Muker is a delightful small village in Swaledale, on the banks of the Straw Beck near its confluence with the River Swale.
The church of St Mary the Virgin was built during the reign of Elizabeth I. A chapel of ease had stood on this site previously but in 1580 it was substantially rebuilt and a graveyard consecrated so that residents of Upper Swaledale no longer had to transport their dead all the way to the parish church in Grinton. The tower, nave and chancel all date from this period. The church was restored in 1891.
During the late 18th century and early 19th century, lead mining was an important industry here. Muker was also a major centre for hand knitting during this period. The importance of these industries is reflected in the many cottages, workshops and other buildings constructed at the time.
With the decline of the mining industry, farming remained the principal occupation. From the late 19th century, Muker began to see an increasing number of visitors and holiday makers and today the village is a popular starting point for walks in the area, with a great number of public footpaths in Upper Swaledale.
Muker is also home to the Muker Silver Band, a brass band formed in 1897. It is now one of the last surviving bands in Swaledale and Wensleydale. A strong sense of local identity and family loyalty has enabled the band to survive despite Muker's tiny population.OS grid reference SD 905 975
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