All Saints Church Ilkley Exterior

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The location of All Saints’ Parish Church Ilkley, originally, the site of the Roman fort of Olicana, has been a place of continuous Christian worship since about 627AD. Although the legions may have departed more than 1,400 years ago, they left their imprint on the town and on the earliest church with the original building being constructed out of stone from the abandoned Roman fort. In fact, in 1925 two window arches from the original church, carved from two Roman Altar stones, were brought into the church after being discovered built into the tower during excavations at the time. The three fine Anglo-Saxon cross shafts, since 1983, housed within the church building are further testament to an early Christian presence at this location.

The church is first mentioned in Domesday in 1086. The oldest part of the present building is the thirteenth-century south doorway, the nave dates from the fourteenth century while the tower dates from the fifteenth century. The church was restored and extended in the 1860s, as the town’s popularity as a visitor attraction grew with the development of the hydropathic spas. It still retained its medieval gothic style and became Grade II* listed in 1949.

Among its other features are the fine oak organ case was made by Robert Thompson (the Mouse-man of Kilburn) in 1953, reputedly the last piece that he himself worked on. In the north side chapel is a white-painted fourteenth century effigy of a knight, probably Sir Peter Middleton (d 1336). At the west end of the north aisle is the Watkinson family pew, an enclosed box pew of the type often made for families of note, dated 1633. In the Chancel there is a fine collection of small commemorative family brasses dating from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The crucifixion east window is by William Warrington (1861). One north aisle window shows the Angel of the Resurrection by J. Henry Dearle for Morris & Co (1922).
Today, the church has a busy and active congregation with interesting and vibrant services. During the years 2018 – 2019 All Saints Church, seeking to be a blessing for the community through mission and worship, embarked upon and completed a £1.3 million Church Development Project giving the Church greater flexibility and access. This recent Church Development Project included the creation of a new link between the main church building and the meeting rooms of Church House. The link is framed by a glass passageway displaying an illustrated timeline of the church’s role in the history of the town.

We hope that visitors to Ilkley in the future will come to visit the Church, the oldest building in the town. We are proud custodians of the rich heritage visible in the fabric of this building, and as lived through the lives of the people who worshipped here through the centuries. The award of a Heritage Lottery Grant in 2018, part of the wider church development project, has seen the introduction of new information boards and multimedia displays that tell the story of the church and the important part it has played in the development of Ilkley from the time of the Romans to the present day.

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All Saints Parish Church


Church St, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 9DS
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Call direct on:

Tel01943 816035

Opening Times

* Monday and Saturday

Tuesday - Friday and Sunday

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