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The picture that emerges is of the Anglo-Saxons carving farmsteads out of the wildwood with the aid of their 8-oxen iron-shod ploughs. It may be that the later development of local Churches here reflects a later change of settlement pattern from dispersed farmsteads to villages, which became the norm for rural society for a millennium. Craven is recorded as royal land, taken from Saxon Earl Edwin after his participation in the revolt; around 1100 it was granted to Robert de Romille, and became part of the Barony of Skipton.Robert's daughter Cecilia founded a priory of Augustinian Canons at Embsay, which moved in 1154 to Bolton – far enough up Wharfedale from Otley to avoid clashing with the Archbishop's territorial or ecclesiastical interests.These were discovered in the foundations of the medieval Church when it was demolished in 1805.The earliest written record of Keighley Church is a charter dated 1168-79 by which Peter de Pinchenni (Pinkney) "with the consent of Constance his wife, grants to God and St.
Back to Contents In 1305 King Edward I granted "to Sir Henry de Kyghelay and his heirs, the right for a weekly market on Wednesdays at their manor of Kyghelay in the county of York; and of a yearly fair, on the eve, the feast and the morrow of Saints Simon & Jude (28th October); also of free warren (the right to keep rabbits, then a luxury) in all the demesne lands of the said manor".
Bingley Church was founded in 1120 by William Paganell (who also founded Drax Priory and other Churches) but it has an older fragment of Anglian cross; Colne Church was built (along with Burnley and Clitheroe) as a chapelry of Whalley by Robert de Lacy (2nd Baron of Pontefract 1089-1115) to stamp his authority on his new territory.
Haworth Church was a chapelry of Bradford (built in 1070, also by the de Lacys) until 1879; it is first mentioned in a decree of 1317 compelling the (lay) Rector and Vicar of Bradford and freeholders of Haworth to pay the chaplain as "from ancient times".
Viking supremacy in Northumbria continued until the year 954.
Before the 11th Century, the Anglo-Saxon Church was based on semi-monastic minsters, whence monks or priests would visit the surrounding settlements to preach.
The earliest record of Christianity in the area round Keighley dates from 867 AD, when Archbishop Wulfhere of York fled from marauding Danes to Addingham, where he had a manor as part of his Otley estate.