Missing Gisburn Manorial records as follows:
1) Court Book 1634 - 1677
2) Pains Book 1636 - 1672
3) Draft Pains Book with a list of jurors 1635 - 1640
4) Plaint Book 1774 – 1796
Also missing
5) “Register of Services” book for period: - 21st May 1930 to 31st December 1946.
Gisburn Parish Council
Missing ‘Minute Book’ for the period:-
October 1919 to September 1944

If you have any information about the whereabouts of any of the above please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Charter for GISBURN FAIR was granted by Henry III to the Abbot and Monks of Sawley Abbey in 1260, the market to be held every Monday and a Fair every year of three days duration, that is to say, on the Eve, Day and the Morrow of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8th September). From records ’wooden vessels’ were on sale at the Fair. It is assumed that meals were taken from wooden trenchers; buckets were also made of wood.

Gisburn was provided with two ancient ’instruments of justice’ – the Stocks and the Cuck Stool. The positions of these are not known. The Stocks were probably in the Market Place and were used as a punishment for men; the Cuck Stool was a type of ducking stool which would have been close to running water and was used as a punishment for women.

North of the village of the Settle road is a Ringwork or earthen castle of Norman origin. Castle Haugh ringwork, known locally as Cromwell's Basin, occupies the north west end of a tongue of high ground overlooking the River Ribble and commands extensive views to the north east and south east. The monument comprises a circular mound 5-6m high artificially raised above the external ground level. It is surrounded for much of its circumference by a dry ditch 2m deep. An earthen breastwork runs around the summit on all sides except the west. Castle Haugh can be found at SD: 82990,50770. Near by  is a ’barrow’ which, when opened, was found to contain a rude earthen urn.

Gisburn has always been associated with transport the Roman road from Ribchester to Ilkley passed through the parish.

A petition was made to the Lord of the Manor of Gisburn on 11th May 1749, to erect a Market Cross. This memorial is interesting, proving that at this time the market was something more than a cattle market, as, in the Petition, it asks for the Cross to be erected in the Bull Ring. This shows that the inhabitants indulged in this ancient sport. Until fairly recently, the Cattle Market was held in the Main Street; some inhabitants have photographs of it in front of the Ribblesdale Arms. The water supply appears to have come from two public wells.

On the north side of the Church, set in a beautiful park, is the mansion ’Gisburne Park’ which at one time was the home of the holders of the title ’Lord Ribblesdale’. In the park, cattle of fame used to roamed. The two lodges at the entrance to the park are of beautiful Gothic architecture, richly ornamented with figures and pinnacles carved with the greatest taste from designs of a former Lord Ribblesdale. The Lister family, later to become the ’Ribblesdales’ once lived at Westby Hall on the Blacko Road.

The first Lord Ribblesdale is reputed to have planted over a million oak trees in this stretch of the Ribble Valley; another Lord maintained Stags for hunting, and the Fourth Lord always used to carry his stirrup leathers in his bag when he travelled, being too keen a horseman to risk borrowed leathers. King Edward nicknamed the last Lord Ribblesdale ’the ancestor’ because of his dignified appearance.

Oliver Cromwell stayed a night or two at Gisburne. His troopers stabled his horses in the village Church and broke the stained glass windows. The Listers of that day identified themselves in a cautious rational way with the cause of Parliament.

The following extract from a letter despatched by Cromwell after that decisive battle of 1648, ’Hearing the enemy had advanced into Lancs. we marched on 15th August to Gisburne; 16th to Hodder Bridge, over the Ribble, here we held Council of war’. Generals Cromwell and Lambert halted with Sir John Assheton at Gisburne Park, then called Lower Hall, a jointure house of the Listers.

At the north east end of the churchyard is the ’Priory’, though not the original house; it is reputed that the former house was occupied by Nuns. This could have been the resting place for the Nuns from Rayhead in Gisburn Forest, who were at one time Patrons of the Church.  

It appears that, in the early 15th century, there was considerable lawlessness in this area. A reference is made that, in 1401, a Vicar of Skipton travelling between Sawley and Gisburn was murdered. We read also that Thomas Banaster, then Rector, in 1425 sent a communication to the Bishop to ’reconcile the churchyard after the shedding of blood’. Later we have a story of the GISBURNE MARTYR. In Robert Smith’s book entitled ’Ye Chronicales of Craven’, there is an interesting story of Richard Simpson, Priest, Schoolmaster and Martyr. Richard vas, at one time, a Protestant Minister and a Schoolmaster. He became a Roman Catholic member and, for this, he was imprisoned in York. In 1577, he became a Roman Catholic Priest, after his imprisonment at York. He was hounded by the Protestants and, though doing missionary work in various parts of Lancashire, he appeared to go into hiding from time to time. Whilst at Gisburne as School Master, he was known by the nickname ’Guile’. In l582 he was captured whilst on the run and, after a time in prison, he was banished, but returned and was captured again and condemned in 1588. He was reprieved for a few months but was later caught, so he, repenting of his mistake, punished himself by fasting, watching and wearing hair cloth next to his skin. In July 1588, he met his end. He was executed near Derby with two other men. ’Their heads and quarters were set on poles in divers places’. Later, these were stolen by night and given a decent burial.

Pendle area which is well known for its stories on witches, has its connections here in Gisburn. Peter Wightman in his ’Pennine Panorana’ writes:

’In 1612 was printed in London a pamphlet on the Arraignment and Trial of Jennet Preston of Gisburn in Craven. Jennet had free access to the house of Westby, had kind respect and entertainment and nothing denied her. But she began to work mischief according to the course of all witches, in spite of having been indicted for murder of a child. Within four days of her release from York Castle on this charge, she was present at the great assembly of witches at Malkin Tower, where she sought help for the murder of Martin Lister, who was her prosecutor at York Assizes. Shortly afterwards Martin Lister was dead. Witnesses at her second trial swore on oath that Martin Lister on his death bed ’cried out unto them that stood about him that Jennet Preston was in the house, look where she is, take hold on her, for God’s sake shut the doors and take her, so she cannot escape away’- When Jennet was brought to Martin Lister, ’after he was dead and laid out to be wound up in his winding sheet’, she touched the dead corpse and it bled fresh blood. Based on this conclusive evidence, Jennet was found guilty. The bleeding of a dead corpse could only occur at the touch of a murderer. At the gallows she died, ’impenitent and void of all fear and grace’. At the execution was her husband, ’who cried out and went away fully satisfied his wife had justice and was worthy of death.’

The spelling of Gisburne changed to Gisburn when the Railway Company argued that many hours each year could be saved by so doing. The railway opened in 1885. Many of the hamlets are full of interest, the farm houses with lovely mullion windows, Ingle Nook fireplaces and beams of great beauty. At PAYTHORNE there is a Wesleyan Chapel built in 1830. In HORTON a Congregational Chapel was founded in 1670. In RIMINGTON there is a Congregational Chapel dated 1817.

Francis Duckworth, who wrote a number of hymn tunes, lived at Rimington. One of the popular tunes is called ’Rimington’ and sung to the hymn ’Jesus shall reign’. Francis was buried here on the north east side of the churchyard. His memorial is of grey granite and has the tune inscribed on it.