Baptistery, Font & Prayer Space

The area in the south-east corner where the font is now situated, has seen much change over the years. In its original form it was part of the box pews in the Georgian church, which extended across what is now the chancel. In the 1876 renovations, the box pews were replaced with benches and the chancel created to the left side of the area. In 1927, the screen was placed on the south side of the choir stalls by Mrs Morgan and Mr Owen Morgan in memory of the late Mr Morgan and Lieut. Morgan and recorded on a plaque on the pillar. Mr Morgan was Mr William Morgan a solicitor with the Shipley and Bradford firm of Messrs Sam Wright, Morgan & Co. Mr Owen Morgan was one of his sons who was also a solicitor, a member of the St Paul’s Cricket Club and had been a lieutenant in the Bradford Pals[i]. The screen was designed by Messrs Healey of Bradford and made by the firm of Bridgeman of Litchfield.

In 1927 the area was turned into a side chapel (sometimes called ‘the Lady Chapel’) in memory of Revd Arthur W. Cribb (Vicar 1890-1914, and the only one to die in office).   According to the plaque on the pillar by the entrance to the area it was “subscribed for by members of this church and the daughter church of St Peter”. A screen between the side-chapel and the South aisle was given in memory of Jane Elizabeth Ashenhurst in 1932[ii].

In the 1970 reordering, the side chapel was removed and its screen used as part of the Narthex screen on the north side.  The site of the side-chapel became a baptistery, the font having been brought from the West door and placed in a central position in the area. The font, made of alabaster, was a gift of a Mr Fox in 1876[iii].

Then, in 2005 this baptistery was turned into a prayer corner in memory of Michael Ryley (1927-1992), Choirmaster and Director of Music at St Paul’s.

[i]      Ralph Hudson, 2013, The Bradford Pals 4th Edition, Appendix 5, p.167.

[ii]     St Paul’s, A Brief History,1976, p, 5.

[iii]    Ibid, p, 54

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