Following on from an intensive research exercise on the early churches of West Yorkshire, I have consulted with the WYAAS office and academic publications to look
into Christian History starting with the Anglo Saxon period investigating the churches in the WY region.
Aim: is the intention of the author to produce a book on the subject focusing on a visual narrative, archaeology and architecture.
This title has been given the name of ‘others’ as it concentrates on a list of churches which have been researched in detail but not as detailed as Bradford Cathedral, Wakefield and the Chantry Chapel, however, the compiled research is still considerably more than what is available currently to read without delving into archived information. This process takes a great deal of time, so for this list I will focus on creating a collective series of images but in the future this information will be compiled in the same labour intensive way as the main focus of churches aforementioned and will be produced via a series of books either focusing on one extensive book overall or as a series of books on individual churches.
I will be therefore be focusing on research ascertained through the amazing support I have obtained from a variety of historians and enthusiasts who share a love of the structure and symbolism of each individual church. I am indebted to them and I dedicate both my photography and my research to them with thanks. For additional reference I will be refering to Nick Mayhew-Smith’s fantastic book on ‘Britian’s Holiest Places’, as this has given me a wealth of information on Yorkshire and the UK as a whole and the websites of the churches represented here with the incredible insight of the West Yorkshire Archaeological Service.
Wulfhere (867) was the Archbishop of York who sought refuge here, so it is argued that there would have certainly been a church here at that time. This was the same year that the danes captured York and according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles ‘there was immeasurable slaughter among the Northumberians (also known as Yorkshire at the time). Syneon an 11th century monk of Durham Abbey tells how Wulfhere found refuge at ‘Hatyngham in Hweverdale, upon the bank of the River Hwerf between Otley and the Castle of Sciptun.’
Addingham is the place of the Anglo Saxon Lord Gamelbar, Gilbert Tison one of the conquerors vassals, held sway to be followed for several centuries by the Vavasours. In 1069 the north of england rebelled and William’s ruthless and efficient military machine crushed the rebellion and laid waste to the whole country north of the Humber. In the domesday book survey Ilkley, Otley and Kildwick are shown to have a church.
My research folder additionally shows an example of a ‘medieval truss’ which is where heavy rafters cross and link by a horizontal shaft which typifies a late medieval church roof indicative of West Yorkshire.
Dewsbury Minster, Yorkshire
doorway 13th century south porch showing dog tooth moulding
According to Mayhew-Smith (2011:372) Beverley Minster is ”England’s grandest church, with pilgrims of every description where royalty came in search of intercession.” That single statement is reason enough to make the journey to photograph and research the minster. The royalty who attended the church were Kingt Athelstan, Edward I and Henry V. Known for holding the remains of St John who was an 8th century bishop he was a friend of the Venerable Bede whom he consecrated priest in 702.
The minster is steeped in history, yet it looks so new but was in fact built in 1220 and 1400. The oldest object in the minster is a Saxon stone chair next to the altar. Fugitives could seek sanctuary for 30 to 40 days while the clergy sought to negotiate out of court settlements. St John became a monk at Whitby in attendance with the famous abbess St Hilda who was advised by St Aidan.
At the front of the nave a marbled slab was discovered in 1664 that contained the relics of the saint and workmen found a hidden vault which contained a short history of the relics dating from 1197. There is a tradition that St John struck the ground with his staff (marked in the minster) to make the water flow. St Thomas Beckett was provost here also in 1154. There is a well house marked by a willow tree close to the site that has special significance.
St. Wilfrid’s Church, Burnsall