The Church of St Andrew, Aldborough
Address: Middle of Aldborough, YO51 9ES
Parking: Roads around the church.
Opening times: Daily; 10 am – 4 pm.
Wheelchair access: Good; park to the south of the church near the pedestrian walled hard surface path which leading to a gate, then a gravel path to nave door. Two small steps down into the nave, two up to the tower and two onto the chancel.
Interior lights: L/H/S by the nave door.
Refreshments: The Ship Inn, north-side of the church. Lunches, 12 – 2 pm Tues-Sat,all day Sunday. Closed Mon. or plenty of chose in Boroughbridge. http://shipinnaldborough.com/
Walk: Easy, 3.5 miles. www.mypennines.co.uk
Information: This is the third church to be built on the site, and was erected after heavy damage was caused by invading Scots in 1330. The tower and chancel where added in the 15th century.
During the Roman occupation of Briton, Aldborough (then called Isurium Brigantium, and before that, Iseur – pre. Roman) was a significant administrative centre for the north of the country; it was largely run by brigantes, who though English, were, for their own reasons, pro Roman; the area covered was around 55 acres. A ground x ray survey of St Andrew’s foundations has revealed a Roman Forum (offices and meeting room); many buildings including a fort, amphitheatre and temple (dedicated to Mercury) have also been found in the area. There is small museum of Roman artefacts in the village (up the hill, on the right), but openings are very limited, for details: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/aldborough-roman-site At the rear of the nave there is an information board, next to which are a few Roman artefacts including a stone plaque dedicated to the god Mercury.
The tower clock was installed in 1783; it has a remarkable pendulum that is 30 feet long, it could only be fitted by digging a six foot deep pit into the floor to accommodate the swing movement (not visible); it also has a great ‘tick’.
There are a number of items of interest to see in this very well kept church, all of which are detailed in the church guides. There are a few yew trees in the churchyard, these trees have a long association with faith down the ages, the Pagans saw them as everlasting life (probably because of their longevity) and the journey to the underworld, while the Christians saw them as representing the Resurrection, ironically yews were the wood of chose for the making of longbows, it is a tree best not to touch as it is poisonous (taxine). There is an excellent website dedicated to the yew: http://www.ancient-yew.org/s.php/frequently-asked-questions/2/2#whyare2
Holy Trinity Church, Little Ouesburn
Address: Church Lane, Little Ouseburn, YO26 9SAH
Parking: Small car park by the gate.
Opening hours: Daily; 9 am – 4 pm.
Wheelchair access: Good; gate, path, no steps.
Interior lights: L/H/S in bell tower and L/H/S behind arch in chancel.
Refreshments: Opposite end of village; Green Tree Inn, Boroughbridge road; Open lunchtimes for food, Closed Mondays, or a plentiful supply of coffee shops in Boroughbridge and the excellent Hirst’s bakery and café near the town square.
Walk: 6.5 miles, easy; for route go to; www.walkingwiththetaxidriver.co.uk
Information: This grade 1 listed church was built in the 12th c with additions in the 14th and 15th c. The red decorative bricks set into the bell tower are believed to be recycled Roman. Inside, the tower has retained it’s now rare Jacobs ladder which is still in place (but not in use) for access to the belfry.
The 18th c grade 2 listed mausoleum was built for the Thompson family of near by Kirby Hall in 1742, and was first used a year later; the last incumbent being in 1910, there are 24 members of the family interred here, one of which was part of the sherry importing Croft family, who died while on a business trip to the continent; his remains were transported back to Yorkshire pickled in a barrel of brandy and interred here; at that time it was common practice to use this method of preservation for the transportation of the wealthy deceased who pegged out in foreign climes (such as Lord Nelson at Trafalgar). Only the kitchen block, stables and gatehouses of the old hall now remain.
Originally, there was an entrance into the mausoleum leading to a lower level which was directly below the gate you see today; this was used for interments, after which it was refilled until it was required again; the door is still in place and can still be seen from inside.
The building became neglected after the family moved away, and in 1945 suffered significant damage along with the church when a Halifax Bomber with its full load lost control due to a low heavy frost air stream, crashing in the field next to the church with the loss of four of its crew; a number of aircraft were lost from that flight on the same night for the same reason.
Many years later local residents formed the Friends of Little Ouseburn Mausoleum and eventually the building was restored, it is still maintained by them today. Anyone who wishes to look around the mausoleum may do so by appointment with its guardians, contact details are on the notice board in the church. Note; access to the lower level is by a trap door and ladder. There are two open days a year, one in May, to coincide with Open Gardens, and also one day in early September, please check opening dates before a visit.
National Trust property Beningbrough Hall and gardens is not far from here and is worth seeing, details can be found on their web site; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough-hall/
St. Martin’s, Allerton Maulever
Address: Approach road to castle. HG5 0SE
Parking: On the road.
Opening hours: Daily, 9 am – 4 pm or dusk if earlier.
Wheelchair access: Very difficult; eight tall stone steps; no path around the churchyard.
Interior lights: L/H/S of the entrance door.
Refreshments: None locally but plentiful in Knaresborough and Boroughbridge.
Market day: Knaresborough HG5 8AG; every Wednesday.
Information: A church has stood on this site since the 12th c but the one you see today was built in 1745 for Richard Arundell of Allerton Castle in the style of Gothic neo-Norman; it is an attractive cruciform building and is very much what you might expect to find in rural Normandy; the French influence is also evident inside.
