The Church of St Edward the Confessor
The history of the church is more than just facts about a building. It is about the people who have worshipped within its walls and their legacy to future generations. It is very much a story of individuals seeking to know more of God and being prepared to share their faith with the wider world. It is also about their commitment to supporting a physical place of worship, that can act as a place of prayer and witness to the love of Jesus. The history of the church is closely woven with those who served as vicars, and reading their stories reveals a rich heritage of faithfulness and dedication. Whilst there are interesting facts about the building, the heart of St Edward the Confessor lies in those who have dedicated their lives to God’s service within this place.
There has been Christian worship in Dringhouses for over 500 years. The present church was built on the site of a 1725 church previously called St Helen’s. The old church had been built by the Barlow family who were Lords of the Manor of Dringhouses. Frances Leigh (née Barlow) was the last of the Barlow family and on the death of her husband in 1847, Rev. Edward Trafford Leigh, she had a new church built in his memory. The dedication was changed to commemorate his name and thus the new church became St Edward the Confessor.
The foundation stone was laid in November 1847, and a newspaper report from the York Herald, gives details of the consecration which took place on 8th August 1849. Vickers & Hugill of Pontefract were the architects, Mr Roberts the builder, and the principal woodwork was by Mr Coates of York. The service was conducted by the then Archbishop of York, Thomas Musgrave. At both the laying of the foundation stone and the consecration service, Psalm 100 was read, which perhaps best sums up the purpose of the new building:
‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good.
His steadfast love ensures forever,
And his faithfulness to all generations.’
Psalm 100 [New Revised Standard Version]
A Brief Timeline
|1847||Foundation stone laid|
|1848||Rev. G H Philips appointed as first vicar of St Edward’s|
|1849||Church consecrated in memory of Rev. Edward Trafford Leigh|
|1867||Rev. G H Philips moved to Brodsworth near Doncaster. Rev. T Falkner appointed|
|1868||Church organ installed|
|1875||Rev. T Falkner moved to Burton Leonard near Harrogate. Rev. J N Bromehead appointed|
|1891||Clock erected in the bell turret in memory of Sir James and Eleanor Meek|
|1892||New chancel screen dedicated|
|1901||Rev. J N Bromehead exchanged parishes with Rev. E W Evans|
|1902||New vestry built|
|1905||Church Room of St Helen opened|
|1908||Departure of Rev. E W Evans to Goldsborough sees the arrival of Rev. W P Dott|
|1914||Bells of 1849 replaced by three new hemispherical bells|
|1919||Rev. W P Dott moved to Croydon. St Edward’s welcomed Rev. A Raine|
|1922||War memorial unveiled and dedicated|
|1936||Church Room enlarged|
|1937||Rev. A Raine moved to All Saints Pavement, York. Rev L Wilkinson appointed|
|1938||A telephone is installed in the vicarage|
|1941||Electric lights installed in the church|
|1945||Rev. L Wilkinson moved to Dewsbury Moor. Rev. B E Shaw appointed|
|1947||Rev. B E Shaw resigns on health grounds and Rev. J H Molyneux appointed|
|1950s||Various maintenance works to church and vicarage|
|1962||Plans approved for new vicarage. The house is completed in 1963|
|1970||Fibre glass spire replaces original|
|1974||Rev. J H Molyneux retired and Rev. A Girling is appointed|
|1980s||Church continues through a period of growth|
|1990s||Decision made to extend the church due to increased numbers|
|1996||Church extension dedicated with service of thanksgiving|
|2000||Rev. A Girling moved to Thurlestone, Devon. Rev. M Baldock arrived at St Edward’s|
|2000s||21st century marked an increased use of technology. Screens are fitted to enhance worship and support sermons. A website is developed. New liturgy was introduced, and the music diversifies.|
|2016||A refurbished community hall and a new café in the atrium are dedicated|
|2017||Rev. M Baldock retired to Newark and Rev. R C Carew is welcomed to St Edward’s|
With acknowledgement and grateful thanks to Dorothy Reed for all these articles, and her generosity in sharing her careful and detailed research of St Edward’s with this website.
If you have photos or articles which you would be willing to share, related to the history of the church, please contact [email protected]
VICARS OF DRINGHOUSES
2018 Richard Clayton Carew