Stepping back in time at St Mary’s

Ian Ackroyd and Theresa Gallagher who gave belfry tours and rang the bells for visitors to the Heritage Weekend at St Mary's Church,Mirfield.
Ian Ackroyd and Theresa Gallagher who gave belfry tours and rang the bells for visitors to the Heritage Weekend at St Mary's Church,Mirfield.
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History came alive at St Mary’s Church as part of national heritage weekend celebrations.

Visitors to the site were treated to historical re-enactments and tours of the church belfry, which is normally closed to the public.

Friends of St Mary’s Community Heritage Site committee member John Daniels said: “We were delighted with how it worked out. The belfry tours were the main attraction – it really captured people’s imaginations.”

Historical re-enactment group Regia Anglorum gave an insight into the everyday lives of Anglo-Saxons. “That was fascinating,” Mr Daniels said. “We have a colossal amount of history. People travel miles to see things like this but they can just walk up the road and see a 1,000-year-old motte.”

A few days before the heritage weekend the Friends also benefitted from the donation of a cross, commemorating the 140 people from Mirfield who died during the plague.

The event was part of Heritage Weekend celebrations across North Kirklees. Other venues to take part included Thornhill Parish Church, which hosted a flower festival and Upper Hopton.

Mirfield Team Parish has also received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the St Mary’s Appeal project. It aims to carry out essential repair and maintenance particularly to the tower and roof, which have been damaged by weathering and metal theft.

Development funding of £26,700 has also been awarded to help the group with their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The Rev Hugh Baker, priest in charge of Mirfield Team Parish, said: “St Mary’s church is a wonderful building with an amazing history and it has played a central role in the lives of Mirfield folk for many years. To see the sandstone crumble and the timbers decay is heartbreaking but now we have a real chance to keep St Mary’s here and fully used for generations to come.”