Medieval Mural on Yorkshire Church Wall Pays Tribute to St. George

Medieval Mural on Yorkshire Church Wall Pays Tribute to St. George

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St. George’s Day, April 23 in England, is observed in remembrance of the nation’s patron saint, who chose death over dishonor by refusing to bow down or stay silent in the face of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians and the Christian faith in the late 3 rd century AD. The heroic integrity of St. George is still remembered in Britain with fondness and gratitude, by people of all faiths and persuasions.

In one diocese in North Yorkshire, historical memory has been converted into unforgettable visual form. The aged stone walls of historic St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church in Pickering are lavishly and generously decorated with vibrant and colorful painted frescoes that depict vivid Christian imagery . These action-oriented paintings, which were commissioned in approximately 1450 AD, recreate important stories from the Bible, and venerate saints, religious leaders, and other individuals who played critical roles in the rise and sustenance of the Church.

Among this impressive collection, perhaps the most famous and acclaimed image is a painting of St. George, which brings this celebrated 3 rd century figure almost fully back to life, as it shows him in action performing one of his most celebrated (albeit fictional) deeds.

Visitors to the church on St. George’s Day may be drawn by the chance to see a famous painting of England’s patron saint. But regardless of their reasons for visiting, they will also have an opportunity to see one of the country’s most significant religious art collections .

The well-known architectural historian Niklaus Pevsner has referred to the mural at St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s as “one of the most complete set of wall paintings… and they give one a vivid idea of what [medieval] ecclesiastical interiors were really like.”

There are only five sets of such paintings still preserved and in existence in England, and they portray events and deeds that are every bit as relevant to the faithful now as they were six centuries ago.

Closeup of mural of St. George slaying the dragon at St Peter and St Paul Church, Pickering, England. (Helge Klaus Rieder / CC0)

The Dramatic History of a Remarkable Christian Mural

St. George was officially named England’s patron saint in 1350, and the very first St. George’s Day was observed in the 15 th century, in recognition of this 3 rd century martyr’s immense courage, selfless sacrifices, and unshakeable commitment to Christ.

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In the mid-15 th century, elders from St. Peter and St. Paul’s Catholic Church in the village of Pickering commissioned an unknown artist to cover the walls of their medieval church with an expansive mural, in order to showcase important moments in Christian religious history. Not surprisingly, the artist included a large, vivid image of St. George in this collection, which showed him slaying a dragon.

The mural was designed for present and future generations. But just a century later, the mural was in imminent danger from Reformation authorities and fanatics who were eager to destroy anything that might be associated with their religious enemies . Wisely, the congregation at St. Paul’s chose to paint the walls of their church with whitewash, hiding the mural but at the same time protecting it from vandals.

Unfortunately, over time the existence of the hidden mural was forgotten, perhaps as a consequence of the church’s eventual incorporation into the Church of England .

The story of other saints are also represented in the mural. Here that of St. Catherine. (Helge Klaus Rieder, CC0)

Only through fortuitous circumstances was the mural rediscovered. In 1852, a cleaning and remodeling project revealed the existence of the hidden frescoes, which astonishingly were seen as an embarrassment by the serving Vicar, Rev. John Ponsonby, who called the paintings “ridiculous” and declared them “out of place in a Protestant Church .”

He arranged for the mural to be re-covered with thick yellow wash, which caused irreversible damage to some of the paintings. But before that task was completed an artist named W. H. Dykes made detailed drawings of all the imagery, guaranteeing that its existence wouldn’t be forgotten once again.

Thankfully, a future vicar named Reverend Lightfoot recognized the historical significance of the paintings, and in the 1880s he ordered the frescoes to be uncovered and fully restored, using Dykes’ reproductions as a guide.

The spectacular and awe-inspiring mural at St. Paul’s Church has been on display now for more than 125 years, and it remains a popular attraction that brings visitors from far and wide. Naturally, St. George’s Day is an especially busy day at the church, as celebrants come to gaze at the striking painting that memorializes this acclaimed individual.

The epic battle between St. George and the dragon was first described in the Legenda Aurea, or Golden Legend, which was published in the middle of the 13th century AD. (Gustave Moreau / )

In Praise of the Dragon Slayer, a True Hero to the People

The iconic painting of St. George sits above a stone archway, and is brightly lit by a pair of adjacent windows through which the sunlight freely streams during daylight hours. The image shows the legendary figure slaying a dragon , re-creating his well-known encounter with a fearsome creature that had supposedly terrorized the city of Silene in northern Africa, before St. George banished him to the netherworld.

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The patron saint’s battle with the dragon was first described in the Legenda Aurea , or Golden Legend, a collection of exciting tales that described the heroic exploits of famous saints and other venerated religious figures. This book was compiled sometime during the mid-13 th century by Jacobus de Varagine, the archbishop of Genoa in Italy. Varagine’s work captured the imagination of Christian worshippers everywhere, and his re-telling of St. George’s alleged exploits proved particularly popular.

The story of how St. George slayed the dragon to save a princess and rid a community of its persecutor came to symbolize his bravery and courage, and a 15 th century artist seeking to immortalize his deeds couldn’t have picked a more appropriate subject to portray.

Thanks to that unknown artist’s efforts, parishioners at St. Paul’s have been gazing in wonder at this memorable image for more than a century, which in a very real sense makes every day St. George’s Day at this small church in Pickering.

Glossary of Church Architecture

See also our Illustrated Dictionary of Church History and Architecture - A visual guide to British Churches from Saxon to Victorian Gothic.

The holiest part of a church. In the medieval period, the altar was a table or rectangular slab made of stone or marble, often set upon a raised step. After the Reformation, the stone altars were replaced by wooden communion tables.

A covered passage behind the altar, linking it with chapels at the east end of the church.

The domed or vaulted east end of the church. In Britain, the apse is generally squared off, while on the continent, rounded apses were common.

Where the font was stored and baptisms were performed, generally near the west door. Sometimes a screen or grille separates the baptistery from the nave.

A vertical division, usually marked by vertical shafts or supporting columns.

Bell Tower
A tower where the church bells were installed. This could be separate from the church, or, more usually, attached. Sometimes called a campanile.

The eastern end of a church. The high altar is frequently situated at the east end of the chancel.

Chancel Arch
The arch separating the chancel from the nave or crossing.

Chancel Screen
A screen dividing the chancel and the nave and crossing. Often called a rood screen.

A small building or room set aside for worship. Large churches or cathedrals might have many chapels dedicated to different saints. A chantry chapel is a special chapel where prayers for the dead are said.

Chapter House
A special room or house where the governing body of a monastery or cathedral met. In Britain, the chapter house is usually polygonal in shape with a slender central column supporting the roof.

Style of construction creating an ambulatory and radiating chapels at the eastern arm of a church.

Choir (quire)
Where services are sung, or more generally, the eastern arm of a church.

The upper story of a church where it rises above the aisle roof. Window openings allow extra light into the interior of the church.

A niche for relics located near the altar.

The area where the choir, nave, and transepts meet.

A vaulted chamber made to house graves and relics, generally located beneath the chancel. Many crypts were very large, to allow numbers of pilgrims access.

A container, generally of stone, which contained holy water for baptism. Usually located near the west door, sometimes the fonts had elaborately carved wooden canopies.

A porch at the western end of the church used as a chapel for women or penitents. Sometimes the word refers to the entire western end of the nave.

Greek-cross Plan
A style of church with four equal arms.

Latin-cross Plan
A church plan with one arm longer than the other three.

A reading desk, often in the shape of an eagle, made to hold the Bible during services. Usually made of brass.

From the Latin word for "mercy" comes this term which refers to pivoting wooden brackets in choir stalls which lifted up to provide relief for clergy who had to stand during long church services. Misericords are often ornately carved and decorative.

The western arm of the church, where the congregation stood.

The compass alignment of the church. The altar is usually oriented to the east.

Wooden seats or benches in the church. Pews only appeared at the end of the medieval period. Often pews had carved bench-ends and were carved with animal or foliage designs.

A raised stand from which the preacher addresses the congregation. Usually reached by steps or stairs, often covered by a carved canopy.

A decorative screen behind the altar, usually highly carved.

A ledge behind, or attached to, the high altar, where ornaments were placed.

The area immediately behind the high altar.

A cross erected at the entry to the chancel. Roods often had figures of the Virgin Mary on one side and St. John on the other.

Rood Loft
The gallery upon which the rood is supported.

Rood Screen
A screen built beneath the rood loft.

A separate room for storing sacred vessels.

The high altar is placed here. This is considered the holiest part of the church.

Divisions within the choir, where clergy sat (or stood) during service. The stalls are often richly carved and fitted with misericords to help the clergy stand comfortably during long services.

A container for holy water near the west door. Can be built into the wall or free-standing.

The crossing arms of the church, generally aligned north-south.

A galleried arcade at the second-floor level, even with the aisle roof. Also called a "blind-storey" - the triforium looks like a row of window frames without window openings.

A room where the clergy and choir dress and the vestments are kept.


The civil parish of Hornsea is located on the Holderness coast approximately 16 miles (25 km) north-east of Hull. The parish is bounded by the civil parishes of Atwick to the north, Seaton to the west, Hatfield and Mappleton to the south, and by the North Sea to the east. The civil parish contains the coastal town of Hornsea, and a suburb of "Hornsea Bridge" or "Hornsea Burton" south of the former railway line, [note 1] as well as Hornsea Mere. Excluding the town and its suburbs there are no other habitations of note in the parish, except some farms. The remainder of the parish is low lying farm land divided into fields. [3]

Most of the civil parish lies at between 33 and 66 feet (10 and 20 m) above sea level, with the highest points in the parish under 98 feet (30 m). The B1242 road runs north to south parallel with the coast through the parish and the A1035 runs westward connecting with the A165 near Leven. Additionally a foot and cycle path, the Hornsea Rail Trail, part of the Trans Pennine Trail runs south-west from the town centre towards Hull. [3]

Hornsea Mere is a lake of around 1.24 by 0.62 miles (2 by 1 km) which outflows towards the sea by the Stream Dike Drain – the drain also separates Hornsea from the Hornsea Bridge suburb. [3]

According to the 2011 UK census, Hornsea parish had a population of 8,432. [1] Hornsea is in the Parliamentary constituency of Beverley and Holderness.

