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St Wilfrid's Church, Harrogate

Coordinates: 53°59′43″N 01°33′11″W / 53.99528°N 1.55306°W / 53.99528; -1.55306
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St Wilfrid's Church
The church in 2003
St Wilfrid's Church is located in North Yorkshire
St Wilfrid's Church
St Wilfrid's Church
53°59′43″N 01°33′11″W / 53.99528°N 1.55306°W / 53.99528; -1.55306
OS grid referenceSE 29412 55554
DenominationChurch of England
ChurchmanshipTraditional Catholic
DedicationSt Wilfrid of Ripon
Functional statusParish church
Heritage designationGrade I listed
Designated4 February 1975
Architect(s)Temple Moore
Years built1904–
ProvinceProvince of York
DioceseDiocese of Leeds
Episcopal areaRipon
ArchdeaconryArchdeaconry of Richmond and Craven
ParishSt. Wilfrid, Harrogate
Bishop(s)The Rt Revd Tony Robinson (AEO)
RectorFr Gary Waddington SSC
Honorary priest(s)Fr Tim Burrell

Fr Gavin Gilchrist

Fr Terry Buckingham
Director of musicAnthony Gray
Churchwarden(s)Justin Brett and Christine Turner

St Wilfrid's Church, Harrogate is an Anglican parish church in the town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It is a Grade I listed building, the only such building in Harrogate. It was designed by the architect Temple Lushington Moore and is one of his best-known works. It is designated as a "Major Parish Church" and is the 38th largest parish church in England.


The chancel

The construction of the church started in 1904 following a bequest of £3,485 from the estate of the late Bishop of Ripon to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.[1] This allocation was instrumental in procuring an Order in Council on 12 August 1904[2] for the formation of the new district of St Wilfrid, Harrogate. The church was estimated to cost around £24,000.

The Bishop of Knaresborough dedicated the Nave and Baptistry on 4 January 1908[3] which had consumed £11,000.

Two sisters, Elizabeth Sophia and Jean Trotter gave large donations to fund the completion. The first gift of £10,000 (equivalent to £1,212,201 in 2023),[4] allowed the nave to be completed by 1914. The church was consecrated on Thursday 11 June 1914 by the Bishop of Ripon[5] at which point the initial estimated cost of £24,000 had already been spent. The church had to be guarded all night by a band of church workers to prevent it being the object of attention on the part of militant Suffragettes. Between 1913 and 1917 a series of fifteen painted plaster relief panels illustrating the Stations of the Cross, by the local sculptor Frances Darlington, was installed in the nave.[6]

Temple Moore died in 1920 and a bequest from Jean Trotter in 1924 of £32,000 (equivalent to £2,305,338 in 2023),[4] allowed the completion of the north and south transepts. The work was completed in 1927 by Temple Moore's son-in-law, Leslie Moore. In 1928, the organ was installed in the north transepts. The organ and transepts were dedicated by the Bishop of Oxford on 18 July 1928.[7]

William Gunn left £9,000 (equivalent to £789,145 in 2023),[4] in his will of 1932 and this allowed the church hall to be built. The hall features a lamella roof, the only example of such a construction in the United Kingdom.

In 1935, the generosity of Sir William Nicholson master builder allowed the Lady Chapel to be built by his company William Nicholson and Son of Leeds at a cost of £10,000 (equivalent to £876,800 in 2023).[4] The Calvary was the work of Alfred Southwick.[8] While most of the work after Temple Moore's death in 1920 had been sympathetic to his sketches, Leslie Moore's design for the Lady Chapel was radically different from the small chapel proposed by this father-in-law.



The church is widely considered to be Temple Moore's greatest work. It subtly dominates the Harrogate skyline, and Pevsner considers it to be "the biggest and by far the best of Harrogate's churches, the masterwork of Temple Moore". Sir Aston Webb highlights its national importance, and goes as far as to say it is "perhaps the most beautiful of all parish churches I know" (Yorkshire Post, 8 June 1935). The church is subject of Sir John Betjeman's poem "Perp. Revival i' the North", in which its elegant grandeur and traditional liturgy are identified. Elsewhere, he remarks how the building seems vast in every direction, enhanced by what he describes as "Edwardian vistas".

Leslie Moore's faithful completion of his father-in-law's masterpiece is a great credit to him. His skill as an architect is further credited by the Church Times for February 24, 1950, which writes "Mr Leslie Moore has outdone his uncle by adding the loveliest part of the building - the Lady Chapel". In a local newspaper, reviewing the dedication of the Lady Chapel, it was described as a "glorious pageant in Christian architecture".

On 4 February 1975, St Wilfrid's Church was designated a Grade I listed building.[9]





Since the dedication of the building, there has been an uninterrupted choral tradition in the parish. A Music Foundation was established in 2015 to enhance the musical life of the parish, and improve the musical facilities available.

Former Directors of Music and organists include David Halls, now of Salisbury Cathedral, James McDonald, now of St Giles Pontefract, Leonard Sandermann and Simon Lindley. The current Director of Music is Anthony Gray, formerly of Southwell Minster and Robinson College, Cambridge.


The Harrison and Harrison organ

The Harrison and Harrison organ in the north transept was installed in 1928 upon completion of this part of the church. Its outline form is based on a 1912 sketch by Temple Moore, with minor alterations by Leslie Moore and Harry Harrison. Due to a lack of funds, no case proper was realised. The instrument was voiced by Arthur Harrison, and is one of the best preserved examples of his work. As such, the organ received Grade II*-listing from the British Institute of Organ Studies.

Due to lack of funds, eight stops, three chests, and one reservoir were not installed in 1928. Generations since have displayed a continuous commitment to the completion of the organ, with additions (mostly sympathetic) in 1942, 1968, 1972, 1982, and 2011. A restoration project is currently in the consultation phase.



St Wilfrid's Church has eight bells, for change-ringing, in the central tower. The heaviest six bells, cast from redundant bells from High Hoyland, were installed in 1973. The [tenor] of the peal weighs 6 cwt and 3 lbs and is tuned to C. In 1976 two redundant bells were obtained and the ring was increased to eight in 1977.

Additionally there is a Sanctus bell in the South-East tower.





The funeral of David Simpson, freeman of the town, and four times mayor of Harrogate, was held here on 17 January 1931.[10]

See also



  1. ^ "Church building in the Ripon Diocese". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. England. 19 February 1914. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ "No. 27704". The London Gazette. 12 August 1904. p. 5200.
  3. ^ "New Church at Harrogate". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. England. 6 January 1908. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ a b c d UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  5. ^ "New Harrogate Church". Leeds Mercury. England. 12 June 1914. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Stations of the Cross in a Harrogate church. Chancellor's reluctance to grant a faculty". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 25 September 1914. p. 8 col.4. Retrieved 1 June 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Harrogate's New Church". Leeds Mercury. England. 17 July 1928. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "New Lady Chapel at Harrogate Church". Leeds Mercury. England. 8 June 1935. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Deaths, Simpson". Leeds Mercury. British Newspaper Archive. 17 January 1931. p. 4 col.1. Retrieved 22 December 2022.


  • The Story of St Wilfrid's church, Harrogate. Third Edition. c. 1950s
  • The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate. c. 1990s

Media related to St Wilfrid's, Harrogate at Wikimedia Commons