Golcar is a hill village of a type more common in Italy than England, Sir John Betjamen even called it the 'Provence of the North'. It centres on a tightly knit community of weaver's cottages, clinging perilously to the steep hillside. There is a maze of alleyways, ginnels and steep,narrow winding streets.
Weaving had been in existence in the Golcar area from the early part of the fourteenth century. By the middle of the nineteenth century Golcar had become the most important hand loom weaving centre in the West Riding of Yorkshire.The local soft Pennine water being used to process wool, and later to power factories.
A weaver's cottages typically has three floors, the first two stories were used as living accommodation with the top floor being used as the weaving room. The cottages generally face south and have rows of mullioned windows to make the most of natural light. As the cottages tend to be built into the hillside there is often access at two levels.
The name of the village celebrates the ' conversion ' of the heathen inhabitants by St. Guthlac
, a Saxon saint, in the eighth century. Guthlac's Scar, or Guthlac's rock (Gudlagesarc) may have been the rock from which Guthlac declared the faith. Over the centuries the name became Golcar by way of Guthlacharwas, Gouthelagh and, in the Doomsday Book, Goullakarres.
The villagers have their own distinctive way of pronouncing the name of their village, 'Gowker'