About this church
This Grade I listed church, known as the ‘Minster of the Moors’ since the 12th century, retains a number of significant historic and architectural treasures. The parishioners of this beautiful, peaceful, stately church, situated on a knoll within a large and well kept churchyard, offer you a warm welcome.
A Saxon church was in existence prior to the Norman Conquest, founded by the Saxon Lord Ailric who owned many of the surrounding villages and townships. His son Swein gave the church to the monks at Pontefract. The current Grade I listed building is 14th century, but has been altered and reshaped over time.
There is much to explore in its cathedral like interior including the beautiful stained glass mainly Victorian but with a moving 20th century window commemorating the Huskar Pit disaster; an intricately carved 14th century rood screen; 15th century roof bosses with green men; Victorian box pews and a wonderful Royal Coat of Arms from 1801 carved on both sides with a lion and unicorn reverse.
The church is also home to some fine memorials; including one of the best examples of a knight in armour from 1675, Sir Thomas Wentworth and two plaques to prolific engineer Joseph Bramah.
The 80ft tower which originally stood over the chancel was moved to the west end in 1495. It holds 6 bells, the oldest is 500 years and the newest is 290 years old!
Enjoy too the exterior. Look out for striking flying buttresses, battlemented parapets and pinnacles. There are many original gargoyles still in good condition, and three new sculptured figures.
There remain a number of interesting Grade ll listed tombstones, ledger tombs and table tombs; one on the edge of the churchyard is a Victorian Huskar Monument erected to commemorate the drowning of 26 children in the Huskar Pit in 1838. A notice board gives further information on the churchyard.
The 21st century has seen the addition of the ‘Bramah Gallery ‘a community heritage space in the tower where the heritage story of the church, the parish and the surrounding district can be explored.