Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Calverley walk 4

The church of St Wilfrid in Calverley has parts dating back to the 11th century, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in the village, though most of it was rebuilt in the 1800s.

There is also a medieval hall, Calverley Old Hall (which I didn't see on my walk). In 1604, its owner Walter Calverley suffered a mental breakdown and murdered two of his three children. Fortunately he fell from his horse whilst trying to reach his infant son, who was with a wet-nurse. He was caught and jailed. Perhaps he regained his sanity because at his trial he refused to plead, an action which meant his infant son inherited the property. Walter however, was sentenced to death by pressing - a horrible torture which involved him being laid on a strong oak table with a wooden door on top of him, onto which heavy stones were piled until the life was crushed from him.

This sad tale was written up as a play: 'A Yorkshire Tragedy' in 1608. At one time it was attributed to Shakespeare and supposedly performed at The Globe Theatre but there is now doubt about this.

The churchyard is well-kept and attractive with spring bulbs. I was surprised to find goats and a few sheep roaming around.  They apparently act as very efficient lawn mowers around the gravestones.

The church yard also holds 'The Calverley Angel', a 30 foot high chainsaw sculpture, carved from a beech tree that is still rooted but was damaged in a storm in 2011. The sculpture is by Yorkshire-based carver Shane Green, who also created the Olympic Trail of wooden sculptures of athletes in London's parks during the Olympics in 2012.


  1. Murderers, goats and carved angels - there's so much more in the English countryside than many would suspect.

  2. A sad story, but a peaceful looking place. The goats are quite a surprise!

  3. I love the goats! That is a really pretty town judging by your pics, Jenny!

  4. The church is beautiifu, and I love the goats!

  5. Lovely photographs but such a gruesome tale. The stones in that area seem to have a nice warm yellow tone.


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