Adel St John the Baptist Church
A Brief History
of the word 'Adel' pronounced A'del, comes from Anglo-Saxon
adela meaning muddy or a boggy place. The Domesday Book records 'the
manor of Adele' and an 11th century charter mentions the Church of St
John of Adela. Until 1816 the spelling Addle was often used in
documents, church registers and on local milestones. Addle is visible
within the churchyard on some of the older gravestones.
Architecture Adel Church remains one of the best examples of
Norman architecture in Britain. The grade I listed 12th century building
features a corbel table of 78 grotesque heads, an elaborately carved
doorway and chancel arch. The sculptured stonework round the south door
has deteriorated since a large stone porch was removed in 1816. On the
Great Door is the Adel Sanctuary Ring which was bronze cast in York in
1200. A man's head protrudes from the mouth of a lion and the moveable
decorated ring passes through the lion's mouth. This closing ring or
door knocker is similar to the sanctuary ring at All Saints', Pavement.
|The carvings on Chancel Arch remain
almost as sharp as 850 years ago (1150-1160). There are 37 different
grotesque beakheads around the arch. Carvings on the capitals of the
supporting pillars, include a centaur with bow and arrow, a favoured
device of King Stephen (1135-1154) who visited Leeds and whose Mother,
Adela, was William the Conqueror's only daughter.
For a more detailed look at the Chancel Arch,
please click here but be aware, that some of the images can take a
little time to display. However you will discover how grotesque and
gruesome the carvings are that gaze over the congregation!
Glass The vestry is lit by a large 3-light Armorial east window
dated 1681. The stained and painted glass by Henry Giles of York depicts
the Royal Arms of Charles II and also the Arms of the Arthington
(Patron) family, the Arms of Rector Bearey and the Arms of Thomas Kirke.
Two of the Hatchments that once hung in the chancel, are now in the
vestry, one shows the Arthington Arms. In 1706, a small panel of
coloured glass was painted and given by Henry Giles as a tribute to
Thomas Kirke. This panel now forms part of the glass in 14th c. 2-light
Lepers' window in the Chancel.
|The stained glass by F.C.Eden, in one of
the 16th century windows in the Nave, was put in during 1933 as a
memorial to Colonel Arthur Bray. It is known as the Norman History
Window and shows, top centre, St Martin of Tours giving half his cloak
to a beggar. St Martin founded a monastery at Marmoutier in Normandy.
||Abbot Alan, centre, sent monks from this
monastery to York. It was the monks from York who were endowed with the
wooden Adel Church in 1089 by Ralph Paganel and they later rebuilt the
church in stone from a local quarry. Ralph the Lord of Adel Manor is
shown on the left and his Norman Overlord, Ilbert de Lacy is shown on
the right. The York monks received an annual pension from Adel but they
did not receive the tithes, hence Adel has always been served by a
Rector. In 1152, the Cistercian Abbey at Kirkstall was founded. Some
farm land in the old parish of Adel was given to the Kirkstall monks in
the 12th and 13th centuries. The old parish included Adel, Arthington,
Breary, Cookridge and Eccup. Adel Church is situated near the site of
the Roman fort of Burgodunum on the ancient road from Ilkley to York via
Tadcaster. Some Roman and Saxon stones and two Norman stone coffins can
be seen near the churchyard gate.
and Canopy At the west end of the Nave is a medieval octagonal
grit stone font with an amazing carved oak canopy by Eric Gill
The Parish of Adel The size of
the parish of Adel has diminished over the years - at one time it
stretched from over the river Wharfe to the north until it met with the
now modern day Ring Road at Weetwood Lane at its southern boundary. It
was an area of agriculture, with open fields, peppered with dwellings
and farmsteads encompassing five townships: Adel, Arthington, Breary,
Cookridge and Eccup.
Up until April 1926 Adel lay outside the city boundaries of Leeds.