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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: 26/05/2018

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History Group Diary

Tuesday May 29th 2018 @ 7pm, at Crosshills Library - Graham Taylor will give a talk, in aid of Library funds, on an album of local photographs which has been returned the area after 110 years in Australia.
Friday July 6th 2018 @ 7pm, in Farnhill Institute - The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project is hosting a FREE talk entitled "A year in the life of a Tommy", based on an original WW1 diary.
Admission FREE; refreshments available.

Knitting and crocheting a WW1 memorial

Poppy display
    Can you knit, sew or crochet a poppy ?

A local knitting group is asking for help to make poppies for a display at Kildwick Church at the Summer Fare on June 23rd. The poppies will then go on display at other venues including Kildwick and Farnhill Institute on 10 November at the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project exhibition.

Please see the attached flyer for details of the poppy display incuding who to contact for information and patterns. Alternatively there are a number of free patterns on the internet - here is a small selection but many more are available.

All requests for further information to Denisa Francis by email or phone 0796 770 8612.

Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour - Restoration appeal

Methodist Roll of Honour
    The Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour, long thought to be lost, presumed destroyed, came to light when the Chapel was being cleared out prior to its redevelopment and has been given to the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project.

The roll, which lists the names of about 60 men from the Chapel who served in WW1 is in a very fragile condition and requires urgent professional attention.

The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project, in conjunction with the Kildwick & Farnhill Institute, has launched an appeal to raise some of the money required for the roll's restoration. They are seeking to raise £260 - the rest of the cost of the restoration will be met by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For further information about the roll and plans for its restoration, click here

If you would like to make a donation to help restore the Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour, please send a cheque made out to Kildwick & Farnhill Institute to the following address:

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project,
Kildwick & Farnhill Institute,
Main Street,
Keighley, BD20 9BJ

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.

Craven and the First World War - Spring 2018 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.

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: 26/05/2018

What's new this month ?

Group photos link

Group photos project

It's odd how one thing leads to another ... A conversation with a relative of one of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers has allowed us to add some more names to the group photograph of the 1950 millenary festival at St. Andrew's Church, Kildwick.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

One hundred years ago this month amid all the doom and gloom - and deaths and woundings - of the war, a bit of light relief could be found by taking in a show at Keighley. You could see "Petite Nina and her Sensational Motor-Cycling Sea Lions" (I kid you not - there's a photograph to prove it !), or "The Great Carmo and his Vanishing Lion". Wow !

Other recent additions and updates


Jonas Davy – the Farnhill Detective     First posted 25/04/2018

Charles Wilcock, a good friend of the History Group, has been researching his forebears and his written us an article about one of them. His name was Jonas Davy and he went on to be a detective with the Bradford Police Force.

Originally written as a piece for the Bradford Police Museum, here is the story of Jonas Davy - the Farnhill Detective.

Small map link

Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 28/04/2018

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 further maps contributed to our archive in the past 18 months or so.


Farnhill Wood Cafe and Cyclists Rest – a mystery resolved ?     First posted 31/03/2018

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.


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.