The Old St. Michael's Church began as a mission church of Holy Trinity, Bingley in 1877. In 1881 a large schoolroom was added by the liberality of Mr. Henry Mason of Bankfield, and early in 1886 Mr. Mason offered the sum of £1500 towards the endowment of an independent parish church. The Church of St. Michael & All Angels was consecrated by the Bishop of Ripon on 29th September 1886. A district comprising 985 acres was assigned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners out of the parish of Holy Trinity and the Rev. John Simpson, M.A. from Grasmere, who had been 9 years curate in charge, was appointed first incumbent of the new parish in 1904.
A description of the Church in the press at the time of consecration stated:
The Church is 30 feet wide by 80 feet long. The square is about 14 feet high and the ridge 23 feet. The interior is treated in pitch pine and wooden pillars rise from the communion rail to the ridge.
The first wedding took place on 16th July 1887 between John Marshall Halliday (20) and Elizabeth Armstrong (21).
The first baptism after the consecration was on 10th October 1886 of Emily daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Holmes.
Incumbents of the old Cottingley Church:
It continued in existence until 1968 when it was found to have extensive dry rot. After much deliberation it was decided that a new church be built nearer the centre of the now expanding village. When the new Church was built on the site at Littlelands the old Church was left empty awaiting deconsecration and on 3rd October 1969 it caught fire and had to be demolished. The site is now occupied by modern flats called St. Michael's Close.
The old empty vicarage was also later demolished and the site converted to a car park for the neighbouring Sun Inn. It was later sold for development and is now the site of modern housing called "Old Vicarage Close".
The site at Littlelands was purchased in 1965. The first building to be erected was the vicarage. The cost of building the Church was to be in the region of £50,000 and the parish was expected to pay one quarter of this as well as paying for the interior furnishings. It was felt that its situation was nearer to the centre of the parish than that of its predecessor. Work started in 1967 and on 25th November 1967 Bishop Parker laid an ordinary brick as a foundation for the new church. He described it as "the day I have been looking forward to ever since I came to Bradford". On Saturday 6th July, 1968 at 3 pm the consecration occurred.
The Church Bell was brought from the old church. There had been two bells but one was found to be cracked and unsuitable. The remaining bell was cast in 1876 by J Shaw & Sons, Founders, Leeds Road, Bradford. A Tapestry Guild was formed under the guidance of Mary Lindley and 250 tapestry kneelers were made by members.
Incumbents of the new Cottingley Church:
In 1918, it was decided that a memorial should be put up in the village as a reminder of those
who had given their lives in the First World War. It was subscribed for by the people of
Cottingley and erected in the paddock adjoining the Church. It was in the form of a Calvary with
names of the departed inlaid at its foot. In 1969 the Calvary memorial was moved to its present
site in the garden of the new church and roses planted around its base. (I am indebted to
Robin Wraith for much of the information above about the Church).
The Memorial was restored and the figure of Christ replaced in 2002 after it had been vandalised beyond repair. The Prince of Wales attended the which was carried out on 30th September 2002 at 11.30 am
The following is a copy of a T & A report about Prince Charles' visit to Cottingley
Charles angered by vandal attack
by Carolyne Coyle
Prince Charles is to unveil a new war memorial in Cottingley after being stirred by news that the village's original monument was vandalised. The figure of Jesus Christ on a cross outside St Michael and All Angels was sacrilegiously torn apart and its head used as a football in the attack in May. Prince Charles will rededicate the memorial, which commemorates those who gave their lives in the First World War, on Monday. A special service will also be held at the church in Littlelands. A spokesman from Buckingham Palace said the Prince was keen to offer his support to the church after reading reports of the vandalism.
"After reading about it he then looked into it further and kept up-to-date with how the situation progressed," he said. "He was also sent letters from members of the church community, but it was the initial reports which spurred him on".
Every pupil at Cottingley Village Primary will play a part in the event as each child made a yellow paper flower for the school's wreath which will be laid by the memorial. The school choir will also sing at the service. An exhibition about the war and villagers who fought in it, which was researched by children at the school, will be displayed in the church foyer for Prince Charles to see. It will be open to the public from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Headteacher Tina Briggs said the attack spurred youngsters on to find out more about the village's involvement in the war.
"This is a big event for the children to see the future king in Cottingley," she said. "They're very excited and it means a lot to them, especially after all the hard work they've done researching various aspects of the First World War."
Prince Charles will also spend time talking with representatives from the schools, churches and community about the regeneration of Cottingley and plans to rebuild the 1960s church. St Michael's vicar, the Reverend Sue Pinnington, said the whole village was gearing up for the Royal visit.
"We've all been extremely busy getting the church and the village ready and it's brought the whole of the community together," she said.
Tony Roche, of The Parade Fisheries and a member of Cottingley Community Association, said it was a real boost with everyone looking forward to the visit.
"It's all everyone is talking about and I've never seen the village look so clean and tidy" he said.
The original war memorial was put up in 1919 at the former church site next to The Sun Inn in Cottingley New Road and moved to Littlelands in 1967 Posted Saturday 28 September 2002
A week of celebrations to mark the opening of a multi-million pound community facility has begun. The doors of the £4.5-million Cottingley Cornerstone Centre were thrown open today, following six years of fundraising by residents. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Howard Middleton, welcomed guests to the micro-village, complete with community centre, nursery, elderly day care facility, GP surgery and more than 50 homes. The Littlelands site also houses the new St Michael and All Angels Church, where the first wedding has already been booked. Celebrations continue with various community events until Friday at the site, which has been supported by Prince Charles since he visited the village in 2002. T & A 3:50pm Monday 13th October 2008
The Prince of Wales officially opened the £4.5 million community centre which has taken six years to create on Monday, November 24 2008. Prince Charles visited Cottingley Cornerstone Centre to meet people involved in supporting the project and those who now use its facilities.
Incumbents of the New St Michaels Church in the Cornerstone Centre