West Riding of Yorkshire
The site of what is, since 2004, Rotherham Minster – formerly merely the parish church of All Saints’, Rotherham – has been occupied by a church since Saxon times. After the Norman invasion it was enlarged and rebuilt in local ‘Rotherham Red’ stone, although some traces of Saxon materials do still survive in the church today.
The manor of Rotherham eventually passed to Rufford Abbey and it seems to have survived unmolested through much of the Middle Ages. In the 14th and 15th Centuries as Rotherham grew as a market town the church was enlarged. In 1409 work began on the tower which was later topped with a 180 foot spire which is today the main landmark of Rotherham’s town centre.
Much of the rest of the church dates to later in the 15th Century with the bulk of the work culminating in the Clergy Vestry being added in 1540. In the late 1700s the Snetzler organ was installed. In the early Victorian period the graveyard at the church was said to be in such a state of disgrace that ‘bones and skulls stuck through the soil’. Most of the burials were removed by the 1960s and only a few memorials remain.
In the 1870s Sir George Gilbert Scott was employed to restore the church. Scott did a very sensitive restoration on All Saints’ with only minimal rebuilding, mostly around the roof which was in a poor state and the internal galleries that were removed.
The exterior around the church was recently turned into a small public park which is intended as a focus for the town. Minster status was granted to the church in 2004 as part of a recent revival of the practice.
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