Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
On its elevated site the church stands close to the old north-south highway as do other churches in the area (Elland, Huddersfield, Kirkburton) and it is interesting to speculate whether the churches were deliberately placed near to an already existing route, which would provide comparatively easy access, or whether it was the position of the churches that influenced the development and route of the road.
The earliest recorded date in connection with the church is found in 1231 but most writers favour the idea of a small church on the site before that date built, perhaps, by the de Lacis at the same time as they built the castle on the hill. It is believed that the earliest church occupied the site of the present chancel and that parts of the Early English church, including the lancet windows in the present sanctuary, were incorporated in the new building when the church was rebuilt at the end of the fifteenth century.
Although we should be aware of alterations made in the nineteenth century much of the fabric of the present building, including the tower, belongs to the church built between 1470 and 1520. It is thought that work started on the nave in 1470 to be followed by the aisles and the tower until the Early English church was replaced by a church built in the Perpendicular style.
The square tower is massive, seventy feet (21 metres) high, surmounted by four battlements and supported by buttresses of five heights. The clock in the tower which has faces to the north and east was installed in 1823 by Titus Bancroft of Sowerby Bridge at a cost of £250. Until the clock was electrified in 1977 the weights had to be wound up by hand every three days.
The porch was designed and built in the nineteenth century but the Early English inner doorway is much older and could have been re-set at the time of the fifteenth century rebuilding. A close look will reveal two much weathered heads, one on each side of the door and, on the right hand side, still preserved, is a stoup for holy water. Stone heads are undoubtedly a feature of the church and whilst most of them are of fairly recent origin the sculptors followed the old fashion and made some of them saintly and others grotesque. Other carved heads, particularly those of animals, may pre-date the nineteenth century restoration and certainly the griffins on the tower are shown on a drawing of the church made in 1818.
In 1870, three years after the Rev. C.A. Hulbert was appointed to the living, the decision was taken to restore and renovate the church. Work began on the nave in September, 1872. Externally, this involved placing new pinnacles and battlements on the roof of the nave and on the tower and erecting a handsome new Gothic porch to replace the old one. At the same time the churchyard was partially lowered, drained and paved, the walks were widened and a new entrance to the churchyard was opened up at the east end of the chancel. Internally, of course, great architectural improvements were made and the comfort of the congregation was not forgotten as new pews were provided, extra gas fittings installed and a new floor of Morion's eucanatic tiles was laid over the old stone flags.
Work on phase one was completed in eighteen months and on Wednesday, 25th March 1874 to the ringing of the church bells a procession of clergy and laity paraded to the church for a service of thanksgiving and dedication during which it was announced that £1000 was still needed for the restoration fund. Later, Canon Hulbert presided over lunch for a hundred and tea for a hundred and fifty which jointly resulted in £19 profit.
As soon as the celebrations were over work started on phase two, the restoration of the chancel which was completed in November, 1876. The total cost of the enterprise was £8500.Writing about the restoration in 1975 the Rev. D.H. Boyling says, "Since that day there has been little change. In due course additions were made but only in accordance with Canon Hulbert's plans ... Visitors today can therefore see the Archbishop's church of the 15th century restored under the inspiration of Charles Hulbert, and they will wish to thank God that there have been such men who can realise in terms of wood and stone something of the beauty of holiness."
CHURCH OF ALL HALLOWS (Formerly listed as: CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS ALMONDBURY). Chancel C13. Flanking chapels C14 (lengthened in C19). West tower apparently C15, possibly the result of an indulgence of 1485 for the repair of the church. Nave and aisles could also be the result of the 1485 indulgence, but the windows appear to be early C16, and the nave roof is dated 1522 (battlements and pinnacles 1872-7). South porch C19. Hammer dressed stone and ashlar. Pitched stone slate roofs, aisle roofs lean-to. Chancel has north and south lancets, externally obscured by the C19 extensions of the flanking chapels. 3 east windows, the flanking ones round-arched with elementary bar tracery, the central one now of 3-lights with cusped Perpendicular tracery, but originally 3 stepped lancets with relieving arch. Clerestory and aisles windows both of 3 lights each, with uninterrupted mullions, and cusped 2-centred arched lights, the clerestory windows oblong, the aisle windows with 3-centred heads and hoodmoulds. Tower has diagonal buttresses with many set-offs and gargoyles at top. Crenellated parapet. Crocketed pinnacles. West door in deeply moulded 2-centred arch. 3-light west window with Perpendicular tracery, in 2-centred arch with hoodmould. Large 3-light bell openings in 2-centred openings with hoodmould. Interior. Nave has 5-bay arcade with octagonal piers, moulded capitals and moulded voussoirs. Double chamfered tower arch dying into imposts. Double chamfered chancel arch on moulded capitals. Chancel has 2-bay arcade to north, with double chamfered voussoirs and moulded corbels. 3-bay arcade to south, its capitals decorated with Tudor roses and fleurs-de-lys. Nave has particularly fine timber calling with an inscription running all round cornice, which names Geferay Daystre as the joiner, and 1522 as the date: shallow pitch, all beams moulded and bosses elaborately ornamented. Chancel has hammer-beam roof, apparently C19. Good Perpendicular timber traceried screen to north chapel. Outstanding C17 joinery font cover (cf Bradford and Halifax) Gothic Survival tracery and 3 tiers of perforated canopies. Good C15 stained glass in east window and in north chapel, restored (and possibly re-set) by the 5th Earl of Dartmouth in 1879. Fenay Family pew 1605. Early C18 gilded eagle lectern. Various monuments, of which the best are to Matthew Wentworth of Bretton (d 1574) (slab incised with figure in armour), William Lister of Thornton-in-Craven (d 1701) (lively Baroque cartouche), and Sir Arthur Kaye of Woodsome Hall (d 1726) (upright architectural composition).