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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: 27/05/2017

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Craven and the First World War - Spring 2017 Newsletter

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

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 in Farnhill & Kildwick

The Tour de Yorkshire visited Farnhill and Kildwick this year. Here are a few photographs.

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: 27/05/2017

What's new this month ?


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     !!! NEW !!!

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 of short articles, produced over the next few months, we will tell the story of the owners of Kildwick Hall and the Kildwick Estate


Haworth Currer's plan for a grand driveway at Kildwick Hall     Updated 27/05/2017

In 1738, Haworth Currer had the idea of creating a grand driveway to link Kildwick Hall with the centre of the village.

Originally one of our "Short Pieces" you can now read a full article on Haworth Currer's driveway and what became of it.


A Kildwick gentleman in the service of two Tudor kings     Updated 27/05/2017

We've updated our piece on John Rycroft and the Winter Silver Charity with additional information provided by Lancaster Herald at the College of Arms concerning the "Rycroft Window" in St. Andrew's church and the connection between the Kildwick man John Rycroft, the Clifford family, and Henry VII. There's also information on how the Rycroft Charity helped to fund early education in the parish and how the charity was restructured in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mrs. Nancy Rycroft has kindly provided us with the final draft of her late husband's Rycroft family history notes.

Mysteries link


This month we have a photograph that is a murder mystery.


100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago, in April 1917, apart from the increasingly bad news about local men fighting in France, it was announced that there would be an extra train from Bradford stopping at Kildwick railway station. In May there was a talk in the Institute on the use of substitutes for precious wheat flour in the making of bread. Samples were provided, the verdict - "It's not bad but would be improved with some butter."

Group photos link

Group photos project

This month's photograph was taken by the Keighley photographer W. Speight. But we don't know what the event was or - apart from a few people - who was present. Can you help.

Other recent additions and updates


Radical Protestant churchmen in Kildwick – from Reformation to Restoration     Updated 25/03/2017

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 our original article with more information on how the radical tradition was reversed just as the English monarchy was re-established in 1660.


The Road from Keighley to Skipton - A journey of 1900 years     Updated 25/03/2017

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 provides a contemporary news report on the opening of the Kildwick to Snaygill section of the Keighley to Kendal Trunk Road. We also pose the question whether Kildwick might have become a major hub for road traffic travelling between Leeds and the industrial towns of East Lancashire in the mid-18th century ?


Kildwick and the Brontës - True or False     New and Updated 25/02/2017

In this update, Graham Taylor considers whether the Brigg family - founder members of the Bronte Society - might have promoted the idea that Charlotte Bronte came to Kildwick. Read the updated article.

To accompany this update, Bronte expert and good friend of the History Group, Isobel Stirk, has written a short piece of fiction imagining how it might have been if Charlotte really had visited the village when she was governesss at Stone Gappe. Read Kildwick’s 1839 visitor – maybe ?.


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 25/02/2017

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band.

We've been given some wonderful photographs by the great grand-daughter of Charles Jeffrey, who was the band's conductor in their hey-day. We also have a little more information about the band after WW1.



The Kildwick Rail Crash - 1875     New and Updated 28/01/2017

We've updated our series of articles on the terrible rail crash that happened at the old Kildwick railway station in 1875 with a recollection of the crash from 1910; a newspaper report on the opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills railway station in 1889; and details of an near-miss at Kildwick railway crossing, in 1989, that bore a number of similarities with the 1875 incident.

Part 1 - The accident (including a recollection from 1910)     Updated 28/01/2017
Part 2 - Inquests, inquiries and reports
Part 3 - The trial of Harrison Palfreeman
Part 4 - Why was the crash so bad ?
Appendix 1 - The opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills station (1889)
    First posted 28/01/2017
Appendix 2 - Surely it can’t happen again ? (1989)
    First posted 28/01/2017


Arnold Benson Coaches of Kildwick     Updated 28/01/2017

A couple of months ago members of the History Group spent a very enjoyable afternoon talking with Alan Hargreaves. Now in his 90s, Alan has lived in this area all his life and had many interesting things to say. In particular, as a friend of Edwin Shuttleworth, he was able to tell us quite a bit about the Arnold Benson Coach Company - including how they got a large bus through a small gate !

Who was Arnold Benson ?    Updated 26/03/2016
Alan Hargreaves talking about Arnold Benson Coaches
    First posted 28/01/2017