Ossett Pictures - South Ossett Parish Church

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South Ossett Church

The first Vicar of South Ossett, Mr Neary took a weaving chamber belonging to Mr George Wilby (father of Mark Wilby of Manor House & Manor Mill) to use for Church Meetings. The chamber is still standing but now made into cottages. Mr Neary prevailed upon Mr Joseph Thornes of Green House to give him a piece of ground bordering on Horbury Lane of approximately 2 acres in area. This was a rough field with a small straw thatched cottage in possession of an old woman named Martha Giggal, who was reluctant to move, but was persuaded by being offered £22 in compensation.

Plans for South Ossett Parish Church were drawn up by Malinson and Healey, Architects of Halifax. The foundation stone was laid on the 1st January 1851 and the church consecrated on October 18th 1851 by Dr. Longley, the first Bishop of Ripon. The stone for the church was obtained from Newmillerdam and Brighouse and built and furnished at a cost of £2,120. The first burial in the churchyard took place on the following day!

Cruciform in shape, with a square tower, it stands on a low hill above Horbury road. In 1853, a vicarage was built on land adjoining the church. It had a commanding view towards Netherton and Bretton Park, but this view was later blocked by two large houses built in front of the vicarage. It is said that the two men responsible for building these houses had an argument with the first Vicar at South Ossett Church and both later failed in business. Later still, a Parochial Hall, Church School and Verger's Cottage were added. Electricity was installed in the Church in 1927.

There were 1,900 burials here between 1851 and 1889. In 1889, the churchyard was closed for new burials and the Wesleyan Burial Ground at St. John's, South Parade was used as an alternative. A new Burial Ground was consecrated in Manor Road, about a mile from the Parish Church on the 9th May 1920, the land being given by Mr. W. Brooke and Mr. R.J. Tidswell. In 1890, a South Ossett man asked to be buried upright, so that he would be able to spring to his feet on the day of Resurrection.

South Ossett was made into an independent parish by separation from Dewsbury in 1846. Ossett-cum-Gawthorpe did not become an independent parish until 1858. A friendly rivalry existed between the Vicars of the two parishes of Ossett in the early years. The third parish of Gawthorpe was not formed until later. Holy Trinity had been the only Anglican Church in Ossett for many centuries but was a Chapel under Dewsbury Parish Church until it became a separate parish on being rebuilt on a new site. On the Rev. J.H. Kirk becoming Vicar of Christ Church and the Rev. H.C. Craddock, Vicar of Holy Trinity, the two agreed that the parishes were sister parishes both formed out of the Parish of Dewsbury, and that their proper titles were "Vicar of South Ossett" and "Vicar of Ossett-cum-Gawthorpe". Any claim to the title of "Vicar of Ossett" was abandoned. From then onwards for some years, a joint Parish Magazine was published and a united Men's Service held twice monthly alternately at each Church.

The boundaries of the South Ossett Parish were revised in 1901, the new ones conveniently following the main town boundary and the railway. The patronage of the living was vested in the Bishop of Wakefield in 1908, and its value increased to £215 a year.