The  Metes and Bounds of Knaresborough Forest

KF 1767 Logo

The perambulation of the boundary of Knaresborough Forest by Commissioners of the Duchy of Lancaster in September, 1767 started and finished at the point where the rivers Nidd and Crimple meet. This is four miles south east of Knaresborough near Walshford which is beside the A1 (the former Great North Road). The length of the forest boundary was approximately 80 miles and it was guided by the Rivers Crimple, Wharfe and Nidd as well as a number of lesser water courses and roadways. These were the bounds of the forest, the metes typiclally being overland sections which were often marked by inscribed boundary stones.


The commissioners produced a map and a report which provides much helpful information about the extent of Knaresborough Forest but there are still difficulties in understanding the lines and points to which they refer. Mapping and surveying in the eighteenth century lacked the precision and clarity that we expect today and the most important part of the whole process was the perambulation around the boundary in the company of local people to show its exact location. Then, as now, disagreements about ownership were common and despite the fact that the "Beasts of the forest" were the reason for its existence, arguments were often prompted by the existence of minerals, especially lead.



The manors, townships, berewicks or civil parishes that were included within the Knaresborough Forest were

Little Ribston, Spofforth (part), Plumpton Harrogate (Crimple), Harrogate (Fulwith), Pannal. North Rigton, Swindon, Dunkeswick, Weeton, Castley, Leathley (part), Lindley, Norwood, Little Timble, Great Timble, Middleton (part) (near Ilkley), Langbar (part), Beamsley (part), Blubberhouses, Thruscross, Thornthwaite,  Greenhow (part), Padside, Darley, Birstwith, Clint, Killinghall, Bilton, part of Knaresborough (south of the Nidd), then passing Plumpton and Little Ribston again, to the meeting of the waters of Crimple and Nidd.