St Wilfrid’s Church, Harrogate is an Anglican parish church in the heart of North Yorkshire. It has been listed as a Grade I listed building since 1975, making it the only such building in Harrogate with a listing of this status.
In 1902 sisters Elizabeth and Jane Trotter were travelling from London to Scotland when decided to break their train journey at Harrogate. Jean Trotter died unexpectedly while at prayer that evening and Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Trotter decided to settle permanently in the town. She lived in the Duchy Estate and devoted herself to raising money for a new church in honour of her dead sister.
The first congregation gathered on 24 August 1902 in a corrugated iron building in one corner of the building site. The foundation stone for the new church was laid in 1904 and the church was consecrated in 1914.
St Wilfrid’s was designed by the architect Temple Lushington Moore and is his most famous work. The church building was left unfinished at his death in 1920, but his extremely able son-in-law, who had become a partner in the firm Temple Moore & Moore completed the Lady Chapel, the Parish Hall and the verger’s cottage in the 1930’s.
St Wilfrid’s was designed and built to be respectful of the high church Anglican tradition, making it an important place of Anglo-Catholic worship within the Church of England. The architecture may be inspired by ancient monasteries, with its cloisters, night stairs to the organ loft and Lady Chapel, but it isn’t an old church (in church years at least).
The church was built along with the Duchy Estate, so called because the Duchy of Lancaster owns the land it was built upon. The solid, battlemented tower is very different to the spires of the other churches in town, and it is faced in creamy coloured limestone, a stone that has not become discoloured over the years.
St Wilfrid’s is one of the top 40 largest parish churches in the country, and the largest parish church in Harrogate. The church was built to make a statement – about its style of worship, which was very different to that of most other churches in Harrogate at the time, and its architecture reflects that difference.
The parish hall is rented out for wedding receptions, parties and events, and through the week hosts daily classes including fitness, dance and Baby and Toddler Sensory sessions. If you are able to go into the hall you will notice the beautiful “lamella” wooden ceiling.
Whether you want to attend a service or just go along for a visit, the church is open every day from 9am until after the last service of the day (usually around 6.30pm).