Church History

The church was built in 1838. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester in 1838 and the first sermon was given by John Deane Freeman, who was vicar of Yealand from 1838 to 1854. The church was supposedly designed and built by George Webster, the famous local architect. There is evidence of an 1838 indenture regarding the land, which refers to Lord Raleigh and a Reverend William Dodsworth.

The church was enlarged by the addition of the north aisle in 1861/2, with the further addition of an arch to the nave and north aisle, a new chancel and other improvements in 1882. More improvements were made in 1895 and 1910.
The Reverend William M Shaw, MA was inducted in 1857, at which time the benefice was a vicarage with a value of £300, in the gift of the Hyndman Trustees.

St John’s was originally a chapel of ease in the parish of St Oswald, Warton. It became a parish in its own right on September 25 1870. The ecclesiastical parish embraces Yealand Conyers, Yealand Redmayne and Yealand Storrs. It contained 519 souls in 1881.

In 1886 the church contained 364 sittings, of which 200 were free and unappropriated. It had mural tablets to the memory of the Reverend John Hyndman who died in 1837 aged 39 years and the Reverend JD Freeman who was 16 years incumbent and who erected the school and parsonage (now Langdale, Roseacre Lane, Yealand Conyers).

The National School, between Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne, had an endowment of about £18 a year left by Dorothy Scott in 1859 and by Lucy Rothwell in 1869. It was under government inspection and attended by 40 children in 1886.
In 1890 a stained glass window representing the Good Shepherd and designed by Carl Almquist of Shrigley and Hunt was inserted and a brass mural tablet was placed in church in memory of William Maw Shaw, who was incumbent from 1857 until his death in 1889.

A brass lectern was presented to St John’s by JA and F Openshaw of Beechfield, Yealand Conyers in 1883, together with two double rows of oak choir stalls. A brass plaque recording these gifts remains in church. A lectern bible was presented by Mrs Wilson of Bank House, Mirfield, Yorkshire, in Advent in 1883. Mrs Openshaw presented new communion rails in 1895 and two Bishop’s chairs. The chairs were sold in 2004 and the proceeds used to install a sound system and hearing loop. The choir stalls and communion rails were remodelled during the reordering in 2013 and parts were used to make a lectern, altar and vicar’s chair. The brass lectern was sold in 2014 and the proceeds used to make a credence table from the remaining oak.
The organ, which was made by the Jardine Organ Company, was installed in 1883. The electrically driven blower was added in 1948.

A stained glass window by Ward and Hughes, who also inserted windows in St Oswald’s Church, Warton, was given in 1895 in memory of Edwin Brownlow,  by his friends in Yealand. Edwin Brownlow was living at Lourdes Cottage (now Fuchsia House), Yealand Conyers in 1891 and came from West Ravendale in Lincolnshire. He was unmarried and died in 1894, aged 45 years.
In 1912 the Hyndmans Trustees were patrons of the living which was then held by the Reverend Joseph Mitchell who was inducted in 1889 and who is buried in the churchyard.

The wooden font cover was given in 1968 in memory of Elizabeth Lucas, who lived for many years at Leighton Hall. The font was originally in the south-west corner of the nave (now the vestry) and was moved next to the organ during the reordering in 2013.

St John’s was Grade II listed on May 2 1968.

The building remained largely unchanged until a toilet was installed in the crypt and a kitchen area built at the back of the church in the early 1990s. The pews in the north aisle were removed at about the same time. Major development work in 2013 resulted in the creation of an upstairs room in what had been a gallery, a disabled toilet in what had been the original vestry, a new vestry, lobby area, a Sunday School room at the back of the church and a brew area. Half of the remaining pews in the main body of the church were removed and the chancel was reordered to make the space more flexible, with the addition of new chairs to retain the same seating capacity.