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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: 26/06/2021

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Recently I've been asked when or even if meetings of the History Group will restart. The answer is that I really hope that they will restart but I don't know when.

In the past we've usually taken a break during the summer months, while people go off on holiday. This year, of course, we also have not just the issue of when we could meet indoors but when people might feel happy about meeting in a group again. So, the answer to the question of when meetings might restart is - probably not until the very end of summer and then only if enough people are willing to come along.

Of course all this is conditional upon the progress of a certain virus ...

I've not been into a library to look at old newspapers since before the start of lockdown - over a year ago. Since then, I've been doing monthly updates to the "100 Years Ago" section based on material that I already had to hand.

However, that's all used up now and so, for a few months, until I feel inclined to visit libraries again, "100 Years Ago" will be on-hold; paused at March 1921.

It's only going to be for a few months - just until I've had my second Covid jab, which should take us to the end of June - and then I'll restart from where we left off and, hopefully, catch-up quite quickly.

I hope you all think that's reasonable. Otherwise, if you'd like to take it over ...

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: 26/06/2021

What's new this month ?


Farnhill Chapel - a photographic record     First published 26/06/2021

Just a few weeks after Farnhill Chapel closed its doors for the last time, members of the History Group were allowed in to take photographs. This slideshow is a selection of the pictures we took that day.


Educating Kildwick - some notes on schooling in the village     Updated 26/06/2021

The history of education in Kildwick could go back as far as Tudor times. With the help of two descendents of former masters of Kildwick school, this article provides an outline of schooling in the village from those earliest times up until the start of the 20th century.

This update to our original article includes information from a number of new sources.


Other recent additions and updates


Arnold Benson Coaches of Kildwick     Updated 29/05/2021

One of the really nice things about looking after this website is that we can start off with a little "Mystery" piece and, over time and with additional material from people from all over the place, we can gradually build up a substantial chunk of local history.

The story of Arnold Benson Coaches is one of those. I've not so much written this piece as simply curated all your contributions; the latest being an advertisement from the programme for the Sutton Baptist Bazaar, in 1954.

So, thanks very much. Keep it coming. But, for now, here's our latest version of the story of Arnold Benson coaches.


Kildwick war memorial     Updated 29/05/2021

To commemorate the unveiling of the Kildwick War Memorial, on 3rd May 1921, we've updated our slideshow on its planning and creation.

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


The most famous Kildwickian you’ve never heard of     First published: 24/04/2021

Has there ever been anyone famous come from Kildwick ?

Chances are that any name you care to suggest would only be thought of as truly famous by a very few. But in fact there has been a Kildwickian who surely passes all the criteria required to be considered famous.

We are talking about someone who was a major media celebrity, with a massive following among the youth of his day; who was responsible for over 70 publications – several of which are included in the US Library of Congress; had both a building and a piece of music named after him; was awarded an OBE; and had a charity founded in his memory.

This article is about William Benjamin Appleby – arguably the most famous Kildwickian of the 20th century, and somebody most of you will never have heard of.

Typhoid hospital link


The 1899 Kildwick Typhoid Epidemic    Updated 24/04/2021

The Local History Group is involved in a major project researching the Kildwick typhoid epidemic, which took 10 lives and put a further 40 villagers in hospital.

There's always more to discover about this terrible event in Kildwick's history and during the COVID-19 lock-down we have located and photographed the graves of all the victims.

Click here to view our full series of articles on this subject.



When Kildwick took on Bradford - and won !     First published: 27/03/2021

There was a major reorganisation of local government in 1974, as a result of which Farnhill became part of North Yorkshire whilst Kildwick was allocated to Bradford Metropolitan District. This article tells the story of the nine year struggle to reunite the "twin" villages.


Radical Protestant churchmen in Kildwick – from Reformation to Restoration     Updated 27/03/2021

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 with more information about Kildwick's part in the Pendle Witch Trials and the book on witches and witchcraft written by a curate of St. Andrew's.


Paintings and Drawings of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 27/02/2021

The History Group archive contains a number of scans of paintings and drawings of the two villages – some of them quite old, others more recent. Many are unsigned and/or undated. This slideshow contains a selection of them, in approximate chronological order.

This update includes a 1974 painting of Kildwick found in Farnhill Chapel after it had been closed.

Click the image opposite to view.


Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 27/02/2021

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 a copy of the 1889 OS map recently donated to the History Group.

Click the image opposite to view.


Tenants and later owners of Kildwick Hall     First published: 30/01/2021

Once the Kildwick estate was broken up, in 1946, Kildwick Hall passed through a number of private hands and was used for a number of commercial ventures. This article tells the story of these later owners of Kildwick Hall. It also investigates some of the people who were tenants of the Hall when it was still part of the Kildwick estate.


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     Updated: 26/12/2020

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.


A Family at War - the Whitaker family in WW1     Updated 26/12/2020

In December 1920, two years after the appalling confusion over Arthur Whitaker’s death in service, his body was laid in its final resting place.

Read the updated article on the three Farnhill men from the Whitaker family, all of whom were involved in the war one way or another. Part of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project.


Festive Fayre in Farnhill     First posted: 28/11/2020

As preparations are made for Christmas 2020 (whatever they may be this year) we thought you might like to see a selection of festive recipes taken from old village recipe books and other local sources. Some you may like to try – although the filling for Mince Pies may not be to everyone's liking.