Geology and erosion Edit

The underlying geology is primarily boulder clay. [4] High points in the area are formed of gravel. [5] (see morraine) The topsoils are fine and loamy, whilst the rock beneath the boulder clay is classed as Flamborough Chalk from the Upper Cretaceous period. [6] Historically large stones in the boulder clay were removed for use in road construction – this activity had been prohibited at Hornsea by the board of trade by 1885. [7] Sands and clays were also used locally in building (c. 1885 ), though better quality materials were found elsewhere. [8]

Some early writers (William Camden 1551–1623) thought that ground conditions in the area were evidence of an earthquake, whilst Poulson 1840 supposed the Mere and fossil finds to be evidence of a great flood or deluge in the area. [9] Since at least the late 19th century the geological conditions overlying the underlying chalk have been interpreted as being from a glacial process in origin – both the boulder clay and the gravel beds and morraines. [10]

Borings suggest the chalk probably lies at around 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 m) under the sand, gravel and clay beds at Hornsea, though possibly deeper. [11] Water in Hornsea has been obtained from wells and bore holes, though some borings have yielded water contaminated with iron, whilst others failed to reach an aquifer even at a depth of 976 feet (297 m). [12]

The Mere is the last of many lakes in the Holderness area – the remainder had been drained by the late 19th century. [13] At the sea remains of a submarine forest were found in a bed of peat found around halfway between cliff and lower water. [14] The trees found were oak, alder and willow. [15] A variety of fossils have been found in the deposits, including those of the extinct Eurasian cave lion (Felis spelaea), Woolly Mammoth (Elephas primigenius), Aurochs (Bos primigenius) as well as Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and Horse species (Equus). [16] Molluscs found in the subterranean gravel appear to have been freshwater species. [11] It is thought the source of the submarine forests recorded on the coast at Hornsea may have been a second mere on the eastern side of the present lake which was silted and was lost to the sea at some point. [6]

The coast at Hornsea is subject to erosion. The rate of erosion varies, but has been inferred at around 4 yards (3.7 m) per year in the latter part of the 16th century estimated by George Poulson at 2 yards (1.8 m) per year in the late 18th century, though recorded at up to 6 yards (5.5 m) in some years in the same period. [17] The rate of erosion may have been influenced by the presence or absence of erosion limiting groynes or a pier. South, at Hornsea Burton erosion rates rose from 1.3 to 5 yards (1.2 to 4.6 m) pa between the periods 1845–76 and 1876–82, thought to be due to the construction of groynes north of the beach at Hornsea. [18] The current (2008) rate of erosion is 1 foot 8 inches (0.5 m) north of and 6 feet 7 inches (2 m) south of Hornsea – the difference due to the defences at Hornsea preventing the renewing flow of sediment southwards. [6]

An apocryphal inscription said to have been found in Hornsea references the nearing of the sea by erosion – the figure of ten miles given as the distance the town once stood from the sea is certainly artistic licence. [19]

Hornsea steeple, when I built thee,

Thou was 10 miles off Burlington,

10 miles off Beverley, and 10 miles off sea.

Hornsea town Edit

The old town of Hornsea is centred on the Market Place, and includes Southgate, Westgate and Mere Side the resort and promenade is connected to the old town by Newbegin and New Road, and includes much of the Victorian development of the town. [20] Buildings in the town are predominately red brick, with pantile or slate roofs some structures use local cobbles as a building material. [21] Modern Hornsea also incorporates several caravan sites, mainly on the northern and southern edge. [22] There are two notable parks in Hornsea, Hall Garth Park which includes a historic moated site, and the Memorial Gardens. [23]

The area of 'old' Hornsea centred on the Market Place, and including Hall Garth Park and the large houses around Hornsea Town railway station and Grosvenor Road are now (2007) part of a Conservation Area – the area excludes the 19th/20th century resort, and promenade. [24]

Like other small North Sea coastal resorts Hornsea has a promenade, laid out gardens, hotels, fish and chip shops, gift shops and so on. On the southern edge of Hornsea, near the site of Hornsea Pottery is a shopping centre known as Hornsea Freeport – the Freeport adapted some of the original theme park set up by Hornsea Pottery.

There are three schools in Hornsea: Hornsea Community Primary School, Hornsea Burton Primary School and Hornsea School and Language College.

Hornsea has an independent lifeboat service provided by Hornsea Inshore Rescue, a registered charity since 1994. [25]

Hornsea (2015) has a high frequency of all-day public transport bus service to and from Hull, [26] and a daily service to Bridlington, [27] and to Withernsea. [28]

Prehistory to medieval Edit

There is evidence of prehistoric human activity in the area. Near Norththorpe, north of Hornsea crop marks indicate a site interpreted as a Neolithic henge monument, thought to have been later reused as a Bronze Age ringwork. The site is similar to one excavated at Paddock Hill, near Thwing. The site consists of cropmarks indicating circular 20 to 26 feet (6 to 8 m) ditch surrounding a 160 feet (50 m) diameter circular area, with a probably entrance point at the east-south-east. There are cropmark indications that an outer ditch existed and that a roundhouse or henge was located inside the monument. [29] Prehistoric finds in Hornsea include a polished Neolithic stone axehead, [30] Neolithic or Bronze Age flints, [31] and Bronze Age flint arrowhead. [32]

There are also cropmarks in the Hornsea area indicating human activity during the Iron Age/Roman Britain period, thought to the remnants of field systems. [33] [34]

An Anglo-Saxon burial ground was discovered in 1913 near the Hydro on Cliff Road – the site was re-excavated in 1982. Thirteen skeletons were initially found, and a further six at the later excavations – a wide variety of grave goods were found including vases, and objects of bronze, ivory, bone, silver, jet and beads. [35] [36]

Hornsea is mentioned as a Manor, as Hornesse, in the Domesday Book. [37] At the Norman conquest overlordship passed from Morcar to Drogo de la BeuvriËre. [37] [38] Drogo fled to Flanders c. 1086 after killing his wife, a relative of William I and Holderness subsequently passed to Odo, Count of Aumale. In around 1088 Odo gave the manor, church and lands at Hornsea to the Benedictine St Mary's Abbey, York. [39] Rights of fishing in the Mere also passed to the Abbey. [40]

The church of Saint Nicholas dates to the 13th century, with alterations in the 14th and 15th centuries. The church is of cobbles plus stone dressings, much of it in the perpendicular style. The font, some memorials and an effigy also date to the 13th century, [41] [42] a restored former medieval market cross is found in the churchyard. [43] [44] The church tower was formerly surmounted by a spire, reported as ruinous in the early 1710s and said to have fallen down in 1733. [45] The church was extensively restored in the 1860s by George Gilbert Scott, including rebuilding of the upper tower further work was done at the beginning of the 20th century by Brodrick, Lowther & Walker. [42] The medieval rectory of the church was located to the north, at a moated site – some earthwork remains are still extant, and were incorporated into the public Hall Garth Park in the 19th century. [46] Other remnants of the medieval town include a c. 14th century wayside cross on Southgate, probably formed of remnants of other medieval crosses. [47] [48]

During the medieval period Hornsea was a market town, and also functioned as a fishing town and port. In 1377 the Poll Tax recorded 271 tax payers in Hornsea, and a further 264 at Hornsea Beck, and 96 at Hornsea Burton in 1490 the parish of Hornsea recorded that there were 340 persons in Hornsea, and 240 at Hornsea Beck and 50 at Hornsea Burton. [4]

There is limited evidence on the extent to which Hornsea functioned as a port. However, there are several medieval references to it. [49] In 1228 documents refer to tolls on merchandise from ships both north and south of the beck. [50] Holinshed noted Horneseie Beck as amongst the places on the coast used for trade [51] [52] and sometime before the reign of Elizabeth I (16th century) the large sum of £3,000 had been spent on a pier at Hornsea – it was destroyed by the sea sometime around the latter half of the 16th century. [53]

Coastal erosion had ended Hornsea's importance as a port by the 16th century, though its market continued to be important locally. [54]

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1540) right of ownership of Hornsea were returned to the Crown from St Mary's Abbey. Subsequently, the property was split into three parts – the manor, church and mere. [55]

There were windmills in Hornsea during the medieval period – two belonging to the Abbey of St Mary's are recorded in the 16th century. [56] There was another in Hornsea Burton, recorded as early as 1584, and is documented again in 1663, with the site still recorded in the late 19th century – the mill was located at the end of the Mill Lane (now Burton Lane). [57] [56]

17th to 19th centuries Edit

83 houses were recorded for tax purposes in 1676 and a record of 133 families in the parish was made in 1743. By 1801 the population was 533, rising steadily to 704 by 1811, then to 780 in 1831, and to 1,005 in 1841. [4]

There were several Quakers in Hornsea in the mid 17th century – an early meeting room was in a cottage in Westgate. In 1676 three cottages in Southgate were recorded as being given up for the use as a cemetery by the Acklams, a Quaker family. [58]

In 1732 the town was struck by a 'hurricane' which in addition to destroying the church's spire, unroofed around 40 buildings, as well as causing part of the vicarage to collapse, and overturned one windmill. [59] [56] Another windmill is recorded on Atwick Road in 1732, and in 1820–21 a new windmill was built – by 1909 it was steam operated. [56]

Historically, the common building material in the area has been brick or cobbles – extant buildings in brick date to as early as the late 17th century, [60] alternatively large cobbles have also been used in the area for building construction – several structures of this type survive in the town, dating to the late 17th, 18th or 19th century, including some listed buildings, utilising cobbles or cobbles with brick. [61] The Old Hall in Hornsea Market Place dates to the early 17th century, and is built of brick on cobble foundations. [62]

Whilst enclosure at Hornsea Burton had begun around 1660, the fields around Hornsea were enclosed in 1809. [4]

By the mid 19th century Hornsea comprised three main streets at the eastern end of the Mere – Westgate, Southgate and Market Place two streets, Newbegin and Eastgate led eastward towards the sea from Market Place, merging around 200 yards (180 m) from the cliff – the land east of Hornsea town towards the sea was in agricultural use. [63] [64]

A Quaker meeting house, located to the rear of Westgate, now known as 'Quaker Cottage' was used in the 18th century for meetings. [65] [66] Non-conformist churches were built in the early 19th century [67] – an Independent chapel was built on Southgate near to the Market Place c. 1808 , with a burial ground to the rear [68] and a Wesleyan chapel built on the corner of Back Southgate/Mere Side/Chamber's Lane c. 1814 , [67] (replaced in 1870 by one in Newbegin and later used as a school [69] [70] ) a Primitive Methodist chapel was built on Westgate in 1835, replaced and then demolished after a replacement was built in the Market Place in 1864, with a minister's house built on the site. [71]

Hornsea was promoted as a seaside resort from around 1800, with early attractions including bathing machines, horse races on the beach and a chalybeate spring near the mere. More facilities were built in the 1830s including the first Marine Hotel. [74]

A railway line was sanctioned in 1846 from Arram to Hornsea in 1846, but was unbuilt following the fall of George Hudson and the financial problems of the York and North Midland Railway. [75] In 1861 a company was formed to promote railways in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and obtained an act for a 13 miles (21 km) line from Wilmington, Kingston upon Hull to Hornsea in 1862. Joseph Armitage Wade, a Hull timber merchant and Hornsea resident was a key promoter of the line. Work began October 1862, with the line completed early 1864 the Hull and Hornsea Railway. [76] [77] Hornsea Railway Station was designed by Rawlins & Gould, built in brick with sandstone, with five central bays surrounded by two five bay extensions on either side – the station is still extant and was listed 1979. [78] Hornsea Bridge railway station was built short of the Hornsea Town terminus, and functioned as a goods station as well as a passenger station. [79] The new railway not only benefited the resort, but also enabled Hornsea to function as a dormitory suburb to Hull. [74]

There was significant growth in the small scale fishing that took place at Hornsea before the railway – persons recorded as Fishermen rose from 3 in 1851 to a dozen or more in the 1870s to 1890s, with 12 boats and 20 men recorded in 1894 – crab was the major catch, rather than wet fish – crabbing continued to the 1930s but declined after the Second World War. [80]

At the same time as the promotion and development of the railway the town was also improved: New Road was laid out in 1848 to improve access to the sea – in the 1860s/'70s Joseph Wade establishing a brick and tile works, and developed Grosvenor Terrace – No.31 of which was layered with his patent 'Acorn' tiles. The coming of the railway was followed by further development, including Alexandra Hotel (1867) Wilton Terrace (1868) the high status dwellings Brampton House (1872–73) and the Grosvenor Estate, built during the period from 1865 to the early 20th century. [81]

Civic improvements following or coincidental the opening of the railway included a gas works (1864, J.A. Wade) a gasworks for the Lansdowne estate, Cliff Road (1870, W.M. Jackson, closed 1899) improved drainage (1874–75, local board) [82] and a Waterworks on Atwick Road (c. 1878 , local board). [82] [36]

