Settle is a small market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is served by Settle railway station located near the town centre, and Giggleswick railway station which is a mile away. It is from Leeds Bradford Airport. The main road through Settle is the B6480, which links to the A65, connecting Settle to Skipton and Kendal. The town has a population of 2,421 according to the 2001 Census.
Settle is thought to have 7th-century Anglian origins, its name being the Angle word for settlement. Craven in the Domesday Book shows that until 1066 Bo was the lord of Settle but after the Harrying of the North (1069 - 1071) the land was granted to Roger de Poitou.
In 1249 a market charter was granted to Henry de Percy, 7th Baron Percy by Henry III. A market square developed and the main route through the medieval town was aligned on an east-west direction, from Albert Hill, Victoria Street, High Street and Cheapside and on through Kirkgate. This road led to Giggleswick where the citizens attended the parish church. The first bridge over the River Ribble was mentioned in 1498.
During the English Civil War, the Cliffords, the lords of the manor were Royalists, but their subjects were not. John Lambert of Calton in Malhamdale, was a general in Cromwell's army and his troops camped at Settle in August 1651 while on the road to an encounter in Lancaster.
Daniel Defoe wrote "Settle is the capital of an isolated little kingdom of its own surrounded by barren hills." Because of its remoteness Settle saw mostly local commerce. The old roads were pack horse trails and Drovers' roads along hilltops because the valley was soft and swampy before field drainage and the dredging of stream estuaries.
In the 1700s textile industrialists supported by traders and landowners campaigned for a turnpike to connect with growing industrial towns. The minute book for the Keighley and Kendal Turnpike Trust shows that most investors were mill owners from the Giggleswick district. In 1827 the trust, having miscalculated the cost of road maintenance, was in debt by £34,000 . When in 1877 the trust was terminated, the investors received on average 54% of their deposit. The investors had benefitted in that Settle was now well connected and its cotton mills boomed. The mill owners imported coal and, like the heavy industries that exported agricultural lime and sandstone masonry, welcomed the turnpike for access via carrier waggons to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Gargrave. The first passenger stagecoach arrived in 1763. The Mail Coach was running regularly in 1786. The Union coach for passengers ran each way on alternate days in the early 1800s, and daily by 1840.
The "little" North Western Railway reached in 1847 and in 1849 the railway company constructed Station Road from Giggleswick to Settle. In 1875 the Settle to Carlisle Railway was built, opening to goods traffic in 1875 and to passengers the following year when Settle Station opened along with a goods warehouse, cattle pens, signal box and water cranes.
In the late 18th century cotton spinning became the town's main employment. Bridge End Mill was converted from corn milling to cotton spinning. John Procter operated mills at Runley and King's Mill which were taken over by his son Thomas. He built the row of workers' cottages, Procter's Row in Lower Kirkgate. In 1835, Dog Kennel Mill and Brennand's Weaving Shed, Settle had five mills employing 333 people.