Welcome to the Brierley Village Web site

Pronounced as "bry"-"early"

Introducing the work of Brierley and its people in photographs (Baipip)

Brierley is a small village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire England

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 John Steele 2007

Written for the Brierley Village web site







Photography by Baipip



Part 6

Following the civil war and under the patronage of the Moncktons who now owned Hodroyd Hall and lived there, plans were drawn up to increase the height of the tower and incorporate bells in the newly built section. It isn’t known exactly when this work began but I would like to think that it was towards the end of the life of Michael Lambe who had served the parish as vicar for 53 years. He would have been a very happy man as he saw the culmination of his lifetimes work come to fruition. If one looks up at the section of the tower that contains the ringing chamber and bell chamber from the west unequal stonework can be clearly seen where the final section was built on. At each corner a gargoyle, a mythical beast, was added and from the mouth of each carving rainwater was carried away from the roof to the detriment of the unwary beneath. It must have looked an imposing building with its tower soaring heavenwards (see photographs) and I imagine that the parishioners were justly proud of it especially when the first four bells were rung for the first time.

     Unlike the patronage of the Monckton family two or three untitled but wealthy patrons in the parish St Peter’s church went from strength to strength and soon needed better seating arrangements. For many years the congregations of churches stood during worship except for the elderly or the sick who had the use of stone benches round the inside walls. Hence the origin of the well known and often used phrase, ‘The weakest to the wall’. Seating arrangements were introduced into churches in the form of ‘box’ pews complete with doors, which separated families for reasons unknown. Consequently the pulpit from which the priest delivered his sermon had to be raised, sometimes with two extra decks, in order that the holy message could be delivered to everyone. There were two decks only at Felkirk.

     As was the custom throughout every county the high-ranking families were given priority seating and viewing arrangements. Lord Moncktons family had their own area in the northeast corner of the nave and elevated above the congregation, their entrance door was cut into the north wall and the shape can still be seen. Just inside the main entrance one can see the front of the elevated area as it looked with its coloured marquetry 250 years ago. Extending under the organ and choir stalls is the Monckton family vault where 16 members of their family were interred during the period 1722 to 1810.

     Further galleries were added during the 18th century and these covered the north and south sides of the naïve aisles and were connected across the west end. Access was gained by stairs on the north and south sides. A form of heating was introduced during this period, which consisted of a coal-fired stove in the centre of the chancel 18 feet from the east wall. This is clearly seen on the interior plan drawn up before work began on the restoration of 1875, Directly behind the gallery seats which connected the north and south gallery seats was a platform on which stood an organ, directly above where the fonts stands today. The present day vestry was the sacristy and directly opposite the sacristy and south of the altar was the main vestry; the step down into it can still be seen. The pulpit was exactly opposite to where it is today and where the choir stalls stand at present were seats that faced eastwards just as the congregation seats face today.

     Looking at the plans that were drawn up in 1875 it would appear that the box pews had long since disappeared except for two which stood on the north side of the centre aisle about halfway down the present central aisle. The plans of 1875 were the last main alterations to be carried out on St Peter’s.


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