The buildings

  • The Church was founded in AD 950 and is a magnificent building dating from the 14th century.  A church at Kildwick existed at the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086, but stone crosses of Scandinavian design were found built into in the Chancel wall indicating a much earlier building on the site. St Andrews Church Kildwick has evolved into its present form from the 13th Century.
  • The Vicarage is a large house (built in 1905) set in pleasant secluded gardens very close to the church.
  • The Parish Rooms are in a small, but well used building situated next to the churchyard. These were modernized and completely redecorated / furnished following extensive damage by a fire at Christmas 1998. They are the centres of church and community activities throughout the week.
  • The Churchyard is very extensive with an ‘old’ and ‘new’ graveyard surrounding the church. The ‘old’ is closed’ and maintained by Craven Council and the ‘new’ is located north of the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the only burials allowed there are in existing graves. There is a memorial garden for the interment of cremated remains and the crematorium is in Skipton.


Church History Timeline




1305 Bridge over the Aire built.  Cost £21 12s 9d.  Oldest bridge over the river.
16th C Open roof with tie beams Brereton p18
1662 Church seated with “Jacobean” pews.  Seats, altar and sacred vessels probably all about 1662. 3d Bell Fund leaflet
1706 7 July.  John Topham instituted as Vicar
In a certain house at Eastburn there may be seen in the pantry a huge oak beam in the roof, on which is inscribed the name of “John Topham” in the centre, and the names of the churchwardens at the two ends. This beam is supposed to have come from Kildwick, as the church underwent some repairs in Mr. Topham’s time, and the then owner of the house was one of the churchwardens. Brereton p64
1709 Clock face installed.  Gift of W.Currer, Steeton. 3d
1709 Vestry formed in NW corner at cost of £13 7s 8d.
1729 Sun dial erected over chancel door on south side.
1733 31 December.  Christopher Driffield instituted as Vicar
1734 27 September.  John Dehane instituted as Vicar.  Stayed 56 years!
1772 Bier changed for a hearse.  Kept at White Lion (rent 5s a year).  Later resolved to save money and keep it in the church.  Pointed doorway in west front of tower was enlarged by cutting away the sides and substituting the doors which are there now and which are more suitable for a cart horse.
1779 Subscriptions raised for new peal of 6 bells.  Previously been 3, rung from ground.  New floor laid across the arch which was walled up.
Open oak roof hidden by common-looking ceiling; cost £120.
1790 12 June.  Thomas Marsden instituted as Vicar
1806 26 April.  John Pering instituted as Vicar.  Last Vicar to hold Skipton and Kildwick.  (Built Christ Church, Skipton in 1840.)
1807 17 September.  Vestry meeting resolved that a new door should be hung to each of the stalls now open to the aisle.  Also resolved that ‘Subscriptions be opened for the erection of a new gallery at the west end of the Church for the accommodation of such as are in want of pews’. Brereton p79
1828 Clock face renewed by subscription.
1824 2 July.  Faculty granted for gallery to be installed.  Pews (21 in number) purchased by local families.  Font
cover removed; make into 12 dining room chairs which were then sold at auction for £40.
Brereton p72
“There are about 1000 sittings in the Church exclusive of the gallery, and 240 pews all appropriated, but only 80 names in the seat book, i.e. at the rate of 3 pews or 12 seats apiece, no notice being taken of the other 11,000 or 12,000 inhabitants.” 3d
1825-35 Rood screen set a bay and a half eastward, reducing enclosure to normal dimensions and destroying the old side screens.  Some of the cresting however was saved and now adorns the modern panelling on the east wall. 3d, p10
1829 £20 8s 3d spent on clock face; chief subscriber was Miss Currer £10.
1839 School House (now Parish Rooms) built.  School master, John Crossley, lived in upper rooms, with school below.
1840 December.  London Gazette states that Kildwick had population of 9926 and accommodation in church for 999 and at Silsden Chapel for 432 and at Lothersdale chapel 320. 
1843 30 April.  John Pering dies in office, age 78.  Buried in the church 9 May.
1843 16 August.  John Turner Colman Fawcett instituted as Vicar.
Kildwick was now separated from Skipton, as well it might be, seeing that Kildiwck alone had a population of 10,000 and Skipton nearly 7,000. Brereton
Mr Fawcett may therefore be termed the first High Church Vicar of Kildwick at all events of modern times. Brereton
1844 6 December.  London Gazette records formation of new parish of Cowling. 
1850 Fawcett published pamphlet, “Remarks on the Parish Church of Kildwick with suggestions for the improvement of its interior arrangements more particularly in reference to the providing of a number of Free Sittings”.…the “beautiful oak roof now ingloriously shrouded by a lath and plaister ceiling…the finely proportioned arch in the bell tower now walled up and concealed…the windows in the south aisle now mutilated and shorn of their varied tracery…the coloured glass and carved oak stalls now only known to us by ancient records having perished long since by misguided zeal…and neglect”.
