The Parish of Gargrave is an interesting proposition that is as you might imagine based in historical precedent.
Traditionally the Parish system relies on ecclesiastical boundaries so as the largest settlement in these parts with the largest church, Gargrave became a hub.
Historically the Parish of Gargrave takes in: Gargrave, Coniston Cold, Bank Newton, Stainton, Eshton, Flasby and Winterburn. All small communities with insufficient population to support their own church.
Some have their own chapels but no funds to support local clergy.
The ecclesiastical Parish has since become a civil entity and the Gargrave Parish Council oversees a proportion of the civil planning for the area of Gargrave.
Gargrave Parish Council is part of the Craven District Council which is a higher level of entity in the local government organisation.
The UK Parliamentary constituency that covers Gargrave is Skipton.
There is a draft profile of the Parish of Gargrave at the Craven District Council Website,
The following parish boundary map is extracted (roughly/badly) from the draft profile (which is recommended reading), you can see that it takes in only Gargrave, the traditional ecclesiastical boundary has shrunk and the individual villages and hamlets have their own parish clerks.
The picture above shows the Millenium Gate to the north entrance of the church.
You can find St Andrews Church Gargrave at the corner of Church lane and Church Street in Gargrave. That’s across the river bridge from the High Street and you’ll see it on the left just after the Mason’s Arms pub but before you get to the Station.
This website used to have information about what was happening at St Andrews Church Gargrave but they now maintain their own website which you can find at:
St Andrews Church Gargrave (Some History And Information)
St Andrews Church at Gargrave is part of the church of England.
The church has been in its current form since being rebuilt in 1852 although the tower dates back further than that. The sketch above shows the new church.
Vicar’s entrance to Church
The current vicarage is just the other side of Church Land from the church and there is a small snicket in the wall from church lane that can be used to access the church from that side. The original vicarage was at the other side of the church and you can still see where the access gate was from the house there.
Backing on to church lane there is a small building which has an interesting sundial on the wall facing the church. It bears the inscription Every Hour Shortens Life.
Every hour shortens life
Builder of this Church
Near the outbuilding you will find the burial plot of the builder of the present church and his wife.
There are many fascinating features outside the church and some of them are the subject of myths.
Builder’s mark (not a shot hole from the civil war)
On the outside wall of the church you can see several indentations. The mythology is that these are shot holes from the English civil war, but the reality is that these are builders marks.
Inside the church is traditional and very beautiful. It has been updated a little at the rear of the church since this picture was taken.
The church at Gargrave is becoming more of a hub for the community in many ways. Possibly this is one of the brighter signs of our times.
A story in pictures (best viewed live)
The stained glass windows here are traditional and tell biblical stories as you would expect. But you will find them well worth viewing live.
Some of the stained glass was produced by Capronnier of Brussels.
Lytchgate Gargrave Church
During marriage ceremonies the tradition at the church is to enter by North entrance via the Millenium arch. Married couples exit at the other side of the church (you can see that on the sketch above and in the video below) and then leave via the church grounds via the lytchgate.
It’s not uncommon for the gate of the lytchgate to be tied shut and then be opened in return for a donation of coins. It sounds like a mercenary but it’s actually quite nice in practice.
There is more information about the history of St Andrews Church Gargrave on the church website.
It’s worth a visit in person to see the impressive nature of the place.
Here’s an aerial view of the church which might place the location in context.
I feel that what is written here is just an outline and it’s well worth a visit in person to get a better feel for it.
Most of the images used above are my own apart from the sketch.
The sketch is part of the Dennis French Archive, I don’t currently have the details of the original donor of the image, when I do I will add it to the article.
Gargrave Heritage Society is sometimes known as Gargrave Heritage Group, the names are generally interchangeable.
Gargrave Heritage Group Meetings
The Gargrave Heritage Group are a group of people from Gargrave who enjoy getting together and researching the history of Gargrave. They meet regularly in St Andrew’s Church in Gargrave.
They also organise a lot of interesting events relating to the history and heritage of Gargrave.
Some of the historical articles on this site contain information that was supplied by members of the society.
Gargrave Heritage Group Website
The Gargrave Heritage Group website contains a range of interesting articles, several of which were lifted directly from the original version of this website (gargrave.org.uk) although the acknowledgement is a bit vague. In the grand scheme of things though village history and heritage are a common interest so I guess it’s OK.
If you would like to visit the website for the Gargrave Heritage Group you can find it at: