A CHURCH has been using flower power to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
St Mary’s Church in Wilshaw has been commemorating the history of the hamlet, the church and its notable residents with 24 flower displays.
The church, which opened in 1863, was named after Mary, the only child of Wilshaw entrepreneur Joseph Hirst who built a warehouse, weaving rooms, a counting house and a row of cottages for his workers in the village.
Mary died during childbirth in June 1859 and was buried in the churchyard at Meltham Mills – but was exhumed and interred in a mausoleum in the churchyard of the church bearing her name.
And Mary and the Hirst family have been honoured in the display which is open to the public until Sunday.
The displays, made by churchgoers and their friends who attend a weekly flower arranging club at the church, include one of the Hirst family crest.
Others include one of the Romanesque-style church’s features, including the east window which depicts the biblical tale of the carpenter, the three kings and the shepherds.
Also represented in floral form are secular subjects, including the hamlet’s history.
Wilshaw (originally ‘Willow Shae’, meaning ‘clearing in a willow wood’) was founded during the reign of Edward III (1327 to 1377) who granted money for a clearing to be made in the wood now occupied by the hamlet.
Almshouses built by the Hirst family, church day trips, maypole dancing and music have also been represented with arrangements of lilies, roses, orchids and other flowers.
Church organist Liz Pearson said: “We’re lucky to have lots of friends who do flower arranging.
“We’ve had a good, steady attendance thanks to the weather.”
The church will also be celebrating its 150th anniversary with a walk around the boundaries of the former Wilshaw Parish next month.