St Mary Magdalene Church is a stone built Victorian edifice built between 1873-1890 by Adams and Kelly of Leeds and is situated on the main road through Altofts village.
The rather plain exterior hides a traditional and tasteful interior. The Stations of the Cross are rather special but there is no record of the donor or who produced them. The reredos is a Salviati mosaic of biblical scenes (after Perugino) and there is a wall painting on the arch above the nave.
On entering St Mary’s it is difficult not to be moved by the sense of peace and prayer that pervades the whole of the church; a result of devout prayer and worship since the church was consecrated in 1879.
The stained glass of the East window is by Charles Eamer Kempe.
There is a window memorial to the 32 men and boys (and 53 horses) killed in the explosion of coal dust caused by shot firing at the West Riding Colliery (Silkstone Pit) on 2 October 1886, and which finally closed in 1966.
This disaster encouraged the mine owners, Pope and Pearson, to undertake experiments on coal dust explosions, which were previously thought to have been caused by flammable gas. The experiments ran from 1908-1911 and the improvements to rescue techniques and safety leading from the research actively prevented significant loss of life for future generations of mine workers.
From “Treasures Revealed in Wakefield”
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