Eastburn’s first known inn was the Red Lion, mentioned in Oliver Heywood’s diary of May 1682 (An eminent nonconformist minister). The proprietor at the time was one Richard Mitchell. The Red Lion was situated on Lyon Lane, which at that time was the main road through the village. The exact location cannot be confirmed. Some old maps note the block Nos. 23-21 as Lion Buildings.
In 1789 a stretch of the Keighley/Kendal turnpike road was opened through Eastburn, taking the route of the old Roman road. Cutting off the inn from its passing trade. The Red Lion transferred to the new main road, probably into an existing farm building – part of which still stands at the back of the present White Bear.
In 1825 the new section of the road from Junction to Kildwick Bridge was opened, cutting out Cross Hills. The owner of the White Bear at Cross Hills, James Slack, finding his trade affected moved to Eastburn and renamed the Red Lion the White Bear. It must have been about this time that the present building was erected by the executors of Thomas Charles Garforth, who owned the land.
The inn became an important staging and livery post, providing accommodation and refreshment to both horse and carter. The inn was also used for ‘doubling up’, that is hitching extra horses for the pull up into Lancashire or up Harewood Hill to Keighley. With the coming of the railway and motor transport the livery trade declined and around 1930 the barn and stables were demolished to form the present day car park.
At Steeton Top on either side of the road are the village’s two public houses; the Old Star and the Goat’s Head. This however is not where either establishment was situated when the Old Bank was still the main route. At the top of School Street is a cottage called “Inglenook”, which was built in 1710 by Edmund & Elizabeth Garforth, and until 1794 (shortly after the re-routing of the main road) this was the original Goat’s Head public house.
William Currer, also in 1710, built a house on High Street and this was the original Old Star public house. The Old Star changed to its new location in 1880. In the 1880’s perhaps the most notorious landlady of the Goat’s Head was Rebecca Teale, who was noted not only for her jollity but also for smoking a clay pipe!
In the 17th Century there was also another inn in the village called the “Pack Horse Inn”, which was probably the main inn as it was the only inn mentioned in Carey’s Itenary, published in 1798.
The present Steeton (Low) Hall was extensively rebuilt in 1662 and again in 1863, but originally dates from 1611. It is known however that there has been a large house in, or close to, the present site of Steeton Hall for over 800 years. The grand entranceway to Steeton Hall in the 18th & 19th centuries was from where the war memorial is now along the side of Steeton Beck. From 1780 onwards this carriage way that led to Steeton Hall began with some splendid Chinese-style gates.
In 1819 Steeton Hall was bought by the Sugden family from the executors of John Baynes Garforth. The Sugden family leased the Hall to several people, one of whom was Joseph Craven; it was Joseph who rebuilt about half of the property in 1863. There was a boarding school at the Steeton (Low) Hall, under the proprietorship of Mr Joseph Riley, which was attended 60-70 boys. This school moved to Pannal, near Harrogate in 1863. From 1904 Steeton Hall was bought by Samuel Clough (owner of a local textile mill and mayor of Keighley), who bequeathed it to his niece Miss Dorothy Clough, a girl guide commissionaire.
When Miss Clough died in 1981 the Hall went out of the hands of the Clough family and was bought by local entrepreneur Mr Barry Robinson, around 1982, who converted it into a hotel & restaurant, which reopened on 25th July 1983. Although the ownership has changed it has remained a hotel since then.
Elmsley House, or the High Hall as it has otherwise been known) is another ancient building in Steeton. It was re-built in 1674 by Hugh & Ann Currer upon the site of an even older hall, and then enlarged and altered in 1705 by William Currer. The surname “Currer”, combined with the bell on the Hall’s south entrance, was the inspiration for Haworth novelist Charlotte Brontë’s nom-de-plume “Currer Bell.” Legend also has it that the seven Steeton men who fought at the battle of Flodden Fields cut their bows from a 500 year old yew tree in the grounds of the hall. It was bought by Thomas Garforth in 1786, and by his son John in 1818. Steeton High Hall is currently owned by the diocese of Bradford.