Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire

Christ Church, Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire

Christ Church is one of Harrogate’s oldest churches. The very first church, a Chapel of Ease for the parish in Knaresborough, was close by on The Stray but by 1749 the slowly growing village of Harrowgate needed its own church. This began life as a replacement for St. John’s Chapel, but was re-dedicated as Christ Church in June of 1749. It was not until 1852 that Harrogate became its own separate parish to Knaresborough. Over the next 150 years a further four parishes were established as Harrogate outgrew its neighbour and became the spa town which we know today.

The church which stands today dates from a period between 1829 and 1831 when it was decided the original chapel was too small to house the growing population. The architect was John Oates from Huddersfield and when complete the church was described as “a prominent and beautiful object of admiration from all the surrounding parts of this celebrated watering place”.

Some enlargement work was undertaken in the 1860s with the newer work being in a more florid ‘high Victorian’ style than the muted core parts of the church. Inside Ninian Comper contributed a carved and painted reredos which was completed and installed in 1939.

Canon D.S. Guy, in 1906, complained about the layout and facilities of the church and unveiled elaborate plans for a new church to be built. Although this work never happened, a number of changes were made to the interior layout to alleviate Canon Guy’s complaints. In 1988 the Parish Centre was built using old school buildings meaning that non-worship parochial matters could now be handled in structures outside the body of the church itself.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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