Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire

St. Peter's Church, Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire

Harrogate had no church until 1831 when Christ Church was built on The Stray, but as the Victorian fashion for Spa towns turned Harrogate from a little village into the most magnificent of all the Victorian Spa Towns (Bath being by-and-large earlier) it became clear that another church would be needed.

Mrs Mary Anne Fielde, a resident of Harrogate, gave her house to be the new vicarage and her large garden to be the plot for the church and school, although sadly she didn’t see the work completed.

The school was opened in the mid-1860s and it remained open until 1936.

The school helped to raise funds for the Church and work finally began on the building around 1870. Work progressed painfully slowly and the tower was not completed until 1926, money was not found to actually put bells into the tower until 1963!

Scholars consider the best feature of the church to be the painted glass (not stained glass) in the windows – it is all by Burlison and Grylls and was completed within 50 years, making the windows very much of a style. The painted nature of the windows allowed for almost photographic likenesses to be added to the figures. One window is even copied from the magazine “Punch”!

Harrogate is still one of the most pleasant and civilised towns in England, and although St. Peter’s Church is not particularly remarkable, it does stand in a prominent spot in the town centre which might otherwise lack a focus.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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