Research by John B. Smith

Additional Research by Mr John B. Smith

The following are notes by John B. Smith of Carter Royd to be read in conjunction with and commenting on older writings:—

Mr Joseph Craven, jr., in a lecture entitled the ‘History of Steeton’, given to the Steeton Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society on 2nd November, 1881, (See Keighley News 5th November 1881) stated:-

  1. It was believed that the district around Steeton was occupied, prior to the Romans, by a powerful warlike race called the Brigantes.
  2. When Steeton Moor was being broken up at the early part of the 18th century, parts of three Roman roads were found and some remains which were possibly from a Roman station or fort. There were Roman garrisons at Colne, Ilkley and Halifax, and the roads that joined them met at Steeton. The road from Ilkley crossed the river Aire at ‘the Streams’, winding round the hill to Steeton it divided; one branch going through Aden (a camp of horse soldiers) to Colne, and thence to Ribchester; the other from Steeton through Gisburn to Lancaster; and a third road leading directly up the Old Bank (where traces of pavement could still be found in 1881) went to Manchester
  3. After the Saxon Thane Stephen, but before Thane Gamelbar (who was ousted following the Norman conquest), Steeton, along with most of the Craven region, belonged to Swain Fitz Arlic. During the Saxon period Steeton consisted of a few wooden houses, one storey high, thatched in rushes with shingle thrown over to keep the wind from blowing it away. There were no chimneys, just a hole in the roof for the smoke from a fire in the middle of the dwelling. Probably one house would be larger than the rest where the thane dwelt and ruled with a rod of iron.

Primitive Methodism was first recorded in Steeton in 1823 with no members but contributing to the local quarterly meeting. In 1840 Steeton was recorded as having 8 members. Services were held in a Mrs Sugden’s house (Nanny Roe) in Wood Street, adjoining the Bobbin Mill.

As stated previously the chapel in High Street was built in 1850 to accommodate 200 people and costing £188. This was sold to Messrs Dixon for £120 and converted into two houses.

The stone laying ceremony of the Keighley Road Primitive Methodist Church at Steeton Top commenced in 1889. The site cost £140. The chapel will accommodate 200 people and attached to the chapel is a Sunday School which cost £900. The first service in the Keighley Road Methodist Church was held on Friday 4th April 1890 and was conducted by Rev. J. Bootland.

The new Sunday School was opened on 14th January 1905 by Ald. Thomas Clough of the Shroggs. It was capable of holding 230 people and cost £600. Classrooms were provided on each side of the central hall, which was separated from the old hall by a movable partition.

The Skipton Road Methodist Church celebrated its jubilee in 1839. However, Methodism in Steeton goes back at least to 1826, as the old Wesleyan Chapel was built in that year, and direct links have been kept since that time. However, Steeton had a link with Methodism before then , for there is a record that in 1748 there were nine circuits in the United Kingdom, and that Keighley was one of the nine societies of the Yorkshire circuit – Steeton was no doubt associated with Keighley.

Prior to the chapel being built in 1826, a building which later was to become a shop and then two cottages in Barrows Lane, was the chapel. In 1872 the Sunday School was built and then in 1889 the new chapel was built. The last services at the old chapel were held on 1st April 1889, and on 24th May the memorial stones of the new building were laid by Mr Thomas Clough (The Shroggs). The opening services were held on 16th July 1889 when the Rev. R. Newton Young (Handsworth College) preached the sermon. The amounts subscribed and raised amounted to £2,047-15-3. There remained £205-16-9 to pay and Mr Thomas Clough paid this and promised to put a new organ in the chapel.

The upper storey was added in 1897 and the new primary department in 1911. The jubilee took the form of a meeting and tea, and Steeton Hall and grounds was opened to the members. Mr Jack Smith A.R.C.O. gave an organ recital and a public meeting addressed by past and present members was presided over by Mr Robert Clough. The special preacher was the Rev. C. Harold Luckman of Enfield, London.

