Castley - Harrogate District - North Yorkshire

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Castley, Harrogate District, North Yorkshire


This is the first of a series of articles about civil parishes.
References to 'the 1850 map' mean the OS 6"/mile map, 1st edition, which can be seen on Jefferys's map of 1775 was a series of maps at 1"/mile covering Yorkshire.
The grid square of Castley village is SE2645.


Castley is a township of the ancient parish of Leathley. Domesday Book tells us that two ploughlands were taxed. Before the conquest one was held from the King by Alwine and one by Biarni and Alflæd. After the conquest and the 'Harrying of the North' both ploughlands were tilled by Everard, the man of William de Percy. The value had fallen from 10 shillings to 16 pence. I have not been able to find out the subsequent history of the township, ecept that the manor was held by the Arthington family "in ancient times" and the 1850 and 1890 maps show a 'Manor House' where Chapel Hill Farm is now. I would expect there to be memorials to the landowner family in Leathley Church or Arthington Church. Arthur Raistrick, in 'Arthur Raistrick's Yorkshire dales', Dalesman Books, 1991, p77, mentions documentary evidence for a mill, which he assumed to be on the River Wharfe, in which case the sharp bend in the river would be a likely site.

Castley became a separate civil parish in 1866, later becoming part of the Wharfedale Rural District of the West Riding, and in 1974 the Harrogate District of North Yorkshire. There was a boundary change in 1883, probably when a small detached part of Castley was given to Leathley.

Most of the township was in the Forest of Knaresborough, which apparently still existed in 1776 as a perambulation of the boundary in that year was recorded on the 6 map of 1850.

The population was 110 in 1848 (Genuki) and declined to 87 in in 15 houses 1891 and a low of 43 in 13 houses in 1921, rising to 57 in 19 houses in 1961 (A Vision of Britain through Time).


The underlying rock is millstone grit. The village is on a small hill within a loop of the River Wharfe.

Castley Lane

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2545 : Castley Lane crossing Riffa Beck by Peter Wood
From the A658 near Pool Bridge, Castley Lane leads, not surprisingly, to Castley, entering the civil parish where the lane crosses Riffa beck.

SE2545 : Entering Castley by Chris Heaton
Here there is a village sign.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2646 : Access Lane to Ings Farm by Chris Heaton
There is a public footpath, to Harrogate Road, on Badger Lane (named on the 1850 map), now the access lane to Ings farm.

SE2646 : Ings Farm, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
A relatively new farm, not on the 1850 map, on which the field in the foreground is named 'The Ings'.
by Humphrey Bolton

SE2646 : Boundary stone, Castley Lane, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Apparently this is inscribed '1767, K F', although all that can be seen now is a possible '7'. It marks the boundary of Knaresborough Forest. The boundary is marked on the 1850 6” map with the comment 'Perambulated in 1767'.
by Humphrey Bolton

SE2646 : The Wharfe at Castley by Gordon Hatton
Running fast, deep and brown after a weekend of heavy rains in the dales, the River Wharfe looks rather uninviting in this midwinter picture.
by Gordon Hatton

SE2645 : The River Wharfe, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Here there is a sharp bend in the river, which has cut into the hillside to form an earth cliff.
by Humphrey Bolton

SE2646 : The River Wharfe, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Here a ford used to cross the river on a long diagonal, reaching the Arthington side somewhere near to inside of the bend in the river. No sign of it now.
by Humphrey Bolton

SE2645 : Arthington Viaduct by Roger Crowther
The Wharfedale Viaduct carries the railway over the River Wharfe. It was completed in 1849. The Engineer was Thomas Grainger and the contractor James Bray. It is 460m long, with 21 round arches having roll-moulding at springer level. The parapet also has roll moulding, and stepped end-blocks at the point where it meets the embankment. This viaduct over the river Wharfe was the work of the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Company, which became the Leeds Northern Railway in 1851.

SE2645 : Wharfedale Viaduct by G Laird
A closer view of the viaduct, on the Arthington side where it can be seen from the byway that led to the former ford.

SE2645 : Castley Lane by Mark Anderson
Castley Lane in the village, not looking like a village street.

SE2645 : Castley Hall, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Castley Hall, which was built by Robert Dyneley shortly before 1702. It is of coursed gritstone, with a five-bay front, and has chamfered alternate quoins at the corners. The central doorway has a broken segmental pediment. The house has its back to the road. Part at least of the house is used as offices for engineering consultants. It is listed, Grade II.

SE2645 : Boggy valley, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Looking to the north, there is a boggy field ineffectively drained by a watercourse that is marked 'Rampart' on the 1850 map.

