The Old Church

Wentworth Old Church taken in 1909, click for full size.

Wentworth old church is believed to have medieval origins, with mouldings dating back to the late 13th century. Sadly it is now mostly in ruins, having been largely disused since the opening of the new church in 1877. The chancel and North Chapel remain intact, however, and are still sometimes used for services and concerts.

The remaining building now acts mainly as a home for an interesting collection of monuments to various generations of the Wentworth family – including Thomas Wentworth (1587), William Wentworth (1614), Thomas Wentworth (1641) and William Wentworth (1685) (the family may have had lots of money but they weren’t very good at thinking up original boys names!)

The church, which is now maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust, is normally open to visitors open most Sundays and Bank Holidays between May and September (weather permitting); it is also possible to arrange access at other times – please contact them for details. It’s well worth a look inside to view the monuments and to visit the Fitwilliam family vault accessed via a tunnel which runs out under the graveyard.

If you can’t make it to the church itself, the churchyard is fascinating in its own right. It has stones dating back to the seventeenth century, many with interesting stories attached.

One of the most unusual is that of Chow Kwang Tseay (baptised John Dennis Blonde), a native Chinaman who died in Wentwoth in 1850, aged 17. Quite what he was doing in Wentworth and who paid for his expensive burial is unclear. He is believed to have arrived from China on a ship (the Blonde) in about 1847.

You will also find the graves of John Hague and Sam Birks, followers of John Wesley who preached in the church in 1733. Sam’s son (also called Sam) is buried here too, he had used his plough horses to break up a mob in nearby Thorpe Hesley when they tried to ambush his father and the visiting Charles Wesley.
William Cooper who died in 1781 had the foresight to leave instructions on the back of his stone in case it was ever knocked over, which did in fact happen. The inscription reads “For goodness sake fix this Stone up again”. (Click on picture to enlarge).

Old Church Curiosities

Various artefacts from the Old Church are now to be found outside Wenwtworth, pictures of which we feature below…

An interesting aspect of the old church was it’s one-fingered clock which was believed to have been situated on the tower overlooking the fields to the West rather than the village itself.

The clock itself no longer exists, but we are indebted to Mrs. Jackie Ward (nee Garton) who now owns the original finger from the clock which is shown in the above photo; it is apparently 31 inches long and so must have been visible from quite a distance away.

Mrs. Ward has also provided us with this picture of the font which was formely in the Old Church and now appears to be used as a garden feature.

Can You Help?

One of our readers has asked if anyone can provide any information about the grave of John Loy of Skiers Hall in the Old Church graveyard. If anyone has any details about the life or Mr. Loy, or indeed about any aspect of Wentworth history, please contact us. All contributions acknowledged. Many thanks!

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10 Responses to “The Old Church”

  1. linda parkin debraccio Says:

    I was astonished to find a very similar photo postcard of the “old church” on your website to ones we have recently unearthed here! My greatgrandmother was from Wentworth and while the rest of her family stayed in the area, she moved to Brooklyn, Ny with her new husband. The sisters wrote each other frequently an we have many photo postcards showing the area. I am planning a trip to the area fall 2010 and was wondering if any of these archives would be of interest to historians there. The cards date from 1904-1909 and include pictures of Netherood Hall, Dinnington Hall, Dinnington Colliery, Mauseleum, Hoober Hall, Lion’s Lodge, the Vickerage, Wombwell Parish Church, Bridge St (Worksop), Factory, Dinnington, among others. Perhaps you have many of these photos there already, but I thought I’d write just in case these were unusual or lost over time. I can be reached at the address above

  2. jennifer clarke Says:

    Hi could anyone help me please I am looking for information on my family they are William Eyre born in Wath 1791-1844 married to Martha 1795-1864 she was born in Alvertwaite do not know her maiden name their children Thomas 1820, Mark 1821 John 1825 & Ann were born in Wath but Sarah Ann 1827-1888 Edwin 1829-1889 Henry 1832 Charles 1835-1903 were christened in Wentworth will it give the mothers maiden name when registered for christening. If born in Wath which church would they other children be christened as boundries have changed over the years.Hope someone can help & give me advice I live in Australia but will be over in your summer to do more family history. I was born in Wombwell & also lived in Rotherham Thank you Jenny Clarke

  3. R Horsfield was Loy Says:

    John Loy was a valet with Charles Loy at St George Hanover Square, Westmister in 1841. He married Margaret Smith she also live at St George Hanover Square. Margeret went to live with 5 children at 17 Hoober in 1851. John was still a valet. He became a farmer of 100 aces at Skiers Hall 1861.

  4. Matthew Says:

    In response to Jennifer Clarke:

    I know there is Shaw of Alvertwaite in the Old Church Yard at Wentworth and some of the other names sound familiar too. Your best option for this inforamtion would probably be rotherham local studies library, as they have copies of all the wentworth registers for that time.

  5. Diane Lea-Jones Says:

    Does anyone know anything about a monument to Hannah Jennet, the housekeeper to the Marquis of Rockingham, who died in 1769. It is attributed to H. Wood and I am trying to find out some more information as to who he was and where he came from.

  6. Linda Livingstone Says:

    I am looking for information about George White (1787) from Conisborough and his wife marry Smith. They were married in Wentworth 28 Dec 1809. George was a carpenter on the estate.I know that the Bamforth family married into the White family and I am interested to know anything of a White girl mrrying into the Burgon family. Indeed anything about the descendants of George and Mary White – my 3 x great grandparents and great great grandparents of both my parents. I know that there are still Whites living in Wentworth.

    Linda in Western Australia

  7. John Brown Says:

    Hi, My great x3 Grand Father George Chester was baptised in the Wentworth chapelry on the 9/8/1812, his parents were George and Elizabeth Chester,if any person out there has any link to this family i would love to hear from you.
    He married Mary Lindley in Rotherham in 1831
    John Brown
    Brisbane, Australia

  8. Raymond E.O.Ella Says:

    For the Wentworth connection with the Haldenby family and their coats-of-arms, please type Raymond E.O.Ella in a searchbox and click, then go to “Adlingfleet” and click. Later, go to “Reedness & Ousefleet” and click, etc.

    Kind regards,
    Ray & Marie Ella, (Mr.& Mrs.).
    Buxton-with-Lamas, Norfolk, England.

  9. michael marshall Says:

    john loy was my great great grandfather he was married on jan 19 1843 to margaret blades born in liverpool in the chapel at wentworth is occupation stated on the marriage certificate says he was a farmer and margert a stay maker he died 1894 at 1 skiers hall elsecar hoyland age 81 margaret died in 1884 age 66 in brightside sheffield can anyone tell me what skiers hall was. and any information about these two people.

  10. John Salkeld Says:

    My 4th Great Grandfather, John Salkeld (b.1744), came to Wentworth in 1769. He married Mary Mercer in the Old Church in 1771. He was head painter to the Wentworth/Woodhouse Estate until his son, and former apprentice, Thomas (1778-1844), took over as head painter in 1820.

    Thomas’s grave, and that of his older brother, and my 3rd Great Grandfather, John, are still standing in the Old Church graveyard.