Churches Together in Otley

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History of The Churches in Otley             contents page

Note: the detail below is from the 2002 edition
 of Otley Past Present and Future

Our Lady and All Saints Roman Catholic Church


The Church celebrated its 150th anniversary on 24th June 2001 having being built by Thomas Constable in 1851 in the grounds of the Manor House at a cost of £4,000. Ten years later, the west end of the church was added.

During the 1840ís, a number of Irish families were invited by Thomas Constable to live in Otley to escape the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine. They initially were settled in tents on what has become known as Irish Fields. With the increase in the number of Roman Catholic people in Otley, the church was built to eliminate the seven mile trek to Middleton Lodge, Ilkley every Sunday to celebrate Mass. A number of the Irish people arrived starving , with famine related diseases and the young particularly suffered with a number dying soon after their arrival in Otley. In 2001, a memorial stone was positioned in the outside of the south wall of the church to commemorate the burial of some 50 people in the grounds of the Parish Church. At that time, there was no consecrated ground in Otley for Roman Catholic burials.

A number of refurbishments have been carried out through the history of the Church, the last being in 1992/3. A new altar similar in design to the original altar was installed in the sanctuary and the sanctuary roof renewed. A new window, designed by Ann Sotheran, was put into the East end of the church and the old window moved to the west wall. The statue of Our Lady was moved to her own chapel at the rear of the church. The baptismal font was repositioned with a new tabernacle for baptismal oils placed in the wall nearby.