“The ‘pews’ or ‘close pues’ or ‘privey closets’, were introduced by the Puritans that they might be hid whilst they disobeyed the Rubrics…the dates on some of the pews are 1624, 1626, 1631, 1633, 1636, when those principles were at work which shortly afterwards operated to the murder of the King.”
1854 Present 7 mullion east window installed.  Financed by the Waiman family.
1859 30 January.  John Hartley Tillotson became Parish Clerk/Sexton.  (In office until he died 11 September
[Tillotson] “witnessed three ‘Restorations’ of the old Church, and when he commenced his duties in 1853,  there was only one grave at the back of the Church; it is now nearly full”. Brereton p140
1859 30 January.  The following notice was at the same time affixed to the Church door. `Notice is hereby given, that the fee of fourpence hitherto paid to the clerk for the registration of a baptism is done ‘away. Also that the accustomed offering of one shilling at the churching of women need no longer be made. If however it is specially desired to make an offering on that occasion, it will be laid out in the restoration of the Church; churchings will be performed any forenoon, by giving notice to the vicar the day before.’—JOHN T. C. FAWCETT, Vicar of Kildwick. February, 1859.” Brereton p138
Mr. Fawcett was the first vicar to seriously endeavour to restore to the historic old fabric, which for upwards of eight long centuries, in one form or another, has been the religious centre and shrine of a widely-scattered population, some portion of the ancient grandeur rent from it by sacrilege or neglect. Many an old farm house in Kildwick Parish has been visited by Mr. Fawcett or Hartley in pursuit of old oak settles or ‘Kists’, whose quaintly carved panels or framework might serve to embellish the pews in Kildwick Church. Brereton p140
1850s/60s “Jacobean” carving worked into the seats by Fawcett. 3d
Levels of the floor altered; until 1902 the floor sloped from font to communion rail without a break, 2ft below its present level; 5 steps to sanctuary floor.
Fawcett built first school in Sutton in the ‘Low Fold’ and also Kildwick School and flagged it with flag-stones.  Saw daughter church built at Cononley (1844) and 2 others were planned though not completed at his death, viz. Sutton and Steeton.
1867-73 Re-ordering of west end
1867 Installation of present clock in the tower.  Set going 24 August.
1867 26 August.  John Fawcett dies in office (24 years as Vicar).  Buried on north side of chancel.  Graves of Vicar, his wife and son enclosed by an iron railing.
1868 3 January.  Henry Salway instituted as Vicar.
Mr Salway began to carry out the improvements so ardently desired by his predecessor.
1868 Gallery removed; west end opened out and cleaned.  Oak screen placed across bottom of tower arch. Stained glass window installed in tower by Clayton & Bell (financed by Matthew Wilson of Eshton Hall (also Kildwick Hall); cost over £100).  Window installed on south side (financed by G Spencer of Lothersdale).
Flat plaster roof removed to expose oak roof.
1868-9 S doorways raised to level of church & new doors; steps brought to outside.  Door in middle of south side walled up. Brereton p20
Tower screen put in.  Designed by W. Crosland, Architect, Leeds.  Made by Brown of Farnhill & Butterfield of Glusburn. 
Font put on new base.  New cover (made by Ruddle & Thompson of Peterborough) (financed by Mrs Tennant, wife of occupant of Kildwick Hall).
Spencer family surrendered rights in their chapel (SE corner).
1869 Gallery removed.
1870 Vestry moved from NW corner to SE corner; flagged and panelled with oak. Window put in by Heaton & Bayne.
1872 Stiverton monument moved to NW corner and placed on a high monument of stone.
Organ installed by Forster & Andrews, Hull
1873 Porch added (financed by Miss Elizabeth Smith of Cole House).
2 windows installed in memory of Revd Fawcett and Miss Marsden (daughter of Revd Marsden).
Oak pews put in (contactors Brown & Butterfield).
New heating apparatus on Perkin’s system installed by Mr Laycock of Keighley.
1873 Gas lighting put in.
1875 12 March.  Herbert Todd instituted as Vicar.
1875 Lectern given to church by Waiman family (of Carr Head).
1880 28 February.  Mr Todd lays foundation stone of Steeton Church.
1880 23 October.  Mr Todd dies in office. 
1881 February.  Frederick Greenstreet instituted as Vicar.
1881 27 April.  St Stephen, Steeton consecrated by Bishop
of Ripon. Cost £3,700.  East window in memory of Herbert Todd.
December.  Steeton became separate parish.
Choir crisis.  Was very strong male & female choir, great musical talent.  People come from other parishes to ‘hear’ the singing.  Some members more in accord with dissenting principles than those of the Church.  Friction ensued and the choir resigned. Brereton p97
The great pew question.  “Memorandum as to Seats in the Chancel of Kildwick Church”.  Greenstreet wanted to place surpliced choir in the chancel; but prevented. 
