There has been a church in Kirkheaton for over 1100 years (established for the four townships of Dalton, Lepton, Upper Whitley (Grange Moor) and Kirkheaton. The first church is believed to have been a thatched, wooden structure built in Anglo Saxon times. Before that there was an Anglo-Saxon cross on the site (now in the nearby Tolson Museum, along with some Anglo-Saxon gravestones and other items) The mother church at that time was Dewsbury Minster (traditionally established by Saint Paulinus).
Even before the Norman Conquest there was a stone church, and the church has been continually developed since. Most of the present church is Victorian as a result of a fire in 1886, but the Beaumont Chapel (c.1350) and Tower (1486) are original. The Beaumont Chapel house the monument to the famous (some say infamous) Sir Richard Beaumont, otherwise known as ‘Black Dick’.
In the graveyard there is a nationally famous monument to a tragic local mill fire when 17 girls, the youngest just nine, were killed.Visit the Images of England website for further information
The Reverend Leslie Jane Noon writes:The United Church Kirkheaton (coming out of the Methodist and United Reformed Church traditions) is a small but thriving community church situated on New Road. In all we do, we try to be ‘open to God, open to life and open to the community’, as it says on our notice board. Life certainly does happen in our church – we are not people with perfect lives, but people who bring all aspects of life, often messy aspects, to the place where we gather; where we meet with one another and with God. We are a community minded church – and the community uses our premises most days of the week. On top of this, there are church-based activities throughout the week, for all ages: