Hauxwell, Hannah Bayles Tallentire

Born in 1926 at Sleetburn in the remote 1000 foot high Baldersdale in the North Yorkshire Pennines. When Hannah was 3 her father William rented the 80 acre Low Birk Hatt farm which he later bought. It was a lonely and remote place being one and a half miles from the nearest road. Four years later he died aged 37. The farm was run by her uncle and her mother Lydia Sayer nee Tallendine. Hannah was baptised in the Methodist Chapel and with her grandmother and mother went to Sunday evening services at Balderstone Methodist Chapel. When her uncle and then her mother died in 1958 the 32 year old Hannah ran the farm alone, without running water or electricity, on a frugal £5 a week. Two Methodist preachers who greatly influenced her were Rhoda Annie Dent (1915-1991) the travelling evangelist [later wife of Rev Ernald C. Nixon] and in 1935 John Wesley Kingston the Irish evangelist and founder of ‘The Kingston Worldwide Youth Movement'. In 1973 she was catapulted into public attention when Barry Cockcroft made a documentary Too Long a Winter for Yorkshire Television and ITV. With successive television documentaries she became an international celebrity. Hannah was the Guest of Honour at the prestigious Woman of the Year Gala at the Savoy Hotel, London. On 25 March 1992 she was featured in the television series This is Your Life. The programme ended with the Cockfield Methodist Male Voice Choir singing.

In 1989 suffering from illnesses cause by the extreme cold and hardship Hannah sold the farm and moved to Cotherstone where she became part of the Cotherstone Methodist Church community. Her funeral was held in a packed Barnard Castle Methodist Church on 16 February 2018. The lasting gift that Hannah has left is a wild-flower and nature reserve, 'Hannah's Meadow', managed by the Durham Wildlife Trust, and reflecting the fact that neither she nor her father used chemical fertilisers.

  • Obituary in The Times, 2 February 2018
  • Hannah Hauxwell with Barry Cockcroft, Hannah (London, 1991)

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Person
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