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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: 29/06/2024

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History Group Diary

All meetings take place in Farnhill Institute unless otherwise specified.

19th Sept -- Graham Mitchell of the Richard III Society will talk about Richard's life before he became king - "Our Northern King"
18th Oct -- "WW1 Project revisited"
21st Nov -- A talk on the Currer family, owners of Kildwick Hall and the Manor of Kildwick

All meetings are open to all and free to attend. Cash donations to help us cover costs are welcomed.

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: 29/06/2024

What's new this month ?


Was Farnhill Mill at the forefront of new textile developments in the 1940s ?     First published: 29/06/2024

Perhaps and perhaps not - but if wasn't, then what was going on with all the peanuts ?.

Click here.


Creation of the Kildwick and Farnhill Institute     Updated: 29/06/2024

The Institute was founded in 1911 and was the gift of the Brigg family.

We've researched how the Institute came into being using newspaper reports of the period. We've also recently found out more information about the building before it became the Institute.

Read the full story here.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

Whitsuntide was the time for Sunday school parades and parties - one for St. Andrew's and one for the Primitive Methodist Chapel. There was also a nasty accident at Cononley Lane End.

Click here.

Other recent additions and updates


Some short histories of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/05/2024

We thought you might to take a look at what other people have written about the history of Farnhill and Kildwick:

"The Villages of Craven - Farnhill" (an article from the Craven Herald of April 26th 1876)

"Kildwick Hall - Historical Sketch" by J.J. Brigg

"John Barritt obituary" (1809 – 1897)

"A History of Kildwick" notes for a lecture given by Will Cowling in 1951

Some "Notes on Farnhill" written by George Bottomley in 1950.


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     Updated: 25/05/2024

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, we tell the story of the owners of Kildwick Hall and the Kildwick Estate.

The updates made to our articles, originally published in 2017, revise the old texts and prepare for the story of the recent tenants and owners of the Hall, to be published next month.

Views from the Bridge     First published: 27/4/2024

The approach to St. Andrew’s Church from Kildwick bridge was a particular favourite of early photographers, and our archive contains a large number of images of this view taken throughout the 20th century.

For most of them it’s difficult to be precise about the date, but, by looking at small changes to the landscape over time, it is possible – for the majority – to suggest a sequence.

So here are some “Views from the Bridge”; some not quite from the bridge; and a few of the bridge itself.



Farnhill and the Great Escape     Updated: 30/3/2024

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the mass escape of allied PoWs from Stalag Luft III during WWII - an event that became famous as "The Great Escape".

This update is a major revision of our original article, with lots of additional information about the Farnhill family who had a significant connection to the escape.


Kildwick Parish Gasworks (1878-1955)     Updated: 30/3/2024

Kildwick Gas Works, which stood on the site occupied by the petrol station - behind St. Andrew's Terrace Crosshills, closed in 1955 and was demolished in the mid-1960s. The late Dennis Laycock's father, Fred, was manager of the works when it closed and, after his own retirement, Dennis wrote a notebook providing a short history of the works and details of its operation.

We are very pleased that Dennis allowed us to publish his handwritten notebook.

You can also view a short slideshow of pictures from Dennis's notebook and others of the gas works from our archive. Click on the image opposite.


Thomas Appleby and his memorials     First published: 30/12/2023

Thomas Appleby took up the role of headmaster of Kildwick School in 1900. From then until his death, in 1926, he became so involved in village life that his neighbours and friends thought he was worthy of no less than three memorials.

Click here to read more about Thomas Appleby and the memorials erected to him.


Vicars of Kildwick (1267 - present)     Updated: 30/12/2023

Mike Green has been the incumbent at St. Andrew's for a little while now, and it seems appropriate to update our article on the vicars of Kildwick.

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".


Dancers at Kildwick Hall in July 1918     First published: 25/11/2023

Photographs of a group of dancers at Kildwick Hall suggests that a wild time was being had while local men were still fighting in WW1. However, the full story is more nuanced than the photos would suggest.

Click here.


Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 25/11/2023

Our archive includes a number of maps of Farnhill and Kildwick. Here are some, dating from 1577 to 2015 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 more maps recently donated to the History Group.

Click the image opposite to view.


How a Kildwick chantry may have led to the founding of a school in Skipton     First published: 28/10/2023

Chantries were small religious establishments typically founded by rich individuals, often by means of a bequest within the individual’s will, to provide for masses to be said for the soul of the founder, in order to speed its passage through purgatory.

A chantry was founded in Kildwick by Margaret Blaine in 1505 and was dissolved, during the reformation, in 1547. But it may have had an interesting afterlife ...

Click here.


When Kildwick Church nearly fell down     Updated 28/10/2023

Kildwick Church underwent substantial renovation in 1901-3. But it wasn't just the fabric of the building that was examined, significant improvements were also made to the organ - including the installation of a radical new way of getting air to the pipes: a "Water Engine".

Click here.