The Churches and Chapels of the
| Although I grew up in Stainforth I have spent all
of my adult life elsewhere, but my interest in the village and its locality
had never wained. I have spent about fifteen years reseaching my family
history and in doing so discovered a great deal about the life of Stainforth
and its people. The following taken from my own researches, the material
discovered in Stainforth Library, and snippets from books sent to me from
other rearchers, from Arthur Mee's West Riding of Yorkshire, newspaper articles,
and Stainforth's own Norman Barras.
One Stainforth Chapel was lost to the village through Chantry's Act in the time of Edward the sixth. This Chapel it was said "is distant from the paryshe church of Haytefeld aforeseyd one myle and one half and necessarie to contynue for the inhabitants of Staneford, which can not travayle lo theyre paryshe church in Winter for niyre and water and the incumbent, James Hebden, "52 years of age, unlearned. hath none other living"
The Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536, "....the
King was truly informed that there was a new insurrection made by the
northern men, who had assembled themselves into a huge and great army
of warlike men, well appointed with captains, horse, armour and artillery,
to the number of 40,000 men, who had encamped themselves in Yorkshire.
And these men had bound themselves to each other by their oath to be faithful
and obedient to their captain.
There was to be no other Catholic Church until 1956 when the present Church of Our Lady of the Assumption was built, (to take a look at their website go to links) People worshipped in the Old Market Hall a loved village landmark now sadly gone.
The church at Hatfield mentioned in the Doomsday Book was most likely a timber one, built by the Anglo Saxons. The present Hatfield Church has grown from one built at the close of Norman days. Of that twelfth century church there are still the tall arcades with pointed arches on round pillars, the west window of the north aisle, the west doorway through which we enter and the south doorway with a hood, both these doorways being Norman.
A striking feature of the medieval reconstruction of the church are six arches spanning the north aisle, making it like a cloister walk to the north transept. The rest of the church - the clerestory, the shallow transepts, the spacious chancel and chapels, and the great central tower is fifteenth century. The tower rests on four great arches with lovely mouldings, and above them are four windows flooding the crossing with light. there are beautiful old roofs with floral bosses, an ancient chancel screen with tracaried vaulting supporting the floor of the vanished loft, and part of a simple old screen between the north chapel and the transept. In the other chapel are old pews, and the medieval south door has old iron hinges.
| The registers here date from 1566 and are written
on parchment until 1777 from that date forward they were written on paper.
The Warrenne family owned Hatfield and the surrounding
lands. They built the later churches of Fishlake and Thorne.
A Church built in 1819 known as St Matthews Church
was a brick barn-looking Chapel and and has been described as the ugliest
Church in England. The Vicar writing in the Church's Terrier of 1897.
"The Church is dedicated to St Matthew It is built of brick roofed
with slates. It was built in 1819 and is in shape and style of architecture
exactly like a Nonconformist Chapel. There is a small projecting Chancel
and a Vestry. It sounds plain and ordinary, but not particualrly ugly.
In the 19th Century there was rapid development of Nonconformity in Stainforth. In the 1851 census "St Matthews Church was described as "A licensed Room by the Vicar of Hatfield "Minister of the above named Room There were 32 present at the only service on Census Sunday. But the Wesleyan Chapel opened in 1822, boasted an attendance of 383 children and adults at its three services and the Primitive Methodists, round figures, reached 290 at their three services. The Unitarians, with Chapel from 1817, had 24 at their single service.
"In Sykehouse: on the 21st February 1744 John
Wesley tells us "William Holmes met us at Doncaster and piloted us
through the mire and water and snow lately fallen to Sykehouse. I began
preaching as soon as I came in, and exhorted them to follow after the
great gift of God. This visit must have been brought about by the zeal
of that David Taylor who, the Vicar of Fishlake and Sykehouse
complained to his Archbishop "seduces the people, mostly of Sykehouse."
"John Wesley preached at Doncaster for the last time in 1790 and
not withstanding his great age, eighty seven years his discourse
was delivered with wonderful energy."
Later in the year the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave one capital sum of one hundred and fifty pounds towards the cost of providing a parsonage. This Vicarage, now an old peoples house still stands with the date 1885 over the door. It is a vast house of unimaginable ugliness! After a new, more manageable, house was built it became a convent of Roman Catholic nuns for a time. The Doncaster Chronicle of the 28th January 1885 gives a clear account of the creation of the new parish:
Stainforth. The New Parish Church. The Archbishop has presented the Revd William Smith, MA of Queens College, Cambridge. sometime master at the Doncaster Grammar School and now curate of St Mary's Beverley, to the incumbency of the new parish of Stainforth The separation of the parish of Stainforth from that of Hatfield is entirely owing to the praiseworthy exertions of the Vicar of Hatfield (the Revd S P Haydon) For the last twenty-one years there has been accumulated a fund for the purpose of the better spiritual provision of that township. His Grace the Archbishop of York, having duly considered the matter and having discovered a local claim upon the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, through portions of the parish of Fishlake being comprised in the proposed district, obtained the promise of £200 a year for the new parish- After this the Trustees of the fund raised in 1863, now amounting to some £940 made it available for the benefit of the new benefice. And quite lately the Hon Mrs Meynell Ingram has promised a site whereon to build a vicarage fit for the incumbent".
The Salvation Army "opened fire" in Stainforth about 1920. It first had a marquee on the waste ground beside Riggotts ( apologies to the new owner, but it will always be Riggots to me) butchers shop on Church Road, this blew down in the middle of one of their meetings. They later built the "Corps" Hall further down Church Road where they enjoyed a huge following for many years. with their "Open Air" meetings and "Faith Teas" and in my experience very lively Sunday Schools. Many of my school friends at Junction Road school attended here, were you one?
Links to web sites of some of the Churches mentioned in this article:
St.Mary's Stainforth (This is a page on the Stainforth 2001 site)