All Saints' Church Thornton Hough


History and Architecture

All Saints Church, Thornton Hough was consecrated on the 5th May 1868 by the then Lord Bishop of Chester (The Right Revd. William Jacobson D.D.).  It is of Gothic design of the 13th century with a tower and spire.

The Church, Vicarage (now a private house, ‘The Old Vicarage’), School (now the Parish Hall) and School House (now a private house, ‘Hirst Cottage’) together with the School and School House at Raby were a gift from Joseph Hirst, a wealthy woollen mill owner from Wilshaw, near Huddersfield in Yorkshire where, five years earlier, he had already built the church of St. Mary the Virgin. Joseph Hirst had married Eleanor Ramsey from Chester in 1831 when he was aged 26 and had purchased Springfield House (now Thornton House) which he used as a retreat to recuperate from the strains of business.

On 15th January 1866 Joseph Hirst purchased farmland from James Houghton, a merchant, for £600.  The construction of the church and the adjoining vicarage and school took a little over twelve months, the foundation stone having been laid by Joseph Hirst in March 1867. 

The church was designed by John Kirk & Sons, Architects of Huddersfield, and the work was carried out by John Moorehouse and his six sons who were all masons from Meltham, near Huddersfield.  The cost of the entire work was about £8,500 excluding the cost of the ground. The church is cruciform in plan consisting of a nave, transepts and chancel and is constructed of stone from the immediate neighbourhood. The wall stones are of red sandstone and the dressings are of ashlar from Storeton quarries.

As you enter the churchyard from Raby Road, the arch over the steps was given in memory of Walter Kerr Fernie of Stanacres, Raby Road (now Thornton Farm). Mr Fernie died in 1928 aged 59 years and is buried on the north side of the church.

The spire is 120 feet tall. 

There is only one bell and cast into the shoulder of the bell are the words Cast by John Warner & Sons, London, 1867. On the side of the bell is cast the royal coat of arms and below this is the word PATENT.  The bell is 45.5 inches in diameter at the rim, weighs just over one ton and the pitch is G#.  It is supported by a robust timber framework such that it can swing in one plane.  There are two strikers, one manual, controlled by the bell pull in the porch and the other is operated by a series of levers controlled by the clock mechanism.

The clock is original and was built by Joyce & Sons in 1868 but is now powered by electricity and automatically resets itself to accommodate changes in British Summer Time.  The clock originally had four dials, but when Joseph Hirst realised that the church roof obstructed his view of the north facing dial from his home at Springfield House, (now Thornton House) he added the fifth dial.


The are some very fine stained glass windows in the church.

The west window depicts "St Michael and all the Angels in victorious conflict over the Dragon", and was placed there in the 1920s in memory of those men from the church who gave their lives during the First World War. It was necessary to first remove the gallery which ran along this wall and was reached by a staircase from the North Porch. The doorway at the South end of the gallery can still be seen. The gallery seated 100 and when used was mainly for children.  

The left hand window in the Sanctuary is in memory of William Bertie Barnes of the Grange and was a gift from his wife Elaine. It is a scene from the Song of Solomon showing a bride and groom with flowers, foliage and swans. The "Artist's Mark," at the bottom of the right hand light shows that the window was designed and made by Petri Anderson from Chapel Studio, Kings Langley, Herts in 2003. 

The great east window represents the crucifixion and was supplied by Messrs Clayton and Bell of London. It was the gift of Eleanor Hirst in memory of Mary Beaumont, her only child, who died in childbirth within 12 months of her wedding day, aged 26 years. This was the only stained glass window in 1868 when the church was consecrated. The remaining windows were of cathedral tinted rolled plate with richly stained margins.

The font is of Caen stone and was crafted by Mr T Ruddock of London. The words carved on the rim "Suffer little children to come unto me" are from Mark 10:14. The font was originally located, as in many other churches, at the back of the church near to the door, but in 1989 it was decided to move the font to the front of the church so that baptisms could become part of a normal service.

The lectern  is of oak and is original.


The Norman and Beard organ was built in 1912 and replaced the original organ built by Messrs Gray and Davison of London. The materials of the old organ were taken by the builders in part payment and the remainder of the cost was paid for by voluntary contributions. The organ was completely refurbished in 2013, marking its centenary; the works were carried out by Henry Willis & Sons, Liverpool.

The reredos is of Caen stone crafted by Mr T Ruddock of London, showing episodes in the life of our Saviour. 

The altar was given in memory of H.A. Bull (Vicar from1898) who died in 1935.

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