Brief History

The Parish church (St John the Baptist) in Kirkheaton is one of the earliest churches in the area. People have been worshipping God on this site for around 1300 years. Before any church building there were several Anglo-Saxon crosses here, from c750 AD. The first church is likely to have been of wood, but there was a stone church before the Norman conquest. Several pieces of stone from our church, including parts of at least three crosses, are on display in the local Tolson Museum). There were also possibly Vikings (certainly Danes and also likely Anglians) in the area in times past, as evidenced both by an unusual stone with an Runic inscription, and by the name  of the hamlet of Gawthorpe which is within the parish.

Although most of the building as it stands today is Victorian, parts go back to the 14th cent (Beaumont Chapel) and the 15th Cent (Tower). We feel this makes this it a very special place.

There are many interesting stories about our Parish. For example the Norman font, still used was thrown out of the church under Cromwell and spent about 300 years in a farmers' field, being used as an animal trough, before being rescued.

There are two families especially associated with the development of church and area. The first were the De Hetons, who were early benefactors. There is a gravestone, most likely of Sir John de Heton, on display in Kirkheaton church.

The other family is the Beaumonts, one of whom left money to build the tower. The most famous of these, the first Sir Richard Beaumont (better known locally as 'Black Dick', about whom many rumours are still circulating), was a benefactor to both church and community, and founded the first school in the village, in 1610, along with the then Rector, the Revd John Stock. In 1782 we baptised a 'Daniel Whitley', the African servant of the local titled family, the Beaumonts. monuments to several Beaumonts are in the Beaumont Chapel.

We have comprehensive details of our graveyard from the early 1800s, courtesy of the work of Richard Horton. All this is available on his web site -

St Bartholomew’s was built in 1898 and planted as a Mission Church to serve the people of Grange Moor, although services had been held in several places in the village before that. One of the more exciting episodes in its history was during WW2, when a German bomber dropped its load of bombs nearby, blowing out several pieces from the East window.