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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: 27/03/2021

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Up until recently we have always had a small amount of material - articles, anecdotes, etc. - stored up ready to be posted, so that there was always something to put up on this website each month. During the COVID crisis however, with people shielding and the local libraries closed, we've gradually worked our way through most of this material and, sadly, we will have run out by the end of the year.

So, for 2021 there are two options - either the updates to this site will become less frequent or, alternatively, you could help us out by sending in material that we could publish: old photographs, documents, stories, anything that sheds light on the history of Farnhill and Kildwick would be welcomed.

Let's try and keep things going, everyone.

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: 27/03/2021

What's new this month ?


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.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

100 years ago, there were discussions about the extraction of stone from Farnhill quarry and dissatisfaction with the new pavement being laid in High Farnhill. Also, work finally got started on the contruction of the Kildwick war memorial.

Note: The 100 years ago project will be suspended from March, until vaccination is sufficiently advanced to permit safe mixing and travel between Skipton and Keighley. Hopefully it will be possible to retro-fit any missing entries into the timeline later in the year.

Other recent additions and updates


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.


HMS Kildwick - two fighting ships     Updated 29/09/2020

This update to our article on the remarkable ships named HMS Kildwick includes two letters from a member of the crew sent to the vicar of Kildwick in April 1945.

We're also taking the opportunity to remind you of the wonderful two-part wartime memoir written for us by Cyril Dennis who, as a teenager, served on board HMS Kildwick during WW2.

Part 1 of Cyril Dennis's wartime memoir
Part 2 of Cyril Dennis's wartime memoir


The Road from Keighley to Skipton - A journey of 1900 years     Updated 26/09/2020

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.

In a new appendix to our article on the development of the road from Keighley to Skipton we consider plans dating from the early 1960s for a trans-Pennine route that would have severely impacted Kildwick and the nearby townships.


Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band (1866-1936)     Updated 29/05/2020

Another update to our piece on the Kildwick and Farnhill Brass Band. This update includes some more information on the early history of the band.


The Harrisons in Australia     First posted 26/04/2020

A family history that begins in Kildwick in 1671 and continues, to this day, on the other side of the world.



1911 Coronation celebrations     Updated 25/01/2020

One of our on-going projects is to document how Farnhill and Kildwick celebrated the 20th century Coronations and Jubilees.

We've added another photograph to our article on the 1911 Coronation.

You can read this updated article, or you could view all our articles on the Coronations and Jubilees.


Kildwick Parish Library - a new home     First posted 26/10/2019

At the end of 2018, the History Group was asked to help St. Andrew's Church find a new home for the Kildwick Parish Library, a collection of over 70 antique books, on various theological studies (and a cure for tooth-ache). In January 2019 a small group of us gathered in the Parish Rooms and began the task of photographing and cataloguing. A process that would lead, eventually, to the library been given a new home in the Rare Books Collection of York University.

Read about the Kildwick Parish Library.