Ingleborough was first named as ‘Ingelburc(h)’ in 1165-77, although Ingleton was named in the Domesday Book as ‘Inglestune’.
Ingleborough was a prehistoric hillfort that has been described as a ‘mountain fort’. It dominates both the Lune Valley and the current A65. This road was previously known as the ‘Aire Gap’ routeway across the Pennines into the heart of the post-Roman British kingdom of Elmet (probably around the Leeds area).
The hillfort explains the ‘borough’ part of the name, from the Old English ‘burh’ or ‘fortification’. However the ‘Ingle’ part is less obvious. It is usually thought to come from the Old English ‘ing’ for ‘hill or peak’ joined with ‘hyll’ to be ‘ing-hyll’ or ‘peak hill’ emphasising the height and prominence. An alternative suggestion has been the Old English personal name ‘Ingeld’ or an Old Norse personal name ‘Ingjaldr’.
Ingleborough is one of only a few places in the country (and particularly on the west side) where houses dating from the 600s to 900s have been identified. There is a settlement site at Clapham Bottoms and one at Chapel-le-Dale by the Roman road through to Bainbridge Roman fort. There is also an enclosure site at Yarlsber that is thought to be Iron Age, but obviously had some early medieval significance as its name is ‘the earl’s (jarl’s) hill’.
Although no one would have lived on Ingleborough all year around as it is too inhospitable, it could well have been used for ceremonial purposes. After the Roman period many hillfort sites were re-occupied and Ingleborough was probably the prominent site of what became the ‘regio Dunutinga’ mentioned yesterday. If Dent does mean ‘hill’ then for them to be ‘the people of the hill’ that is Ingleborough, seems reasonable.
It is perhaps noteworthy that Yarlsber, Chapel-le-Dale and Clapham Bottoms between them cover all the main routeways up to the peak. If you walk the routes today, perhaps the most significant route feels like it might be the one from Clapham via Ingleborough Cave, the narrow gorge of Trow Gill, Gaping Gill and then Little Ingleborough, approaching via the prominent ridgeway to the summit.