United Benefice of Thornhill & Whitley Lower
Serving our local communities
History of Thornhill parish church
For further information, please see the links to the right of this page, and visit www.thornhillparishchurchhistory.org.uk.
Welcome to the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill. You are in good company as there has been Christian worship on this site since Anglo-Saxon times.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, this building is grade one listed and is included in Simon Jenkins' book “England’s Thousand Best Churches”.
We are situated on the B6117 just 2 miles South of Dewsbury and we serve 7,500 people in the Parish.
Although we are hugely proud of our historical significance, we recognise that it is both a duty and a joy to maintain the integrity of the past whilst accommodating the present and making room for the future. In the year 2000 the church was re-ordered in recognition of these thoughts as we installed a new kitchen and toilets, disabled facilities, an induction loop system, baby-changing facilities and generally a more adaptable system of furniture. Modern angels were etched into the glass doors of the new entrance lobby joining the impressive row of stained glass along the south side. The local school buried a time capsule at the west end of the church under the carved stone 'Be still and know'. In 2011-12 a new lighting and sound system were installed and most of the monuments in the church were conserved. The windows in the Savile Chapel were conserved and a new East Window in the chapel designed and made by Jonathan Cooke was installed.
Statement of Significance
The church is dedicated to St Michael and All Angels and stands on the south side of the Calder valley, two miles South of Dewsbury. There has been a church on the site since Anglo-Saxon times. Since the late l4th century its history has been closely linked with that of the important Savile family. The church is of interest both as an historic building, for the important monuments and outstanding medieval stained glass which it contains and for its important place in the community today. It is a Grade 1 Listed Building in the heart of the Thornhill Conservation area. It is listed in Simon Jenkins’ book “
The development of the church
The church is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the fragments of Anglo-Saxon memorials - crosses and a grave slab - indicate that there has been a church here since at least the 9th century. Fragments of stones carved in the
The nave of the church, probably an Anglo-Saxon or Norman structure modified and enlarged in the 13th century, was pulled down in the l8th century. In 1777 the medieval nave was rebuilt as a 'preaching box', in a mixed gothic and Classical style. The dedication slab of the 1777 nave survives, as does a photograph of the nave. The Victorians condemned the 1777 nave as 'Churchwarden's Gothic' and 'in poor style'. It was rebuilt (with aisles again) in 1877-9 by the architect
(Part of display of runic stones)
see link to Collingwood's work on these: http://www.huddersfield1.co.uk/huddersfield/tolson/angles_danes/thornhill.htm
The building was restored in 2001 with a new stone floor, a re-display of the runic stones, a new entrance lobby and new kitchen and toilets. In the