The sea front was also developed, the 1837 Marine Hotel was rebuilt in 1874, and again in 1900 gardens were added to the north in 1898 and the Imperial Hydro Hotel built 1914 on the Esplanade (demolished c. 1990 ). [85] Between 1878 and 1880 a 1,072 feet (327 m) pier was constructed – it was damaged within a year after a ship collided with it during a storm, shortening it by 300 feet (91 m). In 1897 the pier was sold for demolition. The entrance building remained as an amusement arcade until the 1920s. [86] [87] [88]

Other notable mid 19th century additions to the town include the two storey three bay vicarage on Newbegin the stuccoed Pike and Heron public house (c. 1830 ) [89] a Primitive Methodist chapel in the Market Place built 1864 [90] a Gothic Revival style non-conformist Congregational church on Hornsea Cliff Road/New Road, built 1868 [91] [92] and the Wesleyan church and adjacent church hall on Newbegin, built 1870, replacing the one in Back Southgate. [70] [93]

By 1864 the population had risen on 1,685, then to 1,836 in 1881 and to 2,013 by 1891, reaching 2,381 by 1901. [4]

20th century Edit

By the early 1900s the old town centred on the Market Place had grown little, but new developments had been built near Hornsea Town railway station, specifically the new streets of Eastbourne, Burton, and Alexandra Road additionally a new estate had been built at the sea front, north of the old road to the sea along Cliff Road – this included the (new) Marine Hotel, as well the promenade and gardens parallel to the new Flamborough Terrace Road and the new (1907) sea defences. [94] The promenade and gardens (Victoria Gardens) were begun in the 1890s. The 'Floral Hall' was added to the seafront gardens in 1913 – both the gardens and hall were extended in 1928. [74]

New sea defences were constructed c. 1907 following a destructive storm on the east coast in March 1906. The timber defences were destroyed or damaged by the storm with most of the beach swept away, and a large amount of cliff eroded exposing the underlying clay. The new defences at Hornsea were constructed north of New Road protecting the seafront at Marine Terrace and Victoria Gardens. The works consisted of four groynes plus a concrete sea wall reinforced by steel pile supports. The work was carried out by A. Fasey and Son (Leytonstone) under W.T. Douglas of Westminster. [95] The sea wall was lengthened by 450 and 1,240 feet (140 and 380 m) to the north and south respectively in 1923, and extended south beyond the stream dike outlet of the mere in 1930. [74]

Early 20th century additions to the town included a Church Institute built 1906–07 and the Pickering Almshouses (see Christopher Pickering) built 1908 both on Newbegin. [65] A convalescent home, Gregson Court was built on Cliff Road in 1908–09. [96] The early 20th century house, 'Farrago', on Wilton Road, built with a bolted steel frame with brick and stone dressing by builder David Reynard Robinson is now listed. [97] [98] Hornsea Golf Course was established a mile south of the town in 1910 to a design by Sandy Herd. (The course is outside the modern parish in Mappleton.) [99]

During the First World War a seaplane base was constructed on Hornsea Mere, named RNAS Hornsea Mere, the base was used to operate submarine patrols in the North Sea. The base was abandoned after the end of the war. [100]

By the 1920s the town had grown further, generally infill and fringe development, as well as housing further along Newbegin and Eastgate blurring the separation between the old town and the seaside resort. A park had also been built between the Eastgate and Newbegin filling the area formerly known as Hall Garths. Some housing had also been built in the area around Hornsea Bridge station. [101]

Civic improvements in the interbellum included transfer of the fire brigade (est.1902) to a former lifeboat house (1924) reconstruction of the sewers and supply of water from Hull via a water tower at Mappleton (1927) and an electricity supply, via the South East Yorkshire Light & Power Co. Ltd., with power supplied by Hull Corporation (1930). [82]

In 1938 Wakefield Metropolitan District Council opened a school in Hornsea on the open air principle, the site was used by the Free French during the Second World War, and later returned to educational use. [102]

During the Second World War Hornsea was fortified with numerous anti-invasion structures, designed to prevent a beachhead being established at Hornsea by invading forces – beach defences consisted of pillboxes flanking the promenade, whilst the beach was protected by anti-tank cubes and mines at South Cliff 4.7-inch guns were installed. Beyond the beach any potential invasion was protected against by road and rail blocks, further pillboxes, and minefields, limiting routes through the town to three roads and the railway line – the road access was narrowed by the use of concrete blocks and protected by pillboxes – the fortification was intended to hold up or delay any invasion force landing at Hornsea. [103]

Many of the predominantly reinforced concrete structures are no longer extant, the recorded defences include: coastal beach defence batteries, with 4.7-inch gun batteries, [104] other gun emplacements, [105] numerous pillboxes, [106] road blocks and road and railway antitank obstacles, including extensive anti-tank cubes on the beach, [107] Royal Observer Corps posts, [108] weapons pits and/or infantry trenches, [109] barbed wire protected trackways [110] and Army camps and associated facilities, [111] including a camp "Rolston camp", located east of the Hornsea Bridge suburb on ground now destroyed by coastal erosion, with associated infantry trenches, grenade ranges, strongpoints and minefields, [112] some farm buildings were also fortified. [113] Other Second World War structures also included air raid shelters, [114] and 'Diver' anti-aircraft battery designed to destroy V1 flying bombs. [115] By the middle of the 20th century Hornsea had continued to grow, with new housing built or under construction south of Hornsea Town station, and at the coastal resort. New schools had also been established. [116]

Hornsea's population rose consistently through the 20th century, with growth averaging several hundred persons per decade – by 1951 the population had risen by nearly 3,000 from 1900 levels to 5,324. [4]

Hornsea Pottery was founded 1949. In 1953 the business was moved to the former Wade brickworks (Marlborough Avenue), and the Hornsea Pottery Co. Ltd. established 1955. The company became a major local employer with 200 persons working by the 1960s. [83]

The Church of the Sacred Heart (Catholic) was built in 1956 on Southgate. [93]

The Hull to Hornsea railway line was closed in 1964/5. [117] Hornsea Bridge Station was later demolished. [79] The railway line's closure led to some contraction of the tourist industry, and decline in the town. [118]

Civic improvements in the second half of the 20th century included a new fire station on Southgate (1965) the closure of the gas works, and transfer to North Sea gas (late 1960s) and a new outfall sewer and pumping station (1970s). [82] Small industrial estates were built off Cliff Road in the late 1960s, and near Rolston Road on former railway land in the 1980s. [83] (Hornsea Bridge Industrial estate, Old Bridge Road)

Much of the post war expansion was around south of Hornsea Bridge station, and west of Cliff Road to the north. By 1970 Hornsea's urban expansion had reached near the level maintained until the end of the 20th century. [119] Housing was expanded to the west of the town off the B1244/Westgate on Cheyne Walk and later Cheyne Garth after the 1970s. [120] [4] The estate south of the town was expanded with the addition of Tansley Lane c. 2000 . [4]

A museum, The North Holderness Museum of Village Life (Hornsea Museum) was established in 1978, on Newbegin. [121] Hornsea Pottery entered receivership in 1984 and after several changes of owner production ended in 2000. A visitor attraction was built at the site – in 1994 'Hornsea Freeport', a shopping attraction, was opened at the site. [83] The town gained a swimming pool at 'Hornsea Leisure Centre' in 1996. [82]

21st century Edit

In 2009 a Tesco submitted and had accepted an application to build a large store near Southgate. [122] The store opened January 2012. [123]

By 2011 Hornsea's population was 8,432, [1] increasing from 8,243 in 2001, [124] and from 7,934 persons in 1991. [4]

Hornsea Beck Edit

Hornsea Beck was a small village or hamlet close to the sea – it is recorded in existence as early as 1367, and had been completely destroyed by the coastal erosion by c. 1747 . [125] Losses to the sea of 38 houses are recorded from 1546 to 1609. [126]

Hornsea Burton Edit

Hornsea Burton was located to the south-east of Hornsea Town. The present 'Hornsea Burton Road' leads east to the coast where it stops, but it once continued some half a mile further to Hornsea Burton village, now long since inundated by the sea. By 1840 the remaining western part of the village was depopulated. [127]

Northorpe Edit

Northorpe was located north of Hornsea. The site was completely depopulated sometime between the late 1600s and 1809. [128]

Southorpe Edit

The village was once a settlement at Southorpe, on the south side of the mere – the village was recorded by the Domesday survey, and existed until the 17th century. By the beginning of the 19th century the village had been abandoned. [129]

Swan Island on Hornsea Mere (2007)

Alexandra Hotel, built 1867 (2007)

The Pike and Heron, Market Place, built c. 1830 (2007)

Bettison's Folly, built 1844 (2007)

Atwick Road water works, established 1878 (2008)

Congregational church, built 1874 (2007)

Methodist (Wesleyan) church, built 1870 (2007)

Marine Hotel and Monument commemorating the opening of the seawall and promenade, 6 July 1907 (2010)

Hall Garth Park, variations in the ground may be former earthworks of a medieval moated site

Hornsea Cricket Club play at the Hollis Recreation Ground. [130] Notable former players include Johnny Briggs (England), [131] and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Worcestershire). [132]

Hornsea is home to Hornsea Rugby Union Football Club. They play at the Hollis Recreation Ground and nicknamed the 'Hollismen'. They currently play in Yorkshire League Division 6. [133]


Clitheroe Chatburn Worston Mearley Bowland With Leagram Whalley Mitton, Henthorn And Coldcoats Pendleton With Pendleton Hall, Standen And Standen Hey Wiswell Church Oswaldtwistle Huncoat Altham Clayton-Le-Moors Old Accrington New Accrington Haslingden Higher Booths Lower Booths Henheads Newchurch Burnley Habergham Eaves Briercliffe With Extwistle Worsthorne With Hurstwood Cliviger Ightenhill Park Reedley Hallows, Filly Close And New Laund Booth Padiham Simonstone Read Hapton Higham With West Close Booth Heyhouses Dunnockshaw Goldshaw Booth Barley With WheatleyBooth Rough Lee Booth Wheatley Carr Booth Old Laund Booth Colne Marsden Barrowford Booth Foulridge Trawden Downham Twiston

Index Map of Whalley Parish.

The ancient parish of Whalley had an area of 106, 395 acres, of which a small part lay in Yorkshire, as Bowland Forest. In Lancashire there were three considerable forest districts, Pendle, Trawden and Rossendale, all belonging to the honor of Clitheroe. Of the ancient history there is little to be said beyond what is connected with Clitheroe and the abbey of Whalley. There are a few prehistoric remains and traces of Roman roads from Ribchester through Clitheroe north-east and through Burnley southeast.

The sculptured crosses at Whalley and Burnley may point to English conquest during the 7th century, soon followed by conversion to Christianity and the erection of churches at those places. The first occurrence of the district in written history is in 798, when during Lent on 2 April a great battle was fought at Whalley in Northumbria, Alric son of Heardbert being slain and many more with him. (fn. 1)

Before the Conquest Whalley was the ecclesiastical head of the district, its church having a liberal endowment, and this superiority may have dated from the labours of the first missionaries. The 14thcentury tradition that the original parish extended across the Ribble is probably erroneous, for the later ecclesiastical boundaries of that district agree with Domesday Book in attaching it to Amounderness and York and the connexion of Bowland and Leagram with Whalley parish, or rather with Clitheroe Chapel, is obviously artificial, being due to the secular lordship of the Lacys and their successors.

The chief centres of population in the earlier period are probably marked by the most ancient of the chapelries, Whalley, Clitheroe, Burnley and Colne by 1296 Altham, Downham, Church and Haslingden had been added. A record of the boundaries in the time of Edward III has been preserved. (fn. 2) The numerous booths or vaccaries within the so-called forests ceased to be put to farm in 1507, when they were demised to the occupiers to hold by copy of court roll. As a result new villages sprang up at Goodshaw and elsewhere.

