Oxenhope Online

Image: Oxenhope from the wind turbine (near Haworth) Image: Crowds at the Bay Horse during the Straw Race 2002 Image: The stream running through the Millennium Green


St. Mary the Virgin

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Today History Tour Outreach Magazine


The foundation of the church

In 1845, the Reverend Patrick Bronté, father of the famous novelist sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte, appointed the curate the Revd Joseph Brett Grant, to take charge of the newly formed Ecclesiatial district, now know as Oxenhope village parish. He lived in Lowertown, Oxenhope.

He began to hold services in a nearby wool combing shop. Within a year he had raised enough money to build a day school, which served as a Sunday school and church. A record of these times shows 80 baptisms. Various documents about the funding of a church building are held in our records.

He was a tireless worker who collected money for a new church. Charlotte Bronte wrote that he wore out 14 pairs of shoes in his quest for money.

His efforts were rewarded on 14th February 1849 when the foundation stone was placed laid. Later that year the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Ripon, whose sermon text was Psalm, 122 vs1.'I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord'.

The architects Ignatius Bonomi and John Cory who built churches up and down the north east and Durham adapted the early Norman style, giving the impression to modern visitors of a church much older than its 150 years. It receives architectural approval in Pevsners 'Buildings of England'.

Architect's drawing of St. Mary's

The architect's drawing of the Church, 1849

The square West End Tower is only forty-four feet high and houses two levels of meeting rooms, which were added in 1991. It houses a fine peal of 8 bells. Six bells in 1899 replaced the original single bell. These were recast by Taylors of Loughborough in 1924 and hung in a steel frame, later in 1927, two more bells were added to complete the present ring of 8.