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The History of St Wilfrid Harrogate

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

The church of St Wilfrid Harrogate has been serving the community since it’s consecration in 1914. Designed by Temple Lushington Moore (1856-1920), the church was built as the parish church for the Duchy Estate. At the time, there was no Anglo-Catholic church in Harrogate, so St Wilfrid’s was to be built in this tradition, funded largely by generous High-Anglican individuals who visited or lived in the town.

Temple Moore had visited many abbeys of the north and the continent, and developed his own Gothic style which led to him becoming one of the leading church architects of Victorian times. During his long career, he designed over 40 churches, including many in Yorkshire. St Wilfrid’s was left unfinished at his death in 1920, but his extremely able son-in-law, who had become a partner in the firm Temple Moore & Moore completed the Lady Chapel, the Parish Hall and the vergers cottage in the 1930’s.

St Wilfrid Harrogate was listed as a Grade 1 building in 1975.

View from the south of St Wilfrid Harrogate with church and hall
View from the south of St Wilfrid Harrogate with church and hall
Original drawing of St Wilfrid Harrogate with spire by Temple Moore
Original drawing of St Wilfrid Harrogate with spire by Temple Moore
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Young Wilfs Sunday School

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Young Wilfs is a friendly church group for primary school aged children which takes place during Sunday Mass. We meet at 10am in the church and during the entrance hymn, we make our way to the Parish Hall for stories, games, crafts and fun!

The session always reflects the worship in church in a positive and exciting way, giving the children a wonderful introduction to the Christian faith. The children then return to their families before the end of the service for communion or blessing. Please come along and join us one Sunday, we love welcoming new members! There’s no need to book – just turn up on the day.

We also have toys and games at the back of the church for babies and pre-schoolers.

Children at desk with paints and crayons
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WWI Memoriam

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

In 2018, to commemorate the end of the First World War, a team of volunteers at St Wilfrid Harrogate started to research the lives of the 18 men who have WWI memorials in church.

17 of them are named on the triptych war memorial, and one has a dedication on a lectern.

This research has helped us to remember these men more fully, and acknowledge the terrible sacrifice they and their families made in the war.

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Bell Ringing

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Bells at the church of St Wilfrid Harrogate

St Wilfrid’s church has eight bells, for change-ringing, in the central tower. The heaviest six bells, cast from redundant bells from High Hoyland, were installed in 1973 and two more were added in 1977 to complete the octave.

The tenor (heaviest bell) weighs 6cwt
and 3lbs and is tuned to C. Additionally there is a sanctus bell in the South-East tower.

The bells are rung regularly before the Parish Mass (between 9.30am and 10am) and the bell ringers practice on Wednesday (7pm to 9pm). They are also rung occasionally for special services and are available for weddings.

At St Wilfrid’s, we always welcome new recruits to our team. You don’t have to be strong or an accomplished musician but must enjoy taking on new challenges and be committed to serving the church community in this unique way.

For more information, please feel free to contact either Mike Woodhall ( or visit the Harrogate Bell Ringing website here.

“The main idea is to broadcast locally that a service is about to happen in church. The fact that we enjoy the process of ringing bells, is a bonus. We aim to teach all who are willing to learn. We also try to improve the range of methods(tunes) we can ring. St Wilfrid’s belongs to the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers, so we can be involved with other bands of ringers. We would welcome anyone who wants to join us,everybody learns at a different pace and there is no pressure to learn quickly, more an emphasis on enjoying the excercise of ringing the bells”.Kath Day

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Clergy & Staff

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Team Rector – Fr Gary Waddington SSC

Fr Gary grew up just over 20 miles away from St Wilfrid’s, in Skipton  and has been Team Rector since 2010.

He studied for priestly ordination at St Stephen’s House in Oxford before becoming the Curate in the Parish of Holy Spirit, Southsea. He then served for 10 years as Vicar of Paulsgrove, a large area of significant deprivation on the northern edge of the city of Portsmouth and was also Succentor at Portsmouth Cathedral. A member of both the deanery and diocesan synods, he taught some theology in the Diocese and tutored candidates for ordination; sat on the DAC (which deals with church faculty applications) and was a member of the fabric committee at Portsmouth Cathedral.

Fr Gary was for ten years a member of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission (which amongst other things is responsible for all the Common Worship books) and was a co-chair of one of the national groups for Fresh Expressions.

He is a trustee of the Moulesdale trust which supports ordinands and clergy in the Diocese of Leeds. He is a clergy work consultant in the Ripon Episcopal Area and continues to mentor and supervise ordination candidates.

Since 2015 he has been a “Proctor in Convocation” which is Church speak for a clergy member of The General Synod of the Church of England.

Spare time is taken up with music, modern art, cooking and a great interest in Modern British and American Politics.

Honorary Assistant Priest – Fr Tim Burrell

Fr Tim was born in 1943. He trained for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford and was ordained Deacon in 1974 and served a curacy at Haltwhistle in Northumberland.

It was, however, not until 2007 that he was ordained priest in St Wilfrid’s where he is a non-stipendiary member of staff.

Fr Tim is a retired civil servant and now serves as a magistrate as well as being the chaplain to the Bishop of Beverley. He is married to Jill and they have adult children.

Parish Administrator – Mrs Linda Harrison

On retirement from M&S, she joined the staff of St Wilfrids in 2007. Linda is married to Graham and has a grown up son.

Linda runs the parish office and ensures the smooth working of the parish. She works part time and is normally available Wednesday to Friday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Her job is to help resource those making enquiries, provide administrative support to the parish clergy and ensure the smooth running of the office. At any time Linda is overseeing the administrative process for 25 active weddings, as well as keeping track of the 600 or so services at St Wilfrid’s each year.

Facilities & Commercial Manager – Mrs Rebecca Oliver

Rebecca joined the staff of St Wilfrid’s in March 2016, and brings a wealth of experience in marketing and social media skills as well as having run her own businesses for 12 years prior to joining St Wilfrid’s.

She is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of all non-liturgical events at St Wilfrid’s. Her role ranges from managing regular hall bookings to booking and managing large scale events in Church. Alongside the management and marketing of the facility, these responsibilities extend to writing, maintaining, and developing working policies and agreements to ensure that St Wilfrid’s is adhering its legal requirements. This also supports her role as Health and Safety officer for the church.