All Saints


The earliest parts of the church fabric date to the 12th century. The chancel was originally Norman and parts of it remain today.

A church at Harworth is mentioned in Domesday Book. Harworth is listed under land belonging to Lord Roger de Builli and Fulk held Harworth from Roger. Eight villagers are listed and one smallholder. The pre-1066 value of the land is listed as 40s. and the present value as 30s.

The church in Harworth was part of the chapelry of Blyth Priory, a Benedictine Priory founded in 1088 by Lord Roger de Builli. As part of the chapelry of Blyth, the patronage of Harworth church was given to Rouen Cathedral. In 1174 Henry II had granted to his clerk, Walter of Countances, the gift of the chapelry of Blyth. In 1191 the future King John, Count of Mortain, confirmed this gift to Rouen Cathedral and Walter of Courtances, then Archbishop of Rouen. The patronage of Harworth Church was later given to the collegiate royal chapel of Tykehill.

In 1286 the Rector of Harworth, John Clarel, was called to Rome to answer to charges and incomes due to the dean and chapter of Rouen. He was also rector of ‘Brigeforde, Ludham, Marcham’ and other chapels.

All Saints is listed in the 1291 taxatio returns. These were assessments for tax ordered by Pope Nicholas IV. The annual value of the benefice is given as £13 6s. 8d.

In December 1312 King Edward II granted Bartholomew de Cotingham, who was a king's clerk, the vicarage of Harworth. However, in June the following the year the king revoked his presentation as he had mistakenly believed the church was void and belonged to the jurisdiction of the archbishop, whereas in reality Harworth was annexed to the free chapel of Tickhill and was exempt from such jurisdiction. This issue sparked a petition by the archbishop of York to the king in 1315, requesting that he was granted jurisdiction in the case of these annexations; the king ordered a Commission to investigate. By 1342 the holder of the chapelry of Blyth (i.e. the free chapelry of Tickhill) was excluded from holding the vicarages of Harworth, Wheatley, East and West Markham, Walesby, and Lowdham.

In 1341 the church was assessed in the Nonae Rolls, a taxation of ninths. The entry reads: 'They say that the church of Harworth with vicar of the same was taxed at 26½ marks [£17 12s. 4d.] and they say that the ninth of sheaves, lambs and their fleeces are worth 18 marks [£12] a year at true value and no more, hay and glebe 2 marks [£1 6s. 8d.], and altar oblations and other tithes are valued at 6½ marks [£4 6s. 8d.] per year. This is of interest as it considerably exceeds the reported values in 1291 and 1428.

The 1428 Subsidy tax records of Henry VI show that the value of the church was the same as it was in 1291. The subsidy for Harworth was 26s 8d, which is 10% of the overall value, 20 marks or £13 6s 8d.

In the will of Ralph Wentworth who died in 1486 he left his body to be buried in Harworth churchyard, his best animal as mortuary, 3s. 4d. to the vicar for 'tithes forgotten', and 20s. to the fabric of the belfry.

Under Henry VII the Chapel of Tykehill was dissolved and the patronage of Harworth church passed to the convent of Westminster.

In 1538 the parish register for Harworth began.

With the Reformation, under Edward VI, the convent of Westminster was dissolved. So the patronage of the Harworth church was granted to the Earl of Shrewsbury. This patronage later passed to the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk. The Duke of Norfolk was still listed as Patron in Thoroton’s Antiquities of Nottinghamshire (1677).

The Valor Ecclesiasticus of Henry VIII lists lands, tenements, and free rent in Harworth, belonging to the inferior cell of St Thomas, with a clear annual value of 7s 3d.

A churchwardens’ presentment of 1601 admonished ‘Mr John Rodes for not repairing the chancel’ and a presentment of 1603 gives details of the minister, value of the parsonage and congregation numbers at the time. The minister was ‘a preacher and a Maister of Arte’. The benefice was ‘valued in the King's Books at £5; 3’ [£5 3s]. Also there were 145 communicants and only one woman recusant. By 1609, the problems with the chancel had resurfaced and the churchwardens presented that ‘the chancel is out of repair in the default of the Earle of Shersbery’, and in the following year ‘the Ri. Honorable Gilbert 'thearle of Shrowsburie' for not maintaining and repairing the chancel.’

