Skipton is the market town for the Craven district. It is known as the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.
Because of its position, in the Aire Gap, the entrance to the ancient cross-Pennine route, Skipton grew up as a trading focus in the Bronze Age. The early rulers of the land were the Brigantes. It is known that in 80 AD the settlement was on the Roman road from Ilkley (Verbeia) via Elslack Fort (Olenacum) to Ribchester (Bremetennacum) but the nearest known Roman site was a villa at Kirk Sink, Gargrave, four miles to the northwest.
The area was predominantly forested until cleared by successive waves of incomers – the Angles, Danes and Norsemen. Initially they came to raid but then stayed and developed villages one of which was “Scepton” or Sheep Town
There has been a prominent settlement here since at least Saxon times.