The church is dedicated to St Wilfrid (634-709AD). It consists of a nave
and chancel, but has neither tower nor aisles. With the exception of the west wall, the
porch and bell cot, the whole building is of one date. Holy Communion services are held at 11.00am on the first Sunday
in every month from May to October. Visitors are extremely welcome.
Visitors can enjoy the short walk to St Wilfrid's Church, which should take approximately 20 minutes. The walk starts and finishes at the Kirkharle Courtyard Car Park.
Backtrack along the entrance you drove in and turn right along the road. Turn left before the cattle grid, through a large gate (public footpath arrow present). Cross the ladder stile, turn right and pass through the metal gate. Then pass through a wooden gate on your right and head across the field to the church.
There is likely to have been a church on the site before the present one; however nothing remains of this.
Walter de Bolbeck, a Norman Knight, appropriated part of the Church of Herla to his newly founded
Abbey of Blanchland in 1165. The Premonstratensian Canons provided for the ministrations in this
church until the dissolution of their abbey during the reign of Elizabeth I; they wore white habits.
Most of the current building dates back to 1336, when a chantry was founded by Sir William de Herle. He played an important part in State affairs during the reigns of Edward II and Edward III.
One of the most striking features of this church is the excellent masonry. Every stone is carefully squared and the joints are of finest character. Many stones in the chancel show their masons’ marks. Other notable features in the chancel include windows that are filled with reticulated tracery (ie all the principal openings in the window head are of the same size and shape), three sedilia, a piscina as well as a priest’s door and low side windows. There are also several monuments to the Loraine family.
The font, which dates from the late 15th or early 16th century, was originally in All Saints Church, Newcastle. In 1786 when this church was destroyed, the font was acquired by Alderman Hornby and placed in his garden. Thomas Anderson brought it with him on his move to Little Harle, with his son placing it into the church following restoration in 1884. The font has on each of its eight sides a shield of arms of old Northumbrian families.
To read more about St Wilfrid's, please visit the website of
The United Benefice of Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle, Kirkheaton and Cambo