Fred Hoyle's paternal grandfather was George Hoyle, who came from Lancashire to settle in Gilstead, a village on the edge of the moors above the town of Bingley in West Yorkshire. He was interested in mathematics and chess, and reportedly had a mass of grey curls. His son, Ben Hoyle, originally emigrated to the USA but returned to Gilstead to help his widowed mother. He started working in the wool trade in Bradford before World War I. Fred's father, Ben Hoyle, and his mother, née Mabel Pickard, were cousins, because their mothers were sisters. The sisters were part of the large family of Ben Preston. He was much respected in the village for the poems that he wrote and the regular articles that he contributed to the Bradford Argus. Ben Preston's mother was a member of the Hammond family, who were well-known brewers in Bradford. Both Ben Preston's house (Hammondale) and a pub that he built with his brother John can still be found in Gilstead.