Extract from "Cowling a Moorland Parish"


"COWLING" - this word has different meanings for different people, if you are a born and bred 'COWINHEEADER' the name is synonymous with home and will be pronounced with a long '0' (as in coal) if however you are what the indigenous population term an 'off-cumd-un' then this name will be pronounced as 'Cow' (the animal) ling.

The name lies deep in antiquity and is attributed to the Angles who invaded the North around 560 AD. a family named Coil settled in the area and inge is the home or settlement hence COLL-INGE - Coils settlement. Another brother settled at Cull-ing-worth -Coils-home-by-the-river.

However, the Angles were not the first inhabitants as traces of pre-historic man have been found on Ickornshaw Moor. A mesolithic site has been excavated and dated to 6000 BC. Small chest triangles and rod like implements were formed in association with burnt hazelnut shells, flint tools, arrow heads and a tranchet axe have been found and these are on display at Cliffe Castle. There is also a Trilithon on Earls Crag into which the Midsummersday sunrise shines through - whether this is man-made or a natural rock formation is purely conjectural.

It is suggested that the nearby Hitchinstone was the venue of Druidical worship or a place where tribal laws were formulated. The hole hewn in this giant boulder is called the 'Druids Chair'. It is the largest detached boulder in Yorkshire weighing approximately 1,200 tons, and is 28 ft long, 25 ft wide and 21 ft high.

Very little evidence has remained of how Cowling developed between this period and the Norman Conquest, all that remains of the Danish occupation appears to be in our place names:- Ickornshaw - 'Squirrel Copse', Knarrs End - 'Rugged Rock', Royds - 'Scarrs', Stubbin - 'clearing in the trees' with many more names coming from the Danish language.

The Norman regime influenced the area sometime after the Norman Conquest. Land was given to the Emmott brothers as a reward for military support to William the Conqueror. One had land from Laneshawbrtdge to Haworth, one Laneshawbridge to Blacklane Ends, hence the Emmott Halls at Haworth and Laneshawbridge.

The younger brother had the land in Cowling around Beckfoot and Cowling Hill, the Emmott family living at Becksfoot for 400 years, all the Emmotts in and around the village are descended from this branch, the younger brother being Lord of the Manor.

James Emmott Revill Know Coiling 23rd April 1716

Imprimis His purse & apparrell      5-0-0
Itm Four cows      15- 10-0
Four little Oxen      15-0-0
Three steers      7-15-0
Three young heifers      7-15-0
Three calves      3-15-0
One Mare      4-15-0
Two carts, two prs of Wheels, one coupe and Raithes      1-17-0
One other cart and wheels      13-0
2 old arks      10-0
2 plows, 1 coulter, 1 share Teams and Traces Yoaks 2 harrows, barkhams, hames and other old hustklement belonging to the sames      1-16-0
Shools, forkes and spaides      8-0
One cheesefatt and other small wrights tools stock in the workhouse      15-0
One hack (?) one piece of wood, 2 spinning wheels and tunes      1-0-0
Eight sackes one winowing sheet, one saddlerope wantow and other odd hustlements      1-0-0
One colepott, one chafeing dish, one reckon, one frying pan, one baking stone, one pair of Briggs, one pair of tongs      6-0
Thirteen pewter dishes, two pewter plates and other pewter      1-10-0
7 pans, 4 brass hoddles, 1 candlestick and one morter      16-6
In potts      3-6
One dish board and all the wood vessell      13-0
1 Longtable, 2 forms, 1 cupboard and 1 long seat      1-1-0
One arke      7-0
Two glass cases, one bread fleak, shelfboard and one watch      5-0
17 chairs and Quishings, 1 meat board and stools      18-0
One bedstead and bedding      1-5-0
Three chests      1-0-0
One coffer and old board      1-6
One bedstead and beding      1-5-0
One paire of looms, and furniture      6-0
One pair of old bedstocks      2-0
One bedstead and beding for 2 bedds      2-1-0
2 chests      18-0
3 boards one old arke, 1 form and 3 coffers      9-0
In oatmeale      8-10-0
Itm in wheat      8-0
In beefe and bacon      2-5-0

Debts owing to the Testator by:-
Stephen Tillitson      21-0-0
John Tillitson      1-0-0
William Laycock      6-10-0
William Parkinson      27-0-0
Christopher Hartley     6-0-0
John Smith      11-0-0
Robert Shackleton      19-5-0
Henry Moorehouse      13-16-0
Robert Watson      15-0
Widow Aldersley      1-2-0
Richard Brigg      4-0-0
Robert Emott      10-0
Widow Judgson      13-0
Abraham Oxnard      6-0
William Jackson      6-0
Thomas Thompson      12-0
Daniell Robinson      1-0-0
111- 15-0

The whole sum of this inventory 204-1-6
John Wilson, Christopher Emmott, George Emmott, Richard Brigg (marks)

The population was sparse as in 1385 this manor had 18 couples, expanding to 35 couples in 1534. These figures are thought to be from an inventory of men eligible for military service for the Emmotts. This settlement developed with Cowling Hill as its centre, but there was little arable land in 1086, only 21/4 carucates, in view of the high land probably covered in trees, scrub and moorland, this is not surprising. The settlements or farms were widely dispersed with Owlcotes, Cowlaughton, Warleywise, Norwood and Holeyns all dated between 1280- 1580.

In the 14th century John-de-Tong (Tong near Bradford) held a third of the Manor of Collinge so it appears that the division into the three parts we now call Cowling, had taken place, but no records have yet been found as to when this division actually took place.

During the 15th century accounts of the manors become confused, in the reign of Henry VIII it belonged to Thomas Blakay who was hanged and his estates forfeited to the Crown. (Thomas Blakay is thought to have lived in the vicinity of New Hall Farm). The lands were then granted to Henry the 1st Earl of Cumberland of Skipton Castle, passing by inheritance to Earl George III, who was notorious for gambling and he probably sold it or used it to settle a gambling debt. In Whitakers History of Craven we learn the Manor was in possession of Robert Parker Esq., with Collinge and Ickornshaw held by the Freeholders. It was acquired by the Copley Family who held lands in Craven, then sold to the Laycocks, and inherited by the Wainmans who inter-married with the Laycocks.

Alvery Copley defended the boundaries of the Manor of Collinge and Ickornshaw in the enquiry conducted by the Duchy of Lancaster in 1592. This determined the boundaries between the Manor of Colne and the adjacent moors of Yorkshire as we know them today.