History of Cottingley


COTTINGLEY - derives its name from the Cota or Cotta family and could be said to mean meadows of the sons of Cota. "Ing" means wood, "ley" means field. Equally "ting" or "ding" could mean moot or court.

Cottingley can boast of ancient descent as it was named in the Domesday Survey of 1086.Erneus De Burun held 12 carucates of land of which 2 carucates were named as Cottingley. (A carucate = approx. 120 acres.) Only arable land, meadow and wood-pasture were recorded. Moorland and waste producing no tax. The land was described as "all waste." In the early 14th century, on dissolution of the Templars, much property came into the possession of the Knights of St. John. They held rights over Cottingley and Beckfoot and drew rents from scattered properties around the area. The double cross marking their property can still be seen on Beckfoot Mill and is preserved in Cottingley over the modern properties which replaced the old Grange at the bottom of Cottingley Main Street.

  • In 1160 - grant of land in Cottingley from the Knights Templars to Henry Wales.(This grant is the earliest document held by the West Yorkshire Archives)
  • Around 1254 the Lord of the Manor obtained a charter for ";free warren"; (the right to preserve the beasts and fowls) and the land was later described as a park.

    In the early 14th century, on dissolution of the Templars, much property came into the possession of the Knights of St. John. They held rights over Cottingley and Beckfoot and drew rents from scattered properties around the area. The double cross marking their property can still be seen on Beckfoot Mill and is preserved in Cottingley over the modern properties which replaced the old Grange at the bottom of Cottingley Main Street

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  • In 1379 the plague arrived in Airedale. In the same year Nicholaus de Cottynglay paid vx iiijd poll tax.
  • In 1422 an Inquisition proved that Wm Gascoigne held land at Torpark, Shipley and Cottingley.

  • In 1557, in the 4th year of her reign, Queen Mary revived the old Order of Knights Hospitallers and endowed it with lands that had never been sold, including the Manor of Cottingley

  • In 1566 the manor of Cottingley passed from the Franke family to a merchant, Bryan Bayles.

  • Between 1585 and 1804 Cottingley was within the Ecclesiastical and Lay Jurisdictions of the Manorial Court of Crossley, Bingley, Cottingley and Pudsey.

  • In 1590 the manor was sold for £1040 to four partners who in turn disposed of some of the farms to tenants.

  • In early 1600's a decree was made that anyone holding land in the manor of Cottingley had to set a double cross on either his house or ground in full view or receive a fine of vjs viijd (6s 8d.)
  • In 1631 Beckfoot hamlet was visited by the plague with many inhabitants dying.

  • In 1615 Richard Sunderland bought the ";manor"; which consisted of the former possessions of the Order of St. John at Cottingley and elsewhere in the district.

  • On April 3rd 1616 at the Cottingley Court William Long, Edmund Fairburne, William Scott, William Wright and John Symson - common typlers and alehouse keepers - were fined for not keeping the Assize of Ale, but sold contrary to the statute. Also the administrators and executors of Richard Jowet( deceased of Helwicke) should make appearance before the next court to prove the will of the deceased.

  • In 1617 at the Cottingley Court the jurors found that William Francke made affray and drew blood upon William Lange of Cottingley. He was fined 10 shillings (6/8d for the blood and 3/4d for the affray). He was also fined a similar amount for making affray and drawing blood upon Steven Francke, his father.
    Abraham Willman was fined 3/4d for playing football on the sabbath.
    Other inhabitants had allowed their swine to go unyoked and were fined 6d for every swine. The culprits were - Steven Francke (3), Robert Lister (4), William Long (2), and John Wright (1).
  • In 1634 A Register shows the following Cottingley people had Pews in Bingley Parish Church - Stephen Slater, Thomas Hudson, Richard Hudson, William Lister, Bryan Lister, William Franke, John Hustler, Isack Hollings, Richard Dickinson, Laurence ffara.

  • In 1666 the farmhouse belonging to Manor Farm was built. It was partially rebuilt in 1782 when a barn was added. Hammer-dressed stone, dressed quoins, stone slate roofs. Under eaves is carved stone with the double cross of the Knights Templars with datestone B.F. 1782. (Grade II listed).
  • In the 1741-2 election of MP for Yorkshire, the following Cottingley people voted - W. Lamplugh(Clerk), John Lister, Oldroyd Skirrow, John Booth, Timothy Maud, Bryan Lister and Joseph Hollings.

  • In 1744 a Bill was put forward in Parliament to make the Aire navigable from Cottingley to Inghey Bridge in Craven. This was however dropped. The idea of linking the West to this waterway was first thought of in 1744 (RAILWAY & CANAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY JOURNAL 1958 P 50) by a group of 'Gentlemen, Farmers and other inhabitants of the towns and parishes of Bingley, Keighley and other parts adjacent to the River Aire in the Riding of the County of York' who were eager to improve communications for the transport of coal, minerals and agricultural products. These men proposed to make the River Aire navigable from Inghay Bridge near Skipton to Cottingley Bridge near Bingley. The reason for this was to link with the road at Cottingley that went over the hill through Heaton into Bradford since the present road between Saltaire and Bradford was not built until 1815. This Bill was not passed through Parliament and so the scheme failed. However interest still remained high in improving transport communications, as an article in the York Courant on the 7th August 1764 said, As the Rivers Aire and Ribble may be so easily joined at different places and rendered Navigable between Leeds and Preston at an expense which gentlemen who have estates on the banks may readily supply, it is thought proper to mention it to the public at this juncture.
  • In 1753 an act was passed dealing with roads and waterways in order to arrange repairs and collect tolls. The Keighley to Bradford road was included in this act and the route to Bradford went up Bradford Old Road and over the moor. The toll bar was originally sited at Cottingley Bridge but was moved to Cottingley Bar in 1823.

