History of Holy Cross Church, Airedale, an extract from One Road In, One Road Out, a people's history of Fryston (pp 7,8) by David Waddington. (see bibliography for full details and isbn number.)
The extraordinary thing, which is hard to
believe really, was that the fellow who became Bishop here, Jimmy Seaton, had
been my Principal at Cudstone, my theological college, and it was he who had
sent me (Father John Daly) to the Tyneside to get ordained up there. The first
person I buried was a coalminer. He died of starvation at the end of 1926. It
was the General Strike. I was ordained just as the General Strike was over. I
thought at one moment that I would have to cycle from
For example, one lad, a Rover Scout, said that he'd show me round and took me to see a family who lived in the woods at a place called Ferry Fryston. Walking through a bit of copse, I espied what was obviously a big house and was told that it was Fryston Hall and that no one had lived there for a long time, I was immediately interested because the stone looked good and we'd obviously got to get some stone if we wanted to build a church. So, I reported it to the Bishop and, a few weeks later, he said, "You can have it for £300," which was exactly the amount of money we had managed to raise. Having blown the whole of our £300, we still needed someone to pull the building down.
Fortunately, a lot of people helped us out once we got on with it. There was a fellow called Elliott, who was the manager of Glasshoughton, who said, "There's a truck in the yard if you'd like to use it," and, In the first few weeks, he provided the driver and petrol to run it. After a while, the driver was needed at the mine so I became the driver. They were big, big pieces of stone, but we tried to move them without chipping them. Some of them were approaching two tons and we only had a one-ton truck. On one occasion, we were going along with certainly more than one ton on the back and the front wheels came off the ground and our load slid onto the floor! These types of thing tended to happen, but we were generally okay because we took our time. We used over 600 tons of stone, but we also needed to put In 400 tons of reinforced concrete because, as they explained, the church needed to be built on a "raft" as the coal had been taken away underneath. For this we needed broken brick. Again, Mr Elliott sent me a chit saying they were going to lower a 100ft chimney and we could take what we wanted as long as we looked sharp about it. So, I used to go off in the one-ton truck straight after the Holy Communion and load a ton of broken brick on with one of the lads who'd volunteered to help me.
Then we needed a machine for breaking the
brick and mixing it with the cement and I think that's where Jim Bullock first
came in. All this was 1932, of course, but, not so long ago, we had a
"do" down at Fryston and Jim said he remembered that, if ever I was
coming near the pit, the whole pit was cleaned up - everything cleared away
otherwise there was a danger I might walk off with something I could use for
the church! (John Daly, The Bishop of
In 1949, J. Pope-Hennessy, the biographer of
Richard Monchion Milnes, wrote of the lamentable post-war condition of Fryston
Hall and of its modern relationship to the
"Through the gate and on up the drive to the Hall, the country seems to open out. It becomes undulating but stark. On either hand lies parkland gone to waste, grass rank with tares and dandelions and stained with pit dust.... The muddy road winds on over hilt, over dale towards the crest of a low rise upon which a line of buildings show light against a background of dark evergreens. On getting nearer, you find that this line of buildings is the front of the old stables of Fryston Hall.... Some hundred yards to the right of the old stables, a raw patch of earth, raised like a stage above the level of the fields, marks the site of Firyston Hall. Only the cellars remain of the Milnes' house at Fryston, for the rest has been taken down and carted off to Airedale, where the stones are now incorporated in a Baptist church. The site of the house is fenced in with rusted barbed wire; its surface is covered with a litter of broken pots and bottles, fragments of tile, brick and shard, pieces of chalk and sandstone." (From: Monckton Milnes. The Years of Promise: 1809-1851")
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