St Michael & All Angels', Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QW

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Areas of the church


The exterior shape of the tower is similar to the 15th to 16th century towers of other churches in the area. It has an exterior staircase to the ringer’s chamber and belfry. The main western entrance to the church is through the tower, so the ground floor doubles as entrance lobby. There is no public access to the tower.





There is no public access to the bellringers’ chamber, the belfry or the tower roof. In the tower’s bell chamber there are six bells, variously described as “nicely-toned” and “richly-toned,” which have been hung for full circle ringing. They were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1886. The name of the company, Mears and Stainbank, is cast into the bells, along with the names of Henry and Ellen Williams the donors, and their children.

The diameters of the bells, from smallest to tenor, are:

  • Joshua 28.25in.,
  • John 30.75in.,
  • Annie 33.25in.,
  • Mary 34.75in.,
  • Ellen 37in. and
  • Henry 42.75in.

The round is D#, C#, B, A#, G#, F#. The tenor bell weighs 13 long cwt 15lb (1,471lb or 667kg). In the bell chamber is a wooden frame consisting of two tiers of three bells each. 1, 3 and 5 hang above 2, 4 and 6, such that 1 is above 2; 3 is above 4; 5 is above 6, putting the heavier bells upon one side, that is, the west side. They are hung thus: “each bell hangs from its original wooden headstock though a restoration has seen the fitting of independent crown staples and ball bearings. The third has an SG clapper whilst those of the others are wrought iron. Traditional stays and sliders.”

The reality in the bell-chamber is a very small and roughly-finished room, only partially protected from gales by louvred, unglazed windows on all sides. A massive and braced hardwood frame fills the room completely from west to east. The frame is over 6 feet (1.8 m) high and is smooth and polished to the touch. On the south and north sides there are narrow squeeze spaces of about 1 foot (0.30 m) between the frame and the wall. There is no aid to access to the top of the frame. The wheels of the top tier of bells project above the frame. The frame exactly fits the room, and the bells exactly fit the frame, but only because their wheels are arranged in different directions to allow fit. Access to the roof would require a slim and agile climber who would then climb a ladder, and from the ladder lift and slide with one hand a very heavy insulated trapdoor. The trapdoor is weatherproofed by being shaped to overhang the lips on which it is seated. It is likely that the tower’s floors were installed after hanging the bells: the frame could then be built in place, the bells winched from the floor of the tower, and the floors would then be put in. Winching the bells up through the tower would require a massive beam across the tower roof to support the pulley; no such beam exists now.


The interior of the building is lined with dressed local stone, and was designed for a congregation of 120 to 150. The pulpit and font were carved by William Pashley in 1886 in Caen stone. At the time of consecration in 1886, there was a carved statue “placed between the west windows of the nave,” described as a “group of St Michael overcoming the Dragon.”[5] This statue is now missing. To be able to stand between the west windows it would have to be at least 6 feet (1.8 m) on a 3 feet (0.91 m) pedestal, because the windows are 9 feet (2.7 m) from the floor. The name of the artist is unknown, but it may have been carved by William Pashley of Harrogate and Leeds, who also carved some roundels in Leeds Minster.


There is a Caen stone reredos by William Pashley, with “sculptured panels under moulded and crocketted canopies, the walls on either side being enriched with traceried panels. The subjects being presented on the reredos, which is a beautiful work of art, are Bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion, and The Resurrection.” “The choir stalls and nave seats are of oak and have sunk traceried panels and foliated ends. The altar-rail, gas standards and rich scroll-work supporting the pulpit rail are of wrought brass. The aisles and chancel floors are paved with tiles in simple patterns.”


On Tuesday 20 December 1887, just over a year after the church’s dedication, a new organ built by Father Willis of Messrs Willis and Sons of London was installed as a further gift by Mrs Williams.[29] The organ was not an afterthought. It is housed in a lean-to structure against the north wall of the chancel, and its manuals and pipes peer through a specially-cut arch in that same north wall; all this was part of the original design. The lean-to is comfortably blended into the exterior design, and the organ fits neatly into the arch, flush with the wall and sitting close enough to the choir stalls to be used by the choirmaster in rehearsals. It was described as a “very fine instrument . . . contained in a handsome oak case with spotted metal pipes.” It has two manuals from CC to G with 56 notes, and 2.5 octaves of concave and radiating pedals from CCC to F: 30 notes. The stops are the original ones, as follows:

“Great Organ: 1 open diapason 8ft; 2 dulcians 8ft; 3 claribel flute 8ft; 4 flute harmonique 4ft; 5 principal 4ft; 6 fifteenth 2ft; 7 corno-de-bassetto 8ft; Swell: 8 open diapason 8ft; 9 lieblich gedackt 8ft; 10 salicional 8ft; 11 vox angelica 8ft; 12 gemshorn 4ft; 13 flageolet 2ft; 14 cornopean 8ft. Pedals: 15 soubasse 16ft; 16 bourdon 16ft. Couplers: 17 swell to great; 18 swell to pedals; 19 great to pedals. Three composition pedals to great organ.”

The Bishop of Ripon returned for the organ’s opening day, along with the church’s vicar Rev. Charles Farrar Forster and Rev. Mark Rowntree, vicar of Pannal.


When the window tracery and the carving of the reredos, pulpit and font were created in 1889, they were intended to imitate the style of the mid 14th century in keeping with the Gothic Revival movement. (Reredos centre panel pictured here).

The east window, installed in 1886, depicts St Michael and all Angels, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi in stained glass, drawn and painted by Charles Eamer Kempe. The two lights of the west window, also installed in 1886, show archangels Gabriel, Uriel, Michael and Raphael.

On Sunday 26 June 1892, five new stained glass windows, also by Kempe, were dedicated at a special service with a choir and large congregation. The vicar of Luddenden gave the sermon, the Rev. C.F. Forster, vicar of St Michael’s, read the prayers, and Mr G.H. Wood was organist. The windows had been presented by Henry Williams of Moor Park, John Dugdale and Master J. Appleyard-Williams. the subject for the images is taken from The Book of Revelation.

“The south-east window represents St John viewing the great city, holy Jerusalem, which is depicted in the distance, with the river flowing from the Throne of God, and on either side of the river is the Tree of Life. Standing opposite to St John is an angel with a golden reed with which to measure the city and the gates and the walls thereof. In the other window on the south side St John is represented as falling at the feet of the angel on the bank of the River of Life, the tree being in the midst. He is in the attitude of prayer, but the angel with the uplifted hand is repelling any worship or reverence to himself . . . Each window has two lights and on the north side each light has a separate subject. The first light of the north-west window portrays the angel with his right foot on the sea and the left on the earth. In his hand is a little book containing the message he was about to deliver. The second light depicts the angel with the key of the Bottomless Pit in one hand and a great chain in the other. Laid at his feet is the Dragon whom he has subdued and whom he is about to cast into the Bottomless Pit. The subjects of the two lights of the north-east window are borrowed from Revelation14:19 and 18:21. The first delineates the angel standing outside the city wall and with a sickle cutting a cluster of grapes to cast into the winepress of the Wrath of God. The second illustrates the angel holding in his hand the great millstone which he is about to cast into the sea . . . The first light of the centre window is an illustration of Revelations 8:13 which describes the Apostle’s vision of an angel flying through the midst of heaven, uttering a solemn proclamation of coming woes. The second light represents another angel standing before the Golden Altar upon which he is offering incense. Suspended above is a golden censer to which a long chain is attached and held by the angel.

Pannal Parish Magazine, August 1892


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