (as a bed of hyena bones). They date to an Upper Pleistocene interglacial. After the last Ice Age the cave was used by hibernating brown bear and reindeer. Associated with the later deposits were a harpoon head carved from antler; flint implements and other ornaments. The discovery of flint is noteworthy as it is not found naturally in the area. Craven Museum & Gallery in Skipton has an exhibition of items which includes a bear's skull found in one of the caves.
Settle has two schools, with Settle Primary School and Settle College. Settle Middle School closed as part of the money-saving measures taken by North Yorkshire County Council. To the west of the town is Giggleswick School, one of the principal independent schools in the North of England, founded in 1512.
- Richard Bache (1737–1811), merchant, American Postmaster General and son-in-law of Benjamin Franklin
- George Birkbeck (1776–1841), founder of the Mechanics' Institutes; Birkbeck, University of London is named after him
- Reverend Benjamin Waugh (20 February 1839 – 11 March 1908) founder of the NSPCC is also commemorated by a plaque on what is now the Neil Wright Estate Agents in Settle town square
- George Howson (1860–1919), reforming headmaster
- Francis Morphet Twisleton (1873–1917), military leader and letter writer
- Theodore Rigg (1888–1972), agricultural chemist
- Annice Sidwells (1902–2001), radio singer
- Claire Brooks (1931 – 13 March 2008), lawyer and politician
- Don Wilson (7 August 1937 – 21 July 2012), England and Yorkshire cricketer
- Mike Harding (born 1944), singer and comedian
- Emma Lonsdale (sportswoman – skiing) (born 1984), Winter Olympian 2014
- James Newman (born 1985), singer, songwriter and the representative for the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 & 2021
- John Newman (born 1990), soul singer
- Dr James Frederic Riley FRSE (1912–1985) radiologist and finder of the link between mast cells and asthma
- Ann Harding — awarded British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to the community of Settle during COVID-19
- James Brown guitarist from Pulled Apart by Horses attended Settle College
- UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Settle Parish (1170216780)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- Brayshaw, Thomas; Robinson, Ralph M (1932). The Ancient Parish of Giggleswick. London: Halton and Co.OCR copy by North Craven Historical Research Archived 9 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 30 September 2012
- "History". Settle.org.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Introduction To The Main Roads of Kendale". British Historyac.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- Brigg, John J (1927). The King’s Highway in Craven, with sketch maps.
- Hudson, Phil; Hudson (2005). "Settle History". Settle Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- Baines History of the Cotton Manufacture (1835)
- "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics – Area: Settle and Ribblebanks (Ward)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
- "Cravendc.gov.uk". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011.
- "Settle Street Market & Victoria Hall Indoor Market". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Mystery over new owner of Settle Town Hall". The Craven Herald. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
- "Settle Online – Tourism Information about Settle in the Yorkshire Dales". settle.co.uk.
- "Yorkshire Festival of Story". settlestories.org.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
- "Local To International: Yorkshire Festival Of Story Streams Settle To The World". Lancashire Times. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
- "The Museum at the Folly: Home". NCBPT. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "North Craven Building Preservation Trust". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Kay, Andy (2012). "Gallery On The Green". Gallery On The Green.
- "Gavagan Art :Linton Court Gallery". gavaganart.com.
- Ames, Daryl (29 March 2018). "Settle Stories to unveil new Listening Gallery in former phone box". Craven Herald. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Craven Museum & Gallery". cravenmuseum.org.
- Leeds Daily Photo "Plaque to Edward Elgar English Composer"
- "Home – Settle Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School". settle-pri.n-yorks.sch.uk.
- "Settle College – Be the best you can be". settlecollege.n-yorks.sch.uk.
- "BEM for Settle woman for services to her community when coronavirus struck". Craven Herald. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Settle, North Yorkshire.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Settle.|