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St. John the Baptist

Also Known as:

 

 

HOME > Churches > St John the Baptist, Adel

 

District:
Adel
Religion:
Church of England
Consecrated:
 
Map:
 
Connecting Churches:
 
Status:
Functional
Architect & Building:
Adel church remains to this day one of the best examples of unaltered Norman architecture in Britain. The church has its origins in Saxon times from a wooden church (grave markers were found beneath the church in 1866 that date from the late 10th./early 11th century) (3). These stones are in the Leeds Museum (3).

The present church was built in 1816 and would have had a thatched roof (3). The church is older than Kirkstall Abbey (3) and was built on moors and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist who was a wilderness preacher) (3).

The church features two extensively carved arches with chevron ornamentation - a device much favoured by Norman carvers. Externally, the south doorway was the chief glory of the sculptured stonework. Unfortunately a protective porch was removed in 1816 since when the stonework has deteriorated quite badly. On the door is fixed a bronze handle. It consists of a circular plaque incised on which is the head of a beast devouring a human head. An incised moveable ring passes through the mouth of the beast. The whole is similar to the sanctuary knockers at Durham cathedral and All Saints' at York but there is no evidence that Adel ever had the right of sanctuary extended to criminals fleeing the place where they had committed a crime.

Internally the Chancel arch remains almost as sharp as the day it was carved. Again the carvers make extensive use of the chevron-zigzag form. Several grotesque heads surmount the arch. The capitals of the arch have interesting carvings. One of the carvings depicts a centaur with a bow and arrow, a favoured device of King Stephen (1135-1153).

The east window, set in 1681, contains the Arms of Dr. Brearey, the Rector, The Arthington family, those of Kirke of Cookridge and the Royal Arms. The three personal names survive today in areas and villages close by Adel.

The glass in the church is the work of Henry Giles of York. Mr Giles also added the inscription to his 'ever honoured friend' Thomas Kirke who died on 24th April 1706 and is buried in the churchyard. That is now incorporated in the small two-light window in the south wall of the chancel.

The stained glass in one of the windows in the south wall was put in during 1933 as a memorial to a member of the congregation, Colonel Arthur Bray. The three panes depict Ralph Paganel, Ilbert de Lacy and Alan, Abbot of Marmoutier, represented by the legend of its founder, St Martin, giving half his cloak to a beggar.

White 1853 Directory:(2) The Church (St. John,) is a fine specimen of Saxon and Norman architecture, though it has no tower. The rectory, valued at £623, is in the patronage of Major General Davy. Addle is in Skyrack Wapentake, and is the site of a Roman station.

Records:
Christening

1606-1858

Marriage 1606-1837
Baptisms 1606-1876

After this period records are held with the incumbent.

Bishops Transcripts held at WYAS, Borthwick.

Monumental Inscriptions: Produced by the Wharfedale FHS, comprising of Full Inscriptions, together with Index and Map. (WFHS). Also printed by the Thoresby Society Vol 5 (1895).

Notes:
 
Bibliography:
  1. National Index of Parish Registers, Vol 11, Part 3 (Society of Genealogists). Page 28.
  2. White's 1853 Leeds Directory, William WHITE Page 393
  3. Worship North and East of Leeds, GILLEGHAN, John.
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