When John Wheelwright founded the school in 1724 the building that we currently use as our Chapel was the schoolroom. In time and as the school grew, the pupils and the teachers moved down the hill to the specially commissioned Wheelwright buildings which are now used for Girls’ Boarding. Despite this, the original site was not forgotten or abandoned. It had a number of incarnations over the years before it became the School Chapel. In recent times, the Chapel was extended using funds raised by the Old Rishworthians.
Set at the top of Shaw Lane, Rishworth School’s Chapel is in an idyllic spot with beautiful views down the Ryburn Valley. Full of light, the space inside the Chapel is deeply peaceful and a place that is remembered with fondness by many who have had the opportunity to worship or spend some time within it.
In founding the school in 1724, John Wheelwright asked that it follow the tradition of the Church of England and that the students be ‘taught their prayers morning and night.’ Whilst it cannot be said that students are taught their prayers at this level of intensity, John Wheelwright’s wishes have been honoured within both Chapel Services, the Christmas and Easter whole school Eucharist and routine assemblies. In addition to this, all pupils study RS during their first three years at Rishworth School.
Rishworth School welcomes into its community children and families of all faiths and none. Faith is taken seriously and as part of their education, students are encouraged to explore what they think of the world and their place within it. Chapel services are held twice every term. Whilst the majority of those attending the service are Boarders and members of Year 7 who are expected to attend Chapel within their first year in the senior school, all members of the Rishworth and Heathfield communities are invited and welcome to attend. These services provide a wonderfully peaceful place within which the talents of the Chapel Choir and our musicians are frequently put on display. The Chapel is also used for concerts and special events such as the wonderfully atmospheric ‘Carols by Candlelight.’