The church at Winsley was originally one of the chapels of the mother church of the large parish of Holy Trinity, Bradford. The date of the first building here is unknown and the first surviving record of it seems to be from 1349, although there is mention of Bradford possessing unnamed chapels in 1291. Unfortunately, the church was largely rebuilt and only the tower now remains from the medieval building.
Winsley church before rebuilding. This drawing, by an unknown artist (perhaps W.W. Wheatley), shows St Nicholas in about 1800, before the major changes were made. The tower was at the west end of an aisleless nave. The tower is in the perpendicular style of the 15th century with a possibly later saddleback roof. The nave’s windows have flat tops, suggesting a date slightly later than those of the tower. It is battlemented with a curious higher section above the entrance from the south porch. The chancel is lower and seems to have a tall narrow pointed lancet window in its south wall, perhaps indicating that this is a remnant from a 13th century building. The other windows of the chancel have been inserted later. This drawing and another by John Buckler show steps leading up to a door at the eastern end of the nave, perhaps leading to a rood loft.
Rebuiding of Winsley church
Judged to be too small, the nave and chancel were demolished and a new building was erected to the north of the site of the old one in 1841. The rebuilding was recorded on a marble plaque which bears the names of the Bradford Vicar, Henry Harvey and his Curate, Charles Sylvanus Meech. Also, at the base, the Winsley Chapelwarden, James Baber who was probably the man behind the work. Baber (c1791-1866), from a Bradford and Bath family, owned a lot of property in Winsley, including the Murhill stone quarries and had contacts in Bristol. He could have arranged for Bristol architect Richard Shackleton Pope, a colleague of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to do the design. Stone windows from the old church are said to have been reused in the big house called Burghope.
Clergy of Winsley
An ecclesiastical parish of Winsley with Limpley Stoke was created out of parts of the ancient parish of Bradford in 1846, under its own vicar. Prior to that the chapel of St Nicholas was served by a curate. The parish was recombined with South Wraxall and Monkton Farleigh in 1964, to which was added Christchurch in Bradford in 2010 and is now styled as a Rectory.
Lewis Rew Cogan (died in 1862, buried in Bristol) first vicar 1846-1862
Francis Stephen Forss (died in 1892, buried at Limpley Stoke) 1862-1892
J.S. Sandys, curate 1889-1892
Reginald Walter A. Angelsmith 1892
Charles A. Sladen, curate 1893-1895, became Vicar of Burton, Cheshire
Thomas Francis Baker 1922-1959
Homer Hill 1961
William A. Matthews 1973, became Vicar of Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon
David C. Ritchie 1981
Derek G. Smith 1984 -of Winsley, South Wraxall and Monkton Farleigh
Robert S, Green 1999
Howard K. Jameson 2005
Ann Keating -first Rector 2010
Rev Angelsmith had a brief moment of national notoriety in September 1909, when he was summoned before Bradford magistrates for assaulting Winsley parish nurse Margaret Sperring. He apologised and the case was withdrawn.
GPS Coordinates: 51.34777, -2.28962
- Added: 12 Dec 2017
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2656904
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