St Gregorys Bedale

The History of St. John's

Taken from “Leeming Church and Parish from its foundation in 1424” by the Revd. Frank Kent, Vicar 1920-1957 :

It appears that the Chapel was built in the year 1424 and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. “for the purpose of reading prayers to travellers, being close to the high road to Scotland and remote from any Church."   This building seems to have served its purpose, and eventually came to be looked upon as the village Church:  Priests-in-Charge being licensed respectively by the Bishops of Chester and Ripon until 1860.

In the MS. of Bishop Gastroll referring to the Chapel at Leeming the entry runs thus:-  "The Chapel at Leeming.  3 miles from Parish Church.   No Wardens.   Served once a month forenoon or afternoon.  This Chapel is said to have been built by a traveller who fell sick there.   The Chapel was formerly thatched and in a ruinous condition, but is now repaired and slated at ye expense of ye present Vicar."

The Chapel was repaired at the cost of £7 15s. 0d.

“The Chapel of Leeming underwent a full and sufficient repair throughout the fabric.“

In answer to certain Queries issued by the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty,  the one in respect to the Services in Leeming runs thus:-  “The accustomed duty at the Chapel at Leeming is the Church Service and a Sermon in the afternoon every Sunday during 6 months in the Summer, and alternate Sundays during the remainder of the year."

The first baptism recorded in Leeming Church,  March. 3rd,  1823

The building in this year was declared to be “in a ruinous condition, and dangerous for the inhabitants to assemble therein."   Whereupon it was decided to pull down the old structure and to build a new and enlarged Church on practically the same site.  This was done at a cost of £674 raised by subscriptions.  When excavating, some of the foundation stones of the old church were discovered.

On the 3rd of April the new Church was Consecrated by the Bishop of the Diocese of Ripon, who also at the same time consecrated the surrounding land as a burial ground for the inhabitants of Leeming.

First Church School built.

First Vicar inducted and instituted.   Income £100 per annum.

A silver Chalice and Paten were presented to the Church by the Revd.  Richard Anderson,  Vicar, as a memorial of his 50th wedding day,  also a silver-plated Flagon.

By an Order in Council a District was assigned to the Church,  and in the same year it was duly licensed for Marriages, thus constituting it a separate and distinct parish.

Exelby was annexed to the Parish of Leeming by an Order in Council, the Parish thus comprising the ancient townships of Leeming (Newton), Londonderry and Exelby.

A War Memorial erected in memory of those who died in the 1914-1918 War.

Leeming R.A.F.  Aerodrome opened.  Newton House taken over by the Military as a Tactical School.

The Church was severely damaged by aircraft, the East-Window damaged beyond repair,  and  most ot the remaining windows were damaged.

A War Memorial,  designed by the Vicar, the Revd. Frank Kent,  was unveiled by the Ven. D. M. M. Barlett,  Archdeacon of Richmond to commemorate the names of those who died in the service of Humanity in the War 1939-1945.

1860-1878 R. Anderson.
1878-1887 R. J. Hill.
1887-1920 W. Dennison.
1920-1957 Frank Kent.

The history of the present Parish of Leeming, although not extending into the remote ages of the past, is of considerable antiquity.  Leeming was originally spelt Lemying,  the derivation of which was the Roman Way road extending over 90 miles south and north of Leeming.   Leeming and Borobridge and Catterick became important on account of the accommodation they afforded to travellers from the South and North in packhorse and coaching days.  There were several inns in both Leeming and Londonderry,  and one of them earned the title “Pot and Kettle".  The pot and kettle were always on the fires ready to prepare meals for the arrival of the hungry travellers. There is now a continuous stream of traffic for the 24 hours of the day.

From an old map which l purchased in London, there was a good sized village green with a parish pump and rows of two-roomed cottages, some of which were inhabited when l first came to Leeming.  They were indeed a veritable blot on the landscape.  There still remains the old Mill which was used chiefly for pressing the linseed for oil; and l am informed  that this is one of the oldest mills used for that purpose in England.