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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: 25/05/2019

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The Petyt Library in York

The Petyt Library was created 300 years ago by the brother William and Sylvester Petyt brothers, from Storiths, who, after becoming wealthy and influential lawyers in London, sent books to Skipton "for the augmentation of a library and use of the Grammar School".

The Library contains around 2,500 important books, pamphlets and archives, which chart the development of political and religious thought in 17th century Britain. Highlights include 15th-century Bibles, 17th-century atlases, and a 1580s edition of one of the sources for Shakespeare’s history plays.

The library, which is currenly on loan from Skipton Town Council to the University of York, will be the focus of two events to be held in the city:

  • Wednesday 19 June 2019, 1.30pm to 3pm - A drop in session where everyone is welcome and come and handle some of the collection including a coloured atlas, an early chronicle of the world, and the dissection of a rat - something for everyone! Part of the university's Library & Archives ‘Wonders on Wednesday’ series. For further details see
  • Thursday 13 June 2019, 6pm to 7pm - Join Natasha Glaisyer, Sarah Griffin, Mark Jenner and Helen Smith of the University of York as they introduce the Petyt Library through some of the many fascinating items it contains. Learn how, even though they were successful lawyers in London, the Petyt brothers never forgot their Yorkshire roots and wanted others to have the same opportunities they had. By providing books, they opened up a whole new world to the people of Skipton. For further details see

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.

Do you have any interesting items to contribute to the archive ?
Please contact

New and Updated Items
Last updated: 25/05/2019

What's new this month ?


Educating Kildwick - some notes on schooling in the village     First posted 25/05/2019

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.


100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

This month 100 years ago, in May 1919, the decision was taken to re-form Kildwick Old Boys' Football Club; Farnhill Parish Council agreed to the building of 20 semi-detached houses in the village, in order to avoid a rates increasebeing imposed by Skipton Rural District Council; the discussions on allotments for ex-soldiers continued; and there was an interesting argument against the tarmacing of local roads.

Other recent additions and updates


Keighley's "1920's Boy" - a Farnhill connection     First posted 27/04/2019

In the 1970s, Stanley Boardman, formerly a sign-writer in Keighley, created a series of paintings and drawings of scenes from his childhood. They were subsequently collected under the title "1920's Boy".

Before starting on these iconic pieces, however, Stanley created a number of murals for Kildwick & Farnhill Institute.

Slideshows of some of Stanley's "1920's Boy" pictures, along with images taken recently in the Institute building, have been created by Tim Neal of Keighley and District Local History Society.


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.