Norman Times

Bingley's entry in the Domesday Book. 1086 ADIn the Domesday Book of 1086, Bingley is listed as "Bingheleia", with the following entry:

Bingley Domesday entry 1066m In Bingheleia hb. Gospatric iiij car' tra e' ad gld. tra ad ii car' Ernegis de burun h't. & Wast' e'. T.R.E. val, iiij lib'. Silva past' ii leu' lg' & i lat'. Tot' m' e iiij leu' lg' & ii lat'
Which roughly translated reads:

In Bingheleia, Gospatric has a manor of four carucate of land to be taxed, land for two ploughs. Ernegis de Burun has it and it is waste. In the time of King Edward the Confessor it was valued at four pounds. Woodland pasture two leauges long and one broad. All the manor is four long and two broad.

The ford was expanded on with Beckfoot Bridge alongside it. This was superseded in turn by Ireland Bridge a few hundred metres upstream. In medieval times Bingley was a Manor which extended several miles up and down the Aire valley, extending to Marley upstream which is now on the outskirts of urban Keighley and Cottingley downstream. Bingley became a Market town with the grant of a Market Charter in 1212 by King John. Two of the oldest buildings in Bingley are the parish church of All Saints & the Coaching inn the Old White Horse Inn, both conveniently situated on the flatter north side of Ireland Bridge. Administratively during this period Bingley was part of the Wapentake (later hundred) of Skyrack. Which was in turn part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

According to the poll tax returns of 1379 Bingley had 130 households, probably around 500 people. The nearby towns of Bradford, Leeds and Halifax had about half this population. At this time Bingley was the largest town in the area.

No records tell of how Bingley fared in the Black Death that swept Europe in the 14th century. Approximately one third of all the people in Europe died of this plague. Sometimes wiping out whole towns and villages. According to the 1379 Poll tax records, the nearby town of Boulton had no survivors worth taxing. It seems Bingley may have got off relatively lightly.

Tudor Times
In 1592 Bingley was show on a map by Yorkshire map-maker Christopher Saxton. It is shown as a single street with about 20 houses on each side. The church sits at the west end of the street opposite a single large house, possibly a manor house. Since Bingley was a market town, and the market stalls would have been set up on either side of the main street.

Industrial Revolution
Like most towns of the West Riding, Bingley prospered from the Industrial Revolution. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was constructed in 1774. It travels through the centre of Bingley & then climbs dramatically up the side of the valley in the famous Bingley Five Rise Locks and not quite so famous Bingley Three Rise Locks. Several Woolen mills were founded and people migrated in from the surrounding countryside to work in the mills. Many came from further afield such as Ireland, especially in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine. A railway line was constructed through Bingley including a goods yard in Bingley center bringing further trade. During this period the villages of Gilstead & Eldwick became conurbated with Bingley. The Bingley Building Society was founded in this period.

Post Industrial
The Beeching Axe demolished the goods yard, though the station which recently celebrated it's centenary, still serves trains to Leeds, Bradford, Skipton, Morecambe and Carlisle. The textile mills have over the years largely been replaced by cheaper labour overseas. The Damart mill still stands & trades in textiles. Since 1995 the tannery, Bingley Mill & Andertons has all been or are being converted into flats. In 1974 the West Riding of Yorkshire was replaced by the new metropolitan county of West Yorkshire and the Bingley Urban District Council was dissolved. Bingley now became a ward in the Bradford metropolitan district. The most cramped & outdated Terraced housing (in the opinion of the council) was partly replaced with council housing, Bingley Art Centre and the headquarters of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Further council housing was built up the hill towards Gilstead including three substantial blocks of flats. In the wake of the Thatcherite reforms of council housing the majority of the council estate has now changed into private hands and a substantial portion has been knocked down & rebuilt as private housing. In recent years Bingley has become relatively prosperous once more as a desirable suburb of Bradford. The Bingley Permanent Building Society merged with the Bradford Equitable Building Society to form the Bradford & Bingley Building Society (now a Bank) in 1964. It was decided to site the corporate headquarters in Bingley. This brought several thousand jobs to the town but the building itself did not meet with universal acclaim.

Post Bypass Bingley

panoramic view of Bingley in 2004

Panoramic view over BingleyIn 2004 the Bingley Bypass opened. The £47.9 million bypass stretches from Crossflatts to Cottingley, threading through Bingley between the railway & the canal. One of the most expensive parts of the construction was moving a 150 meter stretch of the canal. The construction involved the removal of Treacle Cock Alley pedestrian tunnel and the Tin Bridge, which have been replaced by the Three Rise Bridge, and the Britannia Bridge

The effect of the bypass on Bingley has been significant. The previous 36,000 vehicles per day slowed to a trickle of local traffic. In 2004 the average home price in Bingley rose 30% to £196,850 - the second fastest appreciating area in the U.K (After the nearby Hebden Bridge [1]). This shows Bingley is increasingly being seen as an attractive place to live, especially as a base for commuting to Bradford and Leeds.

The full effect of the change in traffic flow has yet to be fully realised. There are plans for the pedestrianisation of Main Street and the retail sector in general is undergoing a shift reflecting the changing demographics of the town with more beauty, fashion and tourist shops being opened.

Bingley Trivia
The Airedale Terrier was originally bred in the area & is sometimes known as the Bingley Terrier.

Among other bus routes the Keighley and district service 760 passes through Bingley.

Bingley is sometimes referred to as the "Throstle's Nest of Old England". There is no real evidence of where this name comes from, and the name is shared with the town of Wigton, in Cumbria, as well as several pubs throughout England.

Famous People from Bingley
Fred Hoyle Astronomer. Born Bingley, 24 June 1915
John Braine Author of Room at the Top. Worked in Bingley Library until 1942.
Peter Sutcliffe Serial Killer. Born Bingley 2 June 1946
Rodney Bewes Actor, most famous role Bob Ferris in The Likely Lads.Born in Bingley 27 November 1938.
Muriel Aked Actress, born 9 November 1887 in Bingley, died 21 March 1955 in Settle.
Gene Baxter Radio DJ. Co-host of the Kevin and Bean show in Los Angeles. Born in Bingley 14 November 1959.

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