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As a popular watering place the origin of Ilkley, in Skyrack wapentake, is of recent date. Its development as such covers little more than a quarter of a century, and within, at most, a single generation it has passed from the condition of a small village of thatched houses to that of a town laid out with regularity, and possessing many handsome streets and buildings.

This was the site of the Olicana of the Roman Itinerary, and inscribed stones and other remains attest the presence in former times of the once dominant race. On the heather-covered hills above the town, which, under the name of Rumbalds Moor, skirt the southern bank of the river Wharfe for many miles, there are traces of still earlier occupationin the shape of cairns, hut circles, and other relics of pre-historic life.

From the time when the Roman Itinerary was written until the latter half of the eleventh century, there is no mention in history of this secluded village in Wharfedale. In the Domesday Survey Illicleia is described as waste, and as belonging to William de Percy, as the successor of the dispossessed Saxon, Gamel. From the family of Percy the manor passed to that of Kyme, and thence to that of Middleton, a member of which is now the owner; his residence being Middleton Lodge, a Tudoresque building on the northern acclivity of the valley.

With the exception of the church, the ancient building on Castle Hill, and about a dozen thatched or grey-slated humble tenements, the Ilkley of today is modern. It owes its development in a great measure to the delicious coldness of its springs, to hydropathy, and to the railway facilities which placed it within.............................

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