History of Pateley Bridge

The History below is that I have researched on the internet and in libraries and hopefully correct, however, history sometimes differs in the views of different historians. Should you find any errors, anything I might have missed or indeed anything  I can include or research please email info@harrogate guide.co.uk

The History of Pateley Bridge from the Middle Ages

In the early Middle Ages, the site of Pateley lay in lands of the Archbishop of York, which came to be known as Bishopside. During the 12th century the principal settlement in Bishopside was at Wilsill, rather than Pateley. Pateley was first recorded in 1175, as Patleiagate, with 14th century forms including Patheleybrig(ge). The final elements are clear, deriving from Old Norse gata (‘street’) and the northern dialect form brig (‘bridge’) respectively. There is more debate about the Pateley section of the name: the usual explanation is Old English pæþ (‘path’) in the genitive plural form paða + lah (‘open ground, clearing in a forest’); paða lah would mean “woodland clearing of the paths”, referring to paths up Nidderdale and from Ripon to Craven, which intersected here. However, the Pateley name forms competed in the Middle Ages with forms like Padlewath and Patheslayewathe which could be from Middle English *padil (‘a shallow place in water’) + Old Norse vath (‘ford’) and it could be that they owe something to this name. The local story that the name comes from ‘Pate’, an old Yorkshire dialect word for ‘Badger’ appears incorrect. In 1320 the Archbishop of York granted a charter for a market and fair at Pateley. From the 14th century until the early part of the 20th century, Scotgate Ash Quarry despatched hard wearing sandstone from its site on the northern flank above Pateley Bridge. When the railway arrived in Nidderdale, the stone was exported by trains and was used in railway platforms, national buildings and harbour walls. Ultimately Scotgate Ash Quarry was closed in 1915.Until 1964, Pateley Bridge railway station was the terminus of the railway line running up Nidderdale from Nidd Valley Junction, near Harrogate. Between 1907 and 1937, the Nidd Valley Light Railway ran farther up the dale. Access is now by road, with an hourly bus service from Harrogate. Pateley Bridge was once in the Lower Division of Claro Wapentake. In the 19th century local government reforms the town fell within the Pateley Bridge Poor Law Union, later the Pateley Bridge Rural Sanitary District and from 1894 Pateley Bridge Rural District. In 1937 the rural district was merged to become part of Ripon and Pateley Bridge Rural District. Since 1974 the town has fallen within the Borough of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Pateley Bridge is the largest settlement in the civil parish of High and Low Bishopside, historically a township in the large parish of Ripon. High and Low Bishopside was created a civil parish in 1866. Pateley Bridge was granted town status in 1986, and the High and Low Bishopside Parish Council was renamed Pateley Bridge Town Council. However, the official name of the parish remains High and Low Bishopside.The parish is bounded on the west by the River Nidd and includes a large area of moorland to the east of the town. Other settlements in the parish include the southern part of Wath, Glasshouses, Wilsill, Blazefield and Fellbeck. The parish does not include the Nidderdale showground or the district of Bridgehouse Gate, which are on the west bank of the Nidd in the parish of Bewerley.The 2001 census showed that the parish had a population of just over 2000, increasing to 2,210 at the 2011 Census. Pateley Bridge 2011 Census showed: All Residents = 2718 – Number of Households = 1232 – Area in Hectares = 15305


The Nidderdale Way and Six Dales Trail both pass through the town. The town also serves as a sporting hub, with several teams (known collectively as ‘The Badgers’) competing in football, cricket and crown green bowling. Pateley is also served by Nidderdale Pool and Leisure Centre. Comprising a 20-metre swimming pool, fully equipped gym and sport hall and two squash courts, the facility officially opened in 2005 after many years of local fundraising. The town is also famous for the “Oldest Sweet Shop in England” which was established in 1827 and is validated as the longest continuous trading sweet shop in the world (Guinness World Records Book 2014) and is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Pateley Bridge. King Street workshops can be found on King Street & house a talented group of artists and designers. Their studios are open, and they include jewellers, milliner, textile art & gifts, sculptors, fine artist and glassblowers.

Pateley Bridge Today:

Pateley Bridge has a lot going for it, offering a large range of accommodation, starting with Cottages. Guest Houses, B & Bs with numerous places to eat with local cuisine and lots of homemade. There are several quaint local shops and tea rooms. And you must not miss England’s Oldest Sweet Shop to stock up on your favourite traditional sweets. Visit the Nidderdale Museum. Based in the Original Victorian workhouse, the museum houses a cobbler’s shop, school room and relics and artefacts, depicting the Yorkshire way of life.

And in September do not miss the Nidderdale show.  An agricultural event held annually on the Pateley showground. The Pateley Bridge Show is one of the finest shows held in the North of England, every year boasts an array of marquees, events and stalls offering a variety of things to see and purchase.

The Nidderdale Museum has a large collection illustrating all aspects of life in Nidderdale. It reflects the life of people in imaginative and realistic settings. We have 11 rooms devoted to Leisure, Agriculture, Industry, Religion, Transport, Costume, an original Cobblers Shop, Victorian Parlour, General Store and Schoolroom and much more

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