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Farnhill and Kildwick History Group

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Very little has been formally written or documented about the history of Farnhill or Kildwick. The aim of this group is to research and present its findings on this web site. Anyone who has information or memories to contribute please contact the web administrator. We usually meet each month in the Village Institute, please check the Events Diary for details. New members are always welcome. Regular updates and new articles feature here, so please bookmark this page.

What's new link      100 years ago link      Slideshows link      Mysteries link
     Anecdotes link      Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project      Group photos link

Last updated: 30/12/2023

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History Group Diary

All meetings take place in Farnhill Institute unless otherwise specified.

Dates for 2024

21/3 -- The Great Escape - the Farnhill connection
18/4 -- Tithe commutation (part 1)
16/5 -- Tithe commutation (part 2)
20/Jun -- Q&A session

All meetings are open to all and free to attend. Cash donations to help us cover costs are welcomed.

We're taking a short break. The next update to the History Group website will be at the end of March. See you then.

We are always pleased to hear about topics of historical interest that we might research - some of our most interesting articles have started out as suggestions made by visitors to this website. If you have any information on the history of Farnhill or Kildwick that you'd like to share with us, or would like us to investigate further.

A Selection from our Archive

Each month we aim to display a different selection of items from our archive of photographs and documents.

Do you have any interesting items to contribute to the archive ?
Please contact

New and Updated Items
Last updated: 30/12/2023

What's new this month ?


Thomas Appleby and his memorials     First published: 30/12/2023

Thomas Appleby took up the role of headmaster of Kildwick School in 1900. From then until his death, in 1926, he became so involved in village life that his neighbours and friends thought he was worthy of no less than three memorials.

Click here to read more about Thomas Appleby and the memorials erected to him.


Vicars of Kildwick (1267 - present)     Updated: 30/12/2023

Mike Green has been the incumbent at St. Andrew's for a little while now, and it seems appropriate to update our article on the vicars of Kildwick.

As you might expect, they were a mixed bunch; and this article has been subtitled "the good, the bad; the loved, the hated; and at least one who was of "unsound mind".

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

December 1923 - Kildwick school was closed so that it could be used as a Polling Station for the General Election; and a Winter Carnival, extending over three evenings, was held to improve Institute funds.

Click here.

Other recent additions and updates


Dancers at Kildwick Hall in July 1918     First published: 25/11/2023

Photographs of a group of dancers at Kildwick Hall suggests that a wild time was being had while local men were still fighting in WW1. However, the full story is more nuanced than the photos would suggest.

Click here.


Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 25/11/2023

Our archive includes a number of maps of Farnhill and Kildwick. Here are some, dating from 1577 to 2015 in approximately chronological order, made into a slideshow. It's interesting to see how views of the area have changed.

We've updated this slideshow with some more maps recently donated to the History Group.

Click the image opposite to view.


How a Kildwick chantry may have led to the founding of a school in Skipton     First published: 28/10/2023

Chantries were small religious establishments typically founded by rich individuals, often by means of a bequest within the individual’s will, to provide for masses to be said for the soul of the founder, in order to speed its passage through purgatory.

A chantry was founded in Kildwick by Margaret Blaine in 1505 and was dissolved, during the reformation, in 1547. But it may have had an interesting afterlife ...

Click here.


When Kildwick Church nearly fell down     Updated 28/10/2023

Kildwick Church underwent substantial renovation in 1901-3. But it wasn't just the fabric of the building that was examined, significant improvements were also made to the organ - including the installation of a radical new way of getting air to the pipes: a "Water Engine".

Click here.



Chartism in Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 28/10/2023

Chartism was a Victorian era working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848.

Part 1 - 1815 to 1845 - Updated 30/07/2022 - with a link to a recent article in the Keighley News
Part 2 - 1848...a turning point in history when history refused to turn (A J P Taylor)

There are also a couple of interesting podcasts on the subject that you might like to listen to:


The history of "The Mullions"     First published: 24/9/2023

The Mullions, on Newby Road, has always been a bit of a mystery. It's obviously an old building but one that doesn't seem to have had any history. Now a member of the History Group has uncovered its story.

Click here.


Farnhill Mills - 1905 and 1906     Updated 24/09/2023

Two destructive mill fires in Farnhill, one in December 1905 and the other in March 1906, effectively ended industrial development within the village, as well as causing significant unemployment and hardship. Read our article about the devastating fires of 1905 and 1906, which we have updated with additional information on the history of what happened to Farnhill Mill after the 1905 fire.

You can also view a slideshow of photographs taken at the time.


Recollections of a Farnhill childhood during WWII     First published: 24/6/2023

Anne Paton lived in Farnhill during WWII. She was the daughter of the Methodist minister, Rev. Hodgkinson.

This short piece, transcribed from two letters written to the History Group, describes her life as a child during wartime.


Kildwick and Farnhill Welcome Home Fund 1945 - 1947     Updated 24/6/2023

We first encountered the post-war Welcome Home Committee when we wrote our article about Farnhill's connection with the Great Escape. Since then we've done further research into some of the activities organised to welcome back the men and women who went away to war, culminating in a performance of Hadyn's Creation and the Kildwick Races. Along the way they managed to raise 1000 pounds.

This update provides the full programme for the final fund-raising event; the Kildwick Races.


Dating an old church photograph     First published: 28/5/2023

A recently found photograph turns out to have an interesting story to tell of changes to the interior of the St. Andrew's church.

Not only that, it turns out to be one of the earliest photographs of the church; and possibly one of the earliest ever taken in Yorkshire.

Read here.