Ancestral Churches
About This Site
Q & A
Matching Records
Photo Gallery
Notable Wharams
Ancestral Churches



The WHARAM family “ancestral church” can be said to be the All Hallows High Hoyland Parish Church in the Diocese of Wakefield of the Church of England. This church is on the road between Darton and Clayton West and is a short distance northeast (up the hill on Church Road) from the center of the village of High Hoyland. The parish registers contain data regarding the baptisms, marriages, and deaths of more people with the surname WHARAM than found in most other church records.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, many members of the WHARAM family became followers of John and Charles Wesley, left the Anglican Church, and became Methodists.  Most of the Methodist records have not been transcribed. There are many WHARAMs listed in the Methodist church records deposited in the West Yorkshire Archives in Wakefield.

The present church building dates from the 12th century, replacing a 10th century wooden church. It is likely that a preaching area, probably marked with a stone cross, existed here even earlier.  Adam Fitzswain, who built the church at High Hoyland, died in 1157 and left his property, including the church, to be divided between his two daughters. This division of the church was called a mediety or moiety. The result of this was that each of the daughters, Amable and Maud, and their heirs, had the right to appoint a Rector.  Accordingly, there were two Rectors until 1810 when the Wentworths of Bretton Hall, who owned the first moiety, bought the second moiety from the Earl of Mexborough in Ireland, and became sole patrons. Only one Rector was appointed thereafter.

The stone in the present tower comes from Woolley Edge Quarry and was given by Sir Thomas Wentworth in 1662. The mason was John Moore and the carpenter was Thomas Hawksworth. Most of the original church building was demolished in 1804 by the Wentworths of Bretton Hall and replaced with a larger building, which was itself replaced in 1904-08 using stone from the earlier buildings. The oldest part of the present building is the tower which dates from 1679. All Hallows finally closed as a church about 1970.

High Hoyland was once a very large parish including Bretton Park, Clayton West, and Scissett, with parts of Skelmanthorpe and Cumberworth. In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrial developments left High Hoyland behind, and Clayton West became the new center of the parish. The foundation stone of All Saints’ Church, Clayton West, was laid on All Saints Day, 1872, and the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Ripon, Dr. Bickersteth, on April 1, 1875. The new church became the Parish Church of Clayton West with High Hoyland.

Although the church is now closed as a place of worship, the building is still extant and owned by Bretton College. In 2003, the interior was converted to an art gallery. The 1090 font was presented to St. Aiden’s church, Skelmanthorpe, by Sir Walter Spencer Stanhope after it had been used as a pig trough at Bilham Grange. The bells are at St. Wilfred’s church, Harrogate.

The clock dates from Queen Anne, 1702-14. The mounting block in the wall marks the place where suicides were passed over to be buried without a service. The Saxon crosses from the church wall are now at Cannon Hall Museum.

The churchyard (cemetery) is divided into natural boundaries. Many of the older headstones were pulled up and used as pavement for walks when graves were reused. In 1975, the inscriptions from tombstones, plaques, and memorial windows were transcribed by Hilda L. Dearnley. Miss Dearnley deposited her original notebooks at the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 'Claremont' 23, Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9NZ. It is necessary to make an appointment to view material at the YAS premises, and a small charge is made to nonmembers.

This collection may be viewed on-line at the following Internet address (valid as of 2006): Alan Reardon has produced a very useful series of High Hoyland Graveyard pages which can be used in conjunction with Miss Dearnley's listings. The Internet address is (valid as of 2006).  He is painstakingly reproducing the missing maps which will enable visitors to locate the graves, and includes much other information of interest to High Hoyland researchers.


C 3 T 18 In/Memory of/Jane wife of John WHARAM/of Skelmanthorpe. who died/June 2nd 1833 aged 55 years./Also of Betty LOCKWOOD/their daughter who died/Aug. 21st 1836, Aged 32 years./Also the aforesaid John WHARAM, who died December/19th 1848. Aged 70 years./Headstone with scalloped top.

Information on Buckingham Baptist Church is being prepared and will be posted soon.


Home | About This Site | Q & A | Matching Records | Photo Gallery | Notable Wharams | Ancestral Churches | Downloads | Links

This site was last updated 06/19/06