A Brief Guide to the Church
Opened in 1875, the church was built to serve the needs of an ageing population who had worked or were working in the local mills or colliery in the valley. Our church bears the hallmarks of generosity, prayer, gratitude and the talents of both local and renowned craftspeople.
The site of our church was presented by John Kaye; the building was consecrated and dedicated by the Bishop of Ripon. In 1867 a young proactive Rector of the parish, Fitzgerald Thomas Wintour, determined that the village needed an Anglican presence.
Previously, villagers of the Anglican faith worshipped at All Hallows in High Hoyland, a church built around 1150 with monies from the Lord of the Manor at Cawthorne (Adam Fitz Swain). The church was granted glebe land and tithes to maintain a Rector. All Hallows is now a deconsecrated building, one mile from the centre of Clayton West, but the churchyard is very much in use by people of the village and is maintained by the PCC at All Saints and volunteers.
All Saints cost £2300 to construct between 1872 and 1875. Half of the cost was met by the parish, the other half by WB Beaumont of Bretton Hall (later to be Baron Allendale), the church’s patron and benefactor. All Saints can be seen from many places around the village, the only building with a spire clad in lead (which houses one bell).
Our lovely Victorian church is in regular use with a growing congregation. Some of its treasures came from the old church in High Hoyland, including two ancient chalices now in the care of York Minster (on rotational display within the crypt).
The Porch is typical of the hammer-dressed stone to be found throughout the building, which is also a feature of the stone terraced houses in the village. This is the place to take off wet clothing or a place of rest and perhaps eat lunch, in the case of the many walkers in the area.
The font is hewn from stone and is in the style of the Early English period. It has a lovely oak cover.
Behind the font is a lovely memorial window to Elias Hinchliff, clerk of works during the building of the Church. The window depicts Jesus calling the little children unto him. This window varies in style, design and colour from all the other stained glass in the building (excepting the botanical elements) and is still being researched.
The West Window
The west window is a ‘double window’ with a wheel of glass above. This is the first example of the work of Charles Eamer Kempe within the building (note his trademark cornsheaf below the birdcage containing two doves).
Below the west window is the Wintour memorial to a naval captain who fought in the Battle of Jutland in 1915. On the wall nearby is a carved beam of wood. This dates from the 13th century and is part of the original rood screen erected across the chancel at All Hallows, High Hoyland.
The pulpit is of Caen stone supported by alabaster pillars. It is beautifully carved with images of St Peter (holding a closed book and his symbol of the crossed keys) and St Paul (holding a closed book and the sword of Faith).
Before the chancel steps and opposite the pulpit, the two manual (keyboard) Compton organ of 1951 is sunk into the floor. The pipes are hidden by wooden panelling on the north side of the chancel. The action of the organ was renewed in 1993.
Beside the organ is the Lectern. It is made of cast iron and brass by Jones & Willis.
The sanctuary is the most sacred part of the church. The freestanding High Altar is fashioned from oak, made in the village by Roger Pollitt during the 1980s in memory of Kathleen Addy. The candlesticks were made to match and are in memory of Madge Pickles.
Behind the altar is a decorative reredos celebrating the lives of Celtic saints and emblazoned with the crest of the Allendale Baronacy of Bretton Hall. Starting from the left, the Celtic Saints are: St Cuthbert, holding the head of St Oswald; St Bede, born in Northumbria and a great scholar; St Aidan, born in Ireland, later a missionary on Iona and finally Bishop of Lindisfarne; St Wilfrid, born in Northumbria, educated at Lindisfarne and Rome, later of Ripon and then York; St Hilda, born in Northumbria and founder of the double monastery at Whitby, she died there in AD 680; and, St Columba, from Donegal, founder of the monastery on Iona, where he died in AD 597. The centre panel of the reredos contains the figure of the risen Lord, banner in hand, and watched over by adoring angels. Over the arch of the panel is the coats of arms of the Wentworth Beaumonts of Bretton Hall.
The sanctuary also houses the sedilia, a stone seat for clergy.
Stained Glass Windows
All of the beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary are from the Kempe studio. The north window is by Walter Tower (nephew of Kempe - note the cornsheaf and tower in its centre) and denotes the Blessed Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus. The east window and its wheel tell the story of Easter morning. The south window is of St James the Great.
The choir stalls were fashioned by M&J Burton (along with the pews in the nave). The lovely carved fronts came from All Hallows, High Hoyland. The chancel windows depict St Peter and St Andrew.
The Lady Chapel
The Lady Chapel has a simple oak altar, with short candle sticks. There is also a votive candle stand, an alms box and candle repository made by Robert Leake and John Swanwick at the end of the 20th century.
The Lady Chapel east window is dedicated to children who die in infancy. It is a faithful copy from an old Master of the Nativity, featuring the lowly cattle shed, the ox, the ass, the manger cradle, Mary, Joseph and the infant child Jesus with the shepherds kneeling in humble adoration and wonder.
The four windows of the south aisle depict four western fathers; St Ambrose, St Gregory, St Augustine and St Jerome. On the south aisle wall are two boards listing all the Rectors who have served within the changing parishes of Clayton West with High Hoyland. The three shields on the first board, indicate the Dioceses with which the parishes have been associated; York, Ripon and Wakefield.
Text: Gillian Hamer & Carol Vidal (from a leaflet by Alan Reardon)