How did Guiseley get its name?

After the collapse of Roman rule here in the fourth century, wave after wave of Germanic invaders made their way up the river valleys. They were led by petty chieftains who selected promising locations for settlement. These new comers associated Roman culture in general, and city life in particular, with decadance. They took pride in a hard life. To pursue manliness they cleared areas of forest, lived in wooden huts, kept sheep and cattle, ploughed the soil, planted grain crops and and hunted. These forest clearings were called "leahs" and the word still survives as a suffix to many local places including Otley, Ilkley, Burley and Shipley.

The precise date, during the seven hundred years of barbarian invasion, when Gislic created his new settlement here cannot be determined. He sited it a mile or two from the nearest river and might have been drawn to the spot after noticing the abundant supply of fresh water provided by the spring which for centuries in the future will feed the village well. "Gislic" is a diminutive, a pet name, which the Saxon chief who came here continued to use adult life. The survival of the new community was problematic, rather than guaranteed, but Gislic's leadership was efficient enough to ensure its continuance after his death. The pioneering efforts of this blond - haired Angle are commemorated in the name given to his village, Gislic's leah, or Gislic's glade.



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