Thursday, 1 February 2018

Miss Hauxwell


Hannah Hauxwell died a day or so ago
She was 91
When I was twelve I remember seeing one of those grainy Northern documentaries so prevalent on Yorkshire tv in the seventies which chronicled her life on an upland High Pennine farm over a bleak North Riding winter.
I remember almost falling in love with her there and then.
She was in her mid forties  and lived a life of true poverty with only her animals for company .The only water she had was from a Dale's stream, the only light from kerosene lamps and candles and when the snow was waist deep her only true warmth came from cuddling her cow in a room off her kitchen but it was her gentle sing song attitude to life and her inquisitive friendly nature that made her into an instant and rather surprising star.
" In Summer I live , In winter I exist " she said with a gentle smile and the general public fell in love with her as she struggled to survive in her fathers raincoat and oversize Wellington boots!
She was the most unlikely of celebrities.
Hannah lived all her life in that small part of County Durham and thousands of people sent her letters and money to support her frugal life after they saw the documentary......books of her life became bestsellers all over the world and four tv documentaries,( one which followed her on a surprise trip to Europe) were viewed by millions.
Hannah Hauxwell  wasn't a complainer . She got on with things and she liked people
And we loved her for it.

69 comments:

  1. I could be looking at my grandmother

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  2. She was a lovely woman ..

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    1. Part of her beauty is the natural look of her skin and hair and smile .. there is no artifice, she was just a lovely woman.

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  3. You can see her wonderful character in her face. She laughs with her eyes.

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  4. That story reminds of Dorothy Molter, a similar type woman who lived alone on an island in the boundary waters of Minnesota. She became quite famous after a People magazine article in the early 80's. Those tough, pioneering women are rare and we miss them when they leave. LOVE that photo of Miss Hauxwell. May I be so lucky to be half that beautiful one day.

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  5. She sounds, and looks, wonderful. I shall have to look on YouTube.

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    1. Her story, the documentary looks slightly dated now but back then it was truly innovative cro

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    2. Ruth Ellershaw9:40 am

      It was called 'Too Long a Winter'. Fascinating and humbling x

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  6. I wonder if I can find this somewhere.
    What a beautiful face. You can see the love in her eyes.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. It's on YouTube gayle

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    2. Thank You, I check it out.

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  7. I remember the documentary well. May she rest in peace.

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  8. I only met her once, but she was as sweet, humorous, and gentle as she looks. Rest in peace Hannah.

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    1. How wonderful ! Typical of my blog readers. Can you tell us more Elaine ?

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    2. It was way back in the early '90's at a Literary Luncheon. Hannah was one of those people who seems to exude 'goodness' and a bright light, just as some people come with a dark cloud. She wasn't glib and polished, but genuine and interested, asking questions, telling stories, talking to everyone individually. She left everyone feeling as though they had met someone very special. Her soft speech, gentle face and beautiful smile left me with the impression of an angel, silly though that may sound.

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    3. A lovely tribute ...

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  9. I am so looking for this documentary. What an amazing story and woman with a zest for life. What a good, long life. You can see her happiness in every perfect imperfection. :-)

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    1. As I remember she marvelled in the new

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  10. I remember that documentary so well and can still recall her delight during her trip to Venice.

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    1. I never saw the documentary on her Europe trip, I will go and look for it now

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  11. Went to see her on YouTube. Thank you. Wonderful lady.
    Greetings Maria x

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  12. That was a truly inspiring documentary at the time, remember it well and while few of us could live a life that spartan, it did show how much we didn't need in life to still be happy.

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    1. I think she became quite wealthy in later life although her main indulgence was a simple radio

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  13. Folk of today on their quest to look eternally youthful could do no more than feast their eyes on that face. Beauty...

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  14. A truly lovely lady, whose beauty shone from within.

    That said, she was one of life's natural hoarders - never throw anything away because it could be useful one day - so I don't envy whoever has to clear her bungalow . . . I bet there are still parcels unwrapped which were sent to her back in the 70s.

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  15. I re-watched the documentary on You Tube last night when I heard she'd died. What a great lady! You could feel her reluctance to ever leave her farm. I hope she enjoyed her cottage in the end and that her tiny herd of cattle were well looked after when her neighbour took them on.

