History of St. Margaret's Church
The history of our church building started in 1865, when the incumbent of Horsforth parish was the Rev. W.H.B. Stocker. He, the parishioners and the patron of the living, Walter Spencer Stanhope, deemed the old Bell Chapel on The Green in Horsforth to be far too small to accommodate the size of the congregation. The Patron gave land for a new church.
A lack of funds and enthusiasm caused long delay before the present church was actually built. Its designer, John L. Pearson, was architect also of Truro Cathedral and several churches in West Riding. The nave and chancel were completed and dedicated in 1883. The belfry, spire and porches were added later and dedicated in September 1901. thus, the full church building took over 36 years to complete.
Take our virtual tour
The first impression on entering the building is of light and space, helped greatly by the ten tinted clerestory windows, high above the nave.
The beauty of St Margaret's Church is much enhanced by the quality of its stained glass windows, most of which have been given as memorials to past parishioners.
The East and West windows
Walk into the church, stand at the end of the Central Aisle and look down towards the front of the church. The east window portrays the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and was erected in 1905 in memory of a long serving sidesman, Mr David Beavers.
Behind you at the back of church, the west window represents the transfiguration and bears the text "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him". It was given by two children of the Rev. and Mrs W.H.B. Stocker, in memory of their parents, and was dedicated by the Bishop of Ripon in 1929.
Continue on towards the Baptistry. Above the stone font at the back of the church, the two windows show Christ with six small children ("Suffer the little children") and Christ with a lamb ("The Good Shepherd"). They were given by Sunday School in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
Moving down the South aisle from the back of the church, the first window depicts St. Peter with the keys of Heaven and is in memory of Arthur, brother of the Rev. T. F. Buckton (d.1907). the second St John with chalice and scroll, is in memory of John and Maria Morfitt, descendants of the Rev. John Morfitt, incumbent at Horsforth 1744-1783. the third, St Barnabas, Son of Consolation , is in memory of Henry Barrett, Churchwarden 1883-1896. The fourth is St. Paul the Apostle, in memory of Rev. T.F. Buckton's mother (1903).
The organ, in front of you, has been restored several times, but the original casing is made of Austrian oak and is still in place. A local craftsman, Mr Arthur Shaw, made it in 1905.
As you step out towards the Choir the main altar area comes into view. The reredos behind the main altar is the most impressive of the other memorials in the church. The widow of Sir William Duncan, churchwarden 1897-1908, dedicated it in 1911. it is an interesting and extravagant piece of Edwardian sculpture designed by F. L. Pearson, son of the architect, and portrays our risen Lord triumphantly proclaiming the glorious truth of the resurrection.The figures in the top row are all of angels.
From left to right, they are:-
The Angel of Passion, with cross;
Raphael, the Angel of Guidance, with staff, water bottle and wallet;
Michael, the Angel of Justice, with sword and scales;
Gabriel, the Angel of Purity, with Lily;
Uriel, the Angel of Light;
And the Angel of the Resurrection.
There are also two angel in the centres of the side panels.The bottom figures are representations of the Patron Saints of the United Kingdom, of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds and of this church.
From left to right, they are:-
St. George of England (in battle array),
St. Wilfrid (with bishop's mitre, crook and robes),
St. Andrew of Scotland (holding a model of he cross saltire on which he died)
St. Patrick of Ireland (with conquered serpents),
St. Margaret of Antioch (crowned, Bible in hand and slain dragon at her feet)
St. David of Wales ( with emblematic dove on his shoulder).
Continuing round the church, the Chior Vestry window is of great interest as it was intalled after being in storage for forty years. Originally, it was in the East window of the old Bell Chapel and depicts the birth, death and ascension of Christ.
On the Curate's pew is carved a poignant memorial to a brave young man. Richard Inge, a former curate, gave his life whilst serving in the R.A.F. in 1941, as he tried to save his co-pilot when the aircraft in which they were training crashed in flames. Richard was the son of the Very Rev. Dean Inge, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, well known for his writings between the wars and dubbed "The Gloomy Dean". The inscription reads: "HERE PRAYED Richard Wycliffe Spooner Inge THE LOVED AND TRUSTED FRIEND CURATE OF THIS PARISH 1938-1940 WHO BECAME A PILOT IN THE RAF AND GAVE HIS LIFE IN ATTEMPTING TO SAVE A LIFE".
Heading towards the North Aisle you see The Lady Chapel. It was furnished by the parents of Lt. C. F. Whitaker, who was killed in action during the First World War. Mr F. L. Pearson designed the reredos here, too, with an icon-like painting of the Adoration of the Magi.
Lady Chapel Windows
The two windows in the Lady Chapel are worthy of close study, as each has great wealth of symbolic detail. The one on the right is based on the Te Deum and is dedicated to the memory of the Rev. T. F. Buckton, Vicar of the parish from 1893-1908 and later Archdeacon of Gibraltar. The one on the left represents the Magnifiicat and was given by the Venerable Maurice Clarke, a former chorister at St. Margaret's and later Archdeacon of Madras. The most modern stained glass was inserted in the side chapel window in 1955 by the children of J. F. Spencer, churchwarden 1896-1911, portrays Jesus as the good Shepherd.
Installing an amplifying system has proven helpful both to members of the congregation who were hard of hearing and also to preachers and readers with soft voices.
The very modern extension by the North Door, called the Parish Centre, was completed in 2008 and has proven itself of great use both to the congregation and the community of Horsforth.
Look back as you leave the church: this smoke-darkened building can be seen for many miles around and is very dear to the hearts, not only of the congregation, but to hundreds of other people in this area. The relatively recent floodlighting scheme provides the town with a night-time view of its greatest landmark; it won an award for its designers, too.