Church History

Church Interior after the major refurbishment in 2015, before ceiling decoration and crucifix

Further notes on the History of the Building and on the Parish are being prepared. Meanwhile the following data is available.

Available from Ampleforth Abbey archives, a document covering the period from 1833 to 1983 from Fr Anselm Cramer, OSB, updated in 2005 :(click here … …)

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Within that period, the following amplification has been prepared by a Parishioner covering 1945-1979:

Peace Again At Last

King George VI on the Throne

Easingwold Memorial Park created, devoted to a Children’s Playing Field.

Father Marshall was succeeded in 1945 by the Reverend Louis D’Andria who was in the parish for a very short time and was followed by the Reverend Aelred Perring in 1946 who remained until 1948. The Reverend Ignatius Miller arrived in 1948 and, as Father D’Andria, was not long in the Parish. Reverend Illtyd Williams followed Father Miller and now began a period of sixteen years for the Parish under his leadership.

On 16 December 1949 a letter was sent to all priests of the Ampleforth missions from Abbot Byrne to remind them of some basic allowances. He mentions that he requires an account of personal receipts, including gifts and expenditure if they exceed the sum allowed viz £66 plus clothes allowance; and that according to the regulations of the ‘Food Office’ those who stay at the Abbey for three nights or more should bring with them their Ration Books. It was stated that up to £25 may be taken for holiday allowances.

Little is to be found in the church records during this period, but what was recorded was the donation of a sculpture in 1952 that can be seen on the left hand side of the altar set in the wall, where at one time a lancet window was. The sculpture was donated by Mr and Mrs Watson in thanksgiving for the return and remembrance of the fallen during World War II. There is a Latin inscription.

The number of parishioners is noted in 1955 in the Statistics of the Parishes recorded at Ampleforth Abbey, and shows that 165 were recorded of which 8 were nuns and 25 were children and the average mass attendance was 95. Though it seems that the overall number had increased, it would appear that there were a significant number of lapsed Catholics. The returns for 1965 had increased to 327 which included 106 from the local Royal Air Force station of Linton-on-Ouse.

During the stewardship of Father Vincent Wace OSB who was parish priest from 1964 to `1968, alterations and improvements were made to the old school, now the Church Hall. In the Spring of 1966 permissions were sought for the demolition of the old toilets in the yard and new ones to be sited within the Hall and the widening of the access from the road to the hall, which included the erection of new metal gates. Planning permission for this and improvements to provide kitchen facilities was finally granted on 13 January 1967. The grand opening of the newly refurbished Hall took place on Thursday 6 July when the Abbot of Ampleforth kindly agreed to be present. Although it was a huge improvement of the facilities available, there was a considerable financial strain placed on the parish and the results of a planned giving campaign proved disappointing. It had been estimated that for the parish to function on a weekly basis an income of £14 was required. The result of the efforts to increase the income was an increase of 3 shillings only. Nonetheless, time has proved that parish survived, though the parish priest must have had some restless nights!

During late 1967/8, Father Wace decided to remove the Rood Screen in the Church. This caused quite a “stir” in the parish as no consultation as to its removal had taken place with the parishioners. A representation of four gentlemen of the parish was sent to discuss this action with the then Bishop of Middlesbrough, John Gerard McClean (1967-1978). However it was generally agreed that the removal of the Rood Screen was an improvement. This incident perhaps caused the creation of the first Parish Council in Easingwold and possibly led to the formation of a branch of The Knights of St Columba and a branch of the Catholic Women’s League. (Memory statement from an older member of the parish.)

Permission was sought for the change of access onto Long Street from the Priory, from pedestrian to vehicular, and was granted on 26 October 1967.

Father Wilfrid Mackenzie OSB was appointed parish priest in 1968 and held this position until 1979. During this period of time a record in the Statistics of the Parishes of Ampleforth Abbey shows that the Catholic population was recorded at 310, with approximately 130 people attending mass regularly on a Sunday. Members of the parish to this day remember Father Mackenzie with great affection and said that he was “much loved” within the parish. They describe a quiet, tall man, with a little ginger border terrier always trotting at his feet, tending the garden at the priory. He was a great gardener and found peaceful enjoyment within its walls. A countryman at heart, his few private hours were spent with the Beagle pack at Ampleforth.

In 1986 when Father Osmund Jackson OSB was appointed to take over from Father Mackenzie, numbers had risen to an estimated Catholic population of 480 with 150 attending mass regularly. Father Osmund was remembered with great affection in all the parishes he served. He was solemnly professed in September 1956 and ordained in July 1959 at Ampleforth Abbey; and was sent to be parish priest of Saint Chad’s Kirkbymoorside in September 1959, only three months after his ordination. His active priesthood took him to both sides of the Pennines, as an assistant priest in the larger parishes in Lancashire, then to Cumbria and back to the smaller parishes in Yorkshire. He returned to Kirkbymoorside in 1970, went back across to St Mary’s Brownedge as an assistant priest, ending his active years in Easingwold from 1979 to 1989. His early life before ordination had seen him on active service in the Royal Indian Navy from 1938-1947, and his nickname was “The Admiral”. Whether Father Osmund knew of this is not known but his quiet unassuming ways, kindly deeds and sense of humour belied a man of canny perceptions and great insight, so perhaps he did. Father Osmund died at Ampleforth Abbey aged 74 on 25 May 1994 after a short illness.

In 1979 changes were taking place around the country and Diocesan Boundaries were being reviewed. In York, two parishes that previously belonged to the Leeds Diocese now entered the jurisdiction of the Middlesbrough Diocese. A new appointment of an Auxiliary Bishop to help look after the southern area of Middlesbrough diocese was created and also a new Diocese of Sheffield,

SH 30 Oct 15

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For further detail on

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Further external websites carry some information on the Buildings, and History:

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(Further aspects this history in course of preparation)

{upd : 19 Sep 19 inc }

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