Welcome to the website for the Parish of Spofforth with Kirk Deighton

(including Follifoot and Little Ribston)


St Helen's Church, Little Ribston


The History


The records of the early days of Little Ribston Church are very scanty.  The Church is listed in the Ripon Diocesan records as a Mission Room in the parish of Spofforth, and that is no doubt how it started.  The lintel of the west door bears the date 1860.  The rector of Spofforth at that time was the Rev'd James Tripp (1847-1879).


The building now known as St Helen's Church was provided by the generosity of Mr Joseph Dent of Ribston Hall. It had been a carpenter's shop.  Mr Dent added a western porch in the Tudor style, inserted pleasant lattice windows and panelled the lower walls of the main room in pinewood panelling, said to have been brought from Ribston Hall.  The organ was a gift from Miss Dent in 1912.  The room at the east of the building was designed as a village reading room and was so used for many years.  A parish magazine of 1897 tells us that the reading room was open "every weekday evening (save Saturday)", and that the secretary was Mr W Cawood, who  was also Churchwarden.


The Church is consecrated to St Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great who granted tolerance to Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.  There is a well near St Helen's Farm which is reputed to have had connections with this saint during Roman times.


The organist from 1914-1969 was Mr George Ernest Dalby.  His successor, Mrs Barbara Goulton still continues in this office.  Mr William Hill served as Churchwarden from 1919-1929 and was succeeded by Mrs Julia Dalby (wife of the organist).  Mrs Della Bennett took over from Mrs Dalby in 1966 and held the position for a number of years.


Alterations were carried out in 1960, the Centenary year, together with the provision of new furnishings.  An English Oak Altar Table designed and made by Thompson of Kilburn replaced the old Altar Table.  The Altar was furnished with a linen cloth worked by Mrs E Shepherd, since replaced by one worked by Mrs Bennett.  Two Oak candlesticks were given by Mr F C King and made by Thompson of Kilburn.  A dorsal curtain of tapestry was erected behind the Altar.  A new Altar Book was given anonymously to mark the long service of Mr Dalby.  The floor of the Church was carpeted and new kneelers provided.  The Sanctuary carpet was the gift of Mr Herbert Ridsdale.  The Church Warden's Stave, in oak, also made by Thompson of Kilburn, was given by Mr E Tempest in gratitude for the ministry of The Rev'd E O Butler, Rector of Spofforth (1928-1945).


Compiled by E Dabell, June 2000.