Our History & our Heritage


St. Matthew’s Church was built in 1868 to meet the needs of the growing market town of Leyburn.
The original plan was for a significantly larger building but insufficient funding at the time prevented this. Over the years, the building has continued to evolve, with progressive changes to its interior, alongside the development of the town.
The church is conscious of the rich heritage embodied within St Matthew’s.

The landmark church tower with its distinctive clock features high on our repair priorities, and grant support has already been sought to protect this for the future. In addition to the plaque commemorating Flt.Lt. Broadley, who played a pivotal role in Operation Jericho in  WWII, there is also a survivors’ plaque recording the names of the men who returned from active duty after WWI. We plan to develop explanatory material focusing on the changing society in Leyburn post-1918 and also Operation Jericho.

Read more about the history of St. Matthew’s here.

St. Matthew’s church is nearly 150 years old  and the building is showing signs of its age.
Our Inspecting Architect advised us that repair work would be required in the near future in order to keep the tower parapets safe.

In late 2016 the urgent work to repair the roof drainage system was undertaken supported by a major grant from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.  During this work, we were also able to make a closer inspection of the main roof and chancel arch, which revealed the poor condition of the roof coverings and associated masonry.

The Inspecting Architect’s 2017 Quinquennial Report advised that the high level stonework of the Clock Tower requires urgent repair to be undertaken no later than the first half of 2019. In addition the slate roof of the main church building will ultimately require renewal.

Therefore within the next two years we plan to:

  • Dismantle the weathervane and tower parapet walls, salvaging masonry
  • Re-align all the rainwater disposal systems from the tower roof
  • Rebuild the parapet walls
  • Weatherproof the central weathervane support structure
  • Re-assemble the re-decorated weathervane with its associated tie rods
  • Upgrade the lightning protection with ring conductor and additional down conductor, binding in the tie rods to the weathervane
  • Repair the cracks in the tower walls and generally re-point
  • Secure the main west window stones and traceries


When we have finished work on the tower we will move the scaffold and renew the roof coverings on the Nave, Chancel and North Aisle slopes. We will also repair the masonry on the Chancel arch wall, Chancel East gable and Vestry chimney.
Whilst the scaffold is in place and the slate roof coverings are removed, we will also take the opportunity to install a high-performance layer of insulation to achieve some energy conservation.
During the work there will be several visits from our local primary and secondary schools to explore the history and heritage of our building and its setting.
The project is aimed at securing the fabric of St. Matthew’s, allowing us to continue to develop the community use of the building.

“The project will certainly enhance the community facilities in Leyburn and the surrounding area and complement well the vision for the development of the dale.”
Rishi Sunak
Member of Parliament Richmond (Yorks)