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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: 25/09/2021

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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 ...

Access to Keighley Library (and the Keighley News) is still difficult, but now that Skipton Library is now more-or-less fully open, the "100 Years Ago" section can be restarted, using material from the Craven Herald.

So, we restart at September 1921 and over the next few months I'll fill in the missing months (April to August 1921) and introduce material from the Keighley News as soon as possible.

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: 25/09/2021

What's new this month ?


Vicars of Kildwick (1267 - 2021)     First published: 25/09/2021

Using existing published material, a little bit of original research, and some personal recollections, we have compiled a history of all the vicars of Kildwick from Simon de Haplesthorp in 1267 to Julie Bacon, the most recent vicar, who left the parish just a couple of months ago.

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"".



Paintings and Drawings of Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 25/09/2021

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 1930 Xmas card, a drawing of the "Old Priory", and some recent work by local artist (and History Group member) Anna Hewlett.

Click the image opposite to view.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago, saw the creation of a local schools football league. Children from the school also had an excursion to see "Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie" - but before they went, they were tested on their knowledge of wild animals by the headmaster.

Note: For the time-being the news from 100 years ago will be restricted to information derived from the Craven Herald and local sources. Hopefully it will be possible to retro-fit material from the Keighley News into the timeline later in the year.

Other recent additions and updates


A history of the Kildwick bells and bell-ringers     First published: 28/08/2021

Earlier this month the bell-tower at St. Andrew's was opened to visitors for an afternoon.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to publish an article on the history of the Kildwick bells and bell-ringers.



Kildwick – Best Kept Village     First published: 31/07/2021

From the late 1970s until 1990 Kildwick participated in the “Best Kept Village Competition” organised by the Yorkshire Rural Community Council - and it's record was very good ! Read the details here.



Tenants and later owners of Kildwick Hall     Updated: 31/07/2021

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.

This update includes personal recollections of later owners of the Hall from people who read the original version of this article.


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.



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.