1884 28 March.  Faculty for reseating the choir; alter position of some of the front pews in the nave, by turning them choir-wise.  Plan prepared by Paley & Austin.‘Here outside the screen the choirmen and boys have continued to sit unto this day, except during the short time, AD 1900-1, when the chancel being condemned as unsafe.’ Brereton p98
1887 Mr Greenstreet resigns.  Exchanges livings with Mr Thompson of Wormley, Herts.
1887 Archibald Thompson instituted as Vicar.
1891 Repairs to bottom room of Church Institute (old National School), beams supporting the floor of the upper room strengthened and old boards renewed.
1897 12 May.  Meeting ‘to consider the desirability of having the Church examined by an architect, who should be
desired to report as to the condition of the structure’.
28 May.  Mr Peterson of Bradford recommended that ‘no part of the Church east of the pulpit should be used until it is restored’.
17 June.  Public meeting.  Peterson’s report to be   forwarded to Christ Church, Oxford. Austin & Paley be recommended as architects.  Estimated cost £1200.
13 November.  Resolved to restore the church.  Reported that ChCh would grant from £250 to £300. ChCh proportion is 20-25% of estimate!
1889 Bells rehung by Brown & Butterfield.
1899 Typhoid outbreak in the village.  Mr Thompson incapable of meeting demands made upon his service.  Resigns and retires on pension of £60 per annum. Brereton p100
1899 17 August.  Edward Henry Morris instituted as Vicar.
15 November.  Austin & Paley appointed as architects.
14 December.  Architect’s report: ‘The chancel commenced at a point further west than the patrons alleged’.
1900 31 October.  Mr Paley attended meeting of committee.
Decided that the heating chamber be outside the tower.
1901 March.  Mr Morris leaves (after absence of 4 months in France).
16 April.  Edward William Brereton appointed as Vicar.
13 June.  Mr Brereton proposed changes to plans: Currer Chapel to be used for week day service; vestries in SE corner; tower arch be opened as an entrance and ringers’ chamber taken away, bells run from bottom floor; chancel pews used for the choir.
27 June.  Amended plan accepted by committee.  Faculty obtained.
20 August.  Edward William Brereton instituted as Vicar.
1901-03 Restoration of whole church
11 October.  Tenders accepted for all aspects of the work (stonemason, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, organ builder).  Total cost £3,156.
24 November.  Final services held at east end. Partition erected until 21 September 1902.
Organ removed and restored by Laycock & Bannister, Cross Hills.
Vaulted roof in Currer Chapel (formerly the Scarborough Chapel) removed, also iron palisading.  Chapel prolonged westward to the screen.Special form of ‘principal’ placed in roof to mark exact length of original Chapel.Chapel reseated with old oak pews; altar from Chancel placed at east end.Farnhill Hall square pew (date 1633, Edmund Eltoft) replaced on north side of chapel further west than formerly.
1902 18 January.  Foundation stones of four pillars on south side of chancel solemnly laid after evensong.
19 April.  Foundation stones of four new pillars on north side laid.
29 May.  Resolved that a Water Motor Engine, Duncan’s Double Cylinder, for blowing the organ, be obtained (cost £58), placed beneath floor of tower, air conveyed by pipes beneath middle aisle to the organ.
North wall of chapel taken down; seen that outside wall had no foundation.  Rebuilt.
3 June.  Ancient “piscine” discovered on south wall; marked position of Lady Chapel in old church prior to 16th C.
New chamber for heating apparatus excavated on north side of tower. Found that tower was without foundations; very carefully underpinned.
July.  Chancel roof, which had been carried on props, levered in towards the north and fixed on the new walls.  (Took two days!)
August.  Pre-reformation altar relaid at extreme east end of the sanctuary, beneath the present altar.
25 September.  Operations commenced at west end of Church, the pews, &c, being taken out.
Seen that the 4th pillar from the west marks limits of original church.
October.  Decided to light church, not by old standards, but by coronae suspended from roof, three incandescents on each corona.  Immense fireplace discovered in north wall, west of north door, probably to warm area when enclosed as vestry in 1709.
New chancel screen made. 3d Bell Fund leaflet
New tower screen put in, with door in the centre.
Altar frontal chest re-made to hold frontals for the high altar.
1909 3 January.  Mr Brereton leaves.  John Rhodes instituted as Vicar.
1903 April.  Heating apparatus put in by Mr Rundle, of Idle.
May.  Wood-block floor laid and pews re-fixed.
June.  Old screens re-fixed and a new screen erected across the chancel. Organ, now enlarged, rebuilt against north wall and motor placed beneath the tower.
18 July.  Church re-opened by Bishop of Ripon.
After re-opening trench excavated on outside of church to prevent damp in north aisle.
1904 25-28 May.  Grand Bazaar to help clear the debt.
1907 18 December.  Debt completely cleared 10 years and 7 months after first meeting was held on the question.  Total cost £4370.


