History

St Aelred, 1110 – 1167, is linked with the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx in North Yorkshire, founded in 1131, of which he became abbot from 1147 until his death. As the head of a large Christian community, St Aelred guided his monks to live their fraternity with each other in the light of their friendship with Christ, enabling them to live a community life in truth and love. His wisdom holds out great light for our days too.

It is no small consolation in this life to have someone you can unite with you in an intimate affection and the embrace of a holy love, someone in whom your spirit can rest, to whom you can pour out your soul, to whose pleasant exchanges, as to soothing songs, you can fly in sorrow, to those in whose friendship, amidst the many troubles of the world, you can safely retire. … A man who can shed tears with you in your worries, be happy with you when things go well, search out with you the answers to your problems, whom with the ties of charity you can lead into the depths of your heart.The parish of St Aelred.In 1892 it was reported that over 100 new houses have been built in Starbeck in three years. Starbeck at that time was a separate village between Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The church is cruciform in shape and has a lofty appearance under a severe ceiling. From the west door there is a clear view to the sanctuary and the altar. The ceiling was specially designed and constructed to provide an acoustically perfect baffle for all sound and for Mass and other services conducted within the sanctuary to be heard without difficulty at the west doors. The church is designed to hold 300 people.

The layout of the church has hardly altered since it was built. The Baptismal font has moved from the rear of the church to the front and the Altar rails have been moved. In 1992 the Lady Chapel, on the north side of the church, became an adoration chapel for the Blessed Sacrament. New stained glass windows for this chapel were designed as a Parish Millennium Project and added in 2001.

The old church continued to be used as a parish hall, and in 1993 was refurbished; a new kitchen and new toilets being built on to the original structure. This building continues to support many parish activities.The parish, one of three Catholic parishes in the town, serves the eastern side of Harrogate as well as the wider Catholic community and also the chaplaincy at the Harrogate District Hospital.

Fr John Brennan
Fr John Flynn
Fr Bernard Blackburn
Fr Vincent Durkin
Fr Frederick Bennett
Fr Michael Pierce
Fr Michael O’Reilly
Fr William Bryson
Fr Lawrence Hulme
Fr Michael Sullivan
Fr David Massey
Fr Richard Aladics
Fr Jim Leavy
Canon James Callaghan

In 1995 the Rev. David Arblaster became a permanent Deacon of the parish.

The first Baptism was Sylvia Crompton on 6 April 1913, she was 1 month old.
On 10 October 1937 the first confirmations took place when Bishop Henry John Poskitt confirmed 42 people, 24 girls & 18 boys.
The first wedding took place on 26 December 1940 when Percival Richard Todd, a Knaresborough man, married Helen Brennan of Starbeck.
The original church (c. 1944) – is now St Aelred’s Parish Church Hall.