Hannah Hauxwell - Too Long a Winter

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Nomad64

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Nov 21, 2015
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Does anyone remember Hannah Hauxwell (and her neighbours the Bainbridges) who had 15 mins of fame in the early 1970s following an ITV film of her “off grid” lifestyle (long before living “off grid” became a thing), on a remote farm in Yorkshire?

I only found out about this amazing old girl earlier this week (I g00gled her after some disparaging comments about my sartorial style by my dear old mum! :jawdrop:), I’ve watched the original programme Too Long a Winter and am looking forward to watching the 1990s follow up A Winter Too Many when I get the chance.


Apparently she’s still going strong at 91 although she’s sold up and moved to a more modern house.

A charming and dignified lady eking out a traditional living on her own in a very tough environment - and if you try telling the young people of today......;)
 
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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
Does anyone remember Hannah Hauxwell (and her neighbours the Bainbridges) who had 15 mins of fame in the early 1970s following an ITV film of her “off grid” lifestyle (long before living “off grid” became a thing), on a remote farm in Yorkshire?

I only found out about this amazing old girl earlier this week (I g00gled her after some disparaging comments about my sartorial style by my dear old mum! :jawdrop:), I’ve watched the original programme Too Long a Winter and am looking forward to watching the 1990s follow up A Winter Too Many when I get the chance.

Apparently she’s still going strong at 91 although she’s sold up and moved to a more modern house.

A charming and dignified lady eking out a traditional living on her own in a very tough environment - and if you try telling the young people of today......;)
Yep, pretty incredible, and makes some of our efforts look positively luxurious and amateur.

If you haven't already you should look up Hope L. Bourne and try and find a copy of her book Wild Harvest - similar story but on Exmoor - now sadly gone.
 
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mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
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North Yorkshire, UK
Those Bainbridges are my cousins - the children in that program are still farming, but not in that location. Jackie desperately wanted the farm, but it was a tenant farm and sadly she was not able to take on the tenancy when her father retired from farming.
 
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Nomad64

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Nov 21, 2015
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Those Bainbridges are my cousins - the children in that program are still farming, but not in that location. Jackie desperately wanted the farm, but it was a tenant farm and sadly she was not able to take on the tenancy when her father retired from farming.
A real shame. However tough Miss H’s life was, she owned the family farm outright and (as she did in the end), always had the option of selling up and living off the proceeds - the Bainbridges (who came over as a great couple), not so lucky.

I don’t know whether the opening with the Bs dragging their worldly possessions behind their Fergie through a bleak landscape to a cottage with plaster hanging off the walls, was hammed up for the cameras but reminded me of a colder, damper Grapes of Wrath!
 
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Insel Affen

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Aug 27, 2014
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York, N Yorks
I remember back in the 80's my father and I would go shooting up Middleton-in-Teesdale and often pass through Mickleton where the Rose and Crown pub was. The owner (George) would go to visit her fairly frequently and bring her to the pub occasionally, although we never met her. She was a pretty tough old dear and a lovely person by all accounts.

I seem to remember that she also had a brief TV series touring round Europe.
 
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mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
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North Yorkshire, UK
A real shame. However tough Miss H’s life was, she owned the family farm outright and (as she did in the end), always had the option of selling up and living off the proceeds - the Bainbridges (who came over as a great couple), not so lucky.

I don’t know whether the opening with the Bs dragging their worldly possessions behind their Fergie through a bleak landscape to a cottage with plaster hanging off the walls, was hammed up for the cameras but reminded me of a colder, damper Grapes of Wrath!
That is a good summary. Not many realise how hard it is for the tenant farmers.
I can remember visiting my cousins when I was 6, they still had a snowdrift up to the eaves of the house at the back. No electricity, just kerosene lanterns. Damp stone cottage, bleak as heck. They loved it.
Jackie, many years later (tenant farming in the valley at a different farm) talking of her childhood working with the sheep, swimming in the stone swimming hole in the river, how gypsies would collect dag ends of wool and make the hardest wearing socks from them, sell them back to farmers and those were the socks you would wear in your wellies through winter. The winter when her dad rescued walkers who had fallen through the ice above cauldron spout; he'd been out checking sheep in a blizzard and his dog heard them.

Great people.
 
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Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I just read about her, and was going to place a thread when I saw this thread!

Apart from the link to the first documentary, are the other ones available online?

I will watch the first one tonight, look forward to it!

She moved to more comfortable (and safer due to her medical condition) house in the village in -88, aged 62.

RIP
 
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Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,830
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Knowhere
I have the book, and I remember watching it when it came out, she was 46 at the time, but being as I was only 16 she seemed so old already. She did well to live so long and having lived in such harsh circumstances, she was tough. Most of my relatives have lived shorter lives.
 

cascare

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Dec 10, 2012
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Cleasby
She passed away last week bless her, at the grand age of 91. Met her a few times, normally when she hurt herself. She was a star.
 

Leshy

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Jun 14, 2016
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Wiltshire
Brilliant find .
I've never heard of this lady before either.
I'll have to watch this properly a bit later ...
Thanks for sharing