4 reasons to visit the village of Steeton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 January 2016
Joan Russell Photography
If there's a chance to visit the small Aire Valley village of Steeton near Keighley, take it. Here are a few reasons to explore its streets and enjoy its valley views Photographs by Joan Russell
Steeton, on the old Keighley and Kendal Turnpike road just three miles from Keighley and five miles from Skipton, is mentioned in a Domesday survey under the ancient name of Stiverton. According to the very informative village website steeton.net, the name of Steeton is taken from its first Saxon possessor called Stephen – hence Stiveton or Stephen’s town. The De Stiveton family were lords of the manor of Steeton during the 12th to 14th centuries. Steeton Beck provided fresh water for the early Saxons and then power as the village developed. It was dammed to provide power for the former Woodlands Mill (worsted spinning) and the Bobbin Mill. Woodlands Mill dates from 1812 and the Bobbin mill earned an international reputation for the quality of its bobbins. It was demolished in the 1980s to make way for residential housing but Woodlands Mill has been converted to housing. Clusters of surviving buildings, mainly houses, dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries have conservation area status, as are some village trees, open spaces and in particular the open views stretching across the Aire Valley.
War Memorial and Memorial Garden
The village war memorial had an uncertain start. The 40ft column, designed by Bradford architect Godfrey L Clarke, stands on what was once the drive into Steeton Hall. The memorial, donated by Samuel Clough (of Steeton Hall), was unveiled in 1920 only to fall during a storm a few weeks later. Some strengthening work was carried out and the memorial was back in its place. At one time, a captured German gun was placed in the memorial gardens but its presence caused more than a little resentment and somehow ended up in the nearby beck (although later recovered). The memorial honours 50 men from Steeton and a further 15 from Eastburn who were killed in the Great War. Steeton lost six men in the Second World War. Three men from Eastburn are also remembered here.
St Stephen’s Church
Formal worship in Steeton in the 19th century was just a wooden building on a piece of leased land but it wasn’t long before a committee was formed to organise the building of a permanent church in the heart of the village. The new church was consecrated in April 1881 at the cost of £3,700 and that included the price of the three quarter acre of land on which it stands. The foundation stone was laid by the Rev Herbert Todd, Vicar of Kildwick, on February 28th 1880. The stone can be seen inside the church at the base of the chancel arch on the south side of the church, near the lectern.
Steeton had a large munitions factory and testing facility during the Second World War which, when it was extended, forced the relocation of Steeton Cricket Club. The factory pillbox and two fire posts south of the former factory have been listed as buildings of historical importance by English Heritage since 2009.