History of St. John’s

History of St Johns

Regular Church services began in the community of Ben Rhydding in 1901 and the need for a place of worship centred in Ben Rhydding grew. Plans for the Church were drawn up by Architects Chorley, Connon and Chorley of Leeds in July 1903. On 21st October 1903, land of approximately 2,600 square yards (2,174 square metres), formerly a cricket field, was purchased at a cost of £650 on which to build a Church. In December 1904, after appropriate fund raising, a start was made on the erection of the nave and chancel.The Church was formally opened with the laying of the foundation stone, at the west end, by Mr Walter Walker of Ben Rhydding on Saturday 14th October 1905. It was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Ripon on Saturday 16th December 1905: "Set apart and separate from all common and profane uses whatsover, and dedicated solemnly to the service of Almighty God as a place of Divine Worship forever." Gradually over the next few years the Church was extended being effectively completed by July 27th 1910 when the west end of the nave and the tower were dedicated by the Bishop of Ripon. On 24th June 1912 the separate parish of Ben Rhydding was created which St Johns has been ministering to ever since. Over 800 people attended the induction service of Reverend Walter Bradley into the new parish of St John the Evangelist (St John's) in November 1912.

When you visit the Church you will see are a number of items of local significance with interesting stories which include:-
The Pulpit:- A carved oak pulpit dating back to 1909, a gift from Mr Tennant, brother-in-law of Reverend Bradley, our first incumbent.
The Lectern:- A substantial brass stand topped by the eagle (a symbol of St John the Evangelist) presented by the Mother's Union in 1933.
The Organ:- Mainly funded by Mr J. Cooke in 1908 in grateful thanks for recovery after a leg amputation. Originally built by Walckers in Germany 1909 and was rebuilt by Abbott & Smith of Leeds in 1933.
East Window:- This beautiful window, so often brilliantly lit by the morning sun, is a lasting memorial to those who died in the Great War 1914-1918.
Tower Clock:- The clock is by William Potts and was presented by Miss Jillah Duell, who originally owned a local sweet shop, in 1959.
Fisher Window:- A gift from the builder of the Church, the stained glass window depicts Peter and disciples fishing made by Harrison and Andrews of Hull (undated). Presented by Mary Bickerdyke in memory of her parents, brothers and sisters.
Baptistry Window:- Traditional stained glass window by E Pickett & Co of Leeds 1963.
The Belfry Tower:- Contains a single bell cast by Shaw & Co of Bradford in 1908.
Weber Grand Piano:- Purchased in memory of Joan Patricia Anne Wrigglesworth (1940 -1985).During the 1980's the Church Hall was added providing good facilities for the Sunday School and for a wide variety of local community activities. The main Church Hall kitchen was substantially refurbished and re-equipped as part of the Church centenary celebrations in 2005.

Do come and visit our Church, there is much to see and experience the presence of God. Below are some photos of our Church from its early days through to more recently.