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  16. I think at the time she had a remarkable effect on us. Her life was so difficult, but she battled on with her beloved cows. A beautiful lady.

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  17. I was wondering about her the other day. To be honest, I assumed that she had died years ago. One of the things I remember from the TV programme is her bed - piled high with old coats. And her home! Health & Safety would have had a field day, but it obviously didn't hurt her. Relatives of mine lived similarly frugal lives, and lived to old, old age. We have a lot to learn from people like Hannah!

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    1. I think a great number of people did learn from her

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  18. A lovely tribute to a special woman. Though London bureaucrats altered Yorkshire's ancient boundaries in the early seventies, Hannah Hauxwell was 100% Yorkshire. I loved her country accent that spoke of earthly things, resilience and truth.

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    1. It was her voice that many remember

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  19. My maternal grandparents lives were similar....and I loved it there.

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  20. So sorry to hear the indomitable Hannah Hauxwell has died. She was one of a kind.

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  21. The fact that she lived to 91 says a lot about living a simple life.

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  22. I watched one of the YouTube videos......don't you just want to hug her? What a strong and amazing woman.

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  23. I didn't know of her passing on.I admired her so much.I watched her on t v with my mum who loved her too.I bought one of her books years ago.I will never forget her x x

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    1. I'm quite moved by the fact so many people here remember her

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  24. I wish I had known her or at least known of her. How wonderful.

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  25. So very sad, she was such a wonderful lady - in every sense of the word.

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  26. I loved her the moment I started watching the first documentary all those years ago. I soaked up the books and followed her progress as her vistas expanded and she visited places she had only read about previously. She was truly 'An Innocent Abroad'.

    RIP Hannah, the world is a sadder place without you. xx

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  27. I've never heard of Hannah Hauxwell, but she sounds like a character -- one with some valuable lessons to teach the rest of us!

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    1. She was a female forest gump with brains

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  28. That's sad. I didn't know that she'd died. I remember watching the documentaries about her. She was a likeable character.

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  29. I remember the original documentary and bits & pieces about her later in life. She was a delight - and certainly one of a kind.

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  30. Anonymous7:41 pm

    R.i.P she was a character one of a kind

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  31. Anonymous8:11 pm

    Thank you. I remember watching the documentaries and the impact this enchanting lady had. Nice to watch them again. I'm truly moved by them.

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  32. She was very beautiful .... such a lovely face .... and her way of life makes mine look rather silly !! I remember the programmes and how much I admired her ... a way of life so far removed from most of us and far more fulfilling. Thank you for remembering her John. XXXX

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  33. Beauty from within. My grandmother had a similar face wrinkled but beautiful. I miss her dreadfully. I don't remember this lady but read about her. RIP.

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    1. Mine did too..she smelled of cold cream

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  34. What true beauty. I had not heard of her, but I am about to go and find everything there is.

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    1. A friend of mine who actually met her emailed me to say she was rude...but I choose not to think about that

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    2. During the four hours I spent with her, she was exactly as portrayed in the films, sweet, but there you go.

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  35. I remember watching those documentaries too John and loved her immediately. I honestly thought she had passed a while back and so was pleased to hear that she had lived to a very good age. I do hope she was at least very comfortable in her 'winter' years.

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    1. Hi Kim long time no see ! Lovely to see you again x

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    2. Thanks John x

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  36. I had forgotten her name but the documentaries have come back to me like it was yesterday, they were on public broadcasting here, I'm so glad that she had such a long life, her photo is beautiful I love every wrinkle on her charming face.
    So glad that you had this post today thank.

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  37. I had heard of her and read about her- so I was sorry to hear she had died. In her photo she looks so serene.

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  38. A Hero of mine. When going out to the animals in winter I still put my Hannah pants on x

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  39. I am going to look for the documentaries on YouTube; she sounds so wonderful.

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  40. Oh I felt so sad to read that hannah had died. It feels as though I've lost someone very close to me. From that first documentary, watched with a mixture of admiration and shock that anyone could be living that extremely hard life in this day and age, I have respected that lovely woman. I have the biographical books about her (in hardback with photos of her and her beloved animals) and followed her emotional move from her farm to the comfort of her bungalow and the amazing trip abroad.
    What a very inspiring lady she was; sad to know that she has died but I hope her later years were happy. Rest in Peace, dear Hannah.

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