Yorkshire has an abundance of unusual place names, including Booze, Wigglesworth, Fox Up, Wales, Dent, Wombleton, Thwing, Crackpot and Land of Nod. The most infectious of them all has to be Giggleswick. This peaceful village lies across the River Ribble from the hectic little town of Settle, North Yorkshire. The hamlet enjoys spectacular scenery with Giggleswick Scar nearby and the mountains of Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent to the north.
Giggleswick is a pleasant contrast of C17th cottages, many of them colour-washed, a feast of mullioned windows and drip-mouldings, stocks and a tithe barn. Friendly ducks enjoy the clear waters of Tems Beck. An ancient market cross stands outside the C15th church, dedicated to St Alkelda, she was an Anglo-Saxon princess and martyr, strangled for her faith by the Danes in the C12th.
A Knight, Sir Richard Tempest, was buried here in 1488 alongside the head of his favourite war horse! Inside is a monument commemorating Dr George Birkbeck, a member of a local Quaker family, he founded the Mechanics Institute. Next to the church stands the Black Horse pub.
A familiar landmark amongst the mountain scenery is the greened copper dome of Giggleswick School Chapel, built to commemorate the Victorian Jubilee. Giggleswick public school was founded in 1553 and is very well known. It boasts excellent sports facilities, including a cricket ground complete with pavilion and Lawn Tennis. What a pleasure it must be to be a scholar here.
Near the chapel is a bench overlooking the moors, a plaque in front says:
From this point the Astronomer Royal Sir Frank Dyson F.R.S. viewed the total eclipse of the sun
1927 June 29th 5h 24m U.T.
This plaque was unveiled by Dr Patrick Moore C.B.E., F.R.A.S. 1999 July 27th
Lat. 54° 4'.2N. Long. 2° 17'.7W. Altitude 174m
Giggleswick School Chapel
Down the road, set in dramatic limestone surroundings, is the Yorkshire Dales Falconry and Conservation Centre. Birds of Prey such as Eagles, Vultures, Hawks and Falcons can be seen. Free-flying demonstrations are also given.
Giggleswick was the home of the late Russell Harty, writer and TV personality. When Denis Healey, ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, became a Lord, he chose to become 'Lord Healey of Riddlesden.' He said his choice came from his affection for Riddlesden and because the name amused him and made him feel happy. Now, if the honour was ever bestowed on me, I wouldn't hesitate to become 'Lord Giggleswick!'
The Cricket Pavilion
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