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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: 31/12/2021

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People interested in the history of Cononley may like to know that there is now a local history page on the Cononley Parish Council website at: history.

OK, so it's now unlikely that meetings of the History Group will restart in 2021. The best option might be to consider restarting in spring of next year - maybe around the end of March. If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, please drop an email to

From October 1921 the "100 Years Ago" section will be back up to full strength, including material from the Keighley News.
This month, in addition to December 1921, we also provide a write-up for May.

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: 31/12/2021

What's new this month ?


Creation of the Kildwick and Farnhill Institute     Updated: 31/12/2021

The Institute was founded in 1911 and was the gift of the Brigg family, but was its creation politically motivated; a scheme thought up by a Liberal family designed to upstage the plans for a Conservative Club ?

We've researched how the Institute came into being using newspaper reports of the period. We've also recently been given copies of the Deed of Gift of the Institute building to the village and the programme for the opening of the Institute on 9th December 1911 - 110 years ago.

Read the full story here.


Farnhill Mills - 1905 and 1906     Updated 31/12/2021

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.

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

A snap-shot of Farnhill and Kildwick in 1822, from Baines' Gazetter; including times of coaches to and from Skipton, Leeds and Bradford.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago, Farnhill Parish Council discussed Kildwick Gas Company's plans to raise the price of gas supplied to the villages. They also discussed a proposal, by Keighley Corporation, to supply the villages with electricty - it was thought unlikely that more than a few households would be interested.

We've also back-tracked and filled in the gap for May 1921, that was left due to Covid.

Other recent additions and updates


Farnhill Wood Cafe and Cyclists Rest – a mystery resolved ?     Updated: 27/11/2021

In August 2013 we posted a short piece in our "Mysteries" section asking if anyone knew where the building known as Farnhill Wood Cafe and Cyclists Rest used to be located. Since then, every now and again, additional information has come to light that has allowed us to slowly resolve the mystery. So we think we’ve finally got the mystery sorted – but we know that it’s only a matter of time before someone comes forward with more information that might cause us to have yet another rethink.

Read our current thoughts on Farnhill Wood Cafe and Cyclists Rest.


Kildwick's prize-winning school choir - 1957     Updated 27/11/2021

Since we last updated our short piece on the Kildwick school prize-winning choir of 1957, we've received another photograph of the choir with their trophy. We're also closer to putting names to almost all of the faces.



Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 27/11/2021

Our archive includes a number of maps of Farnhill and Kildwick. Here are some, dating from 1577 to 2012 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 items recently donated to the History Group.

Click the image opposite to view.


1953 Coronation celebrations     Updated 30/10/2021

One of our on-going projects is to document how Farnhill and Kildwick celebrated the 20th century Coronations and Jubilees.

We've recently received a number of additional photographs taken on the day of the Coronation of our present queen, 2nd June 1953, showing the Farnhill and Kildwick "queen" and her entourage.

You can read this updated article, or you could view all our articles on the Coronations and Jubilees.


Educating Kildwick - some notes on schooling in the village     Updated 30/10/2021

The history of education in Kildwick could go back as far as Tudor times. With the help of two descendents of former masters of Kildwick school, this article provides an outline of schooling in the village from those earliest times up until the start of the 20th century.

This update to our original article includes information fon the first schoolmaster of the school to gain a formal qualification.



Vicars of Kildwick (1267 - 2021)     First published: 25/09/2021

Using existing published material, a little bit of original research, and some personal recollections, we have compiled a history of all the vicars of Kildwick from Simon de Haplesthorp in 1267 to Julie Bacon, the most recent vicar, who left the parish just a couple of months ago.

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"".



Paintings and Drawings of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/09/2021

The History Group archive contains a number of scans of paintings and drawings of the two villages – some of them quite old, others more recent. Many are unsigned and/or undated. This slideshow contains a selection of them, in approximate chronological order.

This update includes a 1930 Xmas card, a drawing of the "Old Priory", and some recent work by local artist (and History Group member) Anna Hewlett.

Click the image opposite to view.


A history of the Kildwick bells and bell-ringers     First published: 28/08/2021

Earlier this month the bell-tower at St. Andrew's was opened to visitors for an afternoon.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to publish an article on the history of the Kildwick bells and bell-ringers.



Kildwick – Best Kept Village     First published: 31/07/2021

From the late 1970s until 1990 Kildwick participated in the “Best Kept Village Competition” organised by the Yorkshire Rural Community Council - and it's record was very good ! Read the details here.



Tenants and later owners of Kildwick Hall     Updated: 31/07/2021

Once the Kildwick estate was broken up, in 1946, Kildwick Hall passed through a number of private hands and was used for a number of commercial ventures. This article tells the story of these later owners of Kildwick Hall. It also investigates some of the people who were tenants of the Hall when it was still part of the Kildwick estate.

This update includes personal recollections of later owners of the Hall from people who read the original version of this article.


Farnhill Chapel - a photographic record     First published 26/06/2021

Just a few weeks after Farnhill Chapel closed its doors for the last time, members of the History Group were allowed in to take photographs. This slideshow is a selection of the pictures we took that day.