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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: 22/02/2019

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Sad news of the death of Ian Dewhirst

Ian Dewhirst    
News of the death of Dr. Ian Dewhirst MBE, librarian, local historian, speaker, and one of Yorkshire's true gentlemen was announced at the end of last month.

Ian was a good friend to the Farnhill and Kildwick Local History Group and twice gave a talk at Farnhill Institute - to large and appreciative audiences. His style mixed gentle humour and self-deprecation with a real historian's commitment to accuracy and the examination of original sources.

Ian worked for many years at Keighley Library and could often be found there after his retirement. His strong support for the library and his belief that local history must be kept readily available has been of benefit to many local history groups. The suggestion that the Local Studies section of the library should be renamed in his honour seems rather appropriate.

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project - Final Report

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project report    
The two-year Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funding for the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project concluded at the end of December 2018.

In the past two years, members of the project have achieved far more than any of us thought we would (or even could). A full report on our activities during that period has been prepared for the HLF. The research, events, website, and the permanent archive indicate that our time (and Lottery funds) have been well spent.

The end of funding does not mean the end of the project. There are a number of research strands that will continue:

  • When the 1921 census data is released it will extend our knowledge of these men's post-war lives - perhaps including those men who left the village in the immediate aftermath of the war and have proved difficult to trace.
  • The WW1 Pension Index cards, held by the Western Front Association, are currently being digitised and will be interesting to examine in due course. Additional WW1 records may also become available in the future.
  • We anticipate finding out more about the men's post-war lives from local newspapers of the 1920s, which will be examined as part of our ongoing "100 years ago" project. The long and acrimonious post-war campaign to provide allotments for WW1 veterans might be an interesting topic to research, for example.
  • Finally, we contine to hope that families of the Volunteers might come across this website and contact the project with additional information.

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: 22/02/2019

What's new this month ?

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

The big news in February 1919 was the continuing outbreak of influenza. A serviceman died just a week after his return from the forces; and almost half the pupils at Kildwick school, plus the headmaster, were affected - causing the school to be closed for a fortnight.

Also this month saw the return to their homes of the Belgian refugees who had made their home in the area.

Other recent additions and updates


A proposed housing development - Farnhill 1873     First posted 29/01/2019

These days it seems that there are housing developments wherever you look, with many of them being contentious. However, none of the developments currently proposed for Farnhill will have anything like the impact that a plan put forward in 1873 would have had on the village had it gone ahead.


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 29/12/2018

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band. This update includes some more photographs connected to the band.


Some accounts of the Armistice     First posted 24/11/2018

This article, from the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers website, examines the thoughts of some local people on Armistice Day - 11th November 1918.


A snapshot of Kildwick Parish in 1764 – Archbishop Drummond’s Visitation     First posted 29/09/2018

In 1764 the Archbishop of York went on a "tour" of his diocese - known as a Visitation.

Prior to this, a questionnaire was sent out for the clergy of each parish to complete and return. In Kildwick, the questions were answered by the vicar, Rev. John Dehane. His responses give us an interesting snapshot of the parish in 1764.

In this article we give the full text of the 12 questions asked, and Rev. Dehane’s responses to them.


Kildwick swimming carnival (1909 - 1914)     Updated 29/09/2018

Between 1909 and 1914, the last Saturday in July would see up to 5000 people gather on both banks of the river Aire, below the bridge, to watch the annual swimming carnival. Click to view an updated slideshow or read our article.



Some short histories of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/08/2018

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

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

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


Belgian WW1 refugees in Airedale     Updated 25/08/2018

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 in the country's history.

Some of them came to this area and this article, updated with photographs and information about the refugees in Crosshills, tells their story.