Tuesday, 12 September 2017

St Oswald’s Church, Guiseley

Inside the church

10 September 2017
Screen by the Italian artist and sculptor, Guleimo Tosl, to designs by Sr Charles Nicholson.

St Oswald's was open on Sunday for a few hours for Heritage week, I had been looking forward to seeing inside, a few weeks back I had taken photographs of the outside, grave stones, the Well and the  Guiseley stocks and Cross.

Oswald (c 604 – 5 August 641/642) was King of Northumbria from 634 until his death, and is venerated as a saint, of whom there was a particular cult in the Middle Ages

I was invited to go on a little tour round the church, by a nice man connected to the church (sorry I can't remember his name , but thank you.) He was very good and coped well with the many questions asked by the other ladies in the group. 

We were shown many things I would have missed on my own, with plenty of information, which upon writing this I have forgotten ! I had hope there would be a booklet (out of print) there were boards filled with information about the church, the people and the men who were in the war layed out in the entrance to read.    

Guiseley with a great tract of land centered in Otley was given by the King of Northumbria to the Archbishop of York perhaps in the 7th century. The parish of Guiseley was organised in the 12th century and included Esholt, Yeadon, Rawdon and Horsforth.

We started of outside, looking up the road is the oldest part of Guiseley, everything was centred round the church and the well, which is opposite the church.

Little is known about the early history of St Oswald's, but Saxon rmains show that there was a church here before 1066. The Norman parts of the church is thought to date from about 1150 and to have been built by the de Warde family. The church was extended in the 1200s, and the tower was built in the 1300s.

Through the porch you can still see the original Saxon door arch. 

Windows in the porch

The Font was originally stood inside the Baptistery which now has been made into a chapel.


The Guiseley Cross

Anglo-Saxon crosses and cross fragments are quite well represented in the Yorkshire area and many have a Scandinavian flavour, reflecting local settlement patterns in the late ninth and early tenth centuries. The Guiseley cross is one such. Often termed ‘preaching crosses’, ......

The Midgard Serpent – ‘Guiseley Beastie’

Looking down the original nave of the church. 

Altar in the Lady Chapel

Here which sadly I forgot to go back and get a better photos, we were told about the wood carvings on the alter,  Flowers spelling out OSWALD.

On the 29th December 1812 the marriage of the parents of the Bronte sisters, Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell, took place in the church.

Squirrel carving on a pillar.

 The Warde coat of Arms

The Warde family began the tower but the building was not complete in 1473 when the widow of the late Sir Roger Warde, Joan Warde, died. She bequeathed 'Six shillings and eight pence to the Parish of Gyslay for the building of the tower'. Her Grandson , Sir Christopher Warde ensured the completion of the Tower in about 1480. The Warde coat of Arms can be seen in the interior.

Boer War; Second (1899-1902) 


The Enteric fever ( now known as typhoid) at Bloemfontein cost the British Army more lives than the two severest battles of the war. (LINK)


The present organ was dedicated on 23 July 1910 and was built by Harrisons of Durham.

I sat and listened to the choir sing, while consuming a rather large piece of cake and coffee, both were very lovely.  

 Rood and Screen

           Screen by the Italian artist and sculptor, Guleimo Tosl, to designs by Sr Charles Nicholson.

Sir Charles Archibald Nicholson

Sir Charles Archibald Nicholson, 2nd Baronet (27 April 1867 – 4 March 1949), was an English church architect.

Nicholson's works include 42 new churches, nine new chapels and work on nine cathedrals,including St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast where he was cathedral architect 1924–48.[3] Numerous other churches were altered or restored to his designs, and he designed a large amount of church furnishings. Most of his work was in England, but he worked also in Wales, Northern Ireland, Jamaica and South Africa. He was also an accomplished watercolourist who exhibited at the Royal Academy on 32 occasions.

On either side of the alter there are four Angels.
The church warden went into great detail and length ! 
to explain the windows.


The Tester
 (top wood piece above pulpit) 
reflects the voice downwards to the listeners.

Names from the First World War, which is rather a lot for what would have been a small village.

Memorial Window 

Clipping the Church

Saint Oswald’s day is celebrated at Guiseley Parish Church by the custom of ‘clipping the church’. During the 9:30 am service, the congregation led by the choir, churchwardens, and clergy process out of, and around the church singing ‘Saint Oswald’s Ballad’. Then all join hands to encircle (clip) and face the church and say ‘God Bless our Church’ three times. Turning around to face outwards, all say ‘God Bless our Town’, again three times.


Open, need to check before a visit.

A wonderful church, so much to see, so needs another visit.

Through out I have taken notes from leaflets and St Oswald's web page. So thank you.



  1. Super post Amanda and a beautiful church with so much of interest. The preaching cross is superb as is the midgard serpent and I love the squirrel carving. It is fascinating to read of the Bronte connection too.

    I know what you mean about forgetting what the guide said - I had exactly the same problem with the two churches I visited!!! Should take notes really but difficult when trying to take photos which is always problematic on a guided tour.

    Hope you do go back as it looks well worth exploring several times :)

  2. Thanks RR, another church you would like.. hope to have a walk up oldest street, there is supposed to be a old hand pump and a hall. I think the building at the back of the pub next door to the church was a old barn. They have made it into flats, must remember to ask. Another church I quite fancy going to one of there celebrations to hear them sing, harvest festival would be a good time.
    Amanda xx

  3. Amanda, I'm glad to say I have no difficulty over accessing your posts here. However, my malware checker is still preventing me from accessing your other blog (and sending me messages to 'get you out of here quickly'). I'm guessing there must be some added external link that it finds dodgy. I wonder if others have also had this issue...

    1. Thanks Caroline for getting in touch, did you try just Google and just put The Quiet Walker in ? Sorry there is a problem so far no one else has mentioned they can't get through, or if they have they haven't tried to get in touch like you. Not sure how to sort it out :(
      Amanda xx

    2. Certainly I tried via Google and Google plus... no joy as yet, Amanda. But I haven't given up. :-)

  4. What a lovely post, Amanda. I love the squirrel carving - and what fun to think of you listening to the choir as you munched your cake! I have never heard of church 'clipping' - and I'm glad the community gets a look in, too! I love the 23rd Psalm window. The squirrel carving reminds me of the lovely wildlife carving, especially the birds, on columns round the Abbey on Iona. I think these were re-done relatively recently.

    1. Thanks again Caroline, it was nice spending time in the church and everyone was lovely too. Having a guided tour ment I got to see things I might have missed like the Squirrel, finding out many buildings have hidden objects, especially in this area , Robert Thompson’s the mouse man lived local.
      Just thought at the top of this blog were it says CHURCH the word HOME then it say the quiet walker , have you tried pressing this to my blog ?
      Amanda xx

  5. Hi Amanda,
    I really appreciated your post about St Oswald's Church. I'm on the PCC and do some advertising and marketing for the Church. If you'd like to come back any time and explore a bit more (eg in the belfry or up the tower), drop me a message. I think your guide at the Heritage Open Day was probably Tony Denton.
    If you follow St Oswald's Church on Twitter, I can message you with my contact details and give you any more information you'd like.

    1. Thank you Tina for coming by and leaving a lovely comment, so pleased you liked the post and photos, I would love to see the tower, I will be in touch. Thanks..
      Amanda xx