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St Oswald, Guiseley, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°52′29″N, 1°42′17″W)
SE 195 421
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
01 July 1996; 20 May 2014

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Guiseley is a small town north-west of Leeds and south of Otley. The church is large and architecturally complex (Ryder 1993, 154). Medieval parts are the W tower, a nave with a S aisle and a chancel. Restored in 1866, the church acquired a modern nave and a chancel added on the N side in 1909-1910 (Leach and Pevsner 2009, 292). Surviving 12thc. sculpture can be found on the S doorway and in the S arcade, all in a good state of preservation but the doorway shows signs of tidying on its mouldings, probably in the 1886 restoration (Rawnsley and Dobson, 4; Pevsner, (1959), 1967, 227-8; engraving in Whitaker 1816).

Sir Stephen Glynne visited in 1858, before the additions; Butler (2007, 197-98) illustrates Glynne's 'church notes' with an engraving of the interior of 1816 by Thomas Taylor. This shows both nave arcades, looking north-east, and no pews.


Guiseley and a wide surrounding area had belonged to the archbishops of York since the 7thc. (Rawnsley and Dobson 1983, 3).

Coatsworth (2008) lists three pieces of pre-Conquest crosses or shafts all probably of 10thc. date.

Faull and Moorehouse (1981) say the church was held from Archbishop Roger of Pont L'Évêque in 1166.

Church leaflet (Rawnsley and Dobson 1983, 3) says 'the archbishop granted the manor of Guiseley and Esholt to Sir Simon Ward of Givendale near Ripon, and he almost certainly built the aisled Norman church... The male line of the Wards ended in 1521.'


Exterior Features


Interior Features



S doorway. A possible consecration cross can be seen/felt on the L side of the S doorway, five courses up; it is approx. 0.01m high, but not good enough even to trace (fieldworker). The stone used for the repair of the impost corner is a good match, so the worn section may have been reversed.

Walls. Ryder (1993, 20) discusses the SE angle quoin of the S arcade and the problems of dating 'overlap' features; the nave wall in which the arcade was cut may be Romanesque or earlier. The periods of the various medieval parts of the building are discussed in Ryder (1993, 154). Leach and Pevsner (2009, 292) also mention this 'pre-existing wall, early Norman or Anglo-Saxon, with three outsize quoins at the base of its E corner.' Rawnsley and Dobson (1983) mention other possible remains of early corners.


L. A. S. Butler, ed., The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874), Y. A. Soc. Record series 159, Woodbridge 2007.

E. Coatsworth, Western Yorkshire. CASSS vol. VIII, Oxford 2008.

M. L. Faull and S. A. Moorhouse, West Yorkshire: an archaeological survey to AD 1500, Wakefield 1981.

P. Leach and N. Pevsner, Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North, London, 2009.

R G Rawnsley and Alan Dobson, The Church of St Oswald, Guiseley, Revised, 1983.

P. F. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire, WYAS 1993.

T. D. Whitaker, Loidis and Elmete, York, 1816.