Kirkby Overblow is a village in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire. It is situated 13 miles north of Leeds and 4 miles south of Harrogate and sits astride a ridge 400ft high forming the northern bank of the river Wharfe. There are splendid views from the village in all directions. To the south, across the river to the Harewood estate; to the west, up the Wharfe valley taking in Almscliffe Crag, Otley Chevin, Ilkley Moor and in the far distance the Yorkshire Dales; to the east, downriver to Wetherby; and to the north, across the Vale of York to the North York Moors, the white horse of Kilburn, York Minister and eventually the Wolds.
The village boasts an ancient church which doubles as a village hall and is used for amateur dramatics, concerts, dinners, parties and other village celebrations as well as worship. There is a lively Church of England primary school and thriving pub, The Shoulder of Mutton, which boasts a large beer garden.
The first written reference to Kirkby Overblow appears in the Domesday Book, where it appears as Cherchebi. The Kirkby part of the name is a common prefix, simply meaning a settlement by a church, while Overblow is a corruption of Oreblow, a reference to the village’s iron-smelting past.
There are approximately 300 residents and 120 dwellings in the village. Village life centres around the church, school and pub. An active amateur dramatics society, known as KODS, puts on an annual performance in the church with the pub offering pre theatre dinner and drinks. Every three years there is a summer arts festival, KOSAF, which has such diverse offerings as organ recitals and opera to Caribbean and Bollywood nights and the traditional village fête. All events are organised and run by enthusiastic locals. As one villager says:
“The residents of our beautiful village of Kirkby Overblow show a willingness and desire to organise and participate in activities that promote our community.”
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