Spiritual Cononley

I enjoy walking around England’s historical villages, especially those close-by where I live. As well as admiring their quaint prettiness and vernacular architecture, I always seek evidence of spirituality. I recently engaged in a walking tour of Cononley, a village between Skipton and Keighley in Yorkshire. Showed about by local gentlefolk, I was impressed by its charm and size.

The oldest house in the village, Milton House, goes back to the 1630s, though one of its doorways looks medieval. The puritan poet, as far as I can tell, never ventured into these parts, so perhaps it was named by one of his admirers. Or, it’s older still, being a Saxon description of the middle settlement.


Like all old villages, there is found a hall or manor house. Cononley Old Hall is a mixture of eighteenth century Georgian and what looks like seventeenth century tacked onto the side. Georgian times were generally safer than previous ages; the windows could therefore be bigger, admitting more light, without risk of robbers or invaders breaking in, which the old mullions prevent. According to Wikipedia, it has a stone in the loft dated 1436, which I would need to see to believe. My guides, who had been in the house, said it contained a huge fireplace with a nearby priest hole, wherein Catholic clergy could hide when local constables came searching for recusants. Thank God those sad times are past.


An ancient spring, built into a wall still exists, though piped water has now rendered it redundant.


Sadly, a large Baptist chapel overlooking the village is now converted into a dwelling; that which was a beacon of gospel light is now a comfortable abode for a successful family.

The Methodists and Anglicans meet together in dull-looking building in a pretty location, on the road up to Lothersdale. I always think it very sad when prominent church buildings don’t display scripture verses or explanations of the faith. Nevertheless, I sought spirituality, and found some.