Four churches and an owl

The YHCT’s annual sponsorship event, Ride + Stride, took place on Saturday 13th September. As the sun rose on a lovely clear autumnal day, Friends and Trustees took to their bikes and cars, to visit as many churches as they could in one day.

Those taking part were raising money for their own churches and for the Trust. St Oswald’s church in Filey welcomed 24 visitors, one Friend, Nicholas Boothroyd, cycled 60 miles, visiting 17 churches and raised £228, plus our own trustee, Jane Hedley, took a trip to the south of the region to visit 4 churches she had never been to before, and witnessed some interesting events!

Jane tells us all about her day, sharing photos and details of the surprise encounter:

‘On Saturday 13th September I set off by car to see some churches I had not visited before in the South Yorkshire region. I went first to Holy Trinity, Rothwell as it was open under the Heritage Open days mentioned on our website.

I had a huge welcome and coffee and they displayed the R&S poster as well. A very handy free car park is opposite the church. There was a church here in Saxon times, as a stone in the wall bears the griffin of Ilbert de Lacy who also built Bradford Cathedral where we went in April.


The woodwork is spectacular, with glorious finials and choir stalls. The roofs are equally stunning, with a barrel roof in the chancel and a coffered one in the nave. The font bears the initials of King Charles and the date 1662.


Next I headed to St John the Baptist, Mexborough where they had also organised refreshments, and displayed the poster. It is an ancient church next to the river Don and has retained its Norman arches in the North aisle, dated 1080.


The organ casing was made by Comper but after the roof lead was stolen water entered the organ and it is now useless. Norman windows remain in the chancel.


My next church was Holy Trinity, Wentworth where we had been warned there were to be two weddings. This glorious church was built by Earl Fitzwilliam in 1872, designed by Pearson, and has all the stature of a Cathedral, with impressive stone vaulting and large windows by Kempe and Clayton & Bell. In a tranquil parkland setting this is a natural choice for weddings, 48 this year. I visited the old and new churches and saw both weddings. I never made any further visits as there was a happening at the last wedding I was determined to see. This was an owl flying up the nave to deliver the rings.


JH RS10  JH RS11

I had never seen this before and the owl duly flew to the groom on a signal and flew back to his handler at the back of the church.

Next I went see the Old Holy Trinity church in ruins nearby, owned by the Churches Conservation Trust. This church was not used after 1877 when the new church was built. However it remains interesting as a mausoleum to the Wentworth family and the memorials and alabaster effigies are outstanding.

JH RS 12  JH RS 13  JH RS14

All churches have a story to tell and I enjoyed exploring these knowing they would be open for Ride & Stride’.

Jane Hedley

September 2014