Darrington Church - a short guide to the building
a Grade One Listed Building.
The Earliest Christian worship.
Before the existing building the Christian Gospel was preached by travelling Bishops such as Paulinus from 627 AD. A preaching cross outside the porch would have marked the place where the Gospel was preached. The cross shaft is 8-sided, and the cross would have been higher, and looked something like this:001 After that a wattle and daub rectangular hall may have served as a Church for the Saxons, but there is no evidence of one on this site. It is possible that a red sandstone Church was the first structure built as a Church. The shape of both would have been like the Churches at Escomb and Bradwell Escomb has had a porch and chancel added. Both are 7th Century.
The Church Building
Darrington church has its foundations from before the Norman Conquest, possibly in the mid tenth century, though most of what you can see dates to the twelfth or thirteenth centuries or later. it is possible that some of the stonework and walls incorporate earlier Saxon material, or are actually Saxon in date, but without taking the plaster off we can not be certain.The Church is dedicated to St Luke, author of the third Gospel, and to All Saints. This Church is a special, holy or sacred, space where people come to meet God, and to meet others. It is a place where you can relax, think about your life and what God wants you to do with your life.
Basic Geography of Darrington Church
The Church faces east, and the font is under the Tower, by the entrance at the west door, sometimes called the Prior’s door, since the Church was served by monks from the priory in Pontefract. down the nave towards the altar; we have the body of the church, with the nave in the centre, and north and south aisles to either side,and the chancel, or sanctuary at the far end. The pulpit is on the right, the lectern on the left and the altar or communion table in the middle at the front or east end.
The tower is mostly Norman, but some of the walls appear to be late Saxon, and they incorporate stone with Roman markings. If the tower was an early Saxon tower it would resemble that at Jarrow (pictured above left). The very top of the tower seems to have been added at a later date, after the tower had been rebuilt. But the builders either reused existing windows, or copied earlier ones. A good game to play is spot the sandstone, and it can be seen on the north face of the tower, the west face, and peeking up out of the foundations in various places. The aisles surround the tower which is unusual, and significant for its dating. The aisles, were added in the early thirteenth century, using some stone from an existing structure, we can tell the aisles were added after the tower was built; as you can see from the photos. (Left). The north and south aisles have windows in them which seem to be older than the aisles themselves, and it is possible that they were moved from the north and south walls at the same time as the south doorway-arch was moved from the nave to the south aisle.
The main entrance into Darrington Church is decaying and will soon need restoring at a cost of many thousands of pounds. The chancel was rebuilt, possibly around the existing structure, which was knocked down from inside.
The Victorian Restoration.
In 1875 the Reverend Digby Strangeways spent £2,500 on restoration of the church, it would have cost more, but a lot of things were actually given to the church, keeping the cost down. Centuries of plaster and white wash were scraped away from parts of the walls, and the beautiful; twelfth century stonework was revealed. How would Darrington Church have looked with its original glass, some stained, much of it plain? It would have been lighter, and the sun would have streamed in the mornings though the East window.
The box pews were removed in 1875, the old pulpit was reduced in size to its present form, and the font moved to its present position. Although many improvements were undoubtedly made, sadly with hindsight, some of the things, which were done, were not so good. Box pews did keep the drafts out in a way chairs or normal pews do not do!
The Stapleton Chapel
The North chapel was rebuilt in the fourteenth century. It is now called the Stapleton chapel.
On Thursdays at 10.30am we have a short communion service in this chapel. We have a short talk, and tea or coffee afterwards. Additional calor gas heaters keep us from freezing in Winter. A new curtain keeps the draughts out, donated by the Mothers’ Union. This service is friendly and offers companionship and friendship, it helps you get to know people in Church before coming to the Sunday services. Notice the organ console, and the piano, see the organ pipes at the back of Church behind you.