|A brief history of the Church|
The church of St Mary the Virgin, Illingworth – aka Illingworth Chapel – dates back to 1525, when Henry Savile, Lord of the Manor of Ovenden, gave 1 acre of waste land for a free chapel to be built in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in return, he and his heirs were to receive annually one red rose.
The murder at Fold Farm, Ovenden is said to have precipitated the need for a church nearer than Halifax Parish Church.
In 1737, a bell was hung inscribed
In altissimis Deo 1737 Daniel Mitchell Chapelwarden
By the mid-18th century, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair and was supported by props.
In 1774, a petition was sent to the Archbishop of York seeking to demolish and rebuild the church. This was granted with the understanding that the new building would be shorter and broader than its predecessor.
In 1777, during the incumbency of Rev John Grimshaw, the church was rebuilt at a cost of £1,400.
In 1802, Thomas Lister installed the church clock.
On 6th August 1807, a new organ by Garrard was installed. Mr Brailsford was organist at the inaugural performance of The Messiah. Curtains costing 19/10½ were provided for the organ.
There are Royal Arms decorating the church.
On 8th August 1815, a coat of arms – painted by Charles Hoyland – was erected in memory of the Battle of Waterloo.
At the same time, a subscription was opened on behalf of the families, widows and children of those killed or missing in the battle. Beneficiaries included
In 1818, a safe was bought for the church, but this was stolen by burglars and after being broken open, was left in the old quarry behind the church.Abel Akroyd for his son: £40 George Fogg for his son: £30 William Dillworth for his son: £20
The graveyard was enlarged in 1829.
On 4th December 1841 the church was damaged by fire.
A new organ was inaugurated on 7th November 1843.
The clock was replaced in 1866, and again – by Potts of Leeds – in 1911.
The original vicarage later became the Talbot Hotel. A new vicarage stands in Keighley Road.
In August 1867, 2 memorial windows, by Messrs Ward & Hughes – one representing the resignation of Job, and the other Christ walking on the sea – were presented by Rev William Gillmor and erected on the south side.
Alterations were made to the Church by John Henry Wadsworth of Jackson & Fox [1870-1872].
On 22nd March 1873, 2 stained glass windows were installed in the Church, presented by the Holdsworth family. The subject of one was the Crucifixion and that of the other the Entombment of our Lord.
Edward Akroyd gave a font and baptistry window to the church.
A Venetian window was added at the east end in 1888.
In 1888, a new organ by Binns of Leeds was installed. Jane Moss contributed a large sum for the organ.
The reredos, a memorial to World War I, was carved by Harry Percy Jackson.
There is a small plaque to the outside wall in memory of Private Ernest Atkinson and Private John Willie Drake who lost their lives in World War I.
An extension was added in 1925, and a new community centre built on the west end in 1994.
The Church is the subject of Graptolite's Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth
Because it was designated a Chapel, the incumbent was often referred to as The Chaplain.
The records for the Church are held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service office in Wakefield (Collection WDP73): Baptisms [1695-1962], Marriages [1697-1984] and Burials [1695-1942].
Transcriptions of the Parish Registers are shown in the CD entitled Parish Registers: Saint Mary's, Illingworth.
See Illingworth Church Lads' Brigade, Illingworth Vicarage, Tom Parker, Captain George Taylor Ramsden, St Mary's Sunday School, Illingworth, St Mary the Virgin, Illingworth: War Memorials, St Mary the Virgin, Illingworth: Graveyard and The Story of St Mary's Illingworth
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