The Churches of St Wilfrid's & St Mary's
in the Parishes of Monk Fryston & South Milford
St. Wilfrid's Church, Monk Fryston stands centrally in the village and is set on rising ground from the main road. It looks across to Monk Fryston Hall, former home of the Hemsworth family, through whose generosity the church was restored in 1889-91.
There is evidence that a pre-conquest church existed on the present site and in all probability Archbishop Thomas rebuilt the church around 1080. building work continued into the 15th century and on the 12th May 1444 the then Archbishop issued a commission to John, Bishop of Philippopolis to dedicate the church and churchyard at Monkfriston.
There is documentary proof that would suggest the church was originally dedicated to St. Mary. In two 16th century parishioners wills, one, William Wheldale in 1547 stated the desire "to be buried in the church yerde of our ladie in Monkfriston" and the other, Ralph Horsman in 1553 "within the churche of our blissid ladie at Monke Friston"
There exists a fragment of medieval glass inscribed "S Wilfridvs de Repvn" and this is to be found below a modern figure of St. Wilfrid in the middle light of the east window of the north aisle. This has given rise to the thought that he was the dedication saint of this church.
The lower portions of the tower are of pre-conquest origin. It was probably around the 15th century that the tower was raised and adorned with its parapet and pinnacles.
In the tower are three bells inscribed as follows...
Jesvs Save Our Church .............1610
Sing praise to the Lord ..............1658
Gloria in Excelsis Deo ...............1675
The Altar Rail is constructed of Oak with balusters. The gate in the centre is inscribed "BH 1664 SVPS"
The Organ is by Lewis and was donated by a member of the Hemsworth family, John Hemsworth.
In the years 1889-91 a major restoration of the church took place. The work was carried out by Messrs. J Hall Thorp & Son of Leeds under the supervision of Architect Robert J Johnson FSA of York & Newcastle. The total cost being in the region of £7000.
The Church Hall, linked to the church by a short cloistered walkway was designed by Architects G. Pace & R. Sims and was built by local builder Fred King & Son. The hall was opened and dedicated by the then Archbishop of York, Donald Coggan on 11th September 1970.
This summary is taken from "A Guide to St. Wilfrid's Church Monk Fryston" compiled by former churchwarden Ian Metcalfe, copies of which are available by paying a visit to the church.
The picture is a black & white copy of a painting by
Constance Mary Duke c.1890
The parish of South Milford was formed in March 1859 from that of the neighbouring village of Sherburn -in-Elmet.
The church was consecrated by the then Bishop of Ripon, the Rt. Rev'd Charles Longley on November 25th 1846.
The land for the church was given by University College, Oxford with additional land from.Benjamin Crosland of 'Milford House'
The Crosland family retained links with the church until 1988 and the passing of Maimie Crosland , the spinster daughter of Walter Crosland JP and wife Emma. The present pulpit, a finely carved specimen by the "Mouseman" Robert Thompson was given to the church by Maimie in 1954, as a lasting memory to her parents.
The church was built at a cost of £1,500 by Benjamin Bulmer of Thorpe Arch and constructed in the local Huddleston limestone to designs by George Fowler Jones. Of note on the south side, a stained glass window in memory of Georgina Young, wife of the first rector, the Rev'd Frederick Young who retained the South Milford living for 49 years.
The Rectory, across the road on Westfield Lane was opened in 1866 and sold in 1968 when a new Rectory in the form of a bungalow was built further down the lane. This was also sold in 1985 when the parish merged with that of the neighbouring village of Monk Fryston. The new Rectory is located in Main Street, Hillam and is the home of the current Rector and family.
The picture is from a lithograph - circa 1846
Visitors at each church can obtain a leaflet containing a more detailed history of the building and its surrounds.
St Mary the Virgin, South Milford
Further historical information is available on the Genuki website.
for Monk Fryston, click here.
for South Milford, click here.
The old registers for Baptisms, Marriages & Burials for both parishes are held at the Borthwick Institute, York.