There are two Anglican parish churches in Dentdale, St. Andrew's,
Dent and St. John-the-Evangelist, Cowgill. From 1932 the vicar
of Dent was also vicar of Cowgill. In 1974 the two parishes
were amalgamated as Dent-with-Cowgill. The parishes are in the
Diocese of Bradford.
The Church's elevated position makes it a prominent
landmark in the Dale. It has served the small farming community
for at least 1000 years. You can still see Norman features in
the Tower, the Nave (including the pillars) and the Norman-arched
doorway, now blocked but clearly visible from the outside, in
the north-facing wall.
The box pews in
the side aisles are 17th century. Those in the south aisle are
the family pews of the '24 Sidesmen,' a body of local landowners
dating from 1429. They still exist today, taking turns with
the Bishop to appoint the Vicar and meeting annually to distribute
The Sill Memorial
is a constant reminder of Dent's historical connection with
the slave trade. The Sill brothers made their fortunes from
West Indian sugar and built Whernside Manor with the proceeds.
They also brought slaves to Dent. The substantial dry stone
walls built with dressed stones around Whernside may have been
constructed by the slaves.
Sedgwick, one of the fathers of British geology was born
in Dent and members of his family provided two vicars for the
parish in the 19th century. The fountain on Main Street commemorates
Dent's most famous son.
This remote church was built in 1838 and became the reason
for Adam Sedgwick's famous Memorial of Dent, when an upstart
curate, the Rev. Sumner tried to change the name of the
village. Sedgwick used his influence at Court to get Queen
Victoria to lean on Gladstone to pass an Act of Parliament
to resolve the issue. Today you can enjoy it's tranquility
and idyllic setting.