All Hallows church

Below: All Hallows church who’s crypt contains the 1st Duke of Leeds, Thomas Osbourne. He was a very important figure in the 17th century, a personal friend of King Charles II. When Charles died, Osbourne and 6 co-conspiritors (one the Duke of Devonshire of Chatsworth House fame) plotted against the catholic James II and invited the protestant William of Orange to seize the English throne. Osbourne’s job was to help secure the north of England, and he succeeded.

harthill church

Harthill church was commisioned by Earl William de Warenne, son in law of William the Conqueror, circa 1080 AD. Earl Warenne was granted vast land holdings for his part in the Norman invasion, including Harthill manor. His wealth was equivalent to, or in excess of Bill Gates’ (Warenne was valued at £10,000 in 1080, or £54 billion in 2000). The first pic below is of the west facing side. The church celebrated its 900th birthday in about 1979. The tower is 14th century and originally contained 8 bells. Over the next few centuries the bell’s became 6 – according to H Garbutt’s 1950 history the six bell’s were dated from 1660 to 1889. Either way, they were replaced by the current set in 1937.

This church was valued at £1.25 million for insurance purposes in 1999, compared to £689 in 1831. Presumably given rocketing property prices the 2003 valuation must be much higher. Culturally though, it is irreplaceable, a link back through 1,000 years of history.

norman arches

These are the Norman style arches that constitute the oldest part of the church. Normans (northmen) were essentially Danish Vikings who had conquered what was to become the Normandy area of northern France, and England in 1066. Building started soon after William the Conqueror gained control of the region in about 1070. The area was then under the rule of the Norman knight William de Warenne who founded the church. After about 1200 the style changed to early English .

gravestone richard ashby

‘Mr Richard Ashby, Park Keeper to His Grace the Duke of Leeds; died the 1st Day of March 1778. Aged 67 Years. In the midst of Life We are in Death.’

There are lots of pubs in the area called the Leeds Arms because of the Dukes of Leeds. In 1673 the manor of Harthill was sold to Sir Thomas Osbourne of Thorpe Salvin. He was a knight (Sir Thomas) from 1647-1673, and then Earl of Danby 1674-1694, and finally a Duke from 1694 until his death in 1712. However, he was impeached by parliament in 1695 for taking a bribe from the East India Company and his political influence subsequently ebbed away. The full list of titles held by Thomas Osbourne are: Thos Osbourne, 1st Duke of Leeds, Marquess of Carmarthen, Earl of Danby, Viscount Latimer of Danby, Viscount Osbourne of Dunblane, Baron Osbourne of Kiveton.

Osbourne ancestors had been born in the area and this church became their family tomb, and many of the Dukes descendents are buried in the family vault inside the church, and at Wales church. There are 30 coffins in the crypt, many of infants, and as a sad modern footnote the crypt was attacked by tomb robbers in 1990. They broke open coffins in search of valuables but got such a meagre haul that the items that they took were found abandoned in the church’s porch several days later!

Here lies, buried up against the church walls outside, is one of the Duke’s employees. Not the 1st Duke’s though, as Richard was only 1 year old when the 1st duke died. See the Kiveton pages for a view of how kiveton hall looked, and the 1760 map for an outline of the estate that kept.