Cowick is one of three churches established by William Henry Dawnay, the seventh Viscount Downe (one of his ancestors can be seen in splendid form as a statue in the Priory at Snaith). The other two churches commissioned at this time were Hensall and Pollington. Rumour has it that Viscount Downe wanted to marry the daughter of the Bishop and Wells, and the cost of her hand in marriage was the three churches. It's a nice story, but who knows?

The Benefice of East Cowick was created in 1852, but the new church was not completed until 1854 when it was formally opened on October 12 1854 by Dr Musgrave, then Archbishop of York. The first vicar incumbent at Cowick was Rev. WIlliam Smith who was vicar at Cowick for thirty-four years between 1852 and 1886.

The Church

The East and West stained glass windows which were installed when the church was opened in 1854 are by Frederick Preedy of Worcester and were commisioned by William Butterfield. The east windows shows a depiction of the Crucifixion. In the South Isle of the Church there are three windows in memory of the Shaw family who lived at Cowick Hall. The West window was dedicated to the Dawnay family.

Much of the development of the church has been possible due to generous donations such as:

  • lectern donated by Mr E E Clark
  • pulpit donated by Mrs M Shearburn
  • pair of five-branched candlesticks donated by Mrs F L Clark
  • altar frontals and pulpit falls donated by Miss Story
  • pair of tall altar candlesticks, processional cross and vicars stall donated by Rev E & Mrs Blackburn
  • one acre addition to the churchyard donated by Mr William Stones
  • oak litany desk donated by the Church Ladies Guild

Improvements over the Years



Work Undertaken

1907   New central heating system installed
1909   Pillars and arches in nave re-built due to cracks
1911   Chancel redecorated with oak panelling and new choir stalls provided
1912   Bell tower re-roofed and lightning conductor provided
1936   Lychgate constructed
1974   New roof provided for tower and nave.

Churchwardens at Cowick






Edward E Clark   1855 - 1891   Vicar
John Appleton   1855 - 1860   People
Peter Bayes   1860 - 1863   People
William Sykes   1863 - 1881   People
Thomas Bayes   1881 - 1898   People
W S Campbell   1891 - 1903   Vicar
Arthur Stainton   1898 - 1906   People
James Gill   1903 - 1906   Vicar
John Dean   1906 - 1910   People
James Radcliffe   1906 - 1912   Vicar
Henry Beal   1910 - 1912   People
Thomas Goodridge   1912 - 1920   Vicar
Miss F L Clark   1912 - 1932   People
G F Ogle   1920 - 1921   Vicar
E V Ford   1921 - 1926   Vicar
E P Cooper   1926 - 1969   Vicar
C W Hartley   1932 - 1942   People
H S Wood   1942 - 1971   People
E S L Cooper   1969 - 2009   Vicar
Mrs M Darley   1971 - 1978   People
Mrs Ashberry   1978 - 1983   People
Ian A S Wood   1983 -   People
Paul Cooper   2009 -   Vicar


Note: Since Mr E P Cooper took office in 1926, the Cooper family have provided continuous service in this capacity to the present date and beyond. In 2026, this will be 100 years of continuous service - a remarkable contribution to the parish.


The text in this section is based on text produced in the booklet produced by Leslie Cooper to commemorate 150 Years of Cowick Church in 2004. Permission to draw upon this text was kindly given by Mr Paul Cooper.