There existed at one time a boarding school at the Low Hall, under the proprietorship of Mr Joseph Riley. There were attending sixty or seventy boys. The school was removed to Pannal, near Harrogate in 1863. A night class was run at the school when it opened in 1852, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m., with a fee of 3d. per week.

The place where the school now stands was formerly an orchard. The library was established in the Provident Day School in 1855 and was later transferred to the Steeton Institute at 2 School Street.

At the beginning of the 19th Century the principal occupation was wool-combing by hand.

There was no Post Office at this time, and a man came from Keighley every morning with the letters and collected the letters every evening. He blew a trumpet as he came into the village, and it was common practice for letters to be placed in the windows for collection, so that every house was effectively a Post Office. The Post Office was established in Steeton in 1859 and from that time until 1940 a member of the Holmes family had control.

Many lectures were given in the village by the various societies at the latter part of the 19th Century. The societies included:-

  • Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society
  • Steeton Mechanics Institute.
  • St. Stephen’s Literary Society.
  • Primitive Methodist Chapel Society.

There was an old ceremony of the beating of the bounds of the parish. As Steeton had 3 streams for boundaries, children were ducked in the stream and the same were given a hiding to encourage them to remember the boundary.

There was a report of the persecution of Quakers in Steeton from 1657 to 1670.

Steeton Cricket Club was formed in 1868 and played in the Shroggs Field (where the house stood until it was demolished in 1994.) In 1877 they moved ground to a field on the Harewood Estate. In 1895 they moved again to the field below Pot Lane called Elm Field. A pavilion was added in 1904 at a cost of £180. Steeton joined the Yorkshire Council League in 1921.

The following is list of the shops in Steeton shortly after the turn of the 19th century compiled from memory by John B. Smith’s father Jack:

Shop Type Location Type
General Store Whitley Head Mawson
Greengrocer Barrows Lane Jim Harry Dixon
Baker & Confectioner Barrows Lane Benson Wrathall
Millener Barrows Lane Mary Pearson
Butcher Chapel Road Frank Hargreaves
Plumber Chapel Road Charlie Wilson
Cobbler Chapel Road
Grocers High Street Co-operative Workers Society
Cobblers High Street Co-operative Workers Society
Tailor High Street Herman Shackleton
Butcher High Street Richard Lambert
Tripe Shop High Street Fred Sugden
Grocer High Street Herbert Harrison
Tailor High Street Herbert Harrison
Sweet Shop High Street Miss Hindle
Painter & Decorator High Street Broadley
Sweet Shop High Street Hodge Sugden
General Store High Street Twisleton
Baker & Confectioner High Street Mrs Barker
Fish & Chips High Street Shutts
Costumier High Street Miss Munday
Sweet Shop Wood Street Hiram Smith
Grocer School Street Clement Dawson
Butcher School Street Stephen Wilson
Gents Outfitter School Street Henry Jackson
Dentist School Street Albert Jackson
Blacksmith School Street Alf Jackson
Newsagent & Tobacconist Main Road William Butcher
Butcher Main Road Harry Green
Barber Main Road William Butcher
Draper Main Road Miss Holmes
Grocers Main Road Blaythorne’s
Baker Main Road Mrs Bella Holmes
Furniture etc. Mill Lane Tom Davy
Sweets & Tobacco Mill Lane Polly Cliff
Tripe / Pies / Peas Station Road Simeon Haggas
Sweets Station Road Craig Smith
Drapery Station Road Co-operative Workers Society
Grocery Station Road Co-operative Workers Society
Furniture Station Road Tom Emmott
Photographer Station Road Harry Clough
Joiner Station Road Dick Nelson
Butcher Station Road Tobias Lambert
Fish & Chips East Parade Cowgill’s
Sweets East Parade Mary Ayrton
Painter & Decorator Elmsley Street Bob Holmes
Cobbler Queen Street Jim Ellison
Ladies Clothes-New & Used Croft Street Polly Barker
Post Office Market Street Miss Holmes

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