Main Births etc
Coordinates: 53°57′43″N 2°01′01″W / 53.962, -2.017
The Gateway to the Dales
View from Skipton moor
Skipton from Skipton Moor

North Yorkshire outline map with UK
Red pog.svg

Red pog.svg Skipton shown within North Yorkshire
Population 14,313 [1]
OS grid reference SD989517
    - London 223 mi (359 km)  
Parish Skipton
District Craven
Shire county North Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SKIPTON
Postcode district BD23
Dialling code 01756
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Skipton and Ripon
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Skipton (also known as Skipton-in-Craven) is a market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is located on the course of the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to the south of the Yorkshire Dales, 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Bradford and 38 miles (61 km) west of York. At the United Kingdom Census 2001, Skipton had a population of 14,313.

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Skipton was anciently distinguished by Skipton Castle, constructed in 1090 as a wooden motte-and-bailey by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. In the 12th century William le Gros strengthened it with a stone keep to repel attacks from the Kingdom of Scotland to the north, the erection of which elevated Skipton from a poor dependent village to a burgh administered by a reeve. The protection offered by Skipton Castle during the Middle Ages encouraged the urbanisation of the surrounding area, and during times of war and disorder, attracted an influx of families.

Skipton became a prosperous market town, trading sheep and woollen goods, which also led to its naming, derived from the Old English sceap (sheep) and tun (town or village).[2] A market stemming from its formative years still survives, albeit with significant modification. In the 19th century, Skipton emerged as a small mill town connected to the major cities by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and its branch Thanet Canal, (known locally as 'Springs branch Canal'), but during the 20th century Skipton's economy shifted to tourism, aided by its historic architecture and proximity to the Yorkshire Dales. Since 1974, Skipton has been the seat of Craven District Council. The Skipton Building Society was founded in the town.


Skipton was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. It played roles in history during the English Civil War and as the site of a prisoner of war camp during World War I.

Home to one of the oldest mills in North Yorkshire, historical documents indicate High Corn Mill[3] dates to 1310 when it was owned by Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford, at this point it was transferred to the powerful Clifford family by the then King Edward II. The mill as it appears today is only half of what used to exist when two mills were in operation to produce corn for the whole of Skipton.


Skipton is part of the parliamentary constituency of Skipton and Ripon, which was created in 1983. The constituency has returned a Conservative MP since its inception. The seat is currently held by Julian Smith MP. Prior to 1983 Skipton had its own eponymous constituency.

Skipton forms part of Craven District, a Non-metropolitan district, and is home of the offices of Craven District Council. In 2007, proposals to make North Yorkshire County Council a unitary authority, removing the layer of government represented by Craven District, were rejected.[4]

Skipton has its own town council consisting of 16 Councillors, formed by 4 members from each of the four wards within the parish boundaries, [North, East, South and West]. The Town Council Offices are based on the High Street, above Barclay's Bank.


The town's major local employer is Skipton Building Society and its subsidiary companies. The town is home to several holiday companies, including Blue Water Holidays [3] and several cottage holiday firms. It is also a centre for recruitment, with several hundred people employed in this sector. Recruitment firms include Medacs, JCJ, Holt and Medic International (Healthcare Recruitment Companies), Cody (a firm for Recruitment Consultant jobs) and Justteachers (a supply teachers agency). Tourism and retail sales are also significant. The town is known as the "Gateway to the Dales", due to its close proximity to the Yorkshire Dales. Skipton has many visitors, particularly on market days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). As Skipton is the nearest and largest town to most of the small towns and villages within the Dales it attracts a lot of shoppers and as a result has a bustling atmosphere and a wide range of shops. In 2008 the Academy of Urbanism voted the High Street the best shopping spot in Britain.[5] The wide main street used to host the sheep market, but now a general market is held there four days a week, and livestock is auctioned at the Auction Mart on the western edge of the town. The town has three official allotment sites.

A brewery opened in 2002. The Copper Dragon Brewery produce five different cask beers, four of which are also available bottled.[6] The company's logo is a green dragon coiled around the top of a brewer's copper kettle. Copper Dragon currently has seven pubs.[7]

Heritage and cultureEdit

On Saturday, 13 July 1901, a gala was held in Skipton to raise money for the Skipton and District Cottage Hospital, built at the time of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, held on the Brick Buildings Fields off Bailey Road. This was such a major event in the area that extra trains were laid on to bring revellers to the town from miles around. After the formation of the NHS, with the hospital being funded from central government, the Skipton Charities Gala continued, raising money for local charities and non-profit-making organisations. Nowadays, this charity gala, held every year on the second Saturday in June, starts with a procession through the town centre to Aireville Park, where various live performance acts entertain the public, culminating in live music and a firework display.

Panoramic Museum3

Craven Museum & Gallery

The Town Hall in Skipton holds regular craft fairs and special events and also houses a local history museum, [4].

Skipton Little Theatre is located near the town centre. The Mart Theatre is an unusual and unique venue. Opening in October 2005 with funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Yorkshire Forward, Craven District Council and the Arts Council England, it provides a unique rural theatre, events and other facilities within a functioning Auction Mart.