The district round Clitheroe was very disaffected to the religious changes made by Henry VIII, and the opposition called the Pilgrimage of Grace obtained considerable support. The Earl of Derby, in command of the county force, was at Whalley in November 1536 and wrote that he did not trust the people of the shire on the borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire, near Whalley and Sawley. (fn. 3) One of the proclamations of the Pilgrimage forbade aid to be given to the earl or to anyone not sworn for the Commonwealth and ordered all of sixteen years of age to be on Clitheroe Moor on the Monday after SS. Simon and Jude's Day (30 October). (fn. 4) A Chorley witness deposed that he had been told by adherents that 'the Commons were between that place and Whalley.' (fn. 5) The fate of the Abbot of Whalley for alleged assistance to the movement has been told elsewhere. (fn. 6)

The changes brought about by the destruction of Whalley Abbey and the Reformation are illustrated in the detailed accounts of the townships given below. Owing largely to the absence of feudal influences, the district appears to have become Puritan and in the Civil War sided against the king, the Nowells of Read forming the noteworthy exception. The Presbyterian Classis in 1646 was formed for the whole hundred, but half of the ministers and most of the lay members belonged to Whalley parish. After the Restoration Nonconformity appears, Independents, Baptists and Quakers being known, and in parts influential. The Revolution and the Jacobite insurrections do not seem to have caused any stir in the parish, but a great change has been wrought by the introduction of the cotton manufacture in the middle of the 18th century. One of the chief agents in its success was the inventor James Hargreaves, a native of Oswaldtwistle. A great part of the district is now occupied with the trade Burnley and Accrington have become large towns, while entirely new towns have been created in Rawtenstall and Nelson.


The church of ST. MARY (fn. 7) stands on the west side of the town, a short distance to the north-east of the abbey ruins, and consists of a chancel with north vestry, nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower.

Although a church probably stood on the present site in Saxon times and was followed by a later 12thcentury building, evidences of which are found in various fragments still preserved and in the doorway of the south aisle, the history of the present building begins in the 13th century, to which period the greater part of it still belongs. The south doorway, belonging to the older building, is not in its original position, the jambs and arch may possibly not belong to each other but it conclusively shows that the 12th-century church was a stone building of some importance. This is in accordance with the tradition that the old name of the place was 'White Church under Lea,' a 'white church' being one of stone. The whole, however, was rebuilt during the 13th century. The 12th-century church most likely consisted of a chancel and aisleless nave, and the new chancel would be built round the old one in the usual manner, after which the rebuilding of the nave would be proceeded with, an aisle being added first on one side and then on the other. There is enough difference of detail between the two arcades to show that one was done before the other, and probably that on the north side, which has circular piers, was built first, but of this there is no definite evidence. The building then assumed more or less of its present aspect with chancel and small north vestry, nave and aisles, and probably a clearstory. The bells would in all likelihood be hung in a turret over the west gable and there would probably be a large west window. The church as then completed seems to have stood without alteration till the latter half of the 15th century, when the triple lancet east window of the chancel was done away with and a new traceried window better suited to the display of painted glass was substituted. The aisles were at the same time transformed by the insertion of new windows all round, the roofs probably renewed and perhaps the walls raised, but there is no evidence in the masonry that the walls were entirely rebuilt, the character of the rubble walling rendering a positive pronouncement difficult. In any rebuilding, however, the old stones would doubtless be used again. The ground plan of the church therefore remained unchanged except at the west end, where a tower was added and the building assumed externally its present aspect. When the tower was built a new roof appears to have been put over the nave and the clearstory altered as the aisles had been. That the clearstory is not altogether an addition of the 15th century there seems to be proof in the mark of an earlier roof above the present one on the east face of the tower. The existing clearstory windows and the nave roof were evidently part of one work, and the roof has ruled the spacing of the windows, not the windows the setting out of the roof, and both of them are so nearly of the same date as the tower that it is impossible to suppose any earlier roof can have been put there after the tower was built unless it had chanced to be destroyed by fire as soon as it was built, of which there must have been some evidence. (fn. 8) The probability is that when the tower was built the 13th-century clearstory and roof still stood over the nave and the junction between them was made good in the usual way. After that it was determined to have a new roof and to alter the clearstory, the reason being that the early windows would be small—perhaps only round holes —and larger ones would be required for the sake of light after the building of the tower had taken away the direct light which formerly came from the west window. It is possible however that the clearstory may have been wholly rebuilt, though an examination of the walls would probably bring to light evidence of work older than the 15th century.

The church is therefore still in substance and plan that which was built in the 13th century with some alterations and the addition of a west tower made in early Tudor times. Since then the vestry has been enlarged, probably about the end of the 18th or beginning of the last century, and a south porch added in 1844, when a general internal refitting of the building took place. The chancel was restored in 1866, and in 1868 the old timber roof was laid open and repaired. (fn. 9) A great deal of alteration had taken place, however, in the interior during the 17th or 18th centuries, when galleries were erected and new seating introduced. A further restoration took place in 1909, when the north and south galleries were removed, the west gallery reconstructed, a north porch erected, the seating partly rearranged, and the tower arch opened out.

The chancel, the architectural detail of which is very good, is faced with rough rubble masonry both inside and out, the interior plaster having been stripped from the walls during one of the restorations. Its internal dimensions are 51 ft. 6 in. long by 24 ft. 6 in. wide and 33 ft. in height to the ridge of the roof. It is divided into three unequal bays externally on the south side by wide but slightly projecting buttresses with gabled heads, and has a stone slated roof with overhanging eaves. There are five lancet windows and a doorway on the south side and three similar windows in the western half of the north wall, the eastern end being occupied by the vestry. A string course runs round the chancel both inside and out at the level of the sills of the windows, being carried externally round the buttresses. The window openings are 18 in. wide, splaying out internally to 4 ft. 9 in., with a depth of 2 ft. 9 in. and with inner arches springing from corbels. The external label mould is carried along the wall as a string course at the line of the springing. The east window is of five lights with tracery under a pointed head and external hood mould, the mullions and tracery being apparently the original 15th-century work. The glass on which are painted the shields of arms of families and persons connected with the church was inserted in 1816. The sedilia are original under the second window from the east and now outside the sacrarium. They are triple, with pointed chamfered arches springing from circular shafts with moulded caps and bases, the whole under a square head. A stone slab ornamented with an incised cross and probably belonging to the earlier church forms part of the seats. The piscina and credence table are under the first window from the east, the bowl of the former being set at one side of a square opening 21 in. wide, the top of which is formed by the moulded string below the sill of the window. The credence has a trefoiled head with chamfered arrises and jambs. The south doorway is situated between the fourth and fifth windows from the east end and has a pointed chamfered arch springing from impost mouldings and with label over. The door is the original one of oak with very good iron scroll hinges and has what appears to have been a knocker. The knocker itself is wanting, but the head, probably a representation of the head of our Lord, remains.

The first 12 ft. of the north wall from the east is now occupied by a recess containing the monument to Dr. T. D. Whitaker, and immediately to the west of this is the doorway to the vestry with shoulder arched head. There has been a good deal of reconstruction of the wall and doorway where the Whitaker monument was erected and the vestry, which is of course modern, has no points of antiquarian interest, though its walls may incorporate some of the masonry of an older and smaller vestry on the same site.

The chancel roof is divided into five bays by six curved principals, one against each wall, and is probably substantially the old one, though restored and decorated and boarded between the spars. The original 13th-century appearance of the chancel, however, has been almost entirely lost, owing not only to the complete restoration of 1866, from which time the present arrangement of the sanctuary and stalls dates, but to the introduction of the stalls themselves, whose high canopies effectively hide any interior view of the lancet windows. The stalls are said to have come from Whalley Abbey Church and very probably did so, but there seems to be no record remaining of their being placed here. (fn. 10) They are now twenty-two in number, but were unfortunately taken to pieces and very much altered and mixed up with modern work in 1866. When Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church in 1859 he found the stalls 'not placed quite at the extreme west of the chancel' and returned at that end. (fn. 11) In the restoration, however, this arrangement, which was probably of the 17th rather than the 16th century, (fn. 12) was altered to that at present existing, with twelve stalls on the north side and ten on the south, the difference being occasioned by the interruption of the passageway to the south door. In the restoration a very lavish renewal of the old work was made, greatly to the prejudice of the value of the stalls as historical works of art. They remain, however, a very interesting and beautiful piece of work with elegant canopies carried on slender shafts and a series of misericorde carvings of more than ordinary interest. From the initials W.W. on the 'abbot's stall' it may be assumed that the work dates from the time of William Whalley, who was abbot from 1418 to 1434. The subjects of the misericorde carvings, reading from east to west, are as follows on the north side: (1, 2 and 3) flowers, modern (4) man and two dogs pursuing animal with bird in mouth (5) St. George and the Dragon (6) two eagles tearing intestines of lamb (7) prior's stall: satyr and woman, with inscription 'Penses molt et p(ar)les pou' (8 and 9) foliage (10) the Holy Trinity (three faces to one head) (11) oak, with sprays of flowers, and mouse (12) warrior, with sword and buckler thrown down, kneeling before his wife, who is beating him with a frying-pan. On the south side: (1) angel, modern (2) flying dragon carrying in its claws a swaddled infant (3) shoeing the goose, with the inscription 'W h o so melles hĠ of y t al mē dos let hĠ cū heir & shoe y e ghos' (4) abbot's stall, vine and grapes with initials W.W. at either side and inscription 'Semp. gaudentes sint ista sede sedentes' (5) face with plant growing out of mouth (6) angel (7) king's head, with scroll held by griffins (8) pelican feeding young with its blood (9) pomegranates between two sharp-beaked birds (10) lion and winged dragon. The seats and book desks in front of the stalls are modern, as is the reredos, which extends the length of the east wall, but the altar piece, a picture of Christ in the garden, painted by James Northcote, was placed here in 1816. It was formerly in a gilt frame. Suspended from the chancel roof is a good brass 18th-century chandelier. The bishop's throne was erected in 1909.

The chancel arch is of two rounded orders, the inner one with fillet on the face springing from moulded imposts. The arch is set back from the face of the responds beneath, the wall diminishing in thickness above the imposts the responds consist of a half-round attached shaft with fillet on the face.

The nave is 72 ft. long by 24 ft. wide and consists of four bays with north and south arcades of pointed arches of two chamfered orders and hood moulds over. The north arcade has circular columns 2 ft. 2 in. in diameter and half-round responds with fillet on the face, all with moulded caps and bases, 9 ft. 6 in. high to the springing of the arches. The south arcade has similar responds, but the piers are octagonal with moulded caps and bases. The walls above the arcade are plastered and the clearstory has four square-headed windows of two cinquefoiled lights on each side.

The north aisle, which is 9 ft. 6 in. wide, has three square-headed windows, the easternmost of which is modern, with a three-light pointed window at the east and one of two lights at the west end, and two dormer windows have been inserted in the roof in modern times. The east end of the aisle is occupied by the former chantry chapel of St. Nicholas inclosed by a 15th-century screen and retaining on its south side what appear to be the remains of a piscina, a shallow recess in the wall 8 in. wide and only 4 in. deep under a pointed head, but without bowl or drain. In the wall above are traces of the door giving access to the rood loft. (fn. 13) On the east wall placed in an upright position is the ancient altar stone, the five crosses on which are perfect, which was discovered buried beneath the floor when the chantry was repaired. (fn. 14) The chapel is now furnished with chairs, but was previously filled with square pews. The north doorway, to which a wooden porch was added in 1909, is small and plain with continuous moulded jambs and pointed head, the principal entrance to the church being by the south doorway, which, as already stated, is a late 12th-century fragment from the former building. It has a pointed arch of three orders, the two outer ones chamfered and the middle one moulded, springing from imposts and late Norman caps. The shafts and bases, however, are gone, though it is possible the latter may be covered up. The porch was added about 1844, (fn. 15) and is of stone with pointed arch and gable. The south aisle is 8 ft. 6 in. wide and lit by three square-headed three-light windows, a modern three-light pointed window at the east end, and a window of two lights with four-centred head at the west, the mullions and tracery of which are new. The east end of the aisle is occupied by the former chantry of St. Mary inclosed by a 15thcentury screen and now filled with square pews, but preserving its piscina, which has an ogee-shaped head, in the south wall. Externally the nave is architecturally uninteresting. The roof and those of the aisles have overhanging eaves and are covered with stone slates, and the walling as in the rest of the building is of rough rubble with angle quoins.

