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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: 24/02/2018

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History Group Diary

Friday May 11th 2017 @ 7pm, in Farnhill Institute - The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers Project is hosting a FREE talk by Isobel Stirk on "WW1 Poetry and Literature".
Interval tea/coffee will be available.

Publically available images from the Getty Photo Library

Stephen Wood has made us aware of a link to the Getty Photo Library that provides access to almost 100,000 publically-accessible old photographs.

Click here.

Launch of the Farnhill WW1 Volunteers website

Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project
    The Farnhill WW1 Volunteers project now has its own dedicated website.

The project, which is supported by Kildwick and Farnhill Institute and funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, started in January 2017 and will run until the end of 2018. While the project is running the website will be used to provide news on its progress and will include slideshows of local scenes and articles connected to the Volunteers and the village as they knew it.

When the project is concluded, the site will host the results of the research including a biography on each of the men.

The web address is:

Go take a look !

Craven and the First World War - Winter 2017/18 Newsletter

Craven and the First World War
A newsletter outlining all the WW1-related events in the Craven area this Winter 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: 24/02/2018

What's new this month ?

Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

In the early 1920s there were very few motor cars in the local area, and even fewer car-washes. One Farnhill early adopter of motorised transport found a convenient place to keep his vehicle clean - and the Parish Council took steps to get it stopped.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

Locally in February 1918 the big news was that the newly arrived Vicar of St. Andrew's was about to leave the parish, in order to become a military chaplain. Nationally, some women got the vote - most didn't.

Other recent additions and updates


Belgian WW1 refugees in Airedale     First posted 27/01/2018

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. This article tells their story.


Radical Protestant churchmen in Kildwick – from Reformation to Restoration     Updated 27/01/2018

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 to show how, in the years following the restortion, the establishment took back control to such an extent that, in 1743, the new curate of St. Andrew’s felt he had to explain and almost apologise for the redical beliefs of other members of his family.


Three Questions about the Kildwick "Organ Grave"     Updated 27/01/2018

There are a number of interesting graves in the graveyard of St. Andrew's Church but perhaps the most impressive, although by no means the largest, is the so-called "Organ Grave".

In this article we provide answers to three questions about this grave:

  • Why does the grave have an organ on it ?
  • Who carved it ?
  • Does the organ still exist and, if so, where is it ?

You can also read a short memoir, written in 1889, about John Laycock the organ-builder and view a video of the 1851 Laycock organ in Cowling Hill Chapel.

In our most recent update to this article we have included a transcript of the obituary to John Laycock published in the Craven Herald on 21/9/1889.


J.W. Teal's photograph album - c.1900 to 1910     First posted - January 2018

Earlier this year the History Group was gifted an album of old photographs of Farnhill, Kildwick and nearby townships, by a man from Australia.

His grandfather had emigrated at the end of the nineteenth century and for the next 5 to 10 years had received photographs and postcards sent by family members back home. These were kept, in excellent condition, in an album, the contents of which have now been converted into two slideshows (there are two many images for just one).

Click the links below to view the contents of this remarkable piece of history:

Part 1
Part 2


Kildwick Hall and the owners of the Kildwick Estate     First posted - March to September 2017

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


Kildwick war memorial     Updated 30/09/2017

We've updated our slideshow on the men commemorated on the Kildwick WW1 War Memorial with more information on its unveiling in 1921.

This slideshow uses material drawn from the "Craven's Part in the Great War" website,


The Kildwick Rail Crash - 1875     Updated 30/09/2017

We've updated our series of articles on the terrible rail crash that happened at the old Kildwick railway station in 1875 with further information on the appeal for damages made by Mary Calvert, against the Midland Railway Company, following the death of her husband and son in the crash.

We are grateful to Kath Allen for help with this update.

Part 1 - The accident
Part 2 - Inquests, inquiries and reports
Part 3 - The trial of Harrison Palfreeman     Updated 30/09/2017
Part 4 - Why was the crash so bad ?
Appendix 1 - The opening of the new Kildwick and Crosshills station (1889)
Appendix 2 - Surely it can’t happen again ? (1989)


SSZ airship link

Airships over Aireside     Updated 26/08/2017

We've updated one of our "Photographs in Context" pieces, to include information about one of the very earliest British airships, which flew over Kildwick on one of its very earliest flights.

Click here to read our article.


Lighting Kildwick - 1892 to 1919 / a memoir by CR Snowden     Updated 26/08/2017

We've updated our article on the introduction of gas lamps in Kildwick.

Read our article and Cecil Snowden's memoir of the Lighting Committee by clicking below:

Lighting Kildwick - 1892 to 1919 (updated 26/08/2017)

A few of my Life's activities - a memoir by CR Snowden