Kildwick is one of the few Craven settlements to be credited with a church in the Domesday Book.
In Childeuuic Archil 11 car. ad gld. & 1 eccta.
The Domesday Book was compiled between 1085 and 1086 so that William could determine how much money in taxes he could raise and to give a better sense of the territory he had just conquered.
We see that Kildwick is mentioned, below Farnhill, Cononley and Bradley but it is interesting to note that, though Skipton has a large entry, there is no mention of a church there. That was founded in the 12th century.
The Kildwick line starts with this symbol. It signifies a manor and the entry continues:
In Childewic Archil had 2 carucates to be taxed and 1 church.
“Archil” is identified as Arnketil. He was a Saxon lord. When the Normans landed in 1066 “Arnketil” is listed as having over 100 manors, some as far away as Sussex. As every “Smith” or “Jones” knows, a surname does not necessarily identify a single person, but he was clearly a significant character in this area.
A “carucate” is a measure of land. It is the amount of land that a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single season. It varied according to the land but is about the same as a “hide” of land, or around 120 acres.
We don’t know what sort of church it was. Perhaps our “Norman” pillar top was part of it – perhaps that came later. This piece of carved stone (at the bottom of the most westerly pillar byt the south door) is identified as the capital (top) of an early Norman pillar. There is a similar piece at the bottom of the third pillar along to the east.
“Isaiah” can be found above the west door under the tower. He’s called Isaiah because, as you can see, one “eye’s ‘igher” than the other. (A poor sense of humour, these bell ringers!)
Isaiah is also Norman work. He is a corbel that sticks out from the wall, either as decoration or to carry a beam or gutter or some such. You can find a wealth of these in the beautiful Norman church at Adel.
These three stones are all that we can positively identify as “Norman stones”. Most of the building that you see around you dates from the first half of the 14th century but, with some fine old Norman stones lying about, I cannot believe that, were we to dismantle the building, we would not find a huge pile of similar stones which, carved or not, were part of this early building.
Somehow, I suspect that we’ll not get to look for them!