October’s Exposure Leeds Photowalk visited Morley.
The highlight of the visit to Morley was the discovery of St Mary’s In The Wood United Reform Church, which had sadly been derelict for many years. The church had been the subjected to an arson attack in 2010 which had all but destroyed the inner fabric of the building. The grounds and graveyard are fascinating to look around. Many of the graves are very old, one dates from 1689, and is ornately carved.
More info on the church:
The Church was tragically gutted by fire earlier this year in the early hours of 12th June 2010, devastating church members and many people in the local community.
St Mary’s has certainly held a pivotal role in the history of Morley as its sign suggests:
‘The history of St Mary in the Wood covers over 1,000 years. It is recorded in the Domesday Book 1086. On the 25 September 1650, a lease was granted to local Presbyterians for 500 years. The freehold was bought in 1950 and presented to the Congregation Trustees.
Worship changed to Congregationalism at the turn of the 19th century. In 1967 St Mary-in-the-Wood, Rehoboth and St Mary’s Mission joined together as the Congregational Church of Morley.
On 5 October 1972, the name of the Church reverted to St Mary’s-in-the-Wood on the formation of the United Reformed Church (Congregational and Presbyterian). It is the only instance in England or Wales of an ancient Episcopal place of Worship which did not return to the Established Church at the Restoration of the Stuarts in 1660.’
Text borrowed from here:
The future for the church is uncertain, there is planning permission being sought to convert the building into flats and the surrounding land to semi detatched dwellings. This may be a good use of the church itself, but what would happen to the historical grave stones and tombs?
More images below in the slideshow.