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The Pinnacle of jubilee celebrations
8:00am Saturday 11th August 2012 in Craven History
Farnhill Pinnacle has just celebrated its 125th anniversary. The landmark was built for Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887 – not her diamond jubilee in 1897 as sometimes stated in local history books. Its beginnings have been researched by Kildwick woman Helen Moran, of Kildwick and Farnhill History Group. Here are her findings.
Queen Victoria is Britain’s longest reigning monarch and was queen from June 20, 1837 to January 22, 1901. Her golden jubilee was celebrated on June 20 and 21, 1887.
Local preparations for celebrating the jubilee were comparatively last minute in contrast to many later royal celebrations which were the result of months of meticulous planning.
However, the legacy of 1887 included the creation of Farnhill ’s Jubilee Pinnacle which has defined the local landscape ever since.
It came about thanks to the concerted effort of the residents of Farnhill and Kildwick and an enthusiastic new vicar in Kildwick. A full day of jubilee celebrations were rounded off with a beacon and rockets at the Pinnacle.
Newspaper reports in the months leading up to the jubilee give the impression that every town and village across the country was pre-occupied with preparing their royal celebrations – everywhere that is except Farnhill and Kildwick.
It was not until June 2 that the new vicar of Kildwick, the Rev Archibald Douglas Cavendish Thompson, convened a meeting in the parish room to discuss celebrating the occasion. The Craven Herald reported that it was: “unanimously resolved to have a public celebration of the Queen’s jubilee for the townships of Farnhill, Kildwick and Glusburn and a representative committee … was appointed to collect subscriptions and make the necessary arrangements.”
Mr Thompson was so recently arrived that he had not yet been formally inducted and no doubt his desire to be accepted and to be of service to his parishioners helped fuel his enthusiasm. It is possible that celebrations may have gone ahead without his intervention, but he played a key part in their initiation and execution through being elected president of the Jubilee committee.
Mr JC Horsfall Esq was appointed treasurer and Messrs JJ Brigg, WA Brigg, AH Dawson and TH Haswell honorary secretaries. Other members of the committee included Messrs Kemp, Wolfenden, Metcalfe, W Crossley, Tempest, Slingsby, Stephenson, H Mosley, C Hargreaves, John Hill, Sunderland, JW Greenwood and the Rev Bradley .
Over the next three weeks the combined effort of the committee and the ideas and hard work of the villagers from the three townships resulted in what was a remarkable celebration given the short space of time in which it was organised, including the raising of just over £112 through subscriptions and guarantors to fund the events.
Besides participating in a feast, the people of Kildwick and Farnhill wanted to mark the occasion with a lasting reminder and decided to rebuild the cairn on Farnhill Crag which had been placed there by JR Tenant Esq of Kildwick Hall around 1857 but had fallen into disrepair.
It is understood that two Kildwick men John Barrett and schoolmaster Thomas Henry Haswell first came up with the idea to restore the cairn and this gained the popular support of the villagers.
From mid June to the day of the jubilee, Farnhill Moor was a hive of activity with a constant stream of people to-ing and fro-ing with building materials and attending various ceremonies at the Pinnnacle site, culminating in the lighting of a beacon on June 21.
From various newspaper reports it is possible to get a sense of the challenges and concerted effort involved in constructing the Pinnacle.
William Dawson and Albert Kitson are described as the chief artificers and Robert Green acted as clerk of works.
Mr Slingsby of Farnhill Hall and Mr Redman from High Farnhill provided their horses to convey lime and water. Mr Ben Smith of Kildwick Grange also conveyed water by means of his donkey and milk cans.
Albert Kitson made the wooden box which was placed inside the cairn and contained various artefacts.
The stone cross on top of the cairn was given by Joe Berry with monumental mason John Barritt of Cross Hills undertaking the masonry and carving.
Kildwick stonemason Robert Tillotson inscribed the letters V.R.1837-87 on a large stone to the south east of the Pinnacle.
