Wednesday, March 09, 2011

ABC Wednesday
H is for Hartshead Church


Stone walls, four-square,
steep-sloping roof,
a bell that marks
the passing days,
that draws us from
our separate ways
and tolls the times
for praise and prayer.

Here Anglian slabe
and Norman lord
forgot their enmity
and fear,
in common faith
fashioning here
arch and altar,
chancel, nave;

and where they trod
the hallowed way
and kept the camdles
burning bright,
through that same arch,
by that same light
we, too re-search
the runes of God.

© Mabel Ferrett (7. 6. 1993)

It is believed that the original Hartshead Church was built sometime before 1120 AD. There was a major repair of the church around 1662 when the marvellous Norman pillars were taken down and lighter, wooden pillars erected in their place. One portion though was hollowed out and used as a font and the date 1662 inscribed thereon. That building lasted over 200 years. Sir Stephen Glynne in 1859 wrote
A small church, much modernised... It has a nave, chancel, west tower and south porch. The original arcades that divided the aisles have been replaced by modern wooden columns and almost all the windows have been mutilated and open with sashes.
In 1880 the church was reduced almost to its foundations. The gallery and low, flagged ceiling was pulled out to reveal the beauty of the Norman chancel and tower arch. The wooden pillars were replaced with stone. The "cottage windows" were replaced with suitable designed windows. Some of the window glass incorporated is believed to have come from Cologne Cathedral.

More recent renovations have seen a new organ installed in 1899, the church clock in 1912, electric light in 1927 and in 1966 the gravestones to the left of the path leading to the south door of the church were removed and a pleasant green lawn laid in their place.

Inside the churchyard to the right of the main gate is where mortally wounded Luddites are believed to have been buried, secretly, at night, following their fatal encounter at Rawfolds Mill, Liversedge, on April 11th 1812.

The above information is extracted from Mabel Ferrett's booklet "A Short History of Hartshead Church"

Mabel herself was buried at Hartshead Church on Monday 7th February 2011.

Read my account of her life on Ackworth born, gone West and an obituary by Pauline Kirk in The Guardian.

Other obits can be found in The Huddersfield Examiner and The Yorkshire Post. She is mentioned also in the Brontë blog.

For more H posts visit ABC Wednesday.


  1. Great choice for letter H. NLove that big clock.

    Have a peek on my letter H, see you.

  2. A lovely Norman church and with an interesting history.

  3. Fascinating - with all the 'modern' renovations.

  4. I'm a sucker for old churches, especially w the narrative provided!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. Love your post very informative. Thanks for sharing.
    ABC Wednesday-H

  6. Wonderful post! Love the narrative and the fascinating photos!

  7. The number and grandeur of the churches all over the UK, even in the smallest villages, continue to amaze me. Impressive.

  8. Beautiful church, loved all the details about it!

    Kisses from Nydia.

  9. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on my blog, Gerald.

    Mabel sounds like a fascinating woman. I'll have to come back to view your photography when my internet connectivity is behaving itself - I seem to have gone down to primitive dial-up speed and the images aren't loading.