|Church History - 18th and 19th Centuries
|The 18th and 19th Centuries
In 1823 William Ryder arrived as Vicar, and the church was given a new lease of life.
New roofs were put on the nave and chancel; new oak pews were installed and it was
decided to follow the practice of other churches by blocking off the chancel from the nave
and using it only for communion services and funerals. The arch was boarded up, the
screens covered with curtains and a singing loft installed in front of the organ. Prior to this
music had been provided by woodwinds and strings, with the musicians and choir seated
in a gallery at the west end of church. Now the choir were near the organ, making the
Heavy galleries were installed all the way around the church to increase the seating from
about 300 to 1100 to accommodate the growing population. This involved raising the
outer walls of the nave aisles by four to six feet thus hiding the lower part of the clerestory
from the outside. The rough walling of the new part is in marked contrast to the
smoothness of the old. The west door was built up to allow that end to be filled with pews.
In its place, a small door was opened on the north side, directly opposite the southern
porch. This was later filled in when another door was opened in the north wall near the
vicarage. Evidence of both can still be seen today. William Ryder resigned in 1825 when
the work was completed.
In 1839 Alfred Gatty became Vicar. He was not enamoured with what he saw and
determined to return the church to its former dignity. In 1858 Gatty followed the example
of Sheffield and Rotherham by reopening the chancel and removing the singing gallery.
The other galleries were taken down in 1879 and the nave was re-seated with oak
benches instead of pews. Marks where the galleries were fitted can still be seen today on
the walls of the aisles and on the arches of the crossing.
Into the 21st Century
Since World War II further extensive work has been carried out to the fabric of the church.
The bells have been re-tuned and the wood in the tower replaced by steel girders. The
chancel was given a new roof in 1958 and the medieval bosses in the chapels restored
to their former glory.
In 1969 the beams of the roof in the nave were found to have been eaten away and the
walls had leaned outwards nine inches on either side. A new roof was needed to prevent
the whole structure from collapsing.
A major re-ordering of the nave took place in the mid 1980's. A new altar and lectern
were provided and pews were removed from the back of the church, creating a space for
social activities. Extra rooms were built in at the north eastern corner to provide a choir
vestry and meeting room in 1989.
The year 2003 saw the creation of kitchen facilities and a toilet at the South western
corner of the church. New lighting and sound systems have been installed and a
replacement boiler for the central heating system.
Click to enlarge
Showing old Pew
Click to enlarge
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