Further Notes / Thoughts from Brereton

“The latter part of the
first half of the 19th century may therefore be considered as the third great a of Church building amongst us, in accordance with the foregoing, we may well imagine that some time in the early portion of the 12th century, the old Saxon edifice would give place to a larger, more substantial, and altogether finer Church. The eastern limits of this Church may be clearly seen by observing the pillars (unusually strong ones) on either side in the present nave, viz., between the fourth and fifth arches from the west end, and during the recent restoration (1901-3) the end stones were plainly visible on the walls above the pillars; they are now again concealed by the plaster.” (p13)

Could we remove the plaster and once more reveal these ‘end stones’ of the 13th C building?

“On the other hand, during the recent restoration (1901-3), a piscina as discovered in the south wall, marking the position of the Altar in a side Chapel, and a little further east, the end stones were clearly seen both on the north and south walls when stripped of the plaster, thus marking the limits of the Church when the Norman Church disappeared, and an early English one took its place and was extended considerably further in an easterly direction than its predecessor. This re-building or restoration is generally supposed to have taken place in the 14th century, after the destruction caused by the Scots, during the invasion already described about A.D. 1320. The Tower and parts of the nave and aisles nearest it, are probably of the 14th century.” (p19)

Having described the east end chapels, rebuilding of the porch and raising of steps to south doorways, Brereton then says: “The seating is chiefly modern, but there are several portions of Jacobean character, one part dated 1631”.  This seems to be the only referral to the nave seating!!

“It is unnecessary to comment here upon the troubles and difficulties of his [Brereton’s] vicariate
at Kildwick, viz., the attack made upon his appointment in the local press by two representatives of a Protestant Society in
London, and the protests made at successive vestry meetings against the altar candles.  Posterity will probably regard these and other ritual practices very much as we are now wont to think of the past controversies, such as the use of the surplice in the pulpit, the surpliced choir, &c.  Our old controversies die down as we become accustomed to certain changes, whilst others arise to occupy their place.” (p106)


History of Kildwick Church (the bereton publication)

graveyard / stones

internal virtual tour with history

church recording publication

Old pictures