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(including the Waterton Chapel)

In the middle of the 15th century, Sir Robert Waterton of Walton Hall (* See Chronology page 1), founded the chantry chapel in St. Helen's Church, Sandal Magna. (3)

The chapel occupied the entire length of the south side of the chancel (1), today the chapel is smaller. Towards the end of the 19th century, Squire Charles Waterton's son, Edmund, was given permission for part of the chapel to be used as accommodation for parishioners. (3)

Before the Reformation, the Watertons were members of the congregation at Sandal Magna. After the creation of the Protestant church, the Watertons remained Roman Catholics - and they continued to adhere to the faith over the centuries. This brought them into conflict with the State and caused the family hardship as well as conflict at a local level.

This extract from the Churchwardens' Presentment to Archbishop of York, dated 15/11/1731, highlights some of the problems that the established church had with the dissenters:

We present the roof, windows and walls of the chancell of the said church belonging to Charles Waterton Gent. [Grandfather of the Squire] The South side of the roof especially being so much in decay that the wind, rain and snow beats into the church, to the apparent hazzard of the parishioners' health....[it continues to elaborate on the problem]. The said Charles Waterton several times had notice from the Churchwardens to put the said roof, windows and walls into sufficient repair but refused to do the same. .....

We present ... Thomas Waterton Gent. [the Squire's father] (and other miscreants from Walton) for absenting themselves wholly from church and not resorting to any place of religious worship allowed by law.

The Minister and Churchwardens were keen to get the matter of the Waterton Chancell resolved without delay: "the Winter season being so far advanced that unless it be done speedily it will be very inconvenient to the parishioners". (3)

(* Robert Waterton
There are quite a few Robert Watertons about. The Robert who founded the chantry chapel in Sandal Magna is not to be confused with the Constable of Pontefract Castle, a member of the Methley branch of the family. More in the Chronology section.)

Click to enlargePlan of St. Helen's by J.W. Walker, following the 'restoration' of 1872. Walker was critical of the repairs that took place between 1850 and 1860 but felt that "it was left to the 'restoration' of 1872 to irredeemably damage the building, from the historial and antiquarian point of view". (1)

'During the restorations of 1872, it was necessary for part of the organ to be built in the south chancel, in the chantry belonging to the Waterton family, thus covering the Waterton Vault.' (4)

Click to enlargePlan of the church showing the location of monumental inscriptions that mention the Watertons. (1)

A. In the southern aisle flanking the nave.
'Here lyeth interred the body of John Waterton of Walton who departed this life 21 day of February Ano Domini 1723 in the 62 years of his age.' Full description available in Monumental Inscriptions, ref. 14/CH90. (5)
This would make his d.o.b 1661 or thereabouts. He appears to have been the son of Thomas Waterton (alive in 1642) and Alice Waterton, née Wetherby, see Family Group Sheet.

B. Waterton Chapel.
'Here lieth that incomparable gentlewoman Mrs Alice Waterton wife to Mr Waterton of Walton Esquire who died the 7 of March 1627.' Full description available in Monumental Inscriptions, ref. 14/CH17. (5)
This is Alice Waterton née Slingsby, wife of Thomas Waterton (1583 - 1641), see Family Group Sheet.

The following monumental inscriptions in the Waterton Chapel are no longer visible.
Photographs courtesy Revd. Rupert Martin (Vicar of St. Helen's).
Click images to enlarge.

Click to enlarge'Here lieth the Body of Miss Catherine Waterton, Daughter of Charles Waterton of Walton Hall Esquire, departed this Life on the 16 day of December.' (year not present)
This Catherine may have been the 'Katherine', daughter of Charles Waterton, the Squire's great grandfather (buried 25 Jan 1725-6 at St. John's York).
Catherine (or 'Katherine' according to J.W. Walker) was baptised on 30 Oct 1723 and was buried at Sandal on 16 Dec 1757 (Church Register). Details from a pedigree chart published in 1916. (2)
However, a revised Waterton Pedigree Chart by J.W. Walker was published in 1931. (6)
See also note 9.

Click to enlargeThis inscription refers to Anne Waterton, daughter of Sir William Gerard and the wife of Charles Waterton (great grandfather of the Squire).
She was born in 1667 and died 15th August 1719, in her 55th year, i.e. she was 54.

See note 9.

Click to enlargeSarah Waterton (née Baynham), b. 1694, d. 7th(?) January 1720-21 and buried 28th January 1720-21.
She was the second wife of Charles Waterton, great grandfather of the Squire.

See note 9.

The coffins of Robert CARR and Helen CARR (the Squire's sister) lie at one end of the Waterton Vault. (7)

See also note 9.

"My poor sister, Mrs. Carr, after many years of acute suffering is gone to a better world.. her loss to me is incalculable". Charles Waterton in a letter to George Ord. Letter 15, p. 31. (8).

This GRO entry appears to refer to Helen CARR:
Civil Registration event: Death
Name: CARR, Helen
Registration district: Wakefield
County: Yorkshire
Year of registration: 1840
Quarter of registration: Jul-Aug-Sep
Volume no: 22, Page no: 437.

1. Saint Helen's Church, Sandal Magna, John W. Walker, FSA, 1916. (Reprinted from the Journal of the Yorkshire Archaelogical Society, pp 20-21 and figure 5).
2. Ibid, Pedigree Chart.
3. Sandal Magna, a Yorkshire Parish and its People, Mary Ingham and Brenda Andrassy, 1978, pp.108 - 109.
4. ibid., p. 93.
5. St Helen's Church Sandal, Monumental Inscriptions, Vol. 8, Sections 14 & 14CH, compiled by Joan P. Smith, Wakefield & District Family History Society, 2002, ISBN 1 904287 16 6.
6. The Burghs of Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire and the Watertons of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, J. W. Walker, O.B.E., F.S.A., 1931, reprinted from the Journal of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Pedigree Chart.
7. The Letters of Charles Waterton, of Walton Hall, near Wakefield, page 6, edited by R. A. Irwin, Rockliff, London, 1955.
8. Ibid., letter 15, page 31.
9. This inscription is not mentioned in St Helen's Church Sandal, Monumental Inscriptions, Vol. 9, Master Index, compiled by Chris Welch, Wakefield & District Family History Society, 2002, ISBN 1 904287 17 4.
• See the Burial Plan section on the official web site of St. Helen's Church, Sandal Magna. [accessed 15 Sep 2017]

St. Helen's Church, Sandal Magna.
St. Helen's Church,
Sandal Magna.

The Water Gate Cross
The symbol of the Watertons' faith.


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