Keighley Yorkshire Family History Guide

Keighley is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Yorkshire.

Other places in the parish include: Utley, Thwaites, Sykes, Slippery Ford, Newsholme, Laycock, Knowle, Harehill, Hare Hill, Fell Lane, Exleyhead, Exley Head, Dockroyd, Brathwaite, and Bogthorn.

Alternative names: 

Riding: West Riding

Parish church: 

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1562
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1600

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Methodist New Connexion, Moravian/United Brethren, Primitive Methodist, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, Swedenborgian/New Jerusalem/New Church, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Association.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Kildwick
  • Oakworth
  • Eastwood
  • Ingrow with Hainworth
  • Silsden
  • Morton

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

KEIGHLEY, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in W. R. Yorkshire. The town stands in a hollow, at the convergence of two small valleys, on the Haworth branch railway, adjacent to the North Midland railway, the river Aire, and the Leeds and Liverpool canal, 9¼ miles NW of Bradford. Several high but gently sloping hills, clad with heath, rise immediately around it, and command very fine views along the valleys, and away to Whernside, Ingleborough, and Peryghent mountains. The name Keighley is supposed to be of Saxon origin, and to have probably been derived from a Saxon proprietor called Kikel or Kihel. Roman coins have been found in the neighbourhood, at Elham Grange. A skirmish between the royalists and the parliamentarians, occurred at Keighley in the time of Charles I. A child who died here in 1783, weighed 8 stones when twenty months old, and was then 3 feet high. The town has about quadrupled in size since the commencement of the present century; and it has recently undergone great improvement. It is built of stone; and, notwithstanding disfigurement by chimneys and smoke of factories, it presents a picturesque appearance. Entire streets, or sections of streets, of old or dingy houses, have been taken down, and replaced by piles of good or imposing masonry. The market place was opened in 1833, and is spacious. a new town-hall, of ornamental character, was projected in 1865. The courthouse, though small, is neat. The Craven bank is a handsome edifice, in the Italian palatial style. The mechanics' institution and school of science and art was built in 1869, at a cost of a bout £12,000; and is in the Gothic style. Britannia hall, belonging to the Odd Fellows, is a pleasing edifice. The parish church dates from the time of Henry I.; was restored or rebuilt in 1805; was again entirely rebuilt in 1848, at a cost of nearly £7,000; is in the later English style; has a western tower, and a fine painted E window; is tastefully pewed; and contains two remarkable ancient gravestones, and a very fine modern font, with carved canopy of tabernacle work. The Independent chapel is an elegant and airy edifice. The Baptist chapel was built in 1865, at a cost of £3,800; and is in the Lombardic style. The largest Wesleyan chapel contains about 2,000 sittings. A Free Methodist chapel was built in 1867. Five churches of the Establishment, thirteen dissenting chapels, and a Roman Catholic chapel are in the parish, -all either in the town or in its near neighbourhood. The new cemetery is about a mile distant, on the banks of the Aire, towards Utley; and has two neat chapels, and a registrar's house. The grammar school was founded in 1713, by John Drake; was rebuilt on a new site, near the Skipton road, in 1860; is a handsome edifice, in the Tudor style; and has £160 ayear. Tonson's school, founded in 1716, has £40 a year from endowment; and the Harehill school has £33. The national schools were built in 1835, at a cost of £1,750. Bowcock's charity, for apprenticing and other purposes, has £342. A working men's hall is in Sun street; and an agricultural society holds annual meetings in September. The town has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, and five chief inns; is a seat of county courts and petty sessions, and a polling place; and publishes two newspapers. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; and fairs are held on 8 and 9 May, and on 7, 8, and 9 Nov. The worsted manufacture is extensively carried on; stuff goods and worsted yarns are largely sent to Bradford; and the machinery and implements for the local manufacturers are, in a considerable proportion, made in the town. Water works were constructed in terms of an act of 1816; lighting, watching, and cleansing, were instituted by an act of 1824; large bath and wash houses were built in 1869; and the local government is conducted by a board of health. Pop. of the town, in 1861, 15,005. Houses, 3,091. The parish contains also the villages or hamlets of Ingrow, Eastwood, Oakworth, Newsholme, Laycock, Brathwaite, Fell Lane, Utley, Exleyhead, Thwaites, Bogthorn, Dockroyd, Harehill, Knowle, Slippery Ford, and Sykes. Acres, 10,350. Real property, £47,861. Pop. in 1851, 18,259; in 1861, 18,819. Houses, 3,952. The manor of Keighley belongs to the Duke of Devonshire; and that of Oakworth, to W. B. Ferrand, Esq. About 2,000 acres of the land are waste or heath; and the rest exhibits profuse variety of fertile slope and luxuriant valley. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £358. Patron, the Duke of Devonshire. The vicarages of Oakworth, Eastwood, and Ingrow-with-Hainworth are separate benefices. There are churches, or licensed places of worship, also at Brathwaite and Newsholme. The sub-district contains also two townships of Kildwick parish. Acres, 14,712. Pop., 21,859. Houses, 4,568. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Haworth, conterminate with Haworth township in Bradford parish; and the sub-district of Bingley, containing the township of Bingley-with-Micklethwaite, and that of Morton in Bingley parish. Acres, 39,144. Poor rates in 1863, £12,627. Pop. in 1851, 43,395; in 1861, 43,122. Houses, 9,069. Marriages in 1863, 363; births, 1, 556, of which 96 were illegitimate; deaths, 1, 106, of which 497 were at ages under 5 years, and 19 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,362; births, 16,217; deaths, 10,669. The places of worship, in 1851, were 14 of the Church of England, with 6,333 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 1,984 s.: 9 of Baptists, with 3,557 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 50 s.: 23 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 8,172 s.; 10 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,636 s.; 2 of the Wesleyan Association, with 416 s.; 1 of the New Church, with 191 s.; 2 undefined, with 330 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 300 s. The schools were 30 public day schools, with 3,877 scholars; 42 private day schools, with 1,507 s.; 70 Sunday schools, with 10,444 s.; and 26 evening schools for adults, with 844 s. The workhouse is in Keighley parish; and, at the census of 1861, had 94 inmates.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


County: Yorkshire
Civil Registration District: Keighley
Probate Court: Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
Diocese: Post-1835 - Ripon, Pre-1836 - York
Rural Deanery: Craven
Poor Law Union: Keighley
Hundred: Staincliff and Ewcross
Province: York