The first printers in Settle

John Collins
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Charting the spread of printing, from 15th century beginnings in the Rhineland, to the smallest villages of Europe and beyond, has occupied bibliographers for a long time. The first general work in English is the Rev. Henry Cotton’s A typographical gazetteer attempted, 1831-66. This gives details of the first printers and first printing in Leeds (1720), Lancaster (1784), Kirkby Lonsdale (1801) and even Kirkby Moorside (1812), but Settle does not feature. In a pioneer work this is not surprising, but Settle’s omission from later literature is more perplexing, and must be due to the extreme scarcity of the raw material.

The earliest trace of the book trade in Settle is the will of Richard Wildman, chapman (a pedlar or merchant) of Settle, whose will was proved in 1613 and is referred to in the British Booktrade Index. This index lists a dozen later chapmen, booksellers, leather dressers and paper makers in Settle up to c.1800, but is an uneven work, unreliable in places. In Peter Barfoot’s Universal British Directory of Trade the Settle section includes Richard Banks, pocket book maker, Henry and Thomas Salmon, paper-makers, and John Jackson, stationer. Information in directories is by its nature out of date, and by 1792, Jackson had started the first press in Settle

The Torrington Diaries by the Hon. John Byng reproduces a printed bill for his stay at the Bay Horse at Ingleton in July 1792, which has the imprint “J. Jackson, printer, Settle”. Byng then moved on to the Spread Eagle at Settle about which he had nothing good to say. “ ‘In the worst inn’s worst room’ This is a bad and dismal inn, with mice running about behind the wainscoat; and everything rattling with wind…”. The second bill reproduced has been cropped at the foot but was probably also Jackson’s work. Jackson then printed four more pieces, mostly undated and none at present listed in the standard online source, the English Short-title Catalogue which records English books up to 1800. These are

  1. The names of the towns within the wapontake of Staincliff in the West-Riding of the county of York, single sheet, imprint “Jackson, Printer Settle. (Wants an Apprentice.)”. The Brayshaw Library copy is the only one recorded; it is tipped into his extra-illustrated copy of Brown’s On foot round Settle. Brayshaw’s manuscript note pasted on reads “One of the earliest known specimens of Settle printing circa 1790”.

    Thomas Brayshaw, local solicitor and passionate collector of Settle material, died in 1931: he left his books to his wife Alice who died in 1932. The copy of her will in the London probate office is essentially unreadable, so the vexed question of what happened to the Brayshaw Library (and why a remnant is at Giggleswick School) is presently unsolved. I am told that there is a 1930’s file of correspondence at the school which is relevant but it is not accessible at present.

  2. Thomas Garnett, A short account of the nature and properties of the sulphur and chalybeate springs at Wigglesworth, near Settle. 8pp., imprint on last page. There is only one recorded copy. (Eds. note: a spa spring is still to be seen near Wigglesworth).

  3. Rules by which the Amicable Society at Giggleswick is governed. Begun March 7, 1789. Thomas Brayshaw in Settle Bibliography noted that “This twenty page pamphlet was printed by J. Jackson at Settle in 1794, and is the earliest Settle printed Pamphlet (as distinguished from leaflet) that I possess.” This bibliography is a unique volume in the Brayshaw Library at Giggleswick School, comprising cuttings from the Craven Herald, 1910, with manuscript additions. However the pamphlet itself is no longer there, and no other copy is recorded.

  4. Settle, 14th June, 1794. Enrolment and subscription for raising Volunteer corps of cavalry within the West-Riding of this County…Thomas Garforth, chairman, single sheet, imprint at foot. The Brayshaw Library copy is the only one recorded; it is tipped into his extra-illustrated copy of Brown’s book.

Nothing certain is known of Jackson after this, and the fact that a bill of sale of a cotton mill to be sold by auction at the Golden Lion, Settle 27 July 1795 (in Brayshaw’s copy of Brown’s book) was printed by Ambrose Busher (of Lancaster) might suggest that he was no longer active.

