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Cross Stone Church, Todmorden

© W. Eastwood

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Cross Stone Church, Todmorden

Colour postcard of Cross Stone Church, Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Author: W. Eastwood
Date: not dated
Location: Todmorden
Format: Postcard - Colour
Document ID: 101144
Library ID:

Colour postcard of Cross Stone Church, Todmorden.

Cross Stone Church is perched on a shelf of land about half way up the steep flank of Bride Stones Moor (1400 feet) north-east of Todmorden.

The Chapel of Cross Stone or Crostone takes its name from a fragment of an 11th century cross found in the wall of a barn. In the Township of Stansfield, it was part of the Heptonstall parish, but due to the size of the area covered, a sub chapel or chapel-of-ease was built at Cross Stone about 1450. Although rites were performed at Cross Stone, they were not official until recorded in the Register at Heptonstall. This was true until the liberalizations of the 1800s. The first church at Cross Stone was built in 1527 and pulled down in 1717 and then replaced. The famous Parson William Grimshaw was curate here from 1731 to 1741, before moving to Haworth where he preceded the Rev Patrick Bronte. He was a close friend and colleague of John Wesley during the early days of the non-conformists and became noted for his passionate pulpit oratory. The Rev John Fennel, uncle of Mrs Patrick Bronte, was here from 1819-1841 and the Bronte children stayed on a visit in 1829.

The present building is dedicated to St Paul and is a so-called Million Pound or Commissioner's Church. After a survey had shown that no new churches had been built since the time of Queen Anne, the Church Building Act was passed in 1820 to build churches in developing towns. This allocated £1 million to build churches in industrial areas. The money came from the indemnity money which was paid by the French after the Napoleonic Wars. The church was designed by John Oates and Thomas Pickersgill and built in 1833-35. Oates (d.1831) was a Halifax architect who did much work on local churches and local buildings, including the New Rooms, Halifax, St James' Church, Halifax and St James' Church, Hebden Bridge.

Many members of the Stansfield family are buried at Cross Stone and it is considered to be the original home Chapel of the Stansfield family.

John Nowell (1802-1867) is buried at the church. He was a botanist who - with Abraham Stansfield - founded the Todmorden Botanical Society. He was invited, but declined the offer, to become the curator of Kew Gardens.

The church was closed for worship in 1978 after it was declared unsafe. It was then reported to be slipping down the hillside.

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