KNARESBOROUGH, a market town in the Ripon parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, i6| m. W. by N. from York by a branch of the North Eastern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 4979. Its situation is most picturesque, on the steep left bank of the river Nidd, which here follows a well- wooded valley, hemmed in by limestone cliffs. The church of St John the Baptist is Early English, but has numerous Decorated and Perpendicular additions; it is a cruciform building containing several interesting monuments. Knaresborough Castle was probably founded in 1070 by Serlo de Burgh. Its remains, however, are of the 14th century, and include a massive keep rising finely from a cliff above the Nidd. After the battle of Marston Moor it was taken by Fairfax, and in 1648 it was ordered to be dismantled. To the south of the castle is St Robert's chapel, an excavation in the rock constructed into an ecclesiastical edifice in the reign of Richard I. Several of the excavations in the limestone, which is extensively quarried, are incorporated in dwelling-houses. A little farther down the rivei is St Robert's cave, which is supposed to have been the residence of the hermit, and in 1744 was the scene of the murder of Daniel Clarke by Eugene Aram, whose story is told in Lytton's wellknpwn novel. Opposite the castle is the Dropping Well, the waters of which are impregnated with lime and have petrifying power, this action causing the curious and beautiful incrustations formed where the water falls over a slight cliff. The Knaresborough free grammar school was founded in 1616. There is a large agricultural trade, and linen and leather manufactures and the quarries also employ a considerable number of persons.
Knaresborough (Canardesburg, Cnarreburc, Cknareburg), which belonged to the Crown before the Conquest, formed part of William the Conqueror's grant to his follower Serlo de Burgh. Being forfeited by his grandson Eustace Fitzjohn in the reign of Stephen, Knaresborough was granted to Robert de Stuteville, from whose descendants it passed through marriage to Hugh de Morville, one of the murderers of Thomas Becket, who with his three accomplices remained in hiding in the castle for a whole year. During the 13th and 14th centuries the castle and lordship changed hands very frequently; they were granted successively to Hubert de Burgh, whose son forfeited them after the battle of Evesham, to Richard, earl of Cornwall, whose son Edmund died without issue; to Piers Gaveston, and lastly to John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and so to the Crown as parcel of the duchy of Lancaster. In 1317 John de Lilleburn, who was holding the castle of Knaresburgh for Thomas duke of Lancaster against the king, surrendered under conditions to William de Ros of Hamelak, but before leaving the castle managed to destroy all the records of the liberties and privileges of the town which were kept in the castle. In 1368 an inquisition was taken to ascertain these privileges, and the jurors found that the burgesses held " all the soil of their borough yielding 73. 4d. yearly and doing suit at the king's court." In the reign of Henry VIII. Knaresborough is said by Leland to be " no great thing and meanely builded but the market there is quik." During the civil wars Knaresborough was held for some time by the Royalists, but they were obliged to surrender, and the castle was among those ordered to be destroyed by parliament in 1646. A market on Wednesday and a fortnightly fair on the same day from the Feast of St Mark to that of St Andrew are claimed under a charter of Charles II. confirming earlier charters. Lead ore was found and worked on Knaresborough Common in the 16th century. From 1555 to 1867 the town returned two members to parliament, but in the latter year the number was reduced to one, and in 1885 the representation was merged in that of the West Riding.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)