The Parish Church of St. Saviour at Mortomley, High Green will celebrate 150 years of faith, worship and service to the community. The church was consecrated on August 4th 1872 by the Archbishop of York, and was built in memory of Parkin Jeffcock, the eldest son of John & Catherine Jeffcock of Cowley Manor. Parkin was a mining engineer who had charge of several local coal mines, including the Old Oaks Colliery near Hoyle Mill at Barnsley.
The team at St. Saviour have provided a history of the church’s formation:
In the afternoon of December 13th 1866, he received a telegram at his office in Derby saying “Come quickly, the Oaks is on fire.”
Parkin immediately caught a train to Barnsley and went to the mine to assess the situation.
Descending the shaft with a rescue party, he worked through the night, restoring ventilation, putting out fires and looking for survivors. He was still working the next day when a great explosion occurred, killing Parkin and all but one of the rescuers.
The mineshafts had to be sealed to quench the fires. When the shafts were reopened six months later, Parkin’s body was found, and later buried in Ecclesfield churchyard. At the time it was Britain’s worst mining disaster, with 361 men and boys killed, plus 40 pit ponies.
Parkin & his family were dedicated to the expansion of the Anglican Church and had built a chapel of ease at Mortomley in 1860 as a prelude to a full church, which was a particular passion of Parkin.
His family could think of no better memorial to their son than the church he had wanted.
The church, which took nine months to build, seated 250, and was funded by public subscription at a cost of £3,000.
From Tuesday Aug. 9th, the church will be open from 10.30am until 4pm for visitors to view an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia, with light refreshments available. The week culminates in a service of celebration and thanksgiving on Sunday 14th August at 11am.