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Woodlesford All Saints Church and Methodist Chapel on the right. Both a short walk from the Two Pointers pub!
Water colour painting by Joan Hardcastle, 1997.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE OF A NEW CHURCH AT WOODLESFORD.
Leeds Mercury, 2 April 1869.

The corner-stone of a new church was laid at Woodlesford yesterday, in the presence of a large number of people, by Mrs. Henry Bentley of Eshald House.

The want of church accommodation in the village has long been felt by the inhabitants, who live at a considerable distance from their parish church at Rothwell, and the neighbouring church at Oulton. With a view of supplying this want it was decided to erect a new church, and the more influential residents, aided by the Vicar of Rothwell (Rev. Canon Bell), commenced a subscription for that purpose about two years ago.

The appeal thus made was attended with so much success that a handsome sum was realised by subscription, and this amount was further augmented by the proceeds of a bazaar, held about twelve months ago, in the Music Hall at Leeds.

The new church is to be built on a prominent site near to the railway bridge, the gift of Mr. Henry Bentley, and it has been munificently endowed by Mr. Joseph Crompton Oddie, of Woodlesford.

The plan of the edifice is cruciform. It consists of nave, 64ft. 6in. by 26ft., and 40ft. high inside; north and south transepts, 50ft. across and 30ft. high; chancel, 30ft. 6 in. by 21ft., and 33ft. high; organ chapel in the tower at the south-east side of the transept; vestry on the north side of chancel, having a door for the priest to enter the church; and a porch at the south-west end of the nave.

There are three single-light windows at the west end of the nave, which will be filled with stained glass, the gift of a gentleman. The seven side windows of the nave are of two-lights. The transept windows are single-light windows, with two windows in each, and circular quatrefoil windows in gables of the same. The side windows in the chancel are two-light, with Devonshire marble shafts and carved caps.

The east window in the chancel is an elegant four-light, with Devonshire marble shafts and carved caps, and will he filled with stained glass. The belfry stage of the tower has two lights of two compartments each on every side. All the window heads are of geometric tracery. The tower has an open geometric traceried parapet, surmounted by an imposing spire rising to a height of l15 feet, and will contain a peel of bells, which a gentleman who has taken a deep interest in promoting the erection of this church intends to present.

The roof timbers are to be of moulded carved ribs supported on moulded stone corbels: the ceilings to be boarded, and the whole to be stained. All the seats in the nave and transepts are to be of deal stained. The priests' and choir stalls in the chancel are of oak.

There will be a handsome brass eagle lectern. The pulpit and font are of Caen stone, with red Devonshire and green serpentine marble shafts, with moulded bases and carved capitals. The chancels, transepts, and tower arches are supported on carved Caen stone capitals and red Devonshire marble shafts.
 

A view of the church from Pottery Lane. 


The roof timbers in the chancel are supported on Devonshire marble shafts and carved Caen stone capitals and moulded bases. The inside face of the chancel walls will be faced with cleansed blue Woodlesford stone.

The chancel floor will be laid with encaustic tiles. The altar rail will be of brass, and the floor within the altar rails will be laid with white and black marble.

The church will be heated by hot water, lighted with brass brackets and standards, and built of the local stone.

The design of the church is of the geometric period of Gothic architecture. The total estimated cost is £3,700. The contractors for the work are: Thomas Barton, Methley, masons' work; George Lockwood, Woodlesford, carpenter and joiners' work; Robert Branton, Leeds, plasterers' work; Joseph Lindley, Leeds, plumbers' work; Wood and Son, Leeds, painters' work; Watson and Wormald, Leeds, slaters' work; Mawer and Ingle, Leeds, carvers' work; Henry Walsh, Leeds, hot water apparatus.

The architects are Messrs. Perkin and Son, of East-Parade, Leeds.

About half-past one o'clock a procession was formed at the residence of Mr. Bentley, and proceeded to the site of the intended church, where the Rev. Canon Bell commenced the order of service appointed by the bishop of the diocese for laying the foundation stone of a church, in the course of which was sung the hymn - "This stone to Thee in faith we lay."
 
A very handsome silver trowel, supplied by Mr. Smith, Commercial Street, Leeds, and bearing an appropriate inscription, was presented to Mrs. Henry Bentley by the Rev. Canon Bell, who said be had been requested to place it in her hands with a request that she would keep it as a lasting memorial of the sacred work in which she was about to be engaged.

Mr. Perkin Senior, on behalf of Mr. George Lockwood, one of the contractors, begged Mrs. Bentley's acceptance of a mallet with which to complete the sacred work. Mrs. Bentley laid the stone with the usual formalities and after three strokes of the mallet on the top of the block, said: "In the faith of Jesus Christ we place this corner stone in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."

The Rev. Canon Bell then said it was amongst the most cheering signs of the.times in which we live, that go where we may, we find churches, schools, and parsonage houses rising up in every corner of the country; and although the Church had in past years been to blame for not having kept pace with the spiritual wants of our increasing population, yet he could not but think that this stain upon the page of our history was being rapidly erased; for during the last 100 years, 200 churches had been built or enlarged in this diocese alone, and the good work was still going on.

He was not given to flatter, and he did not feel disposed to do so upon solemn an occasion as that, but he could truly say be had never met with more disinterestedness, so much unselfishness, and so much perseverance as with the lady whose privilege it had been to lay the chief corner stone of that church. (Hear, hear.)

Let him say a word for a kind and respected neighbour who felt that those who lived to preach the Gospel must live by the Gospel. He need hardly say that he referred to his friend and neighbour, Mr. Oddie, who had endowed the church with the munificent sum of, £3,000. (Cheers.)

He had thereby shown his regard for the village in which he had lived so long, which he loved so dearly, and in which he was beloved by all who know him. (Hear,hear.)

The National Anthem was then sung and the Rev. Canon Bell having pronounced the benediction, the proceedings were brought to a close by three hearty cheers for the church, and three more for Mrs. Henry Bentley.

Amongst the company present were: Mr and' Mrs. Henry Bentley, of Eshald House, Woodlesford; Mr. and Mrs. Bentley Innis, Mr.Bentley Shaw,  Huddersfield; Lady Fairbairn, of Woodsley House; the Rev. P. Yorke Savile, Methley; the Rev E.O. Bland, Kippax; Mr. J. C. Oddie, Woodlesford; Mr. Towlerton Leather and Miss Leather, Leventhorpe Hall; Misses Maude, Middleton Hall; Mrs. Kitson, Elmete Hall; Mr. Jewison, Rothwell; Mrs. Berry, Halifax; Mr. E. Bennett, barrister-at-law, London; Mr. B. Goodman, Leeds; Mrs and Miss Harrison, Woodlesford; Mrs. R. J. and Miss Ellershaw, Leeds; Mr. J. G. Turner, Rothwell; Mr. and Mrs. R.  Harrison, Seacroft; Mr. William Wood, Oulton; Mrs. and Miss Brown, Rothwell; Mr. Perkin Senior, Mr. Perkin Junior; Mr Douglas, Mr. Wilkinson, Mr. John Dobson, Woodlesford, &c.

 

The Woodlesford branch of the Girls Friendly Society pictured at the vicarage in about 1930. Clara Jane Castle, one of the first teachers at Woodlesford school, is 6th from the left on the second row from the front. 8th from the left on the same row is Emily Peters, wife of architect Walter Pelham Peters. Shopkeeper Connie Wilkinson is to the left of the banner.