The tower, which is 12 ft. square inside and 70 ft. high, is very plain in detail, the stages being externally unmarked. On the north and south sides the walls are blank to the height of the belfry windows except for a small square-headed opening to the bell-ringing stage. There is a projecting vice in the south-east corner and square buttresses of eight stages finishing at a little more than half the total height. The belfry windows are of two trefoiled lights with tracery and hood moulds, splayed jambs and stone louvres. On the east side facing the town is a clock, the dial of which is partly in front of the belfry window. The tower terminates in an embattled parapet above a string course, and there is a good weathervane over the vice. The west door has a pointed arch and jambs of two hollowchamfered orders, with hood mould and a three-light pointed traceried window above with trefoiled heads to the lights, chamfered jambs and head and hood mould over. The tower arch is 10 ft. wide and of two chamfered orders, but is almost entirely hidden towards the nave by the organ. On the east wall of the tower, as already mentioned, is the line of a former roof of slightly higher pitch above the present one.

Apart from the 13th-century detail of the chancel and other parts of the building, the chief interest of the church lies in its woodwork and ancient furniture of many dates and styles. The quire stalls have already been described, but in addition to these, which are not really part of the original furniture of the church, there is other 15th-century woodwork in the chancel screen, the screens to the chantry chapels, and in the so-called 'mediaeval pew.' The chancel screen is a 15th-century rood screen of great value, and though there have been large renewals impairing to some extent the authenticity of the original work, enough remains to make it still of great interest. It appears to have been shortened at the bottom at the time of its restoration in 1864. (fn. 16) The screen has seven openings, each with cusped arches in the head, two to the middle wider opening, which is without doors. It once carried a loft which must have been of considerable size, as there was an altar in it. (fn. 17) The screens to the chantry chapels are of less interest, but, though much patched, retain a good deal of original work.

Although there are many scattered fragments there does not appear to be any pew work in place so old as the award of places by Sir John Towneley, of which Whitaker preserves the story, assigning it to the year 1534, but the four places allotted by him are still occupied by four very noteworthy pews. (fn. 18) The easternmost on the south side of the nave adjoining the reading desk, known as the 'mediaeval pew,' is a small low, irregularly shaped inclosure with oak door, the greater part of the work of which is mediaeval, but probably made up and added to in the 17th century. Whether it is in its original position or was only placed where it now stands at the time it was altered is uncertain. The date 1610, which occurs on the next pew to the west, probably gives the date of both, and the more ancient work which each contains probably once formed part of the former St. Anton's 'cage,' for which this is the most likely site. (fn. 19) The pew to the west of this, called 'St. Anton's cage,' is an extremely interesting piece of work measuring 9 ft. square. It is of many dates, several being recorded in the inscriptions, and its curious and highly ornamented Renaissance inclosing screen which is dated 1697 is a singularly late example of a 'cage.' (fn. 20) The pew formerly belonged to the manor of Read, and the first inscription, in Gothic characters, is 'Factum est per Rogerum Nowell, armigerum anno dm M o CCCCC o XXX o IIII.' This inscription is on the eastern side and taken in conjunction with Sir John Towneley's decision seems to imply that the original pew was made in accordance with it. (fn. 21) On the western side is another similar inscription, probably indicating an enlargement, 'Factum per Rogerum Nowell arm. M o CCCCCC o X.' On a carved panel on the north side is the date 1697 with the initials R.N.R. (Roger Nowell, Read), which is no doubt the year when the elaborate upper portion with its carved Renaissance top panels and cornice was added. The 'cage' has been a fruitful source of contention, originating in the dispute about sittings in 1534 which Sir John Towneley was called upon to decide, (fn. 22) and as late as 1800 the owners of Read and Moreton Halls quarrelling as to the ownership, recourse was had to law, when it was decided that the pew be divided into two portions. The division still remains and the two doors by which the cage is entered on the north side bear the initials I.F.R. (John Fort, Read) and I.T.M. (John Taylor, Moreton) and the date 1830.

Opposite 'St. Anton's cage' on the north side of the nave is the low 'Starkie pew' measuring 6 ft. 4 in. by 5 ft., a very fine example of Renaissance carving dated 1702, and with the initials W.R.S. Till 1909 it was closed in on the north and west sides by other pews, and much of its elaborate detail was thus lost. It now stands free, and a smaller pew, which stood immediately to the west and had a handsomely carved front dated 1644, has been removed. (fn. 23) It bore a small brass plate with the arms of Whitaker and the inscription 'Vicar's pew 1842,' but the real vicar's pew is at the west end of the south aisle.

There were also till 1909 four other square pews of later date and less interest on the north side of the nave, the first of which had a small portion of the upper part carved, the second was known as the churching pew, and the third had a brass plate recording that it belonged to the Whalleys of Clerk Hill. Some original old oak benches remain on the south side of the nave, the foremost of which, the seat appropriated to the use of the inmates of the almshouses, has at one end the arms of Adam Cottam and the words 'Alms Houses.' There were formerly a variety of small brass plates attached to the pews throughout the church with the names and dates of the proprietors, most of them belonging to the first half of the 19th but a few to the end of the 18th century. The nave and aisles were uniformly seated in 1909.

The churchwardens' pew formerly stood near the south door, but was removed to its present position under the gallery in the south-west corner of the nave about 1898. It measures 7 ft. 3 in. by 5 ft. and contains eight sittings assigned to the churchwardens who represented the eight townships chargeable with the repairs of the fabric. The pew is dated 1690 and on the panel behind each seat inside are the name of the township and the initials of the churchwardens at the time the pew was constructed. (fn. 24) The initials are repeated on two shields on the exterior. The churchwardens' staves of office are still attached to the seats.

At the west end of the north aisle, but at one time close to the churchwardens' pew, is the constable's seat, a pew measuring 5 ft. by 4 ft. 3 in., dated 1714. It was removed to its present position in 1909 from the west side of the south doorway, where it had stood since a previous removal.

The font stands on two raised steps in its original position, to the west of the third pier of the south arcade, near the south entrance. It is of yellow gritstone, octagonal in form, and probably of late 15th or early 16th-century date. The sides are plain, but have an embattled moulding at the bottom. There is a flat hinged wooden cover probably of 17thcentury date, but it seems to be of the old form, as shown by the marks on the west side of the bowl, indicating a lock by which the cover was fastened down. (fn. 25)

At the west end of the north aisle, near the gallery staircase, is a small stone font, which was formerly at Wiswell Hall and was brought here for preservation when the hall was pulled down in 1895.

The north and south galleries, removed in 1909, and the old west gallery were all works of the first half of the 19th century, but apparently a make-up from old materials, the best work in them being a panelled oak front and two staircases, which appeared to be of considerably older workmanship. (fn. 26) 'These parts may have belonged to an 18th-century western gallery in use before the organ was introduced, or they may have been brought with the organ from Lancaster.' (fn. 27) The west gallery, which was erected in 1812 to receive the organ, is 20 ft. in width, the front being in line with the third piers of the nave from the east. Since 1909 it has stood free at the ends within the line of the nave. The side galleries were carried in front of the piers, that on the north side, however, only occupying one bay of the nave beyond the west gallery, while that on the south occupied two, being in reality two separate galleries erected by the owners of Read and Moreton Halls, with separate staircases from the south aisle. The west gallery front is quite plain, and has the royal arms of George III on a painted board. The side galleries had good panelled fronts with classic entablature and cornice.

The organ was designed and built for Lancaster Church in 1729, where it remained till 1813, when it was presented to Whalley Church by Adam Cottam. It was improved in 1829 and again in 1865. The case is the original 18th-century one, and is a design of much merit.

The ancient monuments in the church are not numerous. The oldest is a grave slab, now used as a hearth in the vestry. It has a border of foliage and a mutilated inscription which has been deciphered as 'Qui me plasmasti tu . . . op sit ut exclusate.' (fn. 28) In the north aisle, close to St. Nicholas chantry, is the reputed gravestone of John Paslew, last Abbot of Whalley. It is a flat stone slab with an incised cross, the arms and head of which terminate in fleurs de lis, the intersection marked by a pointed quatrefoil. At the foot the initial I remains, but another letter has been obliterated. On either side the cross is the inscription 'I.H.S. fili Dei miserere mei,' and an incised chalice. The slab is now set up against the wall. At the west end of the south aisle is a stone marking the grave of Christopher Smith, last Prior of Whalley, who died in 1539. It bears his initials, X.S., with a cross fleury, chalice and paten.

Attached to the eastern respond of the north arcade in the St. Nicholas chantry is a small brass to the memory of Ralph Catterall, who died in 1515. It bears the figures of Catterall and his wife, the man in armour of the early Tudor period, kneeling at a prayer desk with nine sons behind him, and facing his wife, who kneels at another desk with eleven daughters. The inscription reads: 'Of y r charitie pray for the sowllys of Ralfe Catterall esquire, and Elizabeth, hys wyfe, whyche bodies lyeth Before this Pellor and for all ther Chylder sowlys whyche Rafe decesyd the xxvi day of deceber ye yere of our Lord God M o CCCCC o XV o , on whose sowlys Jhu. have mercy Amen.' (fn. 29) On the south wall of the south aisle is a brass to John Stonhewer of Barleyford, co. Chester, who died in 1653, and his wife Jane, with rhyming inscription and in the north aisle, attached to the third pillar, is a brass to Richard Waddington of Bashall Eaves, who died in 1671, with a long Latin inscription. At the east end of the north aisle, in St. Nicholas chantry, is a stone monument to Thomas son of Thomas Braddyll, who died in 1672, aged ten, and further west a marble monument to various members of the family of Bradhull (or Braddyll) of Brockhall (1672–1748). Over the altar, but now hidden, is a brass with a Latin inscription to Stephen Gey (vicar 1663–93) and in addition to the monument to Dr. T. D. Whitaker, already mentioned, which consists of a recumbent figure, the chancel contains mural monuments to the Rev. Robert Nowell Whitaker (vicar 1840–81), Eliza wife of James Whalley of Clerk Hill (d. 1785), Sir James Whalley Smythe Gardiner, bart. (d. 1805), Alice Cottam (d. 1819), Thomas Brookes (d. 1831), and William Whalley Smythe Gardiner of Clerk Hill (d. 1860) and Eliza first wife of James Whalley. In the nave, high up on the south wall, is an 18thcentury classic stone monument to members of the Walsham family (1783–93), and on a pier to the south side a small stone tablet to Robert Hayhurst of Parkhead, who died in 1767. In St. Nicholas chantry is a brass to the Rev. Richard Noble, vicar 1822–40.

There is no ancient glass, but notes of four early 16th-century windows with the arms of Towneley, Nowell, Paslew and Catterall have been preserved. (fn. 30)

In a glazed oak case at the west end of the north aisle are three chained books: Jewell's Apology, printed in 1611 by John Norton, Foxe's Actes and Monuments (ed. 9, 1684), and the Book of Homilies, 1593.

