Keighley Shared Church

Built in Nineteenth Century (present Building): First Church Built on site in 1245. A Victorian Gothic style church. A peal of eight bells

A Brief History

The Domesday Book entry in 1086 makes no mention of a Church in Keighley. The earliest record is when Richard, son of Ralph de Kighley, donated to Bolton Priory certain lands in Schipton (Skipton) and Fernhill (Farnhill), together with the patronage of the Church of Kighley (as it was spelt until the 19th Century). Shortly afterwards, in 1245, the Prior and Canons of Bolton Priory presented the first Rector, William le Vasavour (see list of Rectors). He was later appointed a "Justice of Trailbaston", to try hooligans in the reign of Edward I (unfortunately his successors have not been granted similar powers!).

The Church Registers date back to 1562. In that year there were 25 baptisms, 14 marriages and 32 burials; in 1662: 39 baptisms, 13 marriages and 59 burials; in 1762: 116 baptisms, 24 marriages and 90 burials. The registers, with the churchwarden's accounts books from 1661 and other documents are now kept by the West Yorkshire Archive Service. We read that "Tho. Rownson was stocked and whipped Ap. 28 1642" (the stocks were by the West door). Special collections were made such as October 8th 1666 for "Ye poore of London who suffered from ye late fire ye sum of £1-17-10", October 19th 1678 for building St. Paul's Cathedral 14/2d, August 15th 1680 "Collected in ye Parish of Kighley towards ye redemption of captives by ye Turks ye sum of nineteen shillings and a penny", and April 16th 1682 "Collected in ye Parish of Kighley for reliefe of ye French distessed protestants the sum of eighteen shillings and sixpence".

1974 - Temple Street Methodist Church was diagnosed with dry rot, and the building closed. The congregation moved in with St. Andrew's Parish Church. A formal Shared Building Agreement was signed in 1975. A new hall was built by the Methodists in the Churchyard in 1982. After an arson attack in 2001, and was out of action for eight months while the whole building was refurbished. After 26 years of co-habitation, the two congregations signed up to a Local Ecumenical Partnership in 2000, with a view to closer integration of their life and mission.

Features of the Churches

The original medieval Church demolished in 1805 with the aid of the amazing new technology of dynamite.

Two stones discovered - now preserved at the front of the south aisle: a tomb cover and a Celtic cross, possibly the preaching cross which preceded the building of the Church.

Two other medieval monuments are also there, and the font dating from 1661.
The pinnacled font cover was a gift of two members of the Marriner family when the present Church was built.

Another monument from the original Church is the grave-slab of John Drake (died 1713), founder of the Grammar School and benefactor to the town, now at the front of the nave.

The next church lasted only 40 years before it was demolished.

1848 - The present church was built.

It cost £7,000 raised from public subscriptions.

The style is Victorian Gothic. The reredos in stone and alabaster portraying the Ascension dates from 1881.

1903 - The clock was given which chimes to the tune of S.S. Wesley's motet "Lead me, Lord, in thy righteousness".

1931 - The side galleries were removed, leaving only the West gallery.

1982 - The area under the West Gallery was re-ordered and the new room named after Canon Clifford Hamer (Rector 1950-71).

1985 - The nave and chancel were re-ordered, with a nave altar (a dining table dated

1811 - The first mention of a Church Organ, the next in 1857. The present organ was built by Brindley and Foster in 1877, and rebuilt in 1955. It consist of an enclosed Choir Organ on the north side of the chancel, with the Great, Swell and Pedal departments housed on the South side. The console is at the front of the North aisle, next to the choir stalls.

1761 - The Bells were originally cast in as a ring of six. 1914 – The Bells were re-cast and re-hung as a ring of eight.

Fine examples of Victorian and 20th-Century stained glass in the church: the West Window bears the arms of Queen Victoria, the Bishop of Ripon (Keighley was previously part of Ripon Diocese until Bradford Diocese was founded in 1919), the Duke of Devonshire and Earl of Burlington (then Patron), Frederick Greenwood (benefactor) and Rev. William Busfield (then Rector). In the North Chancel wall are illustrated Christ the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, and St. Peter and St. Andrew. On the South side are Samuel and Elijah, John the Baptist and St. Paul, and symbols of the four Evangelists. The East Window portrays the Te Deum, showing Christ in glory attended by angels, prophets, martyrs and representatives of ourselves, the Church on earth. In the North wall of the Nave is a modern window showing Christ calling the four fishermen, and in the South wall the Transfiguration, and Christ with children.

Image Gallery: mouse over the thumb nails below to see a larger image.

Keighley Shared Church Keighley Shared Church Before 1805 Keighley Shared Church Before 1846 Keighley Shared Church In 1848 Keighley Shared Church Today with Hall in foreground Keighley Shared Church Interior of Church Keighley Shared Church Plan of Keighley Shared Church

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