Mar 12

For over a 100 years there has been Christian worship at St Wilfrid's Church. It was built to serve the expanding Duchy Estate at the turn of the century. A plot of land was earmarked and a fund started by a gift of £200 given to the Vicar of St Peter's. Incoming funds were slow and sparse, and a deadline of two years created a certain sense of urgency in the fund raising. A Mr Lockwood left £3500 which would provide the £150 stipend needed for and incumbent. Undaunted by the undeveloped site Fr. William Fowell Swann took up the challenge and on St Bartholomew's Day 1902, the first congregation gathered in a temporary corrugated iron building that came to be known as the "Tin Tabernacle". Meanwhile contributions both large and small flowed in from many devout people the largest being that from Elizabeth Sophia Trotter. This is her story:-

In 1902 Miss Trotter and her sister Jean broke their train journey from London to Scotland at Harrogate. They stayed overnight at a boarding house where, tragically, Miss Jean whilst praying at her bedside died suddenly and was found next morning . As a result "Miss Bessie" decided to make her home on the Duchy Estate where she became the chief subscriber to the fund raising, as a memorial to her sister. As a result of her munificence and generosity, funds for a much grander church than was at first envisaged became available, and she continued to contribute throughout the building of the church.

The commission to build the church was given to Temple Moore, an eminent architect of the time, and work began. Until the First World War intervened, only the Nave was used with a westwards facing congregation. Work continued after the was but tragically the life of its creator did not. He died suddenly in 1920 leaving his son-in-law Leslie Moore to complete the building which he did more than competently, adding the Lady Chapel, the Holy Spirit Chapel, Hall and Verger's Cottage.

A brief extract from the Church's guide book

Entering by the North door from the Duchy Road one is immediately struck by the space and light. The interior is surprisingly well lit, considering the relatively modest window area, which in the north aisle is wisely left uncoloured. The building seems vast in every direction, enhanced by what Sir John Betjeman described as "Edwardian vistas".

Notice the unusual pairing of the piers lining the opposite sides of the Nave, which are both cylindrical and octagonal in section. Looking East over the High Altar you get one of the most attractive vistas in the church, the view through the open arches behind of Leslie Moore's exquisite Lady Chapel, the funding for which was provided by Sir William Nicholson and family. The chapel can be entered from either of the adjoining aisles. On entering the Chancel you pass beneath the Great Rood Screen with the carved figures of Our Lord on the Cross flanked by Our Lady and St.John the Evangelist attended by two Seraphim.

The inscription on the Rood Beam is derived from that seen in an old church in Antwerp:


which means

"When you pass before this representation of Christ, reverence it humbly:but worship not the representation, but Him whom it portrays"

This is a fine piece of wood-carving which adds an air of great dignity and reverence to the whole interior which it dominates.

The Architect - Temple Lushington Moore. 1856-1920

Temple Moore was born into a military family in Ireland. His father, a devout churchman, passed on his love of painting and drawing to his sons, skills in which the young Temple developed an early professional aptitude.

In 1872 Temple was sent as a pupil to the Rev. Richard Wilton, Rector of Londesborough in the East Riding of Yorkshire, a county with which he soon developed a strong affinity. The architect George Gilbert Scott who was working in the area tool the young Temple Moore on as an articled pupil and enlisted his help with many Yorkshire commissions.

Scott's health deteriorated, so Temple Moore's involvement in the practice became more prominent. During this period Moore developed his own skills and personal architectural style in the Gothic tradition which he encountered on his may visits to the abbeys of the North and the Continent. In 1867 he came under the patronage of the 1st. Earl of Feversham at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, and with Scott assisted in the building and design of the tiny church of St. Mary Magdalene, East Moors, for the Earl: which became with St. Wilfrid's Church Harrogate the subject of the poem "Perp. Revival i" the North" by Sir John Betjeman.

He was also to build one of his finest churches for the Wolds landowner Sir Tatton Sykes at Sledmore.

His prolific architectural practice was ultimately to be responsible for the design of over 40 churches, a cathedral in Nairobi, Pusey House in Oxford, and the re-building of St. William's College in the shadow of York Minster. At the turn of the century he was given one of his most important commissions, that of designing and building St Wilfrid's here on the Duchy estate in Harrogate. He had recently been restoring Hexham Abbey and much of its medieval designs were to be incorporated in the new church.

During the building of St. Wilfrid's, he took into partnership the young friend of one of his daughters,- a budding architect of the same surname, Leslie Moore - who was to become his son-in-law and ultimately to be responsible for completing many of his unfinished works after heath. The firm they formed became known as Temple Moore & Moore.

On the 30th June 1920 Temple Moore suffered a cerebral hemorrhage whilst working on a Lincolnshire church and died shortly afterwards. His funeral took place at Hampstead Parish Church where he was buried in the churchyard extension. Greatest among his unfinished buildings was St Wilfrid's, which was faithfully completed by his devoted son-in-law. Grateful thanks to Patrick Bishop and Michael Smith - for this extract/photos from our Church Guide book.

Incumbents of Saint Wilfrid's

1902 - 1919 The Revd William Fowell-Swan
1919 - 1939 The Revd Donald Bartlett (later Archdeacon of Leeds then Richmond)
1939 - 1949 The Revd Kenneth Ilderton
1949 - 1959 The Revd Harry Henderson
1960 - 1970 The Revd Waltar Dilham (later Canon Residentiary at Ripon)
1970 - 1974 The Revd Michael Manktelow (later Bishop of Basingstoke)
1978 - 1989 The Revd Howard Garside
1990 - 2000 The Revd Brian Pearson
2001 - 2009 The Revd Mark Sowerby
2010 - The Revd Gary Waddington