Malcolm Warburton works part-time in a voluntary capacity as the Diocese's Tourism Officer. He is able to give advice to churches on matters relating to church tourism and he will also give talks on a variety of topics to church organisations.
At first glance, Wakefield Diocese may not seem to offer much in the way of tourism. It is not amidst renowned countryside like the Yorkshire Dales. Nor does it have a wealth of ancient churches like Lincolnshire and Norfolk. However, further exploration reveals a number of interesting places of worship varying in age, style and setting. Wakefield Diocese is broader west to east and therefore encompasses great scenic variety. This in turn has affected the development of its churches.
The moorlands of Calderdale and Kirklees were sparsely populated and had few medieval churches, unlike the richer farming country to the east, much of which became the Yorkshire coalfield. The soft water valleys around Huddersfield were ideal for the developing textile industry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and all these growing industries attracted communities of people who needed somewhere to worship. Wakefield Diocese therefore has a rich heritage of churches including a big contribution made by the many non-conformist groups, particularly Methodists and Baptists.
Amongst all these churches are some real gems and visitors to the area are urged to go and explore!
Churches in the Diocese
Below are some articles from Awake - the diocesan newspaper, which highlight some of the churches of the diocese:
Facelift for community and mission - St Michael the Archangel, Emley
More than a piece of Elizabethan heritage - St Peter, Felkirk
Story that began in the Domesday Book - All Saints, Batley
A church of Bronte and Robin Hood - St Peter, Hartshead
French village church in Yorkshire - St Margaret, North Elmsall
Fine cruciform with touch of mystery - St Martin, Womersley
Help me to dig out your treasures
A small tourism group meets. A booklet, describing many of the churches that fall within the Wakefield Metropolitan District is now available - Sacred Places in Wakefield District. This is in part thanks to the Churches Regional Commission, based in Leeds, and especially Zoe Kemp, who has a wealth of experience doing similar work in North Yorkshire. This initiative is now being taken into Kirklees and it is hoped eventually to spread it throughout the diocese.
Sacred Places in Wakefield District (large download 1.1mb)