Skipton is twinned with the Bavarian town of Simbach. In May 2009 the town council decided to proceed with twinning with Erquinghem-Lys in France.[8]

Skipton has many pubs, two nightclubs, and restaurants ranging from traditional fish and chips to high quality French cuisine, taking in modern British, Mexican, Indian, Greek, Chinese and Italian.

The local newspaper is the Craven Herald & Pioneer.


Skipton boat carnival

Skipton Waterway Festival

Skipton Railway Station

Skipton railway station

Skipton lies close to the junction of the A65 road (from Leeds to the Lake District) and the A59 from York to Liverpool. The north section (A65 & A59) of the £16.4 million Skipton Bypass opened in December 1981. The rest of the six-mile bypass (A629) opened in October 1982, greatly reducing journey times to the Dales.

Skipton railway station gives access southbound to regular services for Leeds and Bradford on the electrified Airedale Line; northbound services connect to Lancaster, Morecambe and Carlisle; the latter route is along the famously scenic Settle-Carlisle Railway, passing over the Ribblehead Viaduct. Skipton bus station was rebuilt in 2009.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs through Skipton and is a popular destination for tourists, with walking and boat hire being easily available.


Primary educationEdit

There is a wide variety of choice for pupils at ages 5–11:

Secondary educationEdit

As well as Aireville School (ages 11–16), there are two single-sex grammar schools: Ermysted's Grammar School for boys, and Skipton Girls' High School (SGHS). Both schools are selective (by entrance exam) and obtain comparable high A-Level scores. On the basis of the 2009 A Level results Ermysted's performed 13th best in the UK and SGHS was rated 42nd.[9]

Further educationEdit


Skipton is home to Skipton Town A.F.C. and Skipton LMS, both football clubs; three cricket clubs; Skipton CC and Skipton CI, Skipton Kashmir;[10] and Skipton R.F.C., a rugby union club. The Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre, adjacent to the rugby club, has many facilities including all-weather football pitches and squash courts. There are several other gyms in the town as well as a public swimming pool.

Notable peopleEdit

A number of notable people have been born in Skipton. The philosopher Henry Sidgwick was born in Skipton in 1838.[11] Thomas Spencer, the co-founder of Marks & Spencer, was born in Queen's Court, Skipton in 1858.[12] The American mathematician Thomas William Edmondson was born in Skipton in 1869. Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times from 1912 to 1919 and from 1923 until 1941, was born in Skipton in 1874.[13]

Two politicians were born in Skipton: the former Conservative MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain Macleod in 1913,[14] and the Labour MP Joan Humble in 1951.[15] Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's personal physician during the Second World War, Charles Wilson, the first Baron Moran, was born in Skipton in 1882.[16]

The poet and author Blake Morrison was born in Skipton in 1950.[17] The former Manchester City footballer Rick Holden was born in Skipton in 1964.[18] The actress Elaine Glover, who has appeared in Footballers' Wives and HolbyBlue, was born in Skipton in 1983.[19] Former England cricketer and current captain of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Glen Chapple was born in Skipton in 1974.[20]


Skipton plays host to numerous International Organisations including two Rotary Clubs (Rotary Club of Skipton and Rotary Club of Skipton Craven), Rotaract, Soroptimist and Freemason clubs.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Census, 2001
  2. ^ Morris, R. W. (1982). Yorkshire Through Place Names. David & Charles. p. 123. ISBN 0-7153-8230-6. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Speak, Jenny (2007-07-27). "Unitary council plan scrapped". Craven Herald & Pioneer. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  5. ^ Brown Jonathan (28 November 2008). "Vibrant Yorkshire Dales town has best high street in Britain". Retrieved on 3 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Copper Dragon (UK)". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  7. ^ "- Yorkshire's Fastest Growing Brewery". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Skipton set to get French twin town". Craven Herald & Pioneer: pp. 5. 21 May 2009. 
  9. ^ [2], The Guardian 2009.
  10. ^ "Skipton Kashmir defy Patel’s best efforts (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Moggridge, Donald Edward (1995). Maynard Keynes: An Economist's Biography. Routledge. pp. 57. ISBN 0-415-12711-4. 
  12. ^ (2007-01-20) "M&S may open in Skipton". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved on 2008-08-19. 
  13. ^ (1944-11-08) "Obituary: Mr Geoffrey Dawson". The Times. 
  14. ^ Wright, Greg (2008-07-29). "Words of a 'forgotten politician' have returned to haunt us". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-19. 
  15. ^ "Joan Humble > Biographical details".,,-2597,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  16. ^ "Wilson, (Charles McMoran), Baron Moran of Manton". Royal College of Physicians. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  17. ^ "Blake Morrison: Biography". British Council. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  18. ^ "Rick Holden". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  19. ^ "Biography for Elaine Glover". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  20. ^ "Glen Chapple". England & Wales Cricket Board.,200,PP.html. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External linksEdit

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Skipton. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.