The North West Area Tour met at the Methodist URC Christ Church in Ilkley on the 20th April. Colin Clarkson, former chairman of the YHCT started the day by cutting a special celebratory cake, to mark the 25th anniversary of the trust.
We saw how a large Victorian church could be altered to provide a cafe and meeting rooms on the ground floor with the worship area above. A short walk took us to the first of 4 medieval churches on the tour. All Saints church, Ilkley with three Anglo-Saxon cross shafts displayed in the tower base, the tallest cross being one of the most important in the north of England.
We then went on to Bolton Abbey Priory, with its impressive nave. In its idyllic setting beside the Wharfe, this is now a parish church in its own right, having been saved from destruction during the time of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.
After an excellent carvery lunch at The Craven Heifer on the outskirts of Skipton, we visited the splendid C14 Holy Trinity church, before finishing the tour at St Andrew’s Kildwick known as the Lang Kirk of Craven because of its 145ft length, which is one of the longest in the West Riding.
We had the benefit of sunshine throughout the day and interesting and informative guides to explain the history and features of the churches, an excellent day had by all.
By Jeremy G H Mackrell