The English Short-title Catalogue (n483603) records as one of its two pieces of Settle printing a single sheet on the abuses of the slave trade printed for W. Birkbeck. This is headed Settle December 20th 1791, but is without imprint, and I do not think it was printed in Settle since it looks more like work done in Leeds or another major centre. The catalogue records only the copy in the Friends’ House library, but there is another in Brayshaw’s copy of Brown’s book. The other Settle entry introduces our other 18th century printer Thomas Troughton. He printed Lodge Estate, near Settle. To be let and entered upon next spring. At Mr Richard Clarkson’s Inn-keeper, in Settle, single sheet, imprint Settle: printed by T.Troughton. 1799 (EST catalogue no. t232419). The British Library copy is the only one recorded.

Troughton’s other Settle printing of work by R. Kidd is much more ambitious. Poems. Yorkshire cavalry and rear Admiral Nelson. Second edition, thus the collective title; later the two poems have separate titles.

A Poem on the meeting of the Gentlemen Yorkshire C. Volunteers, at Settle in Craven, 21st August, 1794…second edition. Settle; printed and sold [for the author] by T.Troughton, may be had of W.Baynes, 55 Pater Noster Row London.

A poem on the glorious victory obtained on the 1st and 2d of August 1798 by Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson; same imprint as the preceding, except 54 Paternoster Row, and date of 1799.

It looks as if there was a separate edition of the first poem with an earlier date, but no copy is recorded (see notes below). Two of the Brayshaw copies have the Nelson title, reading second edition and undated, while the third omits the edition number and adds a date and the list of subscribers has been re-set. The whole book is a muddle and gives the impression of being almost beyond Troughton’s capabilities. He was registered in Settle in 1799 under the Unlawful Societies Act of that year but, apparently in the same year, sold up and moved to Liverpool, and later to Ambleside, as noted in the British Booktrade Index.

The third printer would seem to be William Hayes, recorded in Settle in the Muster Roll of 1803; Brayshaw’s copy of Brown’s book has a most attractive double slip ballad False Hearted Lover / Farewell to Old England, with his imprint.

I hope further research in the Brayshaw library and elsewhere will correct and enlarge this short account. Where was Jackson’s printing house and what was his household? Did he manage to get the apprentice he wanted? Did he die, retire or move away from Settle in 1795?


I wish to thank Barbara Gent, archivist at Giggleswick School, who did all she could to smooth my path.


  • Cotton, Rev. H. A typographical gazetteer attempted, 2 vol.,1831-66. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Wildman, Richard. Will proved at York, 27 Sept 1613 (see the British Booktrade Index - BBTI - at which provides the standard reference on the trade to 1850).
  • Barfoot, P. Universal British Directory of Trade and Commerce, vol.2 1792 pp.388 -90.
  • Byng, J. (5th Viscount Torrington), The Torrington Diaries: containing the tours through England and Wales …. between the years 1781 and 1794. Vol.III, p.93. Ed. C.B.Andrews, Publ. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1936.
  • English Short-title Catalogue at
  • Brown, G.H. On foot round Settle, (in order of quotation) vol.1, p.37, vol.3 p,178, vol.4 p.80, vol.1, p.392 and vol.3,p.249. Publ. J. Lambert, Settle, 1888. (The Brayshaw copy is actually one volume bound in four parts.)
  • Garnett, T. see A. Laywood, Settle and District Cat. no. 162, item 40.


Of this collected edition by Troughton there was an imperfect copy in Mr Hollett’s list 70, item 469 and there are three copies in the Brayshaw collection. The collation of the only complete one is [A]4 B12 C4, the first leaf being the collective title (missing in the two other copies), the second leaf being A poem on the meeting, leaf of preface, pp.7-16, title to Nelson, preface dedication (incorrectly numbered v-ix), pp.10-19, 4pp. of subscribers.