ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, FERRYBRIDGE
Priest: If you would like to discuss matters such as marriages or
christenings, please contact the Parish Priest, Fr Peter Walker, OGS on 01977 672772.
Sunday 10.45am - Holy Communion (Common Worship)
Thursday 10.00am - Holy Communion (Common Worship)
Dedicated to St.
Andrew, the church originates from Norman times having been first built in
approximately 1030. Located on Pontefract Road,
Ferrybridge, its current position belies the fact that the Church was rebuilt
there, stone by stone, in the early 1950's.. Its original location was at
a distance from the residential area of the village and standing close to a
marsh where willows for basket making were grown it would suffer from frequent flooding
during the winter months making it unusable. An inscription in the porch
records that on November 17, 1866, water rose to a level of three feet within
In 1350, the Church
was rebuilt leaving only the porch and a few feet of wall on either side of it
as a reminder of the original construction. The year 1879 saw some
extensive alterations to the Church which unfortunately obliterated most of the
remains of the Norman and early English sections but there still remains much to
interest the visitor.
During the Church's
relocation in the early 1950's it was remodeled with the porch being moved to
the opposite side, a feature which is clearly visible in the two photographs
below. It was traditional for Churches to be constructed
with the longest walls orientated east to west, with the altar facing towards the
east, though not all Churches followed this design. In order to provide access out onto the main road from
the front of the building, the reconstruction of the Church resulted
in the porch having to be relocated on the opposite wall.
location of the church together with its current location can be seen clearly
on the accompanying map.
The church expense
account for the year 1945-46 shows that the New Church Fund stood at £700. 4s
and during the Second World War when the church was closed the church council
purchased land on which to build a new church. The Reverend C. H. Branch
however was in favour of dismantling the ancient church and rebuilding it in the
middle of Ferrybridge. The patrons of the church, the Dean and Chapter of
York, agreed. Not everyone was sympathetic with the idea including the bishops
of Wakefield and Pontefract but the relocation of the old church was eventually
The last act of
worship on the old site was Evensong on Easter Sunday in 1952, the last service
proper being the marriage of Miss Winifred Gilligan and Mr. Edward Walker.
As they left the church workmen were already lowering stones from the church
tower. The labour was undertaken by an old Knottingley family of
stonemasons, H and H Fairburn and was financed by diocesan grants and public
donations. Stones were not numbered as they were moved to the new site and
frequent alterations to the design of the church had to be made.
|The church as it was
|Work in progress
||The day of consecration
reproduced with the permission of Colin Ormesher
Although the church
was not entirely complete, it was reconsecrated on September 12, 1953 and was
recorded in its entirety by the BBC. On the Sunday, communion was
celebrated by the bishop of Wakefield and in the afternoon the first christening
took place, that of the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Walker, the last couple to
be married in the old church some 17 months earlier. A feature of the church was the
new Lectern which was crafted by world famous carpenter Robert 'mousey'
Thompson. Robert Thompson was born in Yorkshire and became famous for his
trademark carving of a mouse, which became a feature of his work.
The original grounds
of St. Andrew's, fell into disrepair for many years and the graveyard became the
target of much vandalism. This was reported and publicised in local
newspapers in the late 1980's with the result that renovation and groundwork was
carried out to restore the area.
C. Forest, in
his book of 1871, entitled 'The History and Antiquities of Knottingley,
gives a delightful description of the location of the Church.
approached from Ferrybridge through an avenue of fine old willows,
gradually disclosing the view as the visitor advances. It's
situation is most lonely and secluded ; closed in by the wooded grounds of
Fryston Hall behind, and from the view in front by high rampart of the
North Eastern Railway, which runs close to its hallowed precinths.
There is an air of solemn stillness about the venerable pile, well suited
for ' lonely contemplation', but rudely broken by the scream and rattle of
the train as it rushes past"
views of St. Andrew's Church, showing its original and present location
Clearly seen is the fact that the porch has been
relocated on the opposite wall
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ANDREW
"As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who
is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea;
for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets
and followed him." (Matthew 4:18-20)
WHO WAS SAINT ANDREW?
left behind his career as a fisherman to follow Jesus of Nazareth
and to preach the Christian message. It is believed Andrew died
around the year 60 AD, being crucified in a place called Patras in
Achaia on a cross in an X shape, hence the St Andrew's cross on the
flag of Scotland.
WHAT IS THE SCOTTISH LINK?
said that a little-known Scottish saint called Rule or Regulus took
Andrew's bones from Patras to Scotland in the 8th century. He
stopped in what is now called St Andrew's in Fife and built a church
dedicated to the saint there.
WHAT ABOUT FERRYBRIDGE?
The bones of St Andrew are said to have journeyed north through England
and Scotland, from Canterbury to Rochester to Hexham to Scotland. It
would be nice to think that his bones, en route to Hexham, passed
through Ferrybridge over 1300 years ago, just as traffic and
travellers still pass through Ferrybridge as they head north on the
A1. Who knows?
St Andrew is remembered by the Church in its calendar on 30th November.
We extend our appreciation to Colin Ormesher for allowing us to reproduce
the above information.