Church of All Saints

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The Church of All Saints (also known as "All Saints Church" and now "All Saints House") was a Church of England church that opened in 1870 and closed in 1995. It is a Grade II listed building that is now a private home.

History

19th Century

Fundraising and Construction

In around 1867, the residents of Woodlesford, aided by the vicar of Rothwell Rev. Canon Bell, started a fund to build a new church, owing to the distance to the other two churches in the area, Holy Trinity in Rothwell and St John's in Oulton. Then, in 1868, a fundraising bazaar was held at the Music Hall in Leeds. The land on which the church stands was a gift from Henry Bentley, of Eshald House, and a donation towards the church of £3000 was received from Joseph Crompton Oddie. [1]

The total estimated cost of construction in 1869 was £3700[1] (£335,477.71 in 2022[2]). The Gothic church was designed by Perkin and Son of East-Parade, Leeds and the construction workers were "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."[1]

On 1st April 1869, a ceremony was held, which started at Henry Bentley's Eshald House and commenced to the intended site of the church, where the Rev. Canon Bell commenced the order of service. At the site, an engraved silver trowel (supplied by Mr. Smith, of Commercial Street) was presented to Mrs Henry Bentley. Mrs Bentley then tapped the foundation stone using, one of the contractors', George Lockwood, mallet and the hymn "This stone to Thee in faith we lay" was sung. After the foundation stone was in place, Rev. Canon Bell said the following[1]:

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.)
A reporter on the Rev. Cannon Bell's words, in the Leeds Mercury, April 2nd 1869.

Opening

The church was consecrated on 7th December 1870 by Right Rev. Dr. Bickersteth, the Bishop of Ripon.[3]

The Rev. Charles John Hussey was the first incumbent of the Church of All Saints from 1870 to 1877. The Rev. A.J.E. Irvin, who was formerly the curate of Rothwell from 1874 to 1877 and the son-in-law of Henry Bentley, succeeded Rev. Hussey in 1877.[3]

20th Century

A black and white picture of All Saints Church with the spire still there.
All Saints Church (undated). By kind permission of Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net.
The church celebrated its golden jubilee in 1920.[3]

The Rev. A.J.E. Irvin celebrated his jubilee of ordination by Bishop Ryan in 1924 at All Saints Church. Irvin left the Church of All Saints in 1925, after 48 years at the church, and in 1930 was living in Oxford.[3]

In 1925, the Rev. Dan Ivor James became the third incumbent of the Church of All Saints. Rev. James unveiled the Oulton and Woodlesford war memorial in 1926. He arranged the visit of Princess Marie Louise, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, on Easter Tuesday in April 1930. [4]

The church celebrated its diamond jubilee in 1930.[3]

In the Second World War, Rev. James was a special constable and would patrol the streets at night to ensure blackout blinds were drawn.[4]

Before the 1950 election, Rev. James wrote about the dangers of the hydrogen bomb, stating that "The real background to this election, and make no mistake about it, is the hydrogen bomb. Our destructive inventiveness has far outstripped are morals."[4]

In November 1952, Tom and Lily Ellis of 36 Church Street, along with their seven year old granddaughter, Lorraine Hull, were killed by a gas leak while they were asleep. 300 people attended their funerals. Afterwards, Rev. James, who had trained as a chemist, mounted a campaign to have a pungent smell mixed into gas to prevent further tragedies.[5]

Rev. James left the Church of All Saints in 1962, after 37 years at the church.[4]

On the 28th March 1988, the building became a Grade II listed building.[6]

After having been open for 125 years, the Church of All Saints closed in 1995.[7]

21st Century

A close up picture of All Saints House taken in 2013.
All Saints House in 2013.
In 2000, the building was purchased by Helen and Eric Wright, an interior designer and developer respectively. After 3 years spent trying to get planning permission, the couple began renovations in June 2003 and finished in July 2004. The couple demolished the spire, put velux windows on the front elevation, raised the floor and created an open plan living space where the transepts, altar and sacristy were. [7] The spire was demolished because it had become unsafe, but the church's bells were cleaned, refitted and moved to St John's Church in Oulton at a cost of £30,000.[8] Some of the stain glass windows were also moved to other churches. English Heritage wanted the pulpit and commemorative windows kept on the premises and they are stored in the building. In 2012, the couple decided to sell the house after living there eight years. Helen Wright told the Rothwell Record that:[7]
We were keen to keep the integrity of the building as well as create a practical family home... The church has always had a very warm and friendly feeling about it, even when it was a building site. It was a very tough decision to sell, as we have loved every second of living here, but the time has come to pursue another project! We know we will never find anywhere as special as here though.
Helen Wright, Rothwell & District, Pictures & Memories from the Past, "A home with the wowfactor!"

All Saints House sold in December 2014 for £530,000 and then sold in September 2019 for £735,000.[9]

External Links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Anon (1869) “Laying the Foundation Stone of a New Church at Woodlesford,” Leeds Mercury, 2nd April, [online] Available from: <https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/BB3201641484/BNCN?u=leedscl&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=57f7b7ef> (Accessed 1 February 2023).
  2. Anon (n.d.) “Inflation calculator,” Bank of England, Bank of England, [online] Available from: <https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator> (Accessed 1 February 2023).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Anon (n.d.) “Church Diamond Jubilee - Woodlesford Church,” Woodlesford, the Story of a Station, Howard Benson, [online] Available from: <https://newwoodlesford.xyz/churches-and-chapels/woodlesford-church/> (Accessed 1 February 2023).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Benson, H. (n.d.) “Dan Ivor james,” Woodlesford, Howard Benson, [online] Available from: https://newwoodlesford.xyz/churches-and-chapels/rev-dan-ivor-james/ (Accessed 3 February 2023).
  5. Ward, S. (ed.) (2020) “Tragedy on Church Street,” In Rothwell & District, Pictures & Memories from the Past, essay, Leeds, Stephen Ward Photography & Publishing, pp. 163.
  6. Anon (n.d.) “Church of All Saints, non civil parish - 1135650: Historic England,” Historic England, Historic England, [online] Available from: <https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1135650> (Accessed 2 February 2023).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ward, S. (ed.) (2020) “A home with the wowfactor!,” In Rothwell & District, Pictures & Memories from the Past, essay, Leeds, Stephen Ward Photography & Publishing, pp. 176–177.
  8. Ward, S. (ed.) (2020) “Church bells removed,” In Rothwell & District, Pictures & Memories from the Past, essay, Leeds, Stephen Ward Photograph & Publishing, p. 174.
  9. Anon (n.d.) “All Saints House, Church Street, Woodlesford, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS26 8RE,” Rightmove, [online] Available from: <https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/details/england-80059571-10518367?s=2c93b94b1e0c9b55be2b96c16948542c56baac2a7fb2ef04d91c7eedcc0377e4#/> (Accessed 1 February 2023).

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