MAY I, through the medium of your newspaper, bring to the attention of the people of Keighley interested in their local history, a recent book written by Sally Corrie entitled Holden Gate.

The story is set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. One of the main characters is the Rev Miles Gale, rector of Keighley between 1680 and 1720, and for whom I have over the years lobbied for some sort of recognition of this man’s remarkable ministry in the town.

Among other things, Miles was responsible for the channelling of a fresh water supply down West Lane to the town centre, the setting up of a midwifery service for the women of Keighley and many other social and charitable gifts to serve the poor.

But the most important gift was that of literacy and education. He used to travel around his parish, which was very extensive at that time, on horseback carrying in his portable desk (still in the Shared Church) books from his own collection to teach his parishioners to read and write.

The result meant that everyone who came to him for marriage could write their own names in the marriage register and not have to sign with a X.

His books, which he brought with him from Cambridge, formed the original library in Keighley and possibly the first lending library in England.

This work culminated in Miles being responsible for the first school being set up.

By any standard, Miles Gale is a man who should be remembered with a tangible memorial with thanksgiving for all he contributed to the people of Keighley and their welfare.

Sally has done a remarkable job in bringing him and his contemporaries to life in her book. It is well worth reading.

REV ELIZABETH CAISSIE (formerly of Keighley Shared Church) Bridlington