The building of St Mary’s dates from around 1100. The tower is original Norman, but the remainder of the church was rebuilt in the 1830s after a storm blew in the roof in 1832.
The following is the text provided in the church’s grade II listed entry:
SE22NE WF12 DEWSBURY ROAD SE272250 MORLEY (east side), Woodkirk 2/79 Church of St. Mary 7.8.64 GV II
Church: Late C12 tower embattled c1911, nave rebuilt c1832 retaining inner medieval walls, chancel rebuilt and extended c1834 by Joseph Furness, a local mason. Large dressed stone to tower, hammr.dressed stone to body of church with stone slate roof. Gothic Revival style. West tower, nave, chancel, 3-stage embattled tower has battered plinth, roll-moulded strings. West face has lancet window to 1st stage, clock to 2nd stage and 2 light plate tracery belfry windows recessed inside elliptical arches and having colonnettes with cushion-headed capitals. Battlements have corner pinnacles. Weathervane. Earlier steeply-pitched roofline visible on east-face. Nave has 3 bays of 2-light windows with trefoil heads and curvilinear tracery. Between 1st two bays gabled porch c1911. North facade of nave has 3 semicircular relieving arches, possibly from earlier church to aisle arcade now gone, blocked with 2-light traceried windows as front. Chancel set back from nave but roofed continuously has 5 bays. lst-bay has 3-light window with intersecting Y-tracery. Other windows of 2 lights as nave. Priests’ door in 5th bay with small Y-traceried window above. On North facade of chancel, set between 1st and 2nd bay, priests’ door with pointed-arch and oak studded door. 5-light east window with intersecting Y-tracery. small added north vestry gabled and at right angles with chimney and coped gable.
Interior: single vessel, the nave separated from chancel by semicircular arch. Oldest feature the tower arch: 2-centred with inner arch with chamfered octagonal piers with moulded capitals. Moulded plaster cornice, flat ceiling with rose c1830s. Chancel retains fine Jacobean pulpit of good work, octagonal with interlaced guillouche decoration and arcaded panels. Fine reused C15 bench ends to choir-stalls with carved rectilinear tracery and good carved poppy-heads. Vestry has walls panelled with remains of finely carved C17 box-pews. Window above Priests’ door made up of fragments of medieval stained glass. Other C19 stained glass memorial windows. Some memorials from earlier church, the best to Christopher Hodgson c1726. Royal Coat of Arms (on canvas) to George I.
Mentioned in Domesday Book c1086 and was granted by William, 2nd Earl Warenne, between 1121 and 1127 to the newly-forwed Priory of Augustinian Canons at Nostell. The Canons set up a small cell serving Woodkirk Church until the Dissolution in 1539 when it later fell into the hands of the Saviles. Excavations have revealed a courtyard over 50ft square with adjacent buildings. There was also a garden, an orchard and a stone dovecote with fishponds below the church which served as reservoirs for the watermills. St. Michael’s, East Ardsley (q.v.) was a chapel dependent on Woodkirk.
Joan Thomas, St. Mary’s Woodkirk (undated church leaflet).
These pictures show St Mary’s through time (older photographs reproduced with permission from www.leodis.org):