SE2645 : The village centre, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
This is the view along the lane towards a sharp bend that could be called the centre of the village. At any rate the parish notice board is on the building at the bend.

SE2645 : Bridge under the railway, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
There is a road junction here, with Chapel Hill Lane going off to the south to Greengates Farm and Chapel Hill Farm. The lane was diverted when the railway was built, doubling back to a bridge under the railway whereas it previously went straight to Chapel Hill.

SE2645 : Victorian Postbox, Castley by Mark Anderson
Castley still has its Victorian letter box.

SE2645 : Castley Lane at Castley by Peter Wood
Castley Lane looking southwards to the road junction.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2646 : White House Farm, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
White House Farm, Castley Lane.

SE2646 : Field barn off Castley Lane, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
A field barn near White House Farm.

SE2646 : Castley Lane, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
The hill up to Castley Farm.
by Humphrey Bolton

SE2646 : Castley Farm by Roger Foyle
Castley Lane, looking from the parish boundary towards Castley farm.

SE2646 : Stream bank, Castley lane, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
Here the bank is held up by a long, large tree root. The stream forms the boundary between Castley and Weeton.
by Humphrey Bolton

Chapel Hill

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2745 : Chapel Hill Farm by Roger Foyle
From Castley Bridge, Chapel Hill Lane follows the southern side of the railway embankment.

SE2745 : Railway maintenance track, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
The lane then bends east-south-east. Here a railway maintenance track goes up the embankment. This was probably used for the recent repair work. A large amount of fill material was needed to stabilise the railway embankment, and this work was planned and carried out in conjunction with major renewal works in the nearby Bramhope Tunnel. This provided a large volume of redundant railway ballast, which was exported by rail to the Castley site and used as general fill on the embankment.
[image id=380505 text=There is also what looks like an old spoil heap, perhaps from the original construction of the railway. At Chapel Hill, 'Site of Chapel' is marked on the 1850 map. This might have been a 'chapel-of-ease' for the lord of the manor.

SE2745 : Chapel Hill Farm by Mark Anderson
The lane, now private, continues to Chapel Hill Farm. On the 1890 1:2500 map this is captioned 'Manor House'.

The footpath from Castley Lane towards Weeton

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2746 : Bridge near Chapel Hill Farm by Chris Heaton
The path passes 'Site of Fort', as shown on the 1850 map with the comment 'querns have been found here'. It then goes under the railway embankment via this rather elegant bridge. The path might be on the line of the road to Weeton shown on Jefferys's map.

SE2746 : Footpath towards Wescoe Hill Lane by John Slater
This is where the path crosses a stream (named Long Carr Beck further ustream on the 1850 map) into Weeton.

Harrogate Road (A658)

The A658 Harrogate Road passes through the north-west part of the square. It was constructed after 1775 (it is not shown on Jefferys's map) as the Rigton Branch of the Dudley Hill Killinghall and Harrogate Trust (as named on the 1850 map). No doubt this was due to the growing importance of Harrogate as a spa town; it also provided an easier route from Pool Bridge to Killinghall. The main road of this trust was from Dudley Hill (Bradford) to Killinghall via Beckwithshaw, constructed c.1753.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Castley is entered due south of Riffa Manor, just before Riffa Business Park (on the south side of the road), which was shown as 'Depot' on the 1965 1:2500 map. (no image yet)

The high ground in the northern part of Castley was called Castley Moor, and would presumably have been common land in medieval times. Jefferys's map of 1775 shows a road passing through Riffa Wood (Kirk Wood on that map). This is probably the bridle road on the 1850 map. It is now an 'other right-of-way'. It went to Huby, probably via Gravelly Lane, with a branch to Newby.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE2646 : Stile near Ings Farm, Castley by Humphrey Bolton
On the footpath from Harrogate Road to Castley Lane via Ings Farm.

SE2646 : Milestone- In Place by Milestone Society
This is a milestone of the standard West Riding County Council type, ie a cast-iron plate triangular in section with a rounded head, bolted to a stone. The inscriptions are: Head - 'Dudley Hill Killinghall and Harrogate Road'. Left face - 'Bradford 12 miles'. Right face - 'Harrogate 6½ miles'. By Act of Parliament turnpike roads had to have milestones from 1767, but in Yorkshire most of these were replaced by the County Councils after they were formed in 1889.

Further Reading

H Speight, Upper Wharfedale, London, 1900;
B Jennings (ed), A History of Harrogate and Knaresborough, Huddersfield, 1970.
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