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St Edward church in Clifford, Tadcaster £8,000 cash boost

Thanks to the support from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT), the charity whose aim is to help places of worship across the region remain open for all to appreciate, the Grade II* listed St Edward King and Confessor in Clifford, near Tadcaster, has been awarded £8,000 towards much needed repairs.

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The church’s past includes strong ties to the Grimston family, including brothers Robert, Thomas and Ralph, who arrived in Clifford between 1831 and 1837 and founded a flax mill there. They employed Catholic and Irish immigrant workers who, at that time, were discriminated against by other employers in this country.

Ralph was named after his ancestor who was martyred in York and whose head was discovered at Hazelwood Castle and now lies at St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds. Ralph’s wife, Elizabeth, played a large part in establishing a Catholic mission there in 1841 to provide those workers and others in Clifford with a place to practice their faith.

This led to the Grimstons and other prominent families in Yorkshire raising funds to build St Edward’s Church.

Donations for the building of the church were also received from the King and Queen of Sardinia and the Grand Duke of Parma. During the church’s construction, the remains of the child martyr, St Domitia the Second, were placed under the high altar. These were taken from the Catacombs in Rome and presented to Sir Edward Vavasour by Pope Gregory XVI.

Dr Gina Marks, the secretary of the property and finance council at St Edward’s said: “We are delighted to receive this generous grant from the YHCT. St Edward’s opened its doors 175 years ago and this breathtaking building with its remarkable tower continues to be a special place for all who visit.

“Preserving this Yorkshire jewel for future generations to enjoy and cherish is a daunting task. It has survived nearly two centuries through the generosity of many. This funding will ensure that this vital maintenance and restoration work can take place and St Edward’s will remain an important part of our community for centuries to come.”

Tom Ramsden, chairman of the YHCT said: “As well as being a place of worship, many of Yorkshire’s churches and chapels provide much needed support services to the local community. Many parishes face severe challenges in keeping their buildings open and in good repair, but thanks to the generosity of our friends and donors, we are delighted to be able to help preserve these much-loved historic buildings and help secure their future”.

In 2022 the YHCT were able to award £93,000 to 24 places of worship across Yorkshire. Grants continue to be available for urgent repairs, restoration and maintenance to churches of any Christian denomination, including feasibility studies to help churches develop longer term projects.

Details of the other churches receiving funding can be found here:

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