  • In early 1800's Bingley had one postman (John Binns) and his round covered Bingley, Cottingley, East Morton, Eldwick, Harden and Ryecroft. He occasionally used his donkey for travelling. He died in 1840.

  • In 1823 the Cottingley Toll Bar was moved from its previous site near Cottingley Bridge to the junction of the new branch road to Shipley and the old Bradford Road at Cottingley Bar.
  • In 1834 the following people had businesses in Cottingley :
    (Transcribed from Pigots 1834 Commercial Directory by Steve Garton.)
Edward Whitley - Butcher
John Firth - Shopkeeper
John Hudson - Shopkeeper
Hannah Foster - Sun Inn
Edward Berwick - Worsted Spinners & Manufacturers
Sugden & Smithers - Worsted Spinners & Manufacturers
John & Samuel Dibb - Cattle Dealers

  • From 1835 a day school was conducted in Cottingley smithy.

  • In 1844 - October 19th Bingley & Cottingley Allotment Gardens opened.

  • 1852 - Mechanics' Institute (which included a library and classes in useful knowledge and scientific subjects) established in Cottingley. Moved to the Town Hall in October 1865.

  • In 1853 Wilsden section which included Cottingley, Harden and Cullingworth, had 1 police sergeant and 4 police constables

  • In 1861 Cottingley had 113 houses and 667 inhabitants (census 1861)

  • In 1865 Cottingley Town Hall was opened.

  • In1867 Bingley Industrial Co-operative Society, which had been formed in 1850, opened a branch in Cottingley at the corner of Town Hill Street and Smith Street. It traded mainly in groceries, but later also coal.

  • In 1877 2 postmen did all the work of the Bingley area including Beckfoot and Cottingley.

  • In 1877 a mission church of Holy Trinity was built at Cottingley with a schoolroom being added four years later.

  • In 1886 Cottingley became a separate parish with the consecration of the church as St. Michael & All Angels.

  • Between 1888 and 1891 both liberal and conservative clubs were founded in Cottingley.

  • In 1896 Cottingley Choral Society was born.

  • In 1900 There were 8 Postmen in the Bingley area, Cottingley having its own separate postman.

  • In 1913 Cottingley Toll House demolished and Cottingley Bridge widened.

  • On September 26 1914 The Cottingley Rifle Range was opened.

  • Between 1914and 1920 Cottingley Hall was demolished and the site became Cottingley Hall Farm. A new Cottingley Hall was built at this time and now houses Cottingley Hall Nursing Home.
  • In 1926 Cottingley Choral Society came to an end.

  • In 1933 Cottingley finally got its new school which was sited at School Street.

  • In 1939 the last tram left Saltaire Depot.

  • In 1939 Petrol rationing started

  • In 1940 Food rationing started

  • In 1949 Blackhills Scout Camp opened

  • In 1949 Clothes Rationing ended.

  • In 1950 Bingley Council proposed a By Pass.

  • In 1950 Petrol Rationing ended.

  • In 1952 Identity cards abolished and Tea rationing ended.

  • In 1953 Sweet and sugar rationing ended.

  • In 1954 Meat rationing ended.

  • In 1957 on 19th October the Saltaire Cinema closed.

  • In mid 1960s Nab Wood Grammar School was built.

  • In 1965 the Centenary of Cottingley Town Hall was celebrated.

  • In 1966 Cottingley Theatre Club was formed and two productions were staged - A Chance to Shine and A Phoenix too Frequent

  • In 1982 Yorkshire Clinic opened.

  • In 1997 Cottingley Theatre Club gave it's last production - Fish out of Watwer

  • In 2002 the site at School Street was vacated, sold for development and the buildings demolished.

  • In 2004 the Cottingley Village History Society was formed.


Education Pioneers

In 1814, government provision for the education of children was non-existent. However, in that year, some unnamed Cottingley men recognised the need for local children to be given a formal basic education. To that end, the smithy at the foot of Main Street was rented from Joseph Hollings of Whetley Hill. Since, at the time, most of the poorer children worked for several hours on each weekday, the Cottingley school was to be open on Sundays only. It provided no more than a very general elementary education and was, in all probability, the only school it's pupils were ever likely to attend. The management of the building and school was administered by a Committee who resolved:-

"The Committee shall permit and suffer the children of parents of every denomination, sect and party to assemble in the said schoolroom for the purpose of instruction by such teachers as shall be willing to labour gratuitously, the said teachers shall be persons of good moral character and shall not be objected to on account of his or her faith or principles". (Obviously a 'Discrimination Act' was totally unnecessary in those days.)

As the nearest Church to Cottingley village was in Bingley, in 1815 the Committee decided:-

"To permit and suffer the said schoolhouse to be open for the admission of preachers and ministers of all and every denomination."

This in effect was the beginning of the free, independent church which to the present day Cottingley Town Hall remains. It was evidently the hope that the preaching meetings, by drawing parents to the schoolhouse, would foster a strong community spirit. In this respect the Committee was not disappointed.

Further information

about Cottingley history can be found on the Cottingley Connect History page
about Cottingley Town Hall can be found on the Cottingley Town Hall web site

Two articles regarding Old Cottingley, written by Harry Pratt for The Bingley Guardian in 1947, are available in pdf format. Articles in PDF form
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