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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      Group photos link

Last updated: 27/10/2018

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History Group Diary

Sat. November 10th 2018, 10am to 4pm, in Farnhill Institute - From Farnhill to the Front - The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project will be holding a major exhibition in the Institute building, Main Street, Farnhill. Admission FREE.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project Exhibition - From Farnhill to the Front

From Farnhill to the Front - Exhibition    
Two years of research, into the lives of 68 village men who volunteered to serve in the Great War is being brought together in the final event of the Heritage Lottery funded, Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project.

Information about their lives before, during, and after the war and what village life was like at the time will on display along with slideshows, photographs, artefacts, children’s artwork and the acclaimed poppy waterfall made by Knitwick and Yarnhill craft group.

Saturday November 10th, 10am to 4pm, in the Institute building, Main Street, Farnhill.
Admission FREE. More information at

Craven and the First World War - Autumn 2018 newsletter

Craven and the First World War
A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Autumn can be viewed here.

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, please email

Even if all you have is a short personal anecdote about life in our two villages, please write. We might be able to include your contribution on our Anecdotes & Snippets page.

A Selection from our Archive

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

Click on image to view larger picture or to leave a comment.

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

New and Updated Items
Last updated: 27/10/2018

What's new this month ?

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

This month's anecdote is a newspaper article from 1876, describing a very dramatic barn fire in Farnhill.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago this month, in October 1918, although it was possible to contemplate a possible end to the war, there were still local men being killed and wounded.

Other recent additions and updates


A snapshot of Kildwick Parish in 1764 – Archbishop Drummond’s Visitation     First posted 29/09/2018

In 1764 the Archbishop of York went on a "tour" of his diocese - known as a Visitation.

Prior to this, a questionnaire was sent out for the clergy of each parish to complete and return. In Kildwick, the questions were answered by the vicar, Rev. John Dehane. His responses give us an interesting snapshot of the parish in 1764.

In this article we give the full text of the 12 questions asked, and Rev. Dehane’s responses to them.


Kildwick swimming carnival (1909 - 1914)     Updated 29/09/2018

Between 1909 and 1914, the last Saturday in July would see up to 5000 people gather on both banks of the river Aire, below the bridge, to watch the annual swimming carnival. Click to view an updated slideshow or read our article.



Some short histories of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/08/2018

We thought you might to take a look at what other people have written about the history of Farnhill and Kildwick:

"The Villages of Craven - Farnhill" (an article from the Craven Herald of April 26th 1876)

"Kildwick Hall - Historical Sketch" by J.J. Brigg

"A History of Kildwick notes for a lecture given by Will Cowling in 1951

Some "Notes on Farnhill" written by George Bottomley in 1950.


Belgian WW1 refugees in Airedale     Updated 25/08/2018

At the start of WW1, as German troops overran their country, over 250,000 Belgians came to Britain as refugees. It was the single largest influx in the country's history.

Some of them came to this area and this article, updated with photographs and information about the refugees in Crosshills, tells their story.


A working life at Woodrow's Mill - a memoir of Alec Hargreaves     First posted 28/07/2018

In the later years of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, most employment was provided by the very many local mills.

The loss of two mills in Farnhill at the end of 1905 and early in 1906 - see below - had a devastating effect on local people: they no longer had work on their doorstep they had to bicycle or walk to work; some chose to move to other townships.

One of the nearby mills that continued to provide work was Woodrow's at Junction.

Charles Alexander Hargreaves, known as Alec, left school at the age of 13, in 1906, and - apart from serving abroad during WW1 - was at Woodrow's Mill for all his working life, a total of 49 years.

Towards the end of this time he wrote a memoir of his period there: A working life at Woodrow's Mill.


Farnhill Mills - 1905 and 1906     Updated 28/07/2018

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. We've updated our slideshow of photographs of the mill fires - including the only known image of Farnhill Mill before it burned down - and some of a third mill in Farnhill which, although it closed in 1906, is still in use today.

View a slideshow of photographs taken at the time.

You can also read our article about the devastating fires of 1905 and 1906.