Saint Peter's Church, Sowerby


General Points

St Peter's Church, Sowerby – aka Sowerby Chapel – stands in St Peter's Avenue.

A chapel of ease was established here around 1592.

Around 1622, the old chapel became too small and dilapidated, and it was decided to rebuild and enlarge it. While the rebuilding work was in progress, Rev John Broadley

preached 13 Sundays on a dial stone in the churchyard

By 1758, the Church was in a bad state of repair, and plans were proposed to repair the Church and raise the walls to install galleries to accommodate the growing congregation. These plans were abandoned and a new Church proposed. £1200 was raised by subscription for a new building.

The new Church was licensed in November 1762, and built between 1763-1766 by John Wilson. James Bradley also worked on the project. The design is based upon Holy Trinity, Leeds. It is said to be one of the finest examples of a Georgian church outside of London. The Church opened on 3rd January 1763, but was not completed until 1766. It was consecrated in 1847 by the Bishop of Ripon.

It cost £2,900 to build.

The Glebe House, Triangle may have been the Vicarage for the Church.

In 1878, the interior was restored, and a new organ chamber built in the chancel, a new vestry, and new pews installed.

The belfry, windows and other features from the old chapel were moved to Field House, Sowerby by George Stansfeld.

The Stansfeld and Rawson families have contributed to the Church in many ways throughout its life, and they are commemorated within the building.

In the first subscription list for the church, George Stansfeld gave £200 for himself – specifically for the bells) - and £100 for three of his sisters. With later gifts, he contributed a large proportion of the total cost of the new church.

At the invitation of George Stansfeld, John Wesley, then aged 88, preached there on 29 April 1788.

Some restoration was done to the Church around 1880.

The Church is the subject of Graptolite's Historical Notes on the Church at Sowerby.

It is said that there is a passage from the Church to Wood Lane Hall, Sowerby.

Both St Peter's Church and St Mary's Church, Cottonstones are now in the same parish.

The records for the Church are held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service office in Wakefield (Collection WDP138): Baptisms [1668-1982], Banns [1869-1987], Marriages [1711-1992] and Burials [1643-1954].

Things to look for in the Church

When you visit St Peter's Church look for


Churchwardens here have included

Transcriptions of the Parish Registers are shown in the CD entitled Parish Registers: Saint Peter's, Sowerby.

See Church Stile, Sowerby, Furness Charity, St Paul's Church, King Cross and St Peter's Church, Sowerby: Graveyard

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 12:37 / 17th March 2024 / 8711

Page Ref: QQ_23

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