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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: 30/06/2018

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History Group Diary

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.
7th and 8th July, 1-5pm - Carleton-in-Craven Village Archive Exhibition - More information.

A Year in the Life of a Tommy - a FREE WW1 Talk

Poppy display
    The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project is hosting a talk by Kath Dowthwaite entitled "A Year in the Life of a Tommy" - at 7pm on July 6th in the Kildwick and Farnhill Institute, Main Street, Farnhill. Admission will be FREE and refreshments will be available.

The talk is based on the 1918 diary of 18 year old Private William Leeming Marsden of the 12th Kings Liverpool Regiment.

After a few months of training in England, William was sent to Northern France where he served in the trenches until the end of the war - returning to England late January 1919. In his pencil-written diary, William gives graphic details of what life was like for a teenager in the trenches.

Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour - Appeal CLOSED

Methodist Roll of Honour
    The appeal to raise funds for the restoration of the Farnhill Methodist Chapel WW1 Roll of Honour has been a great success and the target achieved.

Final arrangements are currently being made with a conservitor and the plan – still to be confirmed – is that the original Roll will be carefully removed from its decaying cardboard backing, cleaned, and if possible the names re-inked. A full-sized, high-resolution digital photograph will then be taken and the colours and original border pattern restored, based on similar Rolls held in archives.

It is hoped that the digital replica will be ready to be unveiled at the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project exhibition, "From Farnhill to the Front", to be held on 10th November - to coincide with the centenary of the Armistice. The replica, framed under UV-resistant glass, will then be put on permanent display in the Institute, where it can be viewed by the public.

Many thanks are due to all the people who contributed to the appeal.

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 - Summer 2018 newsletter

Craven and the First World War
A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Summer 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: 30/06/2018

What's new this month ?


Chartism in Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 30/06/2018

Chartism was a Victorian era working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848.

We've updated our article on the impact of the Chartist Movement in Farnhill and Kildwick with information recently discovered about two men from the village who fought in WW1 and who were members of former Chartist families.

Part 1 - 1815 to 1845
Part 2 - 1848...a turning point in history when history refused to turn (A J P Taylor) - Updated 30/06/2018 - with new Appendix


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 30/06/2018

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band. This update includes information about the sad decline of the band in the 1920s and, on a more positive note, recollections from a man who was part of the band when it won the 1905 Crystal Palace contest.

Mysteries link


This month we have a very interesting update to the "murder" mystery we first posted in May last year. Read the further clues.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

It may have been quiet in the village 100 years ago this month but that didn't mean that things were getting better. Arrangements were being made for the rationing of critical foodstuffs and the price of postage was going up.

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.