Winifred Holtby was born on June 23, 1898, in Rudston, Yorkshire. She was the youngest daughter of David Holtby, a farmer, and Alice Winn, who became the first woman alderman in the East Riding County Council. In her early childhood, Holtby developed a love for the Yorkshire countryside and later portrayed its people and landscape in her fiction. Due to her father's ill health, the household was mostly run by Winifred's mother. She encouraged her daughter to write poetry and had her first collection printed - as a surprise - when Winifred was just 13.