All Saints' Church, Darton
Welcome to All Saints' Church, Darton. Our beautiful church is full of over 500 years of history while still serving the community of Darton and Kexborough in the 21st century.
We welcome all comers to our worship at All Saints church, and if you want an informal look around, the church is open every Saturday morning from 9.30 until noon. You are welcome to drop in and explore centuries of heritage and Christian witness.
Please click on the links below to find out more about what goes on at All Saints.
The age of Darton Church is not known, but a church was built at Darton in the twelfth century. Tradition has it that the church was badly damaged by fire sometime in the fifteenth century, and the church we see today is the result of alterations made by the monks of Monk Bretton Priory. This rebuilding was completed in 1517 and is one of the most complete and unaltered Late Perpendicular churches in South Yorkshire. The rebuilding is confirmed by a Latin inscription carved in Oak in the Chancel which attributes the rebuilding work to Thomas Tykell, Prior of Monk Bretton. Members of the De Lacy family, Chief Lords of the Honour of Pontefract, were the founders of this rebuilt church.
Darton Church was founded by a member of the De Laci family, who were the Chief Lords of the Honour of Pontefract. In the early days there was a dispute between the De Laci's and Peter De Birthwaite as to who possessed the advowson of Darton. The patronage of the living passed from the De Laci's to the Earls of Lancaster and then to the crown.
In 1484 King Richard III gave the living of Darton to Monk Bretton Priory in exchange for Holcombe Forest in Westmorland. When King Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor all his acts were revoked, and David Hunter, the first vicar of Darton, was replaced in 1486 but later re-instated. After the dissolution of Monk Bretton Priory, the advowson passed back to the crown, thence to the Marsh family at the end of the 16th century to their relative George Carr, and after the civil war to the Wentworth family of Woolley. At the end of the 18th century the patronage passed to the Beaumont family of Bretton Hall with whom it remained until 1959 when Viscount Allendale's trustees gave the Right of Patronage to the Bishop of Wakefield. The parish registers date from 1539 and are the oldest in the district.
The church is one of five local sister churches which share the same architectural design. The others can be found in Cawthorne, Royston, High Hoyland and Silkstone.
In the South trancept there is a handsome marble monument to the memory of John Silvester, Lord of Birthwaite and Kexborough. Silvester lived at Birthwaite Hall, which he purchased from the Burdett family. As well as being responsible for the construction of a school in Kexborough, he was originally a blacksmith, and was the inventor of a curious chain made to go across the Thames. He died aged 70, in 1722.