St Gregorys Bedale


Very good, the interior looks attractive and fitting with the beauty of our church- benches better than chairs providing flexibility & togetherness! & echoing the pews.  Comfort of benches important ( wooden chairs often not so! ) will they be padded ( long concert ! ) Also will there be anywhere on the bench back to put small things? Can be a real pain to have to fight around on the floor particularly if not agile!

A communion table in the nave is, to me, the most relevant and important feature proposed. And yet it is relegated to phase four, for action probably some years hence! But in modified and temporary form we could have this now. I would like to see this idea tried out and developed.
I suggest that flexible seating (with new stone floor, and under-floor heating) would be an unjustifiable extravagance. Most community events are well served by our own Chantry Hall and other venues in the town. Any increase in income from such events seems unlikely to be significant.
Nor would I like new architectural or ambiance lighting, or the relocation of the effigies.
I do not favour a sloped roof over the boiler house.  It would be aesthetically pleasing, but not a justifiable expense. Furthermore, it would conceal an interesting architectural feature on the north wall of the church, and prevent the current easy access to the water tank above.

Approve, apart from benches.  Chairs, good quality, as detailed in ChurchCare seating guidance much preferred to benches. I would not be prepared to sit for any length of time on a bench, nor I suspect, would most people.

I would not like to see the removal of the pews.  I like sitting in a pew where there is space to expand!! They also give a feeling on continuity with earlier congregations.

Agree.  Would be really good. You could have concerts and other things and the church and make it a bit more of a relaxed environment.

As long as the pews are replaced with moveable wooden benches and not chairs we are happy with this phase.  Wooden benches would retain the appearance of the church as they would be in keeping with the rest of this ancient building. We feel that it is important to improve the church facilities without spoiling its atmosphere and sense of age/heritage.

The flexible worship space is interesting. Will there be enough seating for big occasions?  The nave communion table is a good development.  Far easier to access for all members of the congregation.

I would not wish to comment on a final stage until the issues of the earlier phases are determined. More flexibility may be useful but this is radical.

Removing pews allows greater flexibility.

Benches not a good idea.  There is no way I or anyone  I know could sit on a bench for more than a few minutes.

Obviously finish and quality of new pews quite important.  Don’t really want to cheapen church.

Prefer pews left in centre. who will move benches? Where to put envelopes and books.  We saved hard to get new cushions pads for the pews. A stranger asked me what we would do with all the old pews if taken out they are history.

We like the benches rather than chairs.

Could the Saxon grave markers be found a site in the interior display when the scheme is completed to display them to their advantage rather than lying around in odd positions within the building.

Don’t agree with benches/chairs who is going to move them. What is going to happen to the pew covers.

This is all just wonderful but for me keeping the pews in the Lady chapel is an anomaly and spoils what could be a beautiful and very special worship space.  I would put glass doors or something else to create a special entrance which reflects the Jervaulx window.
Creates so many varied ways of set up, very flexible.  Without the pews there could be prayer corner, which is missing, and a memorial in the other corner.  Chairs or moveable benches would make it possible to have flexible seating arrangements.

Make choir stalls moveable so they can be moved in behind Altar.  So people can see choir, makes choir part of the service, at moment hard to see by congregation.

Don’t like chairs in church.  I’ve been in places where they have this system.  Don’t think people united on what seating is one group say chairs one group saying pews.

Will get people in through the doors.

The church will become a community space for courses, concerts and many more exciting possibilities. Worship will also be enhanced as the use of screens allows people less familiar to engage with services.

We also gained “moveable pews” for baptism services but found in reality they were very cumbersome to move for occasional services. I wish now we had gone for reversible pews, although I appreciate this is an additional cost.

Wonderful opportunity for a variety of social gatherings which will help promote the church.

Quite surprised how simple it all will be. I love the arrangement of the benches with regard to the font.


So long as this does not do away with the heritage of the church.

I do like the plans giving adjustable worship space, depending on the type of service, with the altar being brought forward, moving into the congregation.
Adjustable benches/chairs will allow for different forms of community gatherings and services. The sometimes remoteness of clergy will be overcome.

This brings a greater flexibility into this area which will be sympathetically achieved by use of benches.  Use of moveable communion table a good idea.  Leveling of floors a benefit.  Query as to where the book of remembrance will be located.
Benches are pews under another name, free standing replacement allows the flexibility to use this area to greater advantage.  Brings the elements into the worship area and the worshipping people.  Allows freedom and safer movement around area.  An important issue for many people who come to view their loved one’s name at the appropriate time.

Like the flexible space idea of bringing the table (communion) nearer to the congregation.  Level floor all round much needed.
The benches will make it more flexible space.  A level floor makes it easier and safer to move around the church.

Further comments received after the Consultation Period:

I’m not sure that with extra space to accommodate more use in church. Concerts are not usually packed, except for 1 night a year. The removal of all the pews and replaced by benches which would be uncomfortable after 1 hour.  They are heavy and two people to handle them. WHO?  Lots of the alterations will require the church to employ a sexton.  All our visitors praise our lovely church the visitors book tells the stories.  Lots of regular attendees will leave the church and withdraw their church givings.

Very good idea, particularly the central positioning of the communion table and moveable seating.  BUT I would prefer phase 3 and phase 4 interchanged.  Worship is more importrant than heritage, even if the proposals for phase 4 are likely to be more controversial.