Book tells story of grand altar at Yeadon church

Ilkley Gazette: The Last Supper at St John's Church in Yeadon The Last Supper at St John's Church in Yeadon

The history behind a magnificent depiction of the Last Supper in a Yeadon church is outlined in a new book.

A Reredos for Yeadon has been written by St John’s Church treasurer David Norfolk, who became hooked on the story behind the impressive carved stone screen behind the altar.

The book researches the background to the alterations to the church in 1893, when the chancel was greatly extended, and many of the features familiar to the congregation today were first installed. Particular emphasis is given to the reredos, which the church is hoping to restore.

David said: “When we first looked into the possibility of restoring the reredos, it became clear that there were no longer any records at the church of what happened in 1893 and, obviously, no one alive who could remember it.

“With the help of my daughter Helen, I started delving into what records there were, and found that the history of our church at that time was very different to how it is now perceived. For every answer we found, we seemed to get another question, and the characters concerned were fascinating. I still have not found all the answers, but the possibilities are quite intriguing.”

He added: “Yeadon has never been a particularly wealthy mill town, and yet St John’s Church contains this wonderful reredos and also a splendid organ. It is the background to this, the speed at which all the funds were raised, and the people who were involved, that makes a fascinating story.”

Jenny Thompson, chairman of the church’s fabric committee, said: “What started off as a routine repair and maintenance issue, triggered an exciting adventure going back in time to find out the history of our beautiful reredos. For everyone who comes to St John’s it is a striking focal point, and for many, it offers a spiritual aid to worship and meditation.”

To order a copy of the book, one version priced at £5.50 and another at £7.50, call (0113) 250 1764.


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