In 1639 instructions were sent to the churchwarden’s of All Saints by the Archdeacon’s court concerning the condition of the church building. This was an attempt by the Church of England to ensure that church buildings were in good order and repair. The only instruction to the wardens in Harworth was that the seats needed boarding.

In 1672 the Norman chancel was apparently ‘rebuilt’ (though much 12th century work still remains today).

Thomas Herring, Archbishop of York, toured the diocese in 1743. The visitation report records details of All Saints’. There were 60 families in the parish. Two of the families are listed as dissenters, one was Quaker, the other Roman Catholic. There was a charity school, which taught 40 children and a local hospital. The vicar was Matthew Tomlinson and he had a resident curate.

In 1764, the report from the visitation of Archbishop Drummond also records 60 families. Three or four families are described as Anabaptist and one as Quaker. There was still a school catering to 40 girls and boys and the vicar was the Rev Joshua Waddington. 

In the 1790s John Throsby records the patron of Harworth church as Samuel Hartly in his revision of Robert Thoroton's Antiquities of Nottinghamshire. He also records the incumbent as the Rev William Downes. However, in the 1832 White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire the patron is again listed as the Duke of Norfolk.

During repair work in 1828 an arched recess was discovered in the church and a preaching cross was found in the churchyard. This cross was placed above the east window.

The 1851 religious census recorded the church’s tithes being worth £400, the glebe £200, and fees £3. The average congregation numbers for morning services were 100 and for afternoon services 80. The average Sunday School figure for mornings and afternoons was 56 children.

In 1869 the church was largely rebuilt by the Mansfield architect, C J Neale, except for the medieval tower. The Nottinghamshire Guardian, reporting on the reopening of the church on 19 January 1870, provides some details:

'The work just completed includes the re-erection of the whole of the body of the church and the chancel, with the addition of two new transepts, each 17ft. by 15ft., a vestry, and an organ chamber. The chancel arch and the arch at the entrance from the porch, from their being rare specimens of the Norman style of architecture, have been retained. The church has been built with wallstone obtained from the neighbourhood, and is dressed with ashlar stone, supplied from Ancaster. The tower is the same as before.'

An old gallery was also taken down and the total cost of the work was £1,425 most of which was met by public subscription.

White’s Directory of 1885 also mentions an ancient stone coffin in the churchyard, in the south wall of the nave.

In 1888 a new pulpit and reading desk were gifted to the church by B I Whitaker Esq. of Hesley, in memory of his father, who had given £500 for the restoration of the church.

In c1912 Sir Edward Hoskyns Bishop of Southwell toured the diocese. The visitation records list the value of the benefice as £390. The population of Harworth in 1911 was 939. The church was able to accommodate 400. The number of children on the church day school roll numbered 104 and on the Sunday school roll numbered 50.

Work on sinking a shaft for coal in Harworth began in 1913 and this led to concerns that 'the burial ground of Lord Galway's ancestors [would be] undermined by the coal workers' so on 17 July 1914 the remains of Lord and Lady Galway were removed from the family vault in the church and transferred to a newly built family burial ground near Serlby Hall.

From 1992 to 2004 a small group of parishioners removed the plasterwork from the interior walls (except for the Vestry) and repointed the stonework. During this period the condition of the organ had worsened so the team helped to replace it with a two-manual organ from Gainsborough Methodist Chapel. After installation in the church the team completely overhauled and restored the instrument.

By 2012 there were problems with the tower roof. The roof itself was rebuilt and the parapet walls on the north and south sides were taken down and reconstructed. A new concealed stainless steel ring beam was installed within the tower roof to prevent horizontal stresses in the stonework.