Others involved in building and labouring included Ishmael Greenwood of Kildwick, John Holmes of Crag Top, Fred Tillotson (younger brother of Robert), and Harry Foster.
On Tuesday, June 14, the first foundation stone was laid by Messrs FE Slingsby, of Farnhill Hall, and WA Brigg, of Kildwick Hall with three cheers for Her Majesty led by schoolmaster Thomas Henry Haswell. The following evening, the memorial stone bearing the inscription VR was laid by J Brigg of Kildwick Hall who declared “it should remain a monument of the loyalty and unity of the inhabitants of Kildwick and Farnhill for many years”.
Another memorial stone was laid the next evening, Thursday, June 16, by the Rev Thompson of Kildwick Church who addressed the assembly of labourers and onlookers.
Inside the pinnacle was placed a box containing jubilee medals, local newspapers and a bottle with parchment inside it. According to Mr Greenwood, who helped build the Pinnacle, the signatures of all the men involved in its construction were included along with instructions that if the pinnacle were ever allowed to fall into ruin the box and its contents would be handed to the vicar of Kildwick. It is understood the two newspapers were the Craven Herald and The Pioneer and Victorian coins and stamps worth one shilling were also placed in the box.
When completed, the Pinnacle stood nine feet in diameter and over 12 feet high with a stone cross surmounting it. The carvings on the cross, of a rose, thistle and shamrock, are still visible today.
The jubilee day celebrations on Tuesday, June 21, got off to an early start. There were numerous flags on display and the ladies of Kildwick had hung a red awning across the road near the church gates with various “patriotic devices” on the south side and on the north, the words “God Save the Queen”.
The early service at 8am was well attended and was followed by a special service at 10am at which the new vicar gave a short sermon. Afterwards the children of Kildwick and Farnhill were presented with a medal and assembled for the procession which was headed by Kildwick Brass Band.
The procession made its way to Cross Hills and was joined by the children of Glusburn Parish. Around 600 children took part in total, many waving flags and at the front were some little boys in sailor costume with two union jacks and behind them were little girls carrying “floral devices”.
By all accounts it was a very hot, sunny day and this, along with clouds of limestone dust kicked up by the procession made it very uncomfortable, especially for the small children.
From Cross Hills, the route continued to Glusburn returning through Cross Hills by way of Wheatlands Lane, Back Lane (now Park Road) and then via Junction to Mr Wolfenden’s field near the railway station. In the field the vicar of Kildwick addressed the crowd from a bandstand and called for three cheers for the Queen.
The children sat on the ground for tea while the adults were seated in a tent to enjoy a substantial meat tea. The catering was done by Heaton Mosley and it took over an hour and a half to feed everyone. Gas was provided free of charge by the Kildwick Parish Gas Company.
Throughout the afternoon the Kildwick Brass Band, under the leadership of Mr R Sugden, played selections of music and “much dancing was indulged in”.
After tea, the children and adults joined in a range of sports including running races, tug of war, skipping for girls and an old men’s race.
The principal attraction of the evening was the lighting of the bonfire near the Pinnacle. It had been constructed the previous evening by Robert Hargreaves, Robert Green, H Aked and TH Haswell who guarded it all night and through Tuesday.
The bonfire was described as “a splendid pile” and its flames rose rapidly, shooting several yards into the air and could be seen over the entire area as far away as Settle in one direction and beyond Shipley in another. Rockets were also set off by Messrs Wolfenden, H Aked and JJ Brigg. By next morning, a large patch of moor was ablaze but was put out with little trouble.
It was understood that a full account of the jubilee was going to be written in the parish minute books so that “in the event of a future royal jubilee the inhabitants may have for their guidance a faithful record of the manner in which this celebration was conducted in the year of Grace 1887.”
Whether this was done is not known, but one thing is for certain, Farnhill’s Jubilee Pinnacle remains as a “monument to the loyalty and unity of the inhabitants of Kildwick and Farnhill” as wished for by J Brigg Esq 125 years ago.