Sacred Heart & Christ the King

The history of Sacred Heart Church, Bingley

Early Days

The Rev. Edmund de Thury D.D. was the first resident priest at Bingley after the Reformation. He came from the south of England in 1873 at the request of Bishop Cornthwaite, then Bishop of Beverley (later of Leeds). Land was purchased in Crow Nest to build Crow Nest House.

Mass was said in the Fleece Hotel (from 1869)and then in a building which became the Liberal Club in York Street.

Next, Fr. Aloysius Puissant, a curate at St Mary's, Bradford, who during his two and a half years in Bingley, built the old school and the church in Crow Nest. It was opened on the 11th May 1880 by the Bishop of Leeds.

The chapel is not in any particular style of architecture, but it is well, if plainly built. It consists of a nave, chancel and transepts. On each side are five pointed windows with tinted cathedral glass, while on the wall space between the windows are hung the fourteen Stations of the Cross which are said to have been painted by Fr. Thury.

Fr. Alfred Watson then administered the parish for seven years, built the presbytery and laid out the grounds attached to it. He then became parish priest at Ilkley. Fr. Parkin, from Heckmondwike, took over the parish until June 1896, and during his time, church, school and presbytery were repaired, the church beautified and an organ with its gallery installed. However, he found Bingley too much for his strength due to the extent of the parish, and changed places with Thomas Bradley of Settle.

Fr. Michael O'Donnell served the parish until 1934. He installed the new marble altar and reredos, much of which was re-used in re-building the present High Altar in 1973

Wartime and after

In 1938 Bishop Poskitt asked Fr. John Hawkswell to take charge of Bingley, and during his long stay of 15 years a new era in the history of Bingley parish began. His first work was the opening of the Mass centre at the beautiful church of Christ the King in April 1940. In spite of the war, which had now begun, he acquired Cottingley Manor as a school and a Mass Centre. For a short time, Mass was also said at Cullingworth, though later abandoned. In the meantime, in order to extend the school premises and to look to future development of the parish, he bought Bramham Lodge as the new presbytery, to which he moved with Fr. Austin Moran, the first curate to serve in Bingley.

Father (now Canon) Michael O'Sullivan took charge of Bingley and again a new time of improvements and expansion. St Monica's, Wilsden was opened to serve the Catholics of that distant part of the parish. The old school was constantly improved and extensions made, the numbers having increased so much after the war. And plans were laid for a new school. This achievement was not completed until after the arrival of the late Fr. Frederick Mawson, who cared for Bingley with the help of two curates from 1965 to 1971. He then retired from parish work, but not before asking the bishop to divide the parish so that the portion beyond the river became St Mary's, Cottingley with Wilsden, whilst the old parish retained Christ the King, Crossflatts.

Recent times

On the occasion of the centenary of the parish, 1973, the Sacred Heart church was completely renovated and redecorated, the sanctuary being remodelled according to the new liturgy. The Mass to celebrate the Centenary of the opening of Sacred Heart Church was concelebrated by Bishop Wheeler on 11th May 1980.

Fr John Kelly replaced the late Mgr. Ronchetti in September 1980. He convened a few meetings of a short-lived Parish Council, which was concerned with redeveloping the old church and school building. In order to do this, he sold off the plot of land adjacent to Bramham Lodge on the North West. During his time, too, Fr. Michael Krychiwskyj was ordained priest in Sacred Heart church (1st August 1981). A new organ was donated to the church about 1981. Fr Kelly was in turn succeeded by the late Fr Ken Taylor, who celebrated his Silver Jubilee during his time in Bingley on 24th May 1989, and also the 50th anniversary of Christ the King, Crossflatts concelebrated with Bishop Konstant.

The last Parish Priest was Fr Joseph Smith who was appointed to the parish in 1998. Bishop Roche announced that, from August 2006, this parish and the neighbouring parish of St Mary and St Monica, Cottingley were to be merged, with Fr Sean Molloy as Parish Priest. We very sadly said Goodbye and Thank You to Fr Joe for all his work here with us.

Official Description

Another description of this church can be found on the website.


Back to Home page | Photos of Sacred Heart church | Banners for Confirmation, 2002 | Top