There is a ring of six bells, by C. & G. Mears, 1855. These, however, were a recasting of six bells cast in 1741 by Edward Seller of York, out of four previously existing. From the inscriptions on the 18th-century peal, which have been preserved, it appears that one of the bells had been recast in 1823 by Thomas Mears, but all were injured by a fire in the tower in 1855 and recast the same year. (fn. 31) There is also in the belfry, though not included in the peal, an old Flemish bell, which was brought from Church Kirk about 1866, (fn. 32) with ornament and inscription, 'MARIA BEN IC VAN PETER VANDEN OHEIN GHEGOTEN INT IAER MCCCCCXXXVII.' (fn. 33)

The plate is all modern, and consists of an embossed flagon of 1828–9, 'The gift of Adam Cottam 1829,' and a set of two chalices, two patens, a credence paten and a flagon, presented in 1883 by Mr. Richard Thompson. Two chalices, 'The gift of James Whalley, esq., to the Parish Church of Whalley 1787,' and a paten of 1810 are now at St. Luke's Mission Church, Barrow. Five 17th-century pieces, of which a record remains, have unfortunately disappeared. (fn. 34)

The registers begin in 1538, and have the appearance of having been uniformly copied at one time either from an older register or from slips of parchment till about the middle of February 1600–1, after which date entries were made as they occurred. The first volume (1538–1601) has been printed by the Lancashire Parish Register Society. (fn. 35)

The churchyard is inclosed by a stone wall and iron railings, and has entrances on the north, east and west sides, the stone gateways of which were erected by Adam Cottam, (fn. 36) who died in 1838. Previous to this inclosure, the first steps towards which were made in 1818, it appears to have been open or surrounded at certain points by cottages. To the southwest of the tower was a building called The Hermitage, no vestige of which now exists, and the churchyard was traversed by three pathways, which were stopped as rights of way when the inclosure was made. There was an enlargement on the south side in 1871.

In the churchyard are some objects of great antiquarian interest, the chief being the three pre-Norman sculptured crosses standing on the south side of the church. They have been already described. (fn. 37) To the north of the tower is a sepulchral slab 6 ft. 6 in. long with an incised floreated cross of eight arms within a circle, on the south side a stone 7 ft. long with an incised four-armed cross. There are also a number of fragments of similar ancient stonework. In the angle between the south aisle and the tower is a stone coffin. The sundial, which stands on three square stone steps, is dated 1757. The oldest dated gravestone is of 1600. An early 19th-century stone records the death of a woman on 31 April, and an inscription to the memory of 'the principal innkeeper of the town,' who died in 1813, records that 'notwithstanding the temptations of that dangerous calling, he maintained good order in his house, kept the Sabbath Day holy, frequented the public worship with his family, induced his guests to do the same, and regularly partook of the Holy Communion.'


In 1066 the church of Whalley had two plough-lands as an endowment, corresponding to the later township and manor of Whalley. (fn. 38) As at Blackburn the rectors, though presented by the lord of Blackburnshire, are related to have held by hereditary right. They were called deans it is not said that they had any sort of ordination, but they could not have been in holy orders, for they sent priests to the bishop to be licensed to serve the cure. (fn. 39) The succession Robert, Henry (d. 1183), William, Geoffrey, Geoffrey, and Roger seems to be proved, though the kinship is not in each case known. (fn. 40) How long this system had continued is unknown, but it was stopped by the action of Innocent III in directing due observance of a canon of the Lateran Council of 1139. (fn. 41) Roger, the last of these deans, lived in continence and was ordained priest wishing to please his kinsman, John de Lacy, lord of Clitheroe, he resigned his whole right in rectory and advowson to him, retaining the pastoral charge and a share of the revenue under the name of a vicarage. (fn. 42) John de Lacy then in 1235 presented his clerk, Peter de Chester, to the rectory. (fn. 43) This was no doubt done to record the title. In 1249, after Roger's death, Peter, who was provost of Beverley and had other benefices, reunited the vicarage with the rectory, thus enjoying the whole revenue. (fn. 44)

Henry de Lacy in 1284 gave the advowson of the church to the monks of Stanlaw, (fn. 45) and after Peter de Chester's death in 1294 the rectory was appropriated to them, (fn. 46) and they removed from their old house to Whalley, founding the great abbey which came to an abrupt end through the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. (fn. 47) The monks of Pontefract about 1300 put forward a claim to the church of Whalley on the ground of a donation to them by Hugh de la Val about 1121, a donation which was not confirmed by the Lacys when they regained possession. (fn. 48) In 1291 the value of the rectory was £66 13s. 4d., (fn. 49) and in 1341 the value of the ninth of sheaves, &c., was £68 7s. 10d. (fn. 50) In 1535 the rectory was valued at £91 6s. 8d. a year. (fn. 51) It remained in the hands of the Crown after the Suppression, (fn. 52) until in 1547 it was granted by exchange to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 53) From that time it was held by the archbishops until 1799, when it was sold to the farmers of the rectory, the advowson of the vicarage being reserved. (fn. 54) In 1846 the advowson also was sold, the Hulme Trustees purchasing it, (fn. 55) so that the recent vicars have been presented by them.

The first 'vicarage' was, as already stated, reunited to the rectory in 1249. The second was ordained in 1298 by the Bishop of Lichfield (fn. 56) the vicar was to have a dwelling house and 30 acres of land with various easements also altarage. (fn. 57) This was changed in 1331 by a new ordination, whereby the vicar was to have 66 marks a year and certain allowances, being made responsible for the maintenance of divine worship in the parish church and the various chapels. (fn. 58) From about 1348 to the Suppression one of the monks was usually vicar. That was the year when the Black Death appeared, but the appointment of monks as vicars was due to quite another reason. (fn. 59) In 1535 he received £12 a year from the abbey, but various charges reduced his net income to £6 3s. 8d. (fn. 60) At some time after the rectory came into the possession of the Archbishops of Canterbury, (fn. 61) the farmer contracted to pay £38 a year to the vicar, who had also a house, and other sums to certain of the chapelries. (fn. 62) Archbishop Juxon in 1660 gave the Easter roll to the vicar and curates, but the latter were to pay £42 a year to the vicar, whose income was thus made £80 a year. (fn. 63) This was still the income in 1717 when eight townships contributed to the repairs of the parish church, viz.—Whalley, Wiswell, Read, Mitton, Pendleton, Simonstone, Padiham, and Hapton. (fn. 64) The value of the benefice was £137 a year in 1834, and is now given as £356 net. (fn. 65)

The following have been vicars:—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
4 Oct. 1298 John de Whalley (fn. 66) Whalley Abbey
3 May 1309 Richard de Chadesden (fn. 67) The Bishop
27 Mar. 1311 Richard de Swinesley (fn. 68) Geoff. de Blaston res. R. de Chadesden
oc. 1326 ? John (fn. 69)
7 Oct. 1330 John de Topcliffe (fn. 70) Whalley Abbey
— 1336 William Wolf (fn. 71) "
19 Apr. 1342 John de Topcliffe (fn. 72) Whalley Abbey d. W. Wolf
20 Nov. 1348 Bro. John de Walton (fn. 73) "
11 Oct. 1349 Bro. Robert de Newton (fn. 74) " d. J. de Walton
8 Dec. 1351 Bro. William de Selby (fn. 75) " res. R. de Newton
12 July 1379 Bro. Robert de Normanville (fn. 76) " res. W. de Selby
7 June 1381 Bro. John de Tollerton (fn. 77) " res. R. de Normanville
7 Nov. 1411 Bro. John Sawley (fn. 78) " res. J. de Tollerton
30 Oct. 1425 Bro. Ralph Clitheroe (fn. 79) " d. J. Sawley
29 Sept. 1453 William Dinckley (fn. 80) res. R. Clitheroe
24 Nov. 1488 Bro. John Seller (fn. 81) Whalley Abbey d. W. Dinckley
15 Feb. 1534–5 Bro. Robert Parish (fn. 82) " d. J. Seller
2 Feb. 1536–7 Edward Manchester, B.D., alias Pedley (fn. 83) " res. R. Parish
8 Apr. 1559 George Dobson (fn. 84) The Queen d. last vicar
3 Oct. 1581 Robert Osbaldeston, M.A. (fn. 85) Archbp. of Canterbury res. G. Dobson
11 Aug. 1605 Peter Ormerod, B.A. (fn. 86) " d. R. Osbaldeston
24 Feb. 1631–2 William Bourn, M.A. (fn. 87) The King d. P. Ormerod
Archbp. of Canterbury
oc. 1646 William Walker, M.A. (fn. 88)
19 May 1650 William Moore (fn. 89) Lord Protector
11 Feb. 1663–4 Stephen Gey, B.A. (fn. 90) Archbp. of Canterbury
13 Jan. 1693–4 Richard White, M.A. (fn. 91) " d. S. Gey
8 Dec. 1703 James Matthews, B.A. (fn. 92) " d. R. White
25 Sept. 1738 William Johnson, M.A. (fn. 93) " d. J. Matthews
2 July 1776 Thomas Baldwin, LL.B. (fn. 94) " res. W. Johnson
24 Jan. 1809 Thomas Dunham Whitaker, LL.D. (fn. 95) Archbp. of Canterbury d. T. Baldwin
11 Mar. 1822 Richard Noble (fn. 96) " d. T. D. Whitaker
1 Jan. 1840 Robert Nowell Whitaker, M.A. (fn. 97) " d. R. Noble
23 Nov. 1881 Charles Collwyn Prichard, M.A. (fn. 98) Hulme Trustees d. R. N. Whitaker
— 1895 Thomas Henry Gregory, M.A. (fn. 99) " res. C. C. Prichard
6 Dec. 1904 Richard Newman, M.A. (fn. 100) " d. T. H. Gregory

After the church came into the hands of the monks they appointed secular priests as vicars, but soon found it advisable to have monks instead. It was necessary that the monk-vicar should have one or more of his brethren for company. This arrangement continued till the suppression of the abbey. From later depositions it appears that in addition to the (daily) masses at the high altar and the two side chapels a Jesus mass was said on Fridays in the rood loft. (fn. 101) Four priests would thus be required. At the visitation of 1548 the vicar (an ex-monk) and four other priests are named on the list as attached to the parish church, but these had been reduced to two by 1554 and in later times there was only one. (fn. 102) The destruction of the great abbey church and the dispersal of the monks must have caused a great difference in the arrangements for divine worship the confiscation of the chantries and the further changes of the time completed the revolution.

George Dobson, appointed vicar in 1559, was one of the old clergy who conformed to the various changes of doctrine and worship. He took the oath of the queen's supremacy in religion in 1563. (fn. 103) Yet about the same time he was reported to be 'as ill a vicar as the worst,' (fn. 104) the censure referring partly to his morals, but chiefly to his disposition towards the reformed religion light on both points is afforded by a complaint of 1575. The document is among the Consistory Court records at Chester. It states:

The vicar of Whalley is a common drunkard and such an ale-knight as the like is not in our parish and in the night when most men be in bed at their rest then is he in the alehouse with a company like to himself, but not one of them can match him in ale-house tricks, for he will, when he cannot discern black from blue, dance with a full cup on his head, far passing all the rest—a comely sight for his profession.

Item, he doth teach in the church the seven sacraments, and persuadeth his parishioners that they shall come and receive, but in any case but to take it but as common bread and wine as they may take it at home or elsewhere, for that it is so, far differing from the word of God and that this Church of England is a defiled and spotted church, and that no man may come to it lawfully in time of divine service except he at his coming in heart exempt himself from this service and all that is partaker of it, and make his prayer by himself according to the doctrine of the Pope of Rome.

