Church Micro 5714...Pontefract
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Magnetic, about 3 times size of standard nano....PEN AND TWEEZERS REQUIRED.
This is a very interesting church steeped in history, as are many other parts of Pontefract including Pontefract castle which is just up the hill from the church - definitely worth a walk up if you have time. Although the church has a very colourful history, the reason I love it so much is the restoration that has been done to preserve as much of the old ruins as possible......it is basically built around the ruins from the civil war!!
Some history of the church itself:
Situated below the castle; on the northeastern side of the town, within the Pontefract castle conservation area is All Saints’ Church, which suffered severely in the siege of the castle during the English Civil war.
All Saints’ was the Parochial centre from Anglo Saxon times. It was possibly one of the first Churches to be built in the area; its destruction was one of the greatest historical misfortunes to happen in Pontefract.
During the Civil war the Church was constantly changing from one side to the other. In December 1644 the parliamentarians decided to try remove the royalists, who had held the Church for four days. Even though there were 11 cannons firing from the castle protecting the parliamentarians, numbers overwhelmed them and they retreated to the castle. There was desperate fighting in the Church and Churchyard. The next day the troops, in the tower, tried to escape by trying to descend the west end of the Church by using a bell rope.
In April 1999, after a fall of masonry, adjacent to the north wall, a small cannon ball was discovered (llb 2oz & 2" dia.), which had been embedded in the wall.
To the west of the present All Saints’ Church, across the road, is the remains of an earlier Anglo Saxon Church & burial ground, which was in use from 7th century onwards. It was probably a timber structure first, with Chancel & nave constructed later.
The earliest burials date around AD700. Information regarding the 12th century Church is unknown, the first documents referring to building work is a charter of 1219, when John de Lacy granted the Priory permission to extend the graveyard with the building of a new free standing Chapel on the north side of the graveyard.
The present Church appears to have been started about 1300 with the building of the Chancel, possibly to the east of the previous Chapel. The next stage was the building of the transepts and aisles & the lower part of the tower, with its famous double helix staircase at the northwest corner.
A double helix staircase i.e. two sets of staircases, both of which wind round the same stone newel, having separate entrances at the top & bottom of the stairs (similar in form to strands of DNA). The only other examples of a double helix staircase, can be found in this country in Tamworth at St Ethilda’s Church, and in the Chateau de Chambard in France.
The tower belfry was constructed in the early to middle part of the 14th century. The nave arcades, aisle walls, north & south porches were constructed with the Lady Chapel, by the end of the 14th century the octagon was built on top of the tower. It had two storeys, the lower one decorated with statues of the Apostles and Evangelists - each with their own emblem. On top of the octagon was a tall cross-surrounded by a parapet. The work was completed sometime during the 15th century.
St. Catherines' chapel was also built in the north transept & there was also mention of a stone statue of St. John the Baptist in 1445 & one of St. Peter in 1497. Eventually part of the transepts were repaired for use as a funeral Chapel and until 1810 the graveyard was the sole burial ground for the whole town of Pontefract. (In 1896 the graveyard was closed for burials by the council.)
The Church formed a background to a melodramatic incident during the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. Pilgrims, who objected to Henry VIII's religious changes, held the Castle and had with them, as a reluctant participant, the Archbishop of York, Edward Lee. During a sermon in All Saints’, he asked for moderation, the pilgrims didn't agree with his message and hustled him back to the Castle.
In 1660 the remains of the Lantern collapsed in a gale. The surrounding walls of the graveyard were raised to contain burials in 1786 and the unsafe roofs of the south transept and aisle were removed in 1795.
In 1831 R.D. Chantrell, an architect from Leeds, was engaged to restore the Church, as a Chapel-of-ease, for St. Giles. He proceeded to block the west windows of the transepts & arcades, added an apse to the east, for the altar, which was mirrored to the west by the entrance porch which formed a polygon under the tower. The belfry was repaired and the clock faces added.
In 1989, Rev. Eric Fowkes the then vicar, had the finials removed from the top of the tower for safety reasons, there was an outcry as he had failed to gain the necessary approval from the Wakefield Diocesan advisory council for the care of Churches, who were concerned that the carved stone finials were removed "without any lawful authority of the Chancellor of the Diocese", that the finials were part of the tower and the church structure and it was decreed that they must be replaced. The finials were subsequently replaced in 1990, paid for by the Parish of All Saints.
The cache is not at the published co-ordinates, here you will find a blue plaque high up.
From the plaque simply find the following letters and convert to numbers:
The new Nave was built in ZYXW
The tower and transept were restored in VUTS
A = U - S
B = W + Z
C = X - V
D = (Y+S) DIVIDED BY (U-T)
E = Y - S + Z
F = U
You will find the cache here - N 53° 41.ABC W 001° 18.DEF
If anybody would like to expand to this series please do, I would just ask that you could let Sadexploration know first at firstname.lastname@example.org so he can keep track of the Church numbers and names to avoid duplication.
There is also a Church Micro Stats & Information page found via the Bookmark list
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