History of Denholme

Denholme appears to have started life in the early 12C as a tiny hamlet belonging to Hugh de Thornton. In 1239 Thomas de Thornton granted some land at Denholme to the monks of Byland Abbey and these holdings were steadily increased in the next half century. The monks were probably interested in acquiring land† to graze sheep as fleeces were a valuable cash crop for many monastic houses in the period.


In 1337, the last of the Thorntons, Elizabeth, married Robert Bolling of Bolling Hall, and Edward III agreed a fine, made at York, that when all interests in the estate had been satisfied, the manors of Thornton and Denholme were to go to Elizabeth and Robert Bolling.


In the 15th century Denholme came into the hands of the Tempest Family who enclosed the land to make a deer park. The deer park was enclosed by a wall, 8 and 2/3rd miles long, certain sections of which are still to be seen on the moor above Stubden Reservoir. After the civil war a demand was sent to Cromwell by the local army commander requesting money for the upkeep of the Deer park wall at Denholme. One of the entrances to the deer park is still remembered in the name Denholme Gate. The Tempests held the land for many years until it was gambled and lost by Sir Richard Tempest to the Savilles of Halifax. The Savile family then divided up the land and sold it off.


In 1822, before the Fosters arrived, the chief occupations of the villagers was mining, farming and hand loom weaving.


The Fosters started building their mill in 1838, but was blown down in January 1839. The second was larger and profitable until it was burnt down in 1857. The third mill was larger still and survived until recent times.


In 1800, the largest landowner was William Buck, a barrister, from Stradmore in South Wales. His Grandfather, Joseph, was a wool stapler from Allerton who began the Buck estate. His father, John Buck, married his first wife, Jane who was from the big Dawson wool family in Bradford. On the occasion of their marriage, they were leased a comfortable property, Godmansend, and all the land in Denholme for a yearly rent of one red rose, which had to be taken to the father every year. This was paid until the father died and John Buck inherited the entire estate. He eventually sold most of his estate in Denholme, although he gave the land for St Paulís Church to be built.



Roman Denholme


Denholme is on the route of the Roman road from Manchester to Ilkley. It is not known if there was a settlement at Denholme in the Roman period, but a large number of Roman finds have come from the area between Denholme and Bingley, so a settlement somewhere nearby is likely.

Click to return to the Home pageThe deer symbol represents the time when Denholme was a deer park.Click to view images of Denholme past