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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: 31/03/2018

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History Group Diary

Friday May 11th 2018 @ 7pm, in Farnhill Institute - The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project is hosting a FREE talk by Isobel Stirk on "WW1 Poetry and Literature".
Interval tea/coffee will be available.

Publically available images from the Getty Photo Library

Stephen Wood has made us aware of a link to the Getty Photo Library that provides access to almost 100,000 publically-accessible old photographs.

Click here.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project - Year 1 report

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project
    The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project had a great first year and is well on the way to meeting or exceeding all of its planned targets. Read the project's Year 1 Report.

For further information go to the project's dedicated website:

Craven and the First World War - Winter 2017/18 Newsletter

Craven and the First World War
A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Winter 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: 31/03/2018

What's new this month ?


Farnhill Wood Cafe and Cyclists Rest – a mystery resolved ?     !!! NEW !!!

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. It has taken us a long time and has involved assessing information from numerous sources, but we think we’ve finally got the mystery resolved – well, hopefully.

Read the results of our research.


The Road from Keighley to Skipton - A journey of 1900 years     Updated 31/03/2018

From the Romans to the present day, the road from Keighley to Skipton has changed considerably. The route you would have taken depends on when you were travelling.

This update on the development of the road between Keighley and Skipton includes information about the 1993 Department of Transport plan for a Kildwick-Skipton dual-carriageway.

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

In 1924 Col. Wilson, the owner of the Kildwick estate, made the gift of a gazebo to the village. This short anecdote explains what it was, where it was located, why it was given to the village, and what happened to it.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

One hundred years ago this month there was the sad but predictable news of more war deaths and injuries; allotments and communal kitchens were on the agenda for Farnhill Parish Council; and local mill-owner James Woodrow promoted War Savings Week by making a very generous offer to pupils of Kildwick School.

Other recent additions and updates


Belgian WW1 refugees in Airedale     First posted 27/01/2018

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 of refugees in this country's history.

Some of them came to this area. This article tells their story.


Radical Protestant churchmen in Kildwick – from Reformation to Restoration     Updated 27/01/2018

From the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 religious life in England was in an almost permanent state of upheaval. Inevitably Kildwick parish became involved in this and, between the 1580s and 1660, the church was home to a succession of radical Protestant churchmen.

We have updated this article to show how, in the years following the restortion, the establishment took back control to such an extent that, in 1743, the new curate of St. Andrew’s felt he had to explain and almost apologise for the redical beliefs of other members of his family.


Three Questions about the Kildwick "Organ Grave"     Updated 27/01/2018

There are a number of interesting graves in the graveyard of St. Andrew's Church but perhaps the most impressive, although by no means the largest, is the so-called "Organ Grave".

In this article we provide answers to three questions about this grave:

  • Why does the grave have an organ on it ?
  • Who carved it ?
  • Does the organ still exist and, if so, where is it ?

You can also read a short memoir, written in 1889, about John Laycock the organ-builder and view a video of the 1851 Laycock organ in Cowling Hill Chapel.

In our most recent update to this article we have included a transcript of the obituary to John Laycock published in the Craven Herald on 21/9/1889.


J.W. Teal's photograph album - c.1900 to 1910     First posted - January 2018

Earlier this year the History Group was gifted an album of old photographs of Farnhill, Kildwick and nearby townships, by a man from Australia.

His grandfather had emigrated at the end of the nineteenth century and for the next 5 to 10 years had received photographs and postcards sent by family members back home. These were kept, in excellent condition, in an album, the contents of which have now been converted into two slideshows (there are two many images for just one).

Click the links below to view the contents of this remarkable piece of history:

Part 1
Part 2


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     First posted - March to September 2017

From the 16th to the middle of the 20th centuries, the village of Kildwick was owned by the Lord of the Manor. In a series of short articles, produced over the next few months, we will tell the story of the owners of Kildwick Hall and the Kildwick Estate


Kildwick war memorial     Updated 30/09/2017

We've updated our slideshow on the men commemorated on the Kildwick WW1 War Memorial with more information on its unveiling in 1921.

This slideshow uses material drawn from the "Craven's Part in the Great War" website,


The Kildwick Rail Crash - 1875     Updated 30/09/2017

We've updated our series of articles on the terrible rail crash that happened at the old Kildwick railway station in 1875 with further information on the appeal for damages made by Mary Calvert, against the Midland Railway Company, following the death of her husband and son in the crash.

We are grateful to Kath Allen for help with this update.

Part 1 - The accident
Part 2 - Inquests, inquiries and reports
Part 3 - The trial of Harrison Palfreeman     Updated 30/09/2017
Part 4 - Why was the crash so bad ?
Appendix 1 - The opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills station (1889)
Appendix 2 - Surely it can’t happen again ? (1989)