Solitude and loneliness
Hannah was born on a farm in 1926, in a part of the Teesdale area called Baldersdale, in Yorkshire. Although remote, during her youth Baldersdale was a thriving farming community, but like similar places everywhere, during and after WWII the population dwindled rapidly. The Hauxwells hung on, but the isolated lifestyle left Hannah a spinster, and after the death of her mother when Hannah was thirty-five, she ran her farm single-handed. She had few neighbours, no running water, well or electricity in the early 1970s when she was "discovered" by the late Barry Cockcroft of Yorkshire Television. He featured Hannah in a documentary about the hardships of Dales farmers called Too Long a Winter. This film highlighted the challenges of hill farming in winter - a theme which runs through Hannah's story. But as well as the challenges of frozen water supplies and sheep buried in snow drifts, life in isolated glens in winter has a further difficulty. The increased isolation from friends and other communities alluded to in the song lyric above.
An excellent likeness of Hannah in her forties, painted by Caroline McClung.
I'm attached to the place because my family have lived here since my great-grandfather's time - no-one else has lived in this house since it was built, but our family. And the lovely countryside through the iron gate down the new road. I've often thought... It's my favourite walk, and I've stopped and looked, and I've thought that it's one thing - if I haven't money in my pocket, it's one thing nobody can rob me of. It's mine. It's mine for the taking.
The beauty - to me there's nowhere like it, never will be. And whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life. And if there's a funny old person in years to come - a ghost walking up and down here - it'll be me. A big part of me, wherever I am, will be left here. That's me. There's nowhere else. There's nowhere like it.
~ both quotes, Hannah Hauxwell