The East Altar, Reredos and Panelling
The East end of the church within the sanctuary is wholly panelled and with an altar, or “communion table” against the east wall. Before the nave altar and sanctuary were created, communion was celebrated at this east end altar.
The altar is plain wood with a plaque stating that “The tracery panels were inserted in the Holy Table as a memorial to Mrs Jesse SUTCLIFFE A.D. 1931”.
A Reredos is a wooden (or stone) panel behind an altar, often containing carvings or pictures of saints. The one here in St Paul’s does not have these. It was a gift from Mrs Jesse Sutcliffe[i] of Spring Royd in memory of her son Geoffrey[ii]. The work was done by a Nottingham firm, Messrs Foster, and bears a plaque
“Dedicated to the Glory of God and to the memory of Lieutenant C. G. F. SUTCLIFFE Died Decr 9th 1919, aged 22. The loving gift of his mother. Also to the memory of his Father and his Sister. December 1921”
From their records, a C. G. F. SUTCLIFFE was a member of the Officer Cadet force at Bradford Grammar School and was one of the first of these cadets to win a commission in 1915[iii] as a Temporary Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Light Infantry. During the war he was promoted to Lieutenant in the YLI and acting Captain in the Somerset LI[iv].
The wooden panelling of the east wall was installed in 1927 after the Centenary of the Church. An inscription in the left (north) side panel records:
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF
THOMAS RUTHERFORD ASHENHURST
LATE OF THE TECHNICAL COLLEGE
THIS PANELLING WAS ERECTED
IN THE YEAR 1927
It was given by Mrs Ashenhurst and Miss Ashenhurst.
Thomas R Ashenhurst was a lecturer in weaving at Bradford Technical College. As the appointed instructor, he inaugurated the Bradford Technical School with a lecture in the Saloon of the Bradford Mechanic’s Institute on the evening of 6th March 1878[v]. He later became Head of the college. He published several books on weaving and an influential book of 7,000 textile designs. His investigations into yarn structures changed theories of cloth design and established basic rules still used today (Ashenhurst’s Rule). Ashenhurst was instrumental in the founding of the Textile Institute. He had one patent (for door knobs), possibly two, to his name. His wife was Jane Elizabeth who lived in Victoria Park and died in 1929[vi].
The four shields on the panelling are from L to R: Keys (St Peter), a wool sack (Bradford Diocese), a sword (St Paul) and a sheep (Shipley = Sheep Lea).
The panelling in the north and south side recesses were given in memory of her parents by Margaret Hodgson. The dedications read:
(North side recess) To the Glory of God and In Loving memory of John HODGSON (1825 – 1899) of Victoria Park Shipley and formerly of Kirby Lonsdale the panelling in this Recess was placed in the year 1927 by his Daughter.
(South side recess) To the Glory of God and In Loving memory of Charlotte HODGSON (1817 – 1902) of Victoria Park Shipley and formerly of Kirby Lonsdale the panelling in this Sedilia was placed in the year 1927 by her Daughter.
The word Sedilia refers to seats (usually three) at the south side of the altar for use by the clergy during a service, which were set back in a recess. It is used here to refer to the recess alone.