All Saints and St James, Nunnington



Address:                     Church Street, Nunnington YO62 5UB

Parking:                      On the road (a bit narrow) by the gate.

Opening:                    Daily; daylight hours.

Interior lights:          L/H/S in bell towel and Chancel; R&L/H/S.

Wheelchair access: Possible, judge for yourself; one set of two steps, one of four and a heating pipe.

Refreshments:          Royal Oak Inn, in the village. Open; Wed – Sun 12 pm – 2 pm for food: ttp://

Market day:                Pickering YO18 7AE; every Monday; also, farmers market – 1st Thursday of the month.

Walk:                           6.7 miles;  for route details go to;

Information:             This grade 1 listed 13th c church is set in a beautiful village near the River Rye and  was mentioned in the Doomsday Book three times; fragments of a 10th – 11th c cross can be seen inside the building.  The chancel is of simple appearance and has an attractive barrel vaulted ceiling similar to that of St. Marton’s, at Marton cum Moxby (route 2).

Of particular interest here is the stone effigy of a reclining knight resting in the ogee headed canopy (onion shaped), located in the south wall of the nave; it is unattributed but believed to be that of Sir Walter De Teyes who was Lord of the Manor from 1295 to 1325, there is limited evidence to support this as it is reliant on the accompanying carved stone shield, most of which has been lost; the remaining details indicate that the rebus is the coat arms of the Teye family who were Lords of Stonegrave, so it could be a predecessor.  The stone work of the effigy is exceptional; it reveals a great deal of detail and shows the Hauberk chain mail very clearly (this design of chain main has its origins in Japan, and was first in evidence in Western Europe during the 4th c).  The shaping of the limbs is anatomically accurate; it is a superb piece of craftsmanship and is a testament to the forgotten mason.

It was long believed that cross legged effigies of knights indicated that they had fought in the crusades (as can be seem here); this theory has recently been discounted by academics (too many inconsistencies); it is now accepted that it is a design preference only.

The building suffered during the English Civil War and consequently, through-out the period of Cromwell’s rule in the Commonwealth Period, when he, and his Puritan allies did so much damage to the architecture and interior of the majority of England’s churches (not to mention, the morale and traditions of its people).  Fortunately, this church was restored by the lord and lady of the local manor in the late 1600’s.  The tower that you see today was also also added at this time.  The stars depicted on the upper east wall of the chancel lend a warm, friendly and welcoming feel to the church which is a appreciated by the stranger.

This church is included in a very good website of churches in this area:

Near by is the National Trust’s Nunnington Hall, which is worth a visit; please check their web site for further details;

Holy Trinity, Stonegrave


Address:                Off the main road, Stonegrave YO62 4LJ.

Parking:               On the side road or on the grass double approach track.

Opening times: Daylight hours.

Wheelchair access: Good; churchyard gate, made but uneven path, three small single steps into the nave and one onto the chancel.

Interior lights:  R/H/S of nave door and R & L H/S of the chancel.

Refreshments:  None locally; nearest – Nunnington.

Walk:  Easy; 7 miles.

Information:  Here is a church that is easy enough to just pass by off the A1257, but this is a place not to be missed on a sunny day; in the late afternoon the sunlight does wonderful things to the interior of this church. There are four stone carved corbels at the bottom of the roof supports on the north wall, if you are lucky with your timing you will see the sunlight shining from all four of the quatrefoil clerestory windows in the opposite wall and illuