Barnsley RE trail

A place of worship trail around the centre of Barnsley, which includes a variety of denominations in the Christian tradition.

We have a wonderful Christian tradition in Barnsley. Many of our churches have special features and traditions, some of which are truly awe inspiring.

All the clergymen we've interviewed in constructing this trail have spoken about their own church and the vital work they're involved with in their local and wider communities.

Our aim is to provide schools with a cost effective way of delivering the Christianity section of the Barnsley religious education (RE) syllabus. We hope they'll use this valuable resource to compare and contrast with their students the rich variety of Christian traditions we've found. 

We have included information and photographs about each church along the trail, including their contact details in case you'd like to arrange a visit for your pupils.

Barnsley Baptist Church

Barnsley Baptist Church

Union Street, Barnsley, S70 1JJ

Christians have worshipped on this site since the 1840s, with the present building being erected in 1969. Although this Church has few special features a topic on baptism could focus on the immersion tank below panels in the shape of a cross in the centre of the worship area. By prior arrangement the Reverend William Shaw would be pleased to open the church to school visits. The Church hall offers a place for children to eat their lunch. It also provides an ideal base from which to visit other churches in the area.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Ken Jefferson
Tel: 01226 285431

Please note, a topic on baptism could focus on the three churches in this area of Barnsley - Barnsley Baptist Church, St Peter’s Church and Buckley Street Methodist Chapel (immediately behind Barnsley Baptist Church).

On request, a copy of the history of the church is available for teachers to peruse.

Find out more on the Yorkshire Baptist Association website

Buckley Street Methodist Church

Buckley Street Methodist Church

Union Court, Barnsley, S70 1JN

This small Methodist Church was erected in 1876. Methodist churches of this era were built as preaching houses. This particular church includes special features such as:

  • a large central pulpit which is rarely used today
  • some interesting ornate metal carving fronting the upstairs gallery. This houses rows of traditional pews, with similar pews in the ground floor central area of the Church.

It is recommended that this church be visited in conjunction with the other churches in the area.

Reverend Ben Scrivens will be pleased to talk to school parties by appointment.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Ben Scrivens
Tel: 01226 733285

Please note, a topic on baptism could focus on the three churches in this area of Barnsley - Barnsley Baptist Church, St Peter’s Church and Barnsley Baptist Church.

Emmanuel Methodist Church

Emmanuel Methodist Church

Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, S75 1DT

This modern Methodist Church was built in 2002 to replace an earlier church on the same site. The worship area is fairly plain with a central cross (which can be lit) and a small vertical stained glass window either side of the cross. The original steps from which John Wesley preached to the people of Barnsley District can be seen at the front left of the Church. Inside, the worship area is fairly plain with a central cross (which can be lit) and a small vertical stained glass window either side of the cross.

Students of all ages are warmly welcomed at the Church.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Cameron Stirk
Tel: 01226 207208

Holy Rood RC Church

Holy Rood RC Church

George Street, Barnsley, S70 1AX

Built between 1903 and 1905 Holy Rood Church has many special, ornate features. This includes an amazing finely carved high alter above which is a larger than life size Calvary - The Holy Rood. It also has an interesting Lady Chapel with marble walls and floors; a colourful war memorial and a number of beautifully painted panels.

School parties can expect a warm welcome with treasures not usually on display available to view.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Father D Humphries
Tel: 01226 284961

James Hudson Taylor Trail

James Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905) was born in Barnsley and spent most of his adult life as a missionary in China. He was the founder of the China Inland Mission, one of the largest Christian movements in the world.

Eleven circular red plaques in English and Chinese have been placed in the centre of Barnsley marking important sites. Other sites can be found at:

  • The front of Emmanuel Church, Huddersfield Road. Where there are the original steps on which John Wesley preached.
  • On the lychgate of Royston Parish Church. Where James Taylor married Elizabeth Johnson in 1776
  • At Staincross Cottage near Paddock Road. Where James Taylor (James Hudson Taylor’s great grandfather) lived.

A great deal of information about James Hudson Taylor’s life and work is available on the internet - He's included in

  • the Barnsley Local Agreed Syllabus (page 80)
  • Christian Faith, Key Question 3 - ‘How can faith contribute to Community Cohesion?’ - ‘Look at the lives of inspirational Christians, past and present and describe why they are inspiring and how they have been influenced by Jesus’ teaching.’
  • This would
    provide a very interesting and thought provoking research topic for upper KS2 and KS3/4.

Suggested central Barnsley James Hudson Taylor trail

(Safe walking time with a class of children - around 1½ hours)

  1. Begin trail on the top right hand side of Old Mill Lane across from Barnsley College building.
    Site 1: ‘James Taylor, his wife and their son, John, lived in a cottage on this site in 1777’ .
  2. Safe crossing next to site - walk past College building, on Church Street to site opposite Town Hall.
    Site 2: ‘In 1847 James Hudson Taylor started work as a junior clerk in this building when it was the Wakefield and Barnsley Bank’ .
  3. Safe crossing next to site - walk up Sadler Gate on right hand side of Town Hall. Turn left behind Town Hall.
    Site 3 Plaque on the side of the new college building. This was where the Taylors heard John Wesley preach in 1786.
  4. Retrace your steps cross by the pedestrian crossing and walk up Westgate to the Lamp Room Theatre - Site 4.
    Site 4: ‘This building was originally a chapel built by a group led by James Taylor, great grandfather to James Hudson Taylor and opened in 1794’.
    Pavement narrow in front of Plaque - children could stand on opposite pavement.
  5. Proceed forwards to Pinfold Steps - walk down steps - Plaque 5 on wall at bottom of steps next to National Tyres and Autocare.
    Site 5: ‘At the top of these steps John Taylor, James Hudson Taylor’s grandfather had his first house and workshop’.
  6. Walk down Shambles Street to safe crossing just before Town End roundabout, in the direction of KFC. Safe crossing next to Lidl sign - continue over dual carriageway (West Way). Turn left to St George’s Church. Plaque 6 on Church wall on corner of York Street and Pitt Street
    Site 6: ‘In 1823 John Taylor built a house on the corner of York Street and Pitt Street opposite this Plaque’.
  7. To avoid crossing the road twice, turn left down Pitt Street in the direction of the General Post Office, staying on the left hand footpath. Walk across the dual carriageway bridge - Plaque 7 can be found adjoining the footpath on a stone post in front of a Children’s Centre.
    Site 7: ‘James Taylor witnessed the opening of the Methodist Chapel on this site on 8 October 1846’.
  8. Cross the road with care to Plaque 8 on Dove Dental Care building.
    Site 8: ‘In 1824 Rev Benjamin Hudson and his family lived in this building’.
  9. Turn right by General Post Office, along Blucher Street - stay on right hand side of the street to Plaque 9, Salem Wesleyan Reform Church.
    Site 9: ‘This chapel was built in 1825 and James Hudson Taylor preached here’.
  10. Cross the road with care and re-trace steps a few yards to Hope House Church and Christian School - Plaque 10.
    Site 10: ‘In 1860 Mr and Mrs Meadows, from this chapel ,joined James Hudson Taylor at the start of the China Inland Mission’.
  11. Return along Blucher Street - turn right past the General Post Office - cross Wellington Street at the safe crossing to Peel Square (busy pedestrian area). Turn right in front of Halifax building on Queen Street past Marks and Spencer and Superdrug to Boots the Chemist (Cheapside). Three plaques on right hand side of building on Albert Street East.
    Site 11: ‘On this site James Hudson Taylor was born on 21 May 1832’ .
  12. To return to starting point re-trace steps along Cheapside - cross road on corner of Halifax building and proceed up Market Hill, with Town Hall on your left to return to Site 1.

Monk Bretton Priory

Monk Bretton Priory

Monk Bretton Priory, circa 1154 (12th century) was built by Adam Fitz Swain. It was built as a daughter house of St  Johns Priory for Cluniac Monks, founded by IIbert de Laci close to his base at Pontefract Castle.

Cluniacs at Monk Bretton Priory controlled agriculture and natural resources on many sites between Wakefield and Rotherham. After the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, it became the home of the Armyne and Talbot families, descendants of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Monk Bretton Priory is currently owned by Barnsley MBC under the custody of English Heritage.

School Visits

Contract Manager:  01226 691770

The site is currently a free site open every date from 10.30 am to 3 pm. An earlier opening time may be possible by contacting the Friends of Monk Bretton Priory.

Monk Bretton Priory has a well preserved Gatehouse and Administrative building. The remaining site has low walls which easily identify other areas eg the 12th century Church, the 13th century Cloister, the late 13th century kitchen with the best remains of Cluniac drainage in Europe.

There are clearly written information boards throughout the site.


Immediately in front of the Gatehouse with space for several cars and coaches.


There are no toilet facilities on site but a special arrangement has been made for school parties to use toilets just across the road at Priory Campus (open week days 8.00 am to 5.30 pm). These toilets are open to the public and students entering Priory Campus must be supervised at all times. Entry to Priory Campus is on the right hand side of the building adjacent to the car park.

Risk Assessment

A basic risk assessment will need to be completed prior to any visit.

Further Information

Further information can be found on the Friends of Monk Bretton Priory website or by writing to Friends of Monk Bretton Priory, PO Box 1000, Barnsley, S70 1AA.

Quakers - The Religious Society of Friends

Friends meeting house - Quakers

Friends Meeting House, Western Street, Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, S70 2BP

Built in 1970 this small plain building contains no religious symbols and is a true community building used on a regular basis by a variety of groups, from community education to the Sheffield Buddhist Centre. Although Quakerism has its roots in Christianity, Quakers find meaning and value in the teaching of other faiths.

Geoffrey Hutchinson one of the three elders from the Barnsley Friends Meeting House, will be pleased to talk to school parties of all ages.

