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Recording All Saints' Church

from The Barwicker No.79

In February 1999 the team of church recorders from the Leeds Decorative and Fine Arts Society met and decided that they would ask permission of the Archdeacon of Leeds, Ven. John Oliver, and then the Rector of All Saints' Church, Barwick-in-Elmet, the Revd. Roger Wild, to record the contents of this historic church. This was to be the sixth church in the Leeds area which the Society's team hoped to record, another of over one thousand nation-wide which have already been completed and handed over to the incumbent of the church for safe keeping. The other records in this area to be completed are:

  1. Whitkirk, St Mary's
  2. Bardsey, All Hallows
  3. Roundhay, St John's
  4. Woodhouse, St Mark's - a redundant church.
  5. Woodhouse, All Souls
Photocopies of the record are held by;
  1. The Diocesan Record Office
  2. The Council for the Care of Churches
  3. The Victoria and Albert Museum
  4. The National Monument Records Office in Swindon.
We were delighted and privileged to take on the task of making a comprehensive record of the furnishings and some of the fabric of the church with photographs, and to verify when possible the history of these furnishings. The team has always tried to work in the church with the agreement of the incumbent, on a day when we could benefit from the heating for Sunday services (churches can be very cold!) and so Monday was arranged. We collected the keys from the Rectory and then returned them each time when we had finished.

Work commenced in the February and the team worked, some in pairs, on each section. Jean Summerscales took many excellent photographs.;
  1. Memorials - Jane Hedley, Anne Palmer
  2. Metalwork - Ann Gosnay.
  3. Stonework - Margaret Dawson
  4. Woodwork - Elizabeth Bowers
  5. Textiles - Margaret Ainsworth
  6. Paintings - Jane Hedley
  7. Library - Jane Hedley
  8. Windows - Margaret Dawson, Jane Hedley and Anne Palmer
  9. Miscellaneous - Margaret Dawson
A definite format has to be followed when recording and we always use pencil, not biro or pen for safety when working in the church.

  1. General description and, for objects of complicated shape, a drawing can save words. The style and type of lettering on objects is described, e.g. Gothic, Roman, etc., whether capitals or lower case, and whether it is painted carved or incised. The condition is stated if other than satisfactory and where and what if there is any damage. If an object is signed, it is stated where and how.
  2. Material, e.g. sterling silver.
  3. The date - if known precisely. There may be evidence of the century or perhaps which quarter. We do not guess. Jackson's Hallmarks book is used to date silver.
  4. Measurements. These are taken in cms. and in the order height, width and depth and for
  5. two dimensional articles length and width are used, e.g. for textiles and floor slabs.
  6. Artist or designer, sculptor, silversmith, woodworker.
  7. Manufacturer and retailer. If there is any uncertainty about the status of the signatory we put 5/6.
  8. History (brief) of item and of family if relevant.
  9. Donor and Date of Presentation to the church.
  10. Inscription - only the memorial inscription or dedication goes in 9.
  11. References . All recorded information which is not the result of observation has a source which is quoted in 10.

There are many sources for finding the information for recording an item, e.g. for silver, Jackson's Hallmarks tells me at which assay office the piece was registered, e.g. London. Another source was the churchwardens' account book for 1822-1921 and the Inventory Terrier of 1932.

We were very relieved that we had recorded the memorials before some were hidden beneath the building of the new facilities in the church. We were also delighted when we knew that the Rector and Church Council had arranged for the precious 17th. to 19th. century communion plate to go for safe keeping in Ripon Cathedral after it had been recorded.

Below is the record of No.122 - Flagon (now in Ripon Cathedral Treasury)

Item No.122 - Flagon.
Photo by Jean Summerscales

  1. Eagle beak, hinged lid with acorn knop- with pointed finial and gadrooning. Scroll handle, narrow neck with gadrooning. Two stepped edges with nulling and lobing. Barrel shaped body with foliate scrolling band round upper part, underneath wide gadrooned band. Plain band above gadrooning flattened knot. Spreading foot with gadrooning and flat edge and stepped base with acanthus decoration. The body is off-line.
  2. Sterling silver
  3. London 1886-87. (ref.a)
    h 29.8 x w 16 x diam. of base 10cms
  4. William and George Sissons (Sheffield Manufacturers) (ref.b)
  5. -
  6. - (blank)
  7. (a) Jackson's pocket ed. p.36.
    (b) Jackson's p.445.

