FOUND FAME: Hannah Hauxwell when she was discovered by TV crews in the early 1970s.
FOUND FAME: Hannah Hauxwell when she was discovered by TV crews in the early 1970s.

HANNAH Hauxwell’s lovingly kept family quilts are to go under the hammer next month.

Miss Hauxwell’s solitary life on a remote farm in Baldersdale captured the imagination of people far and wide when she became the star of a TV documentary in the 1970s.

She died last year aged 91. Now the traditional family quilts she made and kept are to go up for sale on February 9 at Tennants Auction House, in Leyburn.

A spokesman said: “She was a hoarder, and her dilapidated farmhouse was packed to the rafters. Among her possessions were these family quilts, which were stored in a linen press for many years. Some appear never to have been used.

“All the women in her family were very accomplished seamstresses and Hannah herself was very good with a needle.

“Indeed, she had a mattress filled with straw that she had made from a unique patchwork of fabrics. Most of the quilts have been made using the same pattern of quilting stitches – perhaps a family pattern – and interestingly they each have three rounded and one squared corner.

“One quilt is initialed ‘E.B’, who is likely Hannah’s grandmother, Elizabeth Bayles, who worked the tapestry also included in the sale.”

Tennants Auction House was not able to confirm the guide price or number of quilts at the time of going to press.

But the spokesman said interest in her life would be a big attraction for would-be buyers.

He said: “Hannah Hauxwell was emblematic of the tough, resourceful upland farmers of North Yorkshire and County Durham. Having run her family farm, Low Birk Hatt, in Baldersdale, since the death of her parents and uncle when she was 35, Hauxwell lived a life of unmodernised poverty and hardship.

“With no electricity or running water, daily life was a struggle. Indeed, she said ‘in summer I live and in winter I exist’.”