In 1723 a survey was made with the purpose of assessing the population of various parts of the area with a view to providing a new church for the parish of Wakefleld. It was discovered that in Stanley and Ouchthorpe there were 129 families with 583 souls, 315 of them being communicants.
At the end of the war with France and after the Battle of Waterloo, the country of Austria was made to pay a large sum of money to this country as war indemnity. Out of this sum of one million pounds was devoted to providing churches in areas which needed them. Three were provided for the Wakefield area at Thornes, Alverthorpe and Stanley where the population figures warranted them. The church at Stanley was the first one to be built.
The foundation stone was laid on the 13th day of September 1822 by Francis Maude of Hatfield Hall who was a barrister in Wakefield. The church was opened two years later on the 6th day of September 1824. At this time the church did not serve as a parish church as it was only an Ecclesiastical District, but it achieved the status of a parish in 1826. The building of the church cost £12,000. Two years later the parish split into two, a new church being built in Outwood.
In the early days the church choir was led by an orchestra which was housed in a gallery. One George Egglestone of Bottomboat is mentioned as a bass player in 1830. Until recently a gravestone existed by the south west door of the church which had the follwing inscription:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF GEORGE EGGLESTONE OF BOTTOMBOAT, THE FIRST ORGANIST OF STANLEY CHURCH WHO DIED THE 13TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 1843. AGED 26 YEARS.
MY TIME WAS SHORT, MY YEARS BUT FEW.
LIKE AS THE GRASS, OR MORNING DEW
MOURN NOT FOR ME, THE CHANGE WAS GREAT.
SEEK BUT THE LORD AND WE SHALL MEET.
Stanley Church was improved firstly by John Maude of Moorhouse who spent £1,000 in alterations to the church, and also by Rev. Richard Burell who was also responsible for numerous improvements. By the year 1911 the church consisted of a nave with aisles, no gallery but with open pews, an enlarged chancel with oak screen and choir stalls. The east and west windows had been glazed by John Maude, the west window containing the arms of Maude of Moorhouse Argent, three bars gemellus SA, surrounded by a lion rampant, gules, charged on the shoulder with a cross crosslet or crest a lion's head, couped gules charged with a cross crosslet fitchy or. The inscription read as follows:-
MARY MAUDE OF MOORHOUSE RESTORED AND BEAUTIFIED THIS CHURCH AD 1851
Another window was glazed in memory of Mr Haigh of the Building Society and another to his sister by Miss Spence and a Mrs Barret.
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