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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: 27/04/2024

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History Group Diary

All meetings take place in Farnhill Institute unless otherwise specified.

16/5 -- Tithe commutation (part 2)
20/6 -- Q&A session

All meetings are open to all and free to attend. Cash donations to help us cover costs are welcomed.

Do you have any photographs, documents, events programmes, etc. that you think might be of interest to the History Group ? If so, get rummaging around and collect them up because on Saturday 11th May from 10am to 4pm we are holding a "Scanning Day" at the Institute. We invite you to bring things along so that we can scan or photograph them to add to our archive. (All items will be returned to you.)

There will also be an exhibition of some of the items that we already have in our archive.

Admission will be free and tea and coffee will be available.

So make a note of the date - Saturday 11th May - and come along !

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: 27/04/2024

What's new this month ?

Views from the Bridge     First published: 27/4/2024

The approach to St. Andrew’s Church from Kildwick bridge was a particular favourite of early photographers, and our archive contains a large number of images of this view taken throughout the 20th century.

For most of them it’s difficult to be precise about the date, but, by looking at small changes to the landscape over time, it is possible – for the majority – to suggest a sequence.

So here are some “Views from the Bridge”; some not quite from the bridge; and a few of the bridge itself.


Anecdotes link

Anecdotes and Snippets

We've updated our piece on the visit of Ernest Shackleton to Kildwick with a remarkable photograph of the great explorer with J.J. Brigg outside Kildwick Hall.

Click here to read more.

100 years ago link

Farnhill and Kildwick 100 years ago

In April 1924 there seemed to be fires breaking out everywhere; there was an interesting donation made to the Church; and Farnhill Parish Council concluded that the post-war allotment scheme had not been a great success.

Click here.

Other recent additions and updates


Farnhill and the Great Escape     Updated: 30/3/2024

This month marks the 80th anniversary of the mass escape of allied PoWs from Stalag Luft III during WWII - an event that became famous as "The Great Escape".

This update is a major revision of our original article, with lots of additional information about the Farnhill family who had a significant connection to the escape.


Kildwick Parish Gasworks (1878-1955)     Updated: 30/3/2024

Kildwick Gas Works, which stood on the site occupied by the petrol station - behind St. Andrew's Terrace Crosshills, closed in 1955 and was demolished in the mid-1960s. The late Dennis Laycock's father, Fred, was manager of the works when it closed and, after his own retirement, Dennis wrote a notebook providing a short history of the works and details of its operation.

We are very pleased that Dennis allowed us to publish his handwritten notebook.

You can also view a short slideshow of pictures from Dennis's notebook and others of the gas works from our archive. Click on the image opposite.


Thomas Appleby and his memorials     First published: 30/12/2023

Thomas Appleby took up the role of headmaster of Kildwick School in 1900. From then until his death, in 1926, he became so involved in village life that his neighbours and friends thought he was worthy of no less than three memorials.

Click here to read more about Thomas Appleby and the memorials erected to him.


Vicars of Kildwick (1267 - present)     Updated: 30/12/2023

Mike Green has been the incumbent at St. Andrew's for a little while now, and it seems appropriate to update our article on the vicars of Kildwick.

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".


Dancers at Kildwick Hall in July 1918     First published: 25/11/2023

Photographs of a group of dancers at Kildwick Hall suggests that a wild time was being had while local men were still fighting in WW1. However, the full story is more nuanced than the photos would suggest.

Click here.


Mapping Farnhill and Kildwick slideshow     Updated 25/11/2023

Our archive includes a number of maps of Farnhill and Kildwick. Here are some, dating from 1577 to 2015 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 some more maps recently donated to the History Group.

Click the image opposite to view.


How a Kildwick chantry may have led to the founding of a school in Skipton     First published: 28/10/2023

Chantries were small religious establishments typically founded by rich individuals, often by means of a bequest within the individual’s will, to provide for masses to be said for the soul of the founder, in order to speed its passage through purgatory.

A chantry was founded in Kildwick by Margaret Blaine in 1505 and was dissolved, during the reformation, in 1547. But it may have had an interesting afterlife ...

Click here.


When Kildwick Church nearly fell down     Updated 28/10/2023

Kildwick Church underwent substantial renovation in 1901-3. But it wasn't just the fabric of the building that was examined, significant improvements were also made to the organ - including the installation of a radical new way of getting air to the pipes: a "Water Engine".

Click here.



Chartism in Farnhill and Kildwick     Updated 28/10/2023

Chartism was a Victorian era working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848.

Part 1 - 1815 to 1845 - Updated 30/07/2022 - with a link to a recent article in the Keighley News
Part 2 - 1848...a turning point in history when history refused to turn (A J P Taylor)

There are also a couple of interesting podcasts on the subject that you might like to listen to:


The history of "The Mullions"     First published: 24/9/2023

The Mullions, on Newby Road, has always been a bit of a mystery. It's obviously an old building but one that doesn't seem to have had any history. Now a member of the History Group has uncovered its story.

Click here.


Farnhill Mills - 1905 and 1906     Updated 24/09/2023

Two destructive mill fires in Farnhill, one in December 1905 and the other in March 1906, effectively ended industrial development within the village, as well as causing significant unemployment and hardship. Read our article about the devastating fires of 1905 and 1906, which we have updated with additional information on the history of what happened to Farnhill Mill after the 1905 fire.

You can also view a slideshow of photographs taken at the time.