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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 opposite. 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: 25/03/2017

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History Group Diary

Tuesday Apr 18th 2017 @ 7pm - Graham Taylor will complete his talk on "Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate" - bringing the story into the 20th century.

The History Group's Review of the Year - 2016

2016 was a really good year for the group. We've had some really great speakers, good attendances at our group meetings and public talks, and taken part in some really great events. Helen Moran has put together a Review of 2016, which you can read here.

Alan Bennett's thoughts on Kildwick Church (2007)

If you are lucky enough to have a copy of Alan Bennett's latest book, Keeping on Keeping on, a collection of his diaries, you might like to take a look at the entry for 28th June 2007, in which he prepares to enter the dispute about plans to reorder Kildwick Church that were going on at the time. He puts the issues of the day into their historical context.

Craven and the First World War - Spring 2017 Newsletter

Craven and the First World War A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Spring 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: 25/03/2017

What's new this month ?


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     !!! NEW !!!

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 of short articles, produced over the next few months, we will tell the story of the owners of Kildwick Hall and the Kildwick Estate


Radical Protestant churchmen in Kildwick – from Reformation to Restoration     Updated 25/03/2017

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 our original article with more information on how the radical tradition was reversed just as the English monarchy was re-established in 1660.


The Road from Keighley to Skipton - A journey of 1900 years     Updated 25/03/2017

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 provides a contemporary news report on the opening of the Kildwick to Snaygill section of the Keighley to Kendal Trunk Road. We also pose the question whether Kildwick might have become a major hub for road traffic travelling between Leeds and the industrial towns of East Lancashire in the mid-18th century ?

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

This month's anecdote is a poem about Kildwick Hall, by local poet Robert Heaton. This is from the Sutton-in-Craven Village website

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago, March 1917, was another bad month for the village, with news of the death of two local men, and the wounding of two others. The new vicar of St. Andrew's was formally inducted and Miss Spencer, teacher at Kildwick School, left to take up a new post at Kettlewell. It was also reported that many of the houses in Farnhill had only basic toilet facilities and three had recently been condemned as unfit for human habitation.

Group photos link

Group photos project

This month's photograph was taken at the start of a local "Young wives" excursion.

Other recent additions and updates


Kildwick and the Brontës - True or False     New and Updated 25/02/2017

In this update, Graham Taylor considers whether the Brigg family - founder members of the Bronte Society - might have promoted the idea that Charlotte Bronte came to Kildwick. Read the updated article.

To accompany this update, Bronte expert and good friend of the History Group, Isobel Stirk, has written a short piece of fiction imagining how it might have been if Charlotte really had visited the village when she was governesss at Stone Gappe. Read Kildwick’s 1839 visitor – maybe ?.


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 25/02/2017

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band.

We've been given some wonderful photographs by the great grand-daughter of Charles Jeffrey, who was the band's conductor in their hey-day. We also have a little more information about the band after WW1.



The Kildwick Rail Crash - 1875     New and Updated 28/01/2017

We've updated our series of articles on the terrible rail crash that happened at the old Kildwick railway station in 1875 with a recollection of the crash from 1910; a newspaper report on the opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills railway station in 1889; and details of an near-miss at Kildwick railway crossing, in 1989, that bore a number of similarities with the 1875 incident.

Part 1 - The accident (including a recollection from 1910)     Updated 28/01/2017
Part 2 - Inquests, inquiries and reports
Part 3 - The trial of Harrison Palfreeman
Part 4 - Why was the crash so bad ?
Appendix 1 - The opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills station (1889)
    First posted 28/01/2017
Appendix 2 - Surely it can’t happen again ? (1989)
    First posted 28/01/2017


Arnold Benson Coaches of Kildwick     Updated 28/01/2017

A couple of months ago members of the History Group spent a very enjoyable afternoon talking with Alan Hargreaves. Now in his 90s, Alan has lived in this area all his life and had many interesting things to say. In particular, as a friend of Edwin Shuttleworth, he was able to tell us quite a bit about the Arnold Benson Coach Company - including how they got a large bus through a small gate !

Who was Arnold Benson ?    Updated 26/03/2016
Alan Hargreaves talking about Arnold Benson Coaches
    First posted 28/01/2017


Childhood diseases in the early 20th century
(as revealed by the Kildwick School log book – 1907 to 1920)
    Posted 26/11/2016

These days, thanks to the widespread use of antibiotics and early-years inoculations, most childhood diseases are kept largely under control. They are irritants (albeit sometimes painful for individuals) rather than dangerous, or even life-threatening.

However, in the early 20th century, this was not the case and the appearance of an infectious disease in a single child could quickly result in it spreading through the whole community. Sometimes with dangerous or even fatal consequences.

The Kildwick School log book for the period 1907 to 1920 shows how common these diseases were and the steps that the school and the local authority could take to prevent them spreading. The log also reveals the start of what would become universal health care: with the gradual appearance of school medical inspectors and dentists, and a nurse examining children for head-lice.

Read about childhood diseases in the early 20th century.


Chartism in Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 26/11/2016

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 from the diary of John Robert Tennant, who was living at Kildwick Hall in the tumultuous year 1848.

Part 1 - 1815 to 1845
Part 2 - 1848...a turning point in history when history refused to turn (A J P Taylor) - Updated 26/11/2016

Small map link

Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 26/11/2016

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 year or so.