Item, he hath been accustomed at every Easter to give, to certain of his parishioners, as he termeth them consecrated hosts, saying in them was salvation, but in the other was nothing worthy acceptance.

How much truth there was in the accusation cannot be determined. Dobson denied all the charges absolutely. To the first he said he had for thirty or forty years behaved 'as behoveth a man of his calling' to the second he said that for ten years he had conformed exactly to the Book of Common Prayer according to the laws of the realm and to the third, that he used no other consecration than that in the same book. (fn. 105) A few years later he was induced or compelled to resign, and his successor, as a nominee of Grindal, would no doubt be a sincere and thorough-going Calvinist. (fn. 106) In 1590 he was reported to be 'a preacher, but insufficient,' (fn. 107) and in 1601 it was presented that no surplice was provided for the minister, (fn. 108) so that the tendency of the place was manifest. On the other hand complaint was made about a rushbearing, with piping, in 1604. (fn. 109) Of the next incumbents practically nothing is known, but in the Commonwealth time it was judged best to appoint a preacher to visit the different churches and chapels for a few years, till suitable ministers could be provided. (fn. 110) After the Restoration Nonconformists and Quakers appear to have been numerous, and conventicles were reported to the Bishop of Chester. (fn. 111) The district immediately attached to the parish church has remained comparatively untouched by the manufactures which have caused great changes elsewhere, but one or two new churches have been built within it in recent times.

In December 1360 Henry Duke of Lancaster gave the monks Ramsgreave and other lands at Standen, &c., for the maintenance of a recluse or anchoress to live in a hermitage in the churchyard of Whalley. The recluse was to have two servants to wait on her, and a monk attended by a server was to sing mass daily in the chapel of her inclosure, the abbey providing all necessaries. The duke and his successors were to nominate the recluses. (fn. 112) The monks probably objected to the intrusion of women, particularly of the servants who waited on the recluse, and the recluses appear to have found their situation irksome, for several are said to have run away and this course having been taken by Isold Heaton, widow, nominated by the king in 1437, the abbot and convent petitioned for relief. (fn. 113) It was therefore ordered that the endowment should be employed to maintain two chantry priests to say mass daily for the soul of Duke Henry and for the king. (fn. 114) The chapels on the south and north side of the church, called St. Mary's and St. Nicholas', respectively, were so used down to the Reformation. (fn. 115) St. Mary's chapel, as the abbey pew, was acquired by Ralph Assheton in 1593, but there were long disputes over it. (fn. 116)

In 1909 Whalley was chosen to give the title to an additional suffragan or assistant bishop for the diocese of Manchester, and the Rev. A. G. Rawstorne, rector of Croston, was appointed.

The grammar school probably originated with the monks. In 1548 a stipend of 20 marks a year was assigned to it by Edward VI out of the late abbey of Croxton's rectory of Tunstall. (fn. 117)

The charities of this large parish will be noticed in sections, according to the recent reports, under the several chapelries. (fn. 118)

Stonegrave Minster


HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 10th-century wheelhead cross

Stonegrave is a small village in Ryedale, just south of the North York Moors National Park. On the B1257 at the western edge of the village stands the parish church of Holy Trinity, more commonly known as Stonegrave Minster.


The moniker 'minster' gives a hint as to the church's ancient origins. In the Anglo-Saxon period, a minster was a mother church for a region. Several such churches were built in and around Ryedale in the 7th century by Irish missionaries.

The first written record of a church in Stonegrave comes from the year AD 757, when Pope Paul I sent a letter to Eadbert, the King of Northumbria, demanding that he return the monasteries at Coxwold, Jarrow, and Stonegrave, by which we can assume that Eadbert had taken them for his own.

Anglo-Saxon Cross

The only remnants of the Anglo-Saxon church are a section of stonework in the base of the nave wall, and a Celtic cross now standing near the south door. This cross was probably erected in the churchyard but was later built into the chancel wall. It stands on an Anglo-Saxon coffin lid of the same period.

The cross probably dates to the 10th century. It has traditional Celtic interlace decoration but is unusual in that it has sculptural panels depicting Biblical scenes. One panel depicts the Ascension, while another shows one of the evangelists holding a book. Near the cross are several other carved stone fragments from the same period. One has a carving of a bird perched atop a lamb.

The church was rebuilt in the Norman period, beginning around 1141 when the manor was transferred from Hexham Abbey to William de Stonegrave. This first stage of Norman building added an aisle and chapel on the north side of the nave. The chapel was later extended to make the north aisle the same length as the nave. The tower was begun in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th century.

The 15th-century church remained relatively unaltered until 1862 when the entire building was dramatically restored in Neo-Gothic style. During this restoration, two areas of wall paintings were uncovered.

One, on the south aisle wall, showed a head with the inscription Sta Maria Salome. Another mural depicted the devil putting St Lawrence on a gridiron. Sadly, both paintings were swept away by the Victorian restorers. They also buried a Saxon font under the church floor near the new one. It sounds like the Rector later regretted his decision to bury the font, writing that it was 'a barbarous proceeding on my part'.

Saxon Carvings

Highlights inside the church include carved capitals in the nave. One scalloped capital has a carving of an upside-down mermaid combing her hair while holding a mirror. Look for carved Saxon figures of two animal masks. Supporting the 15th-century clerestory are ten stone corbels. One corbel on the north wall is carved with an angel holding a heraldic shield with the arms of the Thornton family of East Newton.

The chancel screen dates to 1637 and the screens separating the vestry from the chancel and the north aisle are from the same period, as is the pulpit.

Medieval Tombs

In the north aisle are two tomb niches. One of the niches is modern but it holds a 13th-century tomb thought to be that of Sir John de Stonegrave (d 1295). Sir John was the last of his line.

The second tomb recess was built in the first decades of the 15th century and is decorated with the Thornton family arms. The recess has stone corbels of a king and queen, thought to represent Henry V and Queen Katherine. Inside the recess are two effigies, thought to depict Robert Thornton (d 1418) and his wife.

Set into the chancel floor is a grave slab in memory of Thomas Comber, a Rector of Stonegrave and Dean of Durham (d 1699). Comber married Alice Thornton and was known for writing several defences of the Church of England.

On the north chancel wall is a memorial brass in memory of William Comber, son of Thomas and Alice, who died in 1702, and his wife Alice (d 1720). Another brass on the south wall commemorates his mother, who died in 1672.

Getting There

Stonegrave Minster is on the south side of the B1257 in Stonegrave village. you have to turn off the road onto a narrow lane, where there is space to pull over onto the verge. From there you can see the Minster church straight ahead. The church is normally open to visitors daylight hours and was open when we visited.

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About Stonegrave Minster
Address: B1257, Stonegrave, Yorkshire, England, YO62 4LJ
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Off the B1257 at the western edge of the village.
Website: Stonegrave Minster
Location map
OS: SE655778
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express



Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

  • Officials in Doncaster claim Robin Hood originated from Yorkshire
  • They claim the county features predominantly in literature about the outlaw
  • His remains are said to be buried in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, for example
  • The church where he married Maid Marian is believed to be in Doncaster
  • Claims were made by curators at the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery

Published: 12:41 BST, 9 September 2014 | Updated: 22:59 BST, 9 September 2014

Officials from Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery claim Robin Hood (illustrated) originated from Yorkshire. They state the county features predominantly in literature about the outlaw

Everything you know about the legend of Robin Hood may be wrong, after experts have claimed the outlaw was in fact a Yorkshireman.

Refuting centuries-old reports that the villain lived in Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, a curator from a Doncaster museum states evidence suggests otherwise.

She claims literary references put Robin Hood firmly in Barnsdale, Doncaster and Pontefract throughout his life - and he was also buried in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

‘It's more than likely that Robin Hood was a Yorkshireman,' said Carolyn Dalton, from Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.

‘Robin Hood's links to Yorkshire are far stronger historically, the oldest and most detailed stories give details of the north Doncaster and Pontefract area.

‘I think over the years Yorkshire hasn't made much of the connection.

'In terms of where Robin and his men lived, history points to Barnsdale near Doncaster.’

Legend has always stated the leader of the Merry Men originated from Sherwood Forest - the stomping ground of his archenemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham.

But Yorkshire historians claim the earliest stories put his origins firmly in Barnsdale - on the border between South and West Yorkshire near Doncaster.

The experts argue Yorkshire boasts more points of historical reference than any other county, including the site where Robin Hood's remains are believed to be buried at Kirklees Priory, near Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Medieval Mural on Yorkshire Church Wall Pays Tribute to St. George - History

By Ted Thornhill, Mailonline Travel Editor 16:41 BST 01 Apr 2021 , updated 08:07 BST 02 Apr 2021

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  • Book The Treasures of English Churches: Witnesses to the History of a Nation is out in May
  • It explores unique church furnishings and artwork, many of which have survived war, plague and Reformation
  • Author Matthew Byrne said: 'I hope it will help encourage readers to discover England's wonderful churches'

Explore England's places of worship and you'll find masterpieces of design, some of the world's most beautiful stained-glass windows and a host of astonishing murals, monuments and carvings spanning over a thousand years of turbulent history – as a fascinating new book reveals.

The National Churches Trust teamed up with prolific church photographer Matthew Byrne to document the most miraculous and marvelled treasures inside England's churches and some of its most eye-catching cathedrals.

It charts the history of England through its unique church furnishings, decorations and artwork, many of which have survived the upheavals of war, plague and Reformation. From stunning Saxon sculpture to masterpieces of medieval woodcarving, the polychrome brilliance of Victorian interiors to the moving memorial legacies of two world wars and the oldest Easter bunnies depicted in medieval stonework, the book is billed as 'a remarkable window into English history'.

Matthew, who has been exploring, studying and photographing English churches for nearly 40 years, said: 'I hope this book will help encourage readers to venture out and discover for themselves England's wonderful churches. Getting more people to visit churches is one way in which these magnificent buildings can be safeguarded for the future, as it helps to show those responsible for funding church buildings that they remain an important and loved part of our heritage.'

Claire Walker, CEO of the National Churches Trust, said: 'With many church buildings under threat due to the ravages of time and with fewer worshippers to look after them, this book shows the importance of their art and architecture and why this needs to be preserved for future generations.' Scroll down for some heavenly history.

Leicester Bring the Paint Festival Murals

Cultural Quarter

Rutland Street, Wigston Street and LCB Depot

Leicester’s ever emerging cultural hub is the heart of the festival. Day to day operations were run out of ‘The Exchange’ whilst painting occurred in the streets around. Birmingham’s Gent painted a teleporting character on a strip of wall on Rutland Street. The same wall also boasts a much photographed work by Smug from 2017. Around the corner on Wigston Street, Philith Blake painted some of his flowered patterns. Whilst inside the courtyard of the LCB Depot, local artist Mono added his style to the Mista Breakfast wall, also from 2017.

Yeomans Street

SMUG’s work in Leicester from 2017 has become iconic as representing that festival. For 2019 he has returned and gone even bigger. Painting the back end of a stairwell on a block of flats, his piece is huge. The Australian artist, who lives in Glasgow, paints giant portraits and has become known for his stylised realism. Also painting on Yeomans Street were Alex Rubes with his textured patterns and Sokem a little further down.

St James Street

Not quite in the cultural quarter, but near enough for us to include this street here. It’s just over the road from the Leicester Secular Hall. Essentially the works here are on a series of boarded up windows and the pieces by comparison are generally much smaller. That said the work is well worth seeing with pieces from Bristol’s Angus joining Leicester’s Verna Poppy, Kino Bino Animation (who painted in 2017) and Nick Shove aka ‘Uh Oh’.

