Wednesday, 13 June 2012

St Mary's Parish Church Ecclesfield Yorkshire

There is evidence that Christians worshipped on this site as long as 1500 years ago.

The Doomsday Book refers to Egglesfeld (meaning 'church in a field'), so it is likely that a
church existed here before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

In Anglo Saxon times, when parish boundaries were first marked out, Ecclesfield was
important enough to become the mother church of an enormous West Riding moorland
parish. It covered nearly 50,000 acres, stretching to the county boundaries and including

The earliest mention of a church here is in 1141 and traces of the Norman church still exist in the interior
of the present building. The early 14th century church had a similar plan to the present one with nave, aisles, crossing
and tower, transepts and chapels.

After the Norman Conquest, William de Lovetot (the Norman Lord of Hallamshire) gave
Ecclesfield to the Benedictine Abbey of St Wandrille, near Rouen in Normandy. It was some
time later that the monks first came to Ecclesfield; the exact date is unclear. There was
probably only a small cell of two or three. They never achieved any fame for their spiritual
influence and they were slack in their duties.
The building of the present church was begun in 1478 by the vicar, Thomas Clark. The
monks continued to be responsible for the chancel but the brunt of the cost was born by the
parishioners. The church was completed about 1500 and from the
outside is very similar to the largely perpendicular style building we see today.

This information from the excellent church website.

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