WORTLEY VILLAGE is dominated by St. Leonard's Church whose origins go back to the reign of Henry III in the mid 13th century. Since 1318, the church has held the patronage of the Wharncliffe family and between 1592 and 1746 the church was a "Chapel of Ease" whose curates were appointed by the Rector of Tankersley.
The church has been extensively altered over the years which is particularly evident in the roof structure. The last major changes were made in 1753 and 1811 when the present roof was erected and the porch and entry door were built on. The church has eight bells which have been rung regularly for at least the last 100 years.
There are many interesting monuments in the church, but the one of greatest interest to Rotarians is the one near to the east window dedicated to Edward Wortley in 1778. His wife first introduced inoculation against smallpox in Turkey in 1719 and her children were the first Europeans to be inoculated against the disease. In our day she would clearly have been a Rotarian spearheading the PolioPlus campaign.
Another prominent feature in Wortley is Wortley Hall, which was the ancestral home of the Earls of Wharncliffe - the Lords of the Manor of Wortley. The earliest recording of Wortley Hall is in the Pipe Rolls for 1165. Sir Thomas Wortley, born in 1440, lived in the hall and his grandson, Sir Richard Wortley, rebuilt Wortley Hall in 1586.
Wortley Hall fell into decay until the mid 18th century when Edward Wortley commissioned the rebuilding of the hall. In 1800, James Archibald Stuart Wortley and his wife, Caroline Creighton, took up residence. The planning, landscaping, ornamental planting, and the ultimate beauty of the current grounds are attributed to Lady Caroline.
Further repairs and extensions to the Hall were made mainly during the Victorian period, and during the 1939-45 war period, parts of the Hall were occupied by the Army.
After 1945, the Hall once again began to fall into a state of disrepair until it was acquired in 1950 by the Labour & Co-operative movement who renovated the hall and transformed it into a training college.
The Hall was formally opened in May 1951 as an educational and holiday centre.