Southampton Street and Morledge Street

One of the main areas from 2017 the street already boasts standout works from Voyder and Bates. For 2019 they are joined by Bristol’s Inkie who painted his iconic female portrait which has become a core of his style. The corner of Southampton and Morledge streets hosts a bit of waste land which passes for a car park. The walls here are full of graffiti though the big name painters here are very much the 1UP crew from Berlin. Coming to Leicester with a reputation as one of the most extreme graffiti collectives. You can absolutely see why when looking at the their work. Joining them are the likes of London’s DDA crew and local writer AGIE.

Midland Street and Nichols Street

Germany’s Tasso, the founder of the legendary MacClaim Crew painted a double shutter with a face of a flaming spray can wielding hoodie. Further along, the road already boasts pieces from Homboog, Core and Philith from 2017. Next to the Homboog piece in a covered former garage the WWF Crew, 45rpm and a collab between Core and Ruelo have also all taken shape. Meanwhile around the corner a piece from Sky High sits on Nichols Street. Tahiti’s ABUZ has painted in a small piece of waste ground just next to the road. Flying Fortress has also created a special piece in the alley leading up towards the pub.

Frog Island

The awesomely named Frog Island is the home of GraffHQ also known as Graffwerks. It is they who organised the whole Bring the Paint Festival. Now settled in an old warehouse next to the canal, Frog Island is an area with a deep industrial past. It’s now trying to re-invent itself and the canalside next to the HQ has a host of legal walls. Standout artists painting in this area were Nuneaton’s N4T4, a veteran of 2017 and Greece’s Insane51 whose 3D murals have been capturing the imagination.

Soar Street

There is plenty of development going on in this part of town, just a short walk along the canal path from Graffwerks. Whole sites have been cleared along the riverbank for a series of new riverside developments. As such, the streets around Soar Street have been lined with hoardings. Themselves the lifeblood of the graffiti and street art scene. They’ve been broken in as part of the festival, with the result that there are countless pieces of street art and graffiti to spot. Certainly far too many to include here though we have included a selection of our favourites.

Belgrave Gate and the Bypasses

Belgrave Gate

Driving around Leicester you soon get used to the streets of Belgrave Gate and St Matthews Way. A little bit further along, the bypass of St George’s Way heads towards the train station. The murals in this section are a little more spread out though you could still easily walk them.

The big roundabout at Belgrave Gate separates works from German artist WON ABC and DOES at one side with a giant piece from Hombre on the other. All large scale the WON ABC and DOES pieces fill up strips either side of a building. The Hombre work meanwhile dominates across the other side overlooking the former St Mark’s Church.

St Matthews Way

Two murals on the St Matthews Way bypass see the Yard Warriors and the Nomad Clan paint walls along the side of an estate. Both overlooking the road the Yard Warriors mural pays homage to classic graffiti heritage. The Nomad Clan piece meanwhile pays tribute to strong women of the city. Their work depicts a woman boxer in guarded pose ready to fight.

St Georges Way

Further along the bypass towards the train station can be seen a giant work from HOW & NOSM. Identical twins from New York their style is hugely complicated but blends together effortlessly. Quite possibly this is the largest mural to have been painted for Bring the Paint in 2019.

Other Locations

Calais Hill

On a wall next to an NCP car park Irish artist Aches and the UK’s Voyder have collaborated. Two graffiti writers who easily adapt to street art they have created a fusion of the two. The result is a multi-coloured portrait of Voyder painted by Aches which Voyder has tagged it over in his flowing style. A little bit further down the hill Italian writer BRUS has also created an impressive flowing piece.

The Magazine

Just over the road from the impressive medieval arch known as ‘The Magazine’ is a blocked over underpass which has become a graffiti spot. For the festival one of the walls here has been taken by ZINER though given the location it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it will last.

St Peters Square

Not the most obvious place for street art but the new shopping center at St Peters Square has had some impressive anamorphic art. Created by Mexican artist Juandres Vera the piece shows an underwater world opening up underneath the street.

The Bring the Paint festival took place between 20-26 May 2019. Organised by Graffwerk, it centered around locations in the city centre of Leicester and in Frog Island on the outskirts. Inspiring City visited the festival between 24-26 May 2019. This was the second time the festival had been held in Leicester and you can read more about the first time here. You can also read an interview with festival director Izzy Hoskins here.

Richmond, St Mary's Church


HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 1511 misericords from Easby Abbey

There has been a church in Richmond since at least the 12th century, but the earliest written record of a church comes from a charter written around 1125 referring to links between the Benedictine abbey of St Mary in York and Holy Trinity Chapel in the market place, then serving as a chapel for Richmond Castle.


We do not know when the present church of St Mary was begun but it must have been around the same time as the charter was written, for you can still see 12th-century features at the west end of the church today. Look for a Norman pillar and 12th-century arcading at the west end of the nave.

The north porch is 14th-century work as are the sedilia and piscina in the chancel. In the vaulting of the porch ceiling you can spot a Green Man carving a wild man of the woods with foliage issuing from his mouth.

The striking west tower dates to 1399 and was begun by the Earl of Westmorland. Installed at the same time was the octagonal font, carved from Teesdale marble and decorated with heraldic shields.

The font is topped by a beautifully crafted 15th-century wooden cover. The font was thrown out by Puritans during the Commonwealth but brought back into the church when the monarchy was restored in 1660.

The entire church was rebuilt in the late 15th century, however, the building as we see it today owes much to a comprehensive restoration by the famous Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott from 1858-1859.

The pews are Victorian, with ends decorated with quatrefoil carvings. The pulpit is by the famous Thompson 'Mouseman' studio of Kilburn. Most of the choir stalls are 19th century but the rear row date to 1511 and were salvaged from Easby Abbey when the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII.

The Easby choir seats boast 16 misericords carved with diverse figures such as foliage, animals and human heads. The most famous misericord depicts a pig playing the bagpipes. There is a similar misericord carving in Ripon Cathedral and at Beverley Minster. Around the canopy above the stalls is a Latin inscription that translates as:

'There are ten kinds of mischief in the cloister - extravagant living exquisite food gossip in church quarrelling amongst the clergy disorderliness in the choir idle students disobedience in the young complacency in the old obstinacy amongst the religious and worldliness amongst ministers'.

The most important historical memorial is a wall monument in the chancel commemorating Timothy Hutton (d 1629) and his wife Elizabeth. The couple is shown kneeling at prayer, a typical 17th-century pose. Below them are figures of eight children and four more infants in swaddling.

The swaddling traditionally represented children that died in infancy, a poignant reminder of the high mortality rates at that time. Each of the 12 children has its own coat of arms and inscription.

Much of the stained glass dates to Scott's restoration.

Other Highlights

Near the north door is a poor box dating to the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553).

In the south aisle is a plaque commemorating John Laird Mair, 1st Lord Lawrence of the Punjab. Mair was born in Richmond in 1811.

Another highlight is the Green Howards Chapel, created in 1932. The regimental museum is in the market place just a few minutes stroll from the church. All the chapel furnishings are by the Thompson of Kilburn studio - look out for carved mice!

In the south wall are a 13th-century sedilia and piscina as well as an aumbry of the same date. On the wall are fragments of a 15th-century mural.

The east window dates to about 1450, though the glass is Victorian.

In the north aisle is a large painting entitled 'Christ before Pilate', dated to the late 16th century. It was originally attributed to Jacopo Chimenti (1554-1646) but this attribution has been discredited.

Outside the north porch is the grave slab of a 14th-century cleric. Look for the chalice symbol carved in its surface. The grave slab came from the Hospital of St Nicholas which stood on the Easby Road. A similar medieval grave slab is in the south porch.

Also in the graveyard is a broken slab said to mark the grave o Robert Willance (d 1616). Willance is famous locally for an episode in 1606 when he tried to jump his horse across a gorge known now as Willance's Leap. He broke his leg in the attempt and only survived because he slit his dead horse's body open and put his leg inside to keep it warm while waiting for rescue. He lost the leg but survived.

The leg was buried here in the churchyard in 1606, to be joined later by Willance's entire body when he died a decade later. Willance's house in nearby Frenchgate still stands.

Near Willance's Grave is The Plague Stone, an unmarked gravestone marking the burial place of some 1,000 residents of Richmond - nearly half the town's population - who died in an outbreak of the plague in the late 16th century.

Richmond Grammar School began here in St Mary's churchyard in the 14th century before it was re-established two centuries later. One pupil was Charles Dodgson, who gained fame under his pen name, Lewis Carroll.

Getting There

St Mary's stands immediately beside Station Road, the main road north from Easby, just after you cross the River Swale. There is a paid parking area on Station Road. The church is only a few minutes stroll from the east side of the market place.

More Photos

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About Richmond, St Mary's Church
Address: Station Road, Richmond, Yorkshire, England, DL10 7AQ
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On Station Road (A6136), just over the bridge. There is a pay-and-display car park on Station Road.
Website: Richmond, St Mary's Church
Location map
OS: NZ174010
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express



Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest


The present church dates from the 13th century, [1] although the discovery of a 9th-century cross shaft in the churchyard suggests that there was an earlier church on the site. [2] It was "heavily restored" in 1868 by Anthony Salvin. [1] St John's was vested in the Trust on 1 June 1990. [4]

Exterior Edit

The church is constructed in stone rubble, and the roofs are in stone slate, artificial stone slate and lead. Its plan consists of a four-bay nave with a south aisle and a south porch, a three-bay chancel with a north vestry that was added in the 19th century, and a west tower. The tower is in three stages, and has quoins and stepped diagonal buttresses. In the lowest stage, the west face has a lancet window above a central buttress, and there is a similar lancet window on each face in the middle stage. In the top stage are two-light bell openings, and the summit has a battlemented parapet. On the ground, on the west side, is a medieval stone coffin lying on its side. On the north side is a five-sided stair turret that was added in the 19th century. The porch has stepped diagonal buttresses, and an arched doorway over which is a sundial. The inner door dates from the 13th century. Incorporated in the fabric of the south aisle are carved stones dating from the Anglo-Saxon and medieval periods. It has a 19th-century single-light west window, two three-light windows in the south wall dating from the 19th century and a three-light, 13th-century east window. In the north wall of the church are three two-light windows containing Decorated and Perpendicular tracery. The chancel contains a priest's doorway and a number of windows, including a three-light east window with Decorated tracery. The vestry has a two-light 19th-century window. [1]

Interior Edit

Internally there is a four-bay south arcade, a tower arch and a chancel arch. In the north wall of the chancel is a recumbent effigy and in the south wall is a 19th-century piscina and a stepped triple sedilia. In the south aisle is another piscina and an aumbry. The font dates from the 19th century and has a 17th-century carved canopy. The church contains a number of tombs and monuments to the memory of the Smithson family. On the east wall of the chancel are boards painted with the Lord's Prayer, Creeds, and the Commandments. Over the chancel arch are the royal arms of George III, and around the church are hatchments. [1] The organ was built in 1866 by John Fincham of London. [6] There is a ring of three bells, all cast by Samuel I. Smith, two in 1677, and the third in 1685. [7]

In the environs of the church are seven structures each of which is designated as a Grade II listed building. To the south of the south aisle are four sandstone tombstones dating from the 18th century, [8] and on the east side of the porch is another group of four tombstones from the same period. [9] To the south of the porch are two memorials, one to William Newcomb who died in 1752, [10] and the other to Richard Slater dating from the early 18th century. [11] South of the chancel is an Anglo-Saxon cross-shaft dating probably from the 9th century. [12] To the north-northeast of the church are two wells built in the late 19th century for the Duke of Northumberland and possibly designed by Anthony Salvin. The smaller one is some 150 metres from the church around a spring, [13] and this feeds the other well about 100 metres from the church. [14]

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