The Barn is located on the remote moors between the village of Long Preston and Kirkby Malham and stands alone along an old drovers road originally from York to Lancaster and locally from Settle to Otterburn, part of which is now named Langber Lane,which leaves the Settle to Kirkby Malham road and is around 2 miles long to the location described.
Bookiber Barn has been in existence since around 1570 as transcript property records show and in 1742 was transformed into a laithe barn and it became a long house in 1856 and remained as an occupied dwelling until it was the site of a property fire whilst in the ownership of a Bradford based philosophical group.
Recollections of Bookilber Barn by Jeffrey Emmott
"I was taken to Bookilber in June 1941 aged 8 when I was adopted by new parents, my family had all passed on mainly due to the early years of the war and I was on my own. I was born in Kildwick, a small village in the Aire valley between Skipton and Keighley.
I was enrolled at the school in Long Preston at the start of the new term, which I attended on a daily basis walking up and down the moors path, which is still in place, as I do walk it when I return to the area on a pretty regular annual basis.
My life at Bookilber was spartan by todays standards as my new parents task was to gamekeep the allotted area which was some moor and mainly the massive rabbit warren area where the animals were caught and prepared for market as I can remember a Mr.Wilson from Bradford was involved and may well have owned or leased the barn and surrounding land.
We also had some cattle and pigs, which was my particular job to look after and our pony called Maginty was a great asset to me in all my work and for carrying supplies from Long Preston and Otterburn as there were no hard roads and only in the middle of summer could we use the float or at times a sledge to carry heavy items, at other times we had to carry them ourselves, I can recall my foster mother carrying two large batteries for the radio from the village, these were the size and weight of the present day car batteries and also large containers of paraffin as we had no power, light or running water but a very deep well outside the kitchen door which is still there although not operative when I last visited.
The barn was home to ourselves, the pony, pigs and cows which were housed in the far end of the building under the hay barn which now looks out to Pendle Hill and over Long Preston.
We made butter and cheese from the milk produced and sold these items from a stall in Skipton market on Saturdays, when we caught the bus from Long Preston to Skipton carrying our wares on the bus and returning at night before dark.
I can recall a few interesting callers, especially on Sundays, when visitors were walking from Hellifield Station to part of the Pennine Way and they would call for a drink which my adopted mother provided. I clearly remember two characters who we used to listen to on the radio in a programme called The Brains Trust, they were Professor Joad and Sir Mortimer Wheeler, they were quite regular visitors, I recall.
With the exception of the weekend visitors described, the only regular visitor was Jack Casey the postman, who delivered from Long Preston every two days, the butcher when we killed our allowed amount of pigs per year, which was one, and the government inspector who attended the slaughter to see we were only killing one pig, with the exception of these individuals no one ventured up the moors.
During the winter of 1947 we were cut off from the rest of the world from the first week of January until the 16th June and with no communication with the outside world as telephones were not available without power etc. it was as well that we had laid in flour and other basic foodstuffs prior to Christmas 1946.
We had neighbours, Richard Thwaite and his new wife, Eira, at Crakemoor Farm higher up the moors, who we saw from time to time and in fact when Richard bought a racing pony, Moor Boy, I helped to train and exercise him and eventually in 1946, I successfully won races on him at Hellifield, Bainbridge and Chipping in the Bowland Vale. Moor Boy is buried directly across the lane facing Bookilber front door.
I worked for Richard Thwaite for a little while when I left school before starting my apprenticeship,where I travelled every day catching the 6.15 train from Hellifield Station which meant an early start from home and a late return daily especially on two evenings a week when I studied at the Technical College as part of my apprenticeship which I carried through until I was called up for military service in June 1951.
I never returned to live at Bookilber when I was demobbed, as my adopted parents had moved to Silsden some time during my military service, most of which was served in the Far East, and news of their whereabouts were not known to me until I returned, at which time they had both passed on."