Key contact details and useful information:

Geoffrey Hutchinson
Tel: 01226 753440 or 01226 287867

Free materials can be obtained via the national website:

Love Life UK Church

Salem Wesleyan Reform Church

Blucher Street, Barnsley, S70 1AR

Opening in 1858 the Salem Wesleyan Reform Church is regarded as the ‘mother church’ of the Barnsley Circuit of the Wesleyan Reform Union of Churches. Special features within the Church include:

  • a large central pulpit (still used  today)
  • an impressive well maintained pipe organ
  • an upstairs gallery and some interesting plaques. These include a brass plaque commemorating the life of James Hudson Taylor. In 1865 James founded the China Inland Mission which still thrives today as OMF International.

School visits welcomed.

Key contact details and useful information:

Pastor Bruce Dyer
Tel: 07515 884082

Heritage plaques, in Chinese and English, have been erected in various buildings in Barnsley associated with James Hudson Taylor, providing schools with an interesting topic of study.

St Edward's Church

St Edwards Church

Racecommon Road, Barnsley, S70 6JY

St Edward’s is a large Anglican church - the nave is 70 feet long and 40 feet wide (21 metres long by 12 metres wide). Other special features include an octagonal font; some striking stained glass windows - the east window depicting the ship of the church, a large alabaster pulpit with carved emblems of the four Evangelists, an important
historical organ installed in 1904 & a small enclosed Lady Chapel with an interesting painted glass tile reredos above the oak alter depicting ‘The Last Supper’.

The present incumbent - Reverend Mark Poskitt would warmly welcome school parties of all ages.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Philip Maries
Tel: 01226 299091

St George's Parish Church

St George's Church

York Street, Barnsley, S70 1BD

St George’s is a charismatic evangelical Anglican community Church. Interesting features inside the Church includes stained glass from the previous Church (now demolished), six pieces of Robert Thompson (the ‘Mouseman of Kilburn’) furniture, a Bishop’s chair and a portable font. Canon Munby will be pleased to talk to school parties by appointment.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Philip Maries
Tel: 01226 299091

St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church

Church Street, Barnsley, S70 2AH

St Mary’s is the civic church of Barnsley. Interesting features include:

  • Some memorable stained glass windows - one depicting the Parable of the Widow’s Mite and one window commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
  • A 17th century organ case. The present one was rebuilt in 1885.
  • Carved choir stalls - one with a carved pelican to represent the sacrifice of Christ on the cross
  • A finely painted column in the centre of the South Chapel. This is in memory of those from the parish who lost their lives in the First World War.

Reverend Canon Stephen Race will be pleased to talk to school parties – with the enclosed garden area providing a perfect spot for children to eat their packed lunch.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Canon Stephen Race
Tel: 07549 876505

Teachers wishing to visit the Church prior to a school visit can usually park free of charge in a small parking area on the lower side of the Church, almost opposite the Barnsley Chronicle office.

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Pauls Road, Old Town, Barnsley, S75 2TA

St Paul’s is the daughter Church to St Mary's. The Church was built in 1936 and is known by some local people as the ‘mosque’ due to its green dome. Inside reveals a plain, unadorned Church with the dome giving a vastness of space to the visitor, as does the curved wall which encompasses the high alter.

The Canon Stephen Race will be pleased to talk to school parties of all ages.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Canon Stephen Race
Tel: 07549 876505

The Barnsley Muslim Centre

Barnsley Muslim Centre

227 Dodworth Road, Barnsley, S70 6PB

With roughly 500 Muslims living and working in the Barnsley area, the Barnsley Muslim Centre is a relatively small place of worship. It has a small room for washing and a larger room with smaller rooms off for worship.

Mr. Jarrell welcomes school parties to the Barnsley Muslim Centre and is willing to visit schools to talk to students about the Muslim faith at very little or no cost.

Key contact details and useful information:

Mr. Jarrell
Tel: 07939 072737

The Parish Church of St Peter the Apostle

Parish Church of St Peter the Apostle

Doncaster Road, Barnsley, S70 1TP

Christians have worshipped on this site since 1872. The present Church building, designed by Temple Moore, was completed in 1911. It is an ornate Anglican church with many special features including:

  • an unusual oval shaped font
  • a beautiful chancel roof
  • a reredos with paintings of Northern saints
  • a high alter made by Robert Thompson the ‘Mouseman of Kilburn’. This is with two of his trademark mice and some striking stained glass windows.

There are many other awe inspiring features in this hidden jewel - an absolute must for a school visit.

In addition to the inspiring features, this Church also has a close association with Barnsley Football Club which was originally called Barnsley St Peter’s Football Club established by a Reverend Preedy in the late 1800s.

The present incumbent - Reverend Paul Cartwright has experience with school parties of all ages (Primary, Secondary and Higher Education) and would warmly welcome students to St Peter’s Church.

Key contact details and useful information:

Reverend Fr Blair Radford
Tel: 07951 171094

Please note, there is a brief guide available in the Church which could be of help to teachers, please ask for a copy.