The chancel is divided from the nave by a bell tower which leaves it a little isolated and would have given the congregation a rather limited view. It is also a bit bare having only a wooden altar table (the church has been out of use since 1971). The large painting above the nave shows Moses and Aaron holding the Ten Commandments, you will see that Moses is depicted with horns of light shining from his forehead; this unfortunate appearance is due to an error in translation by St Jerome in his Latin Vulgate Bible which seems to bit a prone to such slips (see route 6 – Healaugh).
The roof is of hammer beam construction and is a dominant feature of the church. The pulpit is a Georgian double decker (the lower deck being occupied by the church clerk) with a sounding board above it which acts as a voice amplifier; the box pews are from the same period.
The wooden carved full sized effigies in the north transept are rare survivors from the 13thc and would originally have been painted to represent the person; they are believed to be that of two Knights of the Mauleverer family. The two effigies in alabaster from 1475 are that of Sir John Mauleverer and his wife Alyson. There is a dedication plaque in the nave gifted from RAF 6 Group who used the church from 1943 to 1945 (they where based in the castle).
A poignant point of interest in the churchyard is that of a memorial headstone made of granite which on first impression appears to have lost it’s pillar cross, it was in fact a design device and serves as a reminder that the life of this unfortunate soul was cut off prematurely; this style of memorial was used among the more affluent classes during the Victorian period.
This church is now cared for by the wonderful Churches Conservation Trust, who work so hard to preserve these buildings; decoratively the interior could do with some TLC (donations welcome in the box).
The church is on the estate of Allerton Castle which is only open to the public for guided tours that are booked in advance; please visit their web site for details; www.allertoncastle.co.uk
The Church of St Mary, Nun Monkton
Address: Nun Monkton, YO26 8ES, at the far end of the village; permissible access is through the gateway and along the private road (over the cattle grid).
Parking: Outside the church.
Opening times: Daily; 9 am – 4 pm.
Wheelchair access: Good; one step up and one down at entrance door, also two steps up onto the chancel. Ramps are available just inside the church door, but please return them to their storage position after use.
Interior lights: In floor cupboard on R/H/S of the font for the nave and chancel lights, also in L/H/S in the north west corner to illuminate west wall and further lighting on R/H/S of the chancel. Please note the lights at the west end are automatic, please turn off any lights you switch on when leaving.
Refreshments: Alice Hawthorn Inn, centre of village, open lunch times, Tues – Sun.
Walk: Easy; 4.5 miles; www.yorkpress.co.uk/lifestyle/countrywalks
Information: This church was originally part of a Benedictine nuns priory built in 1153 which in due course was dissolved by Henry VIII; it has been considerably enlarged from its humble chapel origins when it had a truncated (low) roof. It has standard 18th c Anglican fittings such as the box pews; in the 1870s it was enlarged to the building you see today.
As you enter you will see to your left the stone coffin lids of a Prioress (1346) and a Canon from York. On both north and south walls in front of the windows of the nave is the triforium, which is a shallow arched gallery set within the thickness of the upper inner wall; it gives the church a very grand appearance and also serves as an additional roof support; above this are twelve trefoil-headed niches which may have been created to accommodate the apostles.
The beautiful windows in the east wall were designed by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones and are considered to be important examples of their work, they were installed in 1873 (please see the church booklet for details). In the chancel there is a great deal of very grand stone and marble carving in the redredos; note the three stall stepped sedilia (seating for the principal and assisting priests during masses) set into the south wall. Looking back from here to the west wall is a fine sight, in particularly the massive piers that support the tower and so perfectly frame the organ pipes and window.
St Mary’s is in a beautiful village setting, with its broad commonage grazing green, duck pond and a 60 ft single tree trunk Maypole; it makes a quintessential English scene.
St John the Baptist, Kirk Hammerton
Address: Church St, Kirk Hammerton, YO26 8DL
Parking: On the road.
Opening times: Daily; summer 9 am – 4 pm, winter 9 am – 3 pm (possibly later).
Wheelchair access: Difficult; three steps at the lychgate, steep path and a step up to nave, but a pair of ramps are provided (located in the tower).
Interior lights: L/H/S of entrance door and R/H/S in chancel.
Hearing loop: Yes.
Refreshments: The Bay Horse Inn, Green Hammerton, YO26 8BN, all day serving.
Information: Built with both Saxon and Norman influences, the heart of this church was erected in Saxon period in around 850 A.D.. There was a Victorian refurbishment in the 1800 s when rebuilding and additions took place.
As you enter the church the Lady Chapel is immediately to your right and is in fact the original church, it was relegated in the 12th c when the north wall was removed to extend the church, the arches were added and a larger nave and chancel were built, this in turn was replaced in 1834, leaving the combination you see today. The chapel holds its independence and has interesting features such as the rather basic piscina, the finely painted reredos panels behind the altar and the decorated sedilia; the original bell tower of 10th c still stands and is a considerable feature of the church.
The Victorian rebuild has some creditable features; the beautifully painted William Morris influenced walls murals and chancel roof that add so much colour and character along with the retouched reredos panels in the chapel were carried out in 1895 by the very talented ecclesiastical artist, G.W. Ostreham RA (1868-1903). The standard of workmanship of the rebuild is high, so perhaps we should view this place of worship as two churches in one; not forgetting that this is a very well attended and cared for place of worship in a lovely Yorkshire village.