AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY of famous Keighley figure Old Three Laps has been written by one of his descendants.

Steven Smith says his 50-page book reveals the previously-unknown truth about the eccentric man from Newsholme.

He claims to have found a new reason why Old Three Laps, William Sharp, took to his bed for the largest part of his life.

William Sharp was jilted by his sweetheart in 1807 and took to his bed at Whorles Farm, near Laycock, staying there till his death in 1856.

William reputedly hid under the bedclothes when he saw sightseers peering through his downstairs window.

When he was buried at Keighley Parish Church it took eight men to lower his big coffin into the grave.

Keighley historian Ian Dewhirst, writing in 2009, said Old Three Laps was a victim of an age when mental illness and its treatments were not understood.

The story has now been taken up by Keighley-born Mr Smith, who lives in Lancashire and has traced his family back to the 1750s in Newsholme.

He said his book, Old Three Laps A Comprehensive History, set the story of William Sharp within its historical, social and geographical context.

He said: “Each main character has been researched and their history told, from that of the bride-to-be Mary, to her father Robert, her supposed betrothed Old Three Laps and their child.

“Three locations central to the story are also identified and described.”

Mr Smith also provides genealogies of both families involved, the Smiths and Sharps, along with dates.

Mr Smith said people would have to read his book to discover details of his research, but revealed that his timeline of the main events showed the different pieces of evidence clearly contradicted each other.

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