Tributes paid to former Mytholmroyd priest John Gott

Tributes have been paid to a former Mytholmroyd priest who has passed away at the age of 83.

By Ian Hirst
Monday, 4th April 2022, 9:44 am

Rev Father John Gott died peacefully on Monday March 28 in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Born in Huddersfield in 1938, Father Gott moved to Calderdale as a young boy when his father was promoted to a job in the Halifax.

He was educated at St Mary’s Primary School, Gibbett Street, Halifax, before moving to Ratcliffe College, near Leicester.

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Rev Father John Gott

At the age of 15, Father Gott moved to Porthcurno, Cornwall, where he began training as a watchkeeper. In the 1950s, he was then called up for National Service and joined the Royal Air Force. After stints moving across the country, he was demobbed.

Father Gott was ordained in 1965 after completing his studies at Ushaw College, Durham, and began his first appointment in Cross Gates, Leeds.

He was also appointed as a chaplain of the children’s hospital in Seacroft.

He was then appointed to Wakefield, where he was chaplain of Wakefield prison, before moving to Dewsbury and eventually coming back to his home borough of Calderdale in 1979.

In 1979 Bishop Wheeler appointed Fr Gott as Parish Priest of St Thomas of Canterbury at Hebden Bridge, and so began an association with the Calder Valley that lasted for the rest of his life.

For many years Fr Gott served not only Hebden Bridge but also the churches at Luddenden Foot (St Walburga’s) and Mytholmroyd (SS Peter & Paul). In 1990 a new church and parish centre was opened at Mytholmroyd dedicated to The Good Shepherd and Fr Gott moved into the adjoining presbytery. In due course the churches at Hebden Bridge and Luddenden Foot were closed and the Calder Valley parish was consolidated, with Church of The Good Shepherd as its heart.

On Boxing Day 2015 Fr Gott was in the kitchen of the presbytery at Mytholmroyd when the River Calder burst its banks and a wall of water crashed into the house and the church, with devastating effect.

He had to be rescued from the property by the emergency services and move in with relatives as the presbytery was deemed to be uninhabitable.

The church was closed for nine months. When the refurbishments were completed it re-opened on September 24 2016 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Marcus Stock.

Following his retirement later in 2016 Fr Gott continued to live in the Mytholmroyd area.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Leeds said: "Above all, perhaps, Fr Gott will be remembered for his devotion to the Catholic community of the Calder Valley, which he served for almost forty years, delaying his retirement by three years until he was seventy-eight.

"After so many years, he was also much respected in the wider community of the Valley. The development of The Good Shepherd in Mytholmroyd is his legacy, and a living testament to his view of the Church as a place for worship, for community and for reaching out to the society of today."

Fr John’s body will be received into the Church of the Good Shepherd, Royal Fold, New Road, Mytholmroyd at 7pm on Monday April 11 2022 prior to the celebration of Holy Mass.

Bishop Marcus will celebrate Fr John’s Funeral Mass at noon on Tuesday April 12 at the same Church. Fr John will then be buried at Fulford Cemetery, York.