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St John's Heritage

At first sight you might imagine that St John’s is a 15th century church as it sits next to a late Jacobean manor but it is in fact a 19th century copy of the perpendicular style and was designed by the Durham architects Bonomi and Cori.

In March 1843, Mr James Micklethwaite, a maltster who lived at Hopton Hall, donated a plot of land of 1/3 of an acre to the Church Commissioners for a New Church building. The Commissioners were initially not wholly convinced that a church in such a small village was really necessary.

Revd Ralph Maude, Vicar of Mirfield , filed the petition along with five trustees.

The total cost of the building work was estimated at £800 but the final bill was £1200.

In 1840, Upper Hopton was made an Ecclesiastical District, with a curate, George Kerr, in charge.

In 1843, James Micklethwaite, a Maltster who lived at Hopton Hall, donated a plot of land to the Church Commissioners in recognition of Rev. Kerr’s work over the previous 3 years. Designed by the Durham architects Bonomi and Cory, the church is a copy of the 15th century Perpendicular style. The final bill was almost £1,200.The foundation stone was laid on St John the Evangelist’s Day – December 27th – 1844 by James Micklethwaite and the building was consecrated on October 21st 1846.

In 1862, Thomas Marriot and Edward Wheatley gave a plot of land for the building of a parsonage. By the mid 1960’s, it was becoming structurally unsafe and so was demolished to be replaced by the present house in 1969.

The churchyard has been extended twice. In 1904, a middle section was donated by William Hall Marriott (formerly of Hopton Grange). It is likely that the stone archway was built at this time. The largest section of the churchyard was donated by Charles Sutcliffe in 1930. He was also the owner of Croft House, which was given to the church on his death.

The lych-gate was built in 1949 to commemorate the men of Upper Hopton who died in the Second World War.

The church clock was installed in 1953, partly as a celebration of the coronation and partly in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the church.

The original organ was probably little more than a harmonium, which is now in the church vestry, the first pipe organ being installed in 1861. This lasted until 1893, when a new organ was installed at a cost of £211 15s. Carriage was paid as far as Mirfield station and local farmers transported it from the station with horses and carts. The organ was rebuilt, at a cost of £6000, in 1981 and dedicated in memory of Harold Newton Myers, Vicar of Upper Hopton 1932-68.

Money was raised by the Community Association for the Millennium Window, which was designed and painted by local artists, Anne and Vince Seabourne, who live at the Old Manse near the junction of Hopton Lane and Hopton Hall Lane.

The memorial garden, under the window, was planted in memory of Shirley Hartley, Treasurer of the Community association for many years and a member of the committee which raised the funds for the Millennium Window.

St John's is famous for the daffodils in the churchyard and a photograph appeared on the cover of the Ford Motor Magazine in 1942.

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A Brief History

Angel-StJohn'sChurch-UpperHopton beyond the nave alter

Click on this text to open a pdf page showing a detailed pamphlet on St, John's interior heritage.

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