Barwick-in-Elmet is one of 40 parishes in the Duchy of Lancaster and so it was intriguing to uncover the history of the connection. A chantry chapel was founded on the site of the present church in 1303 by Alice de Lacy, daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, who had lands in Yorkshire. She married the grandson of Henry III and their son was the first Duke of Lancaster. In 1399 the charter of the present church, which continues to this day, was effected by Henry IV. Two kneelers were given to the church in 1999 to celebrate the 600th. anniversary of the charter. There was great excitement when the team discovered a grave slab to a person called Alice but she died in 1751, much too late.

The recording of the pulpit, which dates from the early 18th. century and is made of oak, holly and burr walnut, was made easy by the thoughtfulness of its makers. In 1839 when it was repaired two pieces of paper had been found nailed underneath, one dated 1726, its original date, and the other in 1747 for an alteration. The papers were noted in the parish history of the church written in 1970. (The Ancient Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet by Rev. Norman Butcher.)

The Pulpit
Photograph by Jean Summerscales

This is the record of No.338 - the Pulpit.
  1. The Georgian pulpit is a six sided drum of framed construction with one facet facing the nave pillar and one on hinges forming a door. The cornice is decorated with a carved, straight dentil moulding immediately below a band of carved foliage which is repeated at the bottom of the cornice and the top of the bottom rail. The five visible facets have two fielded (raised) panels, a square above a rectangle, surrounded by carved foliage, similar to the cornice.

    The projecting stiles are decorated with recessed oblong panels of holly in a moulded surround with an inlaid pattern of burr walnut. A section on the right hand panel of the door is missing. The back facet has a plain sunk panel with no decoration. The desk has a plain rectangular book board and a book stop, with carved edges matching the cornice and is supported by two acanthus scroll brackets. A bookrack is attached to the inside of the pulpit, to the right of the desk.

    Metal Furniture. There are two extended hinges at the top and bottom of the opening panel and part of a flat, fiddle-shaped bolt at the centre of the opening side; the end of the bolt, which would have been connected with the front panel, and the knob on the exterior of the door are missing.

    The Georgian pulpit is supported by a plain panelled drum of a later date with a straight stairway of four treads with no hand rail on the east side, leading to the opening facet of the pulpit.
  2. Oak, holly, burr walnut, metal.
  3. 1726
  4. Pulpit ht. 121cms. x diam. 107cms
    Base ht. 290cms. x diam. 107cms
  5. Designer Robert Fretwell of Potterton (ref.a)
    Joiner William Bradley (ref.a)
  6. - (blank)
  7. The pulpit was made in 1726 as part of the 1724 - 26 renovations to the Church recorded in the Parish Register. The Rector, Mr. Edmund Barnaby, gave ten guineas towards the cost. It was altered in 1747 by Robert Cawood and Sam Hague, and repeated in 1839 when two pieces of paper, one dated 1726 and the other 1747, were found nailed underneath giving information about the making of the pulpit. (ref.a)
  8. -
  9. - (blank)
  10. (a) Butcher page 30-31

The area around Barwick witnessed one of the last great battles between the victorious Christian King Oswy and the pagan Penda of Mercia. The battle was fought within the parish in 655 at Winwaed (Anglo-Saxon for Whinmoor) and thus ensured the supremacy of the Christian religion. Oswy is depicted in a window in the north aisle.

One mystery that cannot be explained is why a pre-Reformation altar stone is now used as a paving stone in the south aisle, when the aisle was built in 1380-90, long before the Reformation, at a time when the altar stone would have been sacred.

A stone statuette of the Virgin Mary, now in the church and safely recorded had been found in 1897 underneath some cottages which were being demolished to extend the graveyard. It is felt that someone took the statuette from the church at the height of the anti-Maryan feeling, to hide and protect it.

A 17th. century Bible box was found in the vestry. It was empty but obviously the bible was once kept securely locked in it as there had been extensive repair work to the locks over the years.

All Saints took much longer to record than had been imagined but, with the help of the parishioners, churchwardens and the Rector, the work in the church was finished in 2002. During the years, research was done at the Leeds Archives in Sheepscar and contact and help was sought from the Goldsmiths Company in London. The information was then compiled, typed, the photographs mounted and all checked by the NADFAS north east church recording area representative.

Our leader, Jane Hedley, presented the bound record at the special service on Sunday 31 October 2004. the nearest Sunday to All Saints' Day.


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