Hidden histories on show

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Historic churches across the district are opening their doors to visitors for Heritage Open Weekend this month.

September 10-11 will see a range of listed buildings open to the public for the chance to find out more about their pasts.

Among them will be St Saviour’s Church in Brownhill, Batley, which has taken part in the national event since 2008.

The Grade II-listed church on Brookroyd Lane is open from 11am-4pm on the Saturday, when stewards will be on hand to show visitors the treasures on display and answer questions about its history.

Its attractions include a unique stained glass window commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which has been verified as the only one in the world depicting Victoria and her husband Prince Albert together.

There is also a frieze of Minton tiles, the impressive east window, an altar rail by the famous ‘mouseman’ designer Robert Thompson and a painting of Christ by Hans Richter-Dam.

Charlotte Bronte’s friend Ellen Nussey, who lived nearby, worshipped at the church.

Wyke Moravian Church is open on both days (11am-4pm and 12-4pm) and members will be displaying historic photographs and running guided walks around the local area. Its vicar, the Rev James Woolford, will give a presentation about the Moravians at 7pm on the Saturday in the Sunday school.

St Mary’s in Mirfield has prepared a packed programme for the weekend, which has been organised by the Friends of St Mary’s Community Heritage Site.

There will be a tour of the belfry, a display of finds from recent archaeological digs, a visit by medieval pottery expert John Hudson, an organ recital, guided walks, and talks about the Bronte family and local links to the Battle of the Somme.

The belfry is open on Thurday September 8 from 7-8.30pm and the church activities are from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 11am-4pm on Sunday.

The Red House Museum in Gomersal is taking part in the weekend, and is offering free entry and the chance to ride a vintage bus between the museum, Oakwell Hall and Gomersal Moravian Church.

Batley Parish Church, the town’s oldest, will be open from 10am-4pm on Saturday, with refreshments available.