The Washburn Valley demonstrates a rich and diverse collection of vernacular architecture:
Stained glass at Swinsty Hall (Grade 1 listed) showing initials of H G Robinson and date of glazing, 1627
The major churches of the valley are all listed buildings, each having its own significance and distinctiveness:
St Michael and St Lawrence, Fewston Grade 2*
This church is of national importance architecturally, being one of very few 17th Century churches in Yorkshire, and being built on a medieval plan with a nave and clearly defined chancel, rather than the rectangular plan common at that time. The East face of the medieval tower shows the line of a more steeply pitched thatched roof.
St Oswald, Leathley Grade 1
Of Norman or earlier foundation, having an early tower which may belong to the overlap between the Saxon and Norman period, the church was restored in 1869. A nave capital bears a Percy badge, indicating a connection with the Dukes of Northumberland, and there is a particularly fine old internal door, probably from the 12th or 13th C.
All Saints, Weston Grade 1
This lovely church is of Norman or earlier foundation, with the remains of an Anglo-Saxon cross built into the chancel North wall. It contains a fine 18th C three-decker pulpit, box pews, the “Squire’s Parlour” (a private side room for the squire, complete with its own fireplace) and a tomb chest of 1587
St Andrew, Blubberhouses Grade 2
This was a Victorian chapel of ease to Fewston Parish Church, built in an Early English style by Lady Frankland in 1851 for the benefit of workers on the Blubberhouses Estate and used extensively by the navvies during the construction of the upper reservoirs.
All Saints, Farnley Grade 2
The church was rebuilt in 1851: part of the North wall of the 13th C chapel survives. There are the squire’s family seats at the West end, and some 17th C stained glass which was formerly in Farnley Hall, where a drawing of it by J M W Turner remains.
These buildings have continuing importance, not least because in some of the Valley villages they are the only public buildings still in regular use, hosting many activities in addition to church services.