Church with links to former PM gets heritage lottery funding

Thanks to National Lottery players St John the Baptist Coley, Halifax,  is to undergo major repair works.

The church on the hill - as it is known - has a rich history and links with some interesting historical figures - including two former Prime Ministers, David Cameron and Robert Peel. It has just been awarded a grant of £138,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its project: ‘A Church on the Hill – past, present and future’ . This project will stabilise and repair the tower parapet, pinnacles and buttresses, improve the lighting and introduce a heritage activity programme which will include a heritage trail; a museum display area; creation of a video and a photographic presentation.

The lighting works will begin next month,  the tower work mid August and it is expected to be completed by mid December.  The building will remain open at all times.

The building is a focal point for the local area being built on a hill and is currently used by 150 people. The original single storey church was built in 1513, rebuilt in 1711, completely rebuilt in 1818 and upgrade in 1901 and has been used as a place of worship for over 500 years. The tower houses one of only 180 turret clocks built by Thomas Cooke of York in 1875.  It unique construction is similar to that of Big Ben as a flat bed clock. On the inside of the tower, there is unique double sided  wooden 2.2 m by 1.5 m carved coat of arms on the reverse side the coat of arms of Queen Anne 1707 to 1714 and on the other side George III, 1804.

The project will help develop historic walks and tours around the church and focus on the many historical figures, some famous, some with family links to Coley, including the Revd Oliver Heywood, Captain John Hodgson, Matthew Broadley, Robert Peel, Prime Minister, John Kerry former Secretary of State for the USA, and David Cameron former UK Prime Minister. 

Dr Allan Dowson, resources convenor for the project said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant. This landmark ‘church on the hill’  has provided a place of worship, a place to see from all points of the compass; a place to gather, a place of joy and a place of sadness, as well as a place engraved on the hearts of local, and not so local, people.  It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.”


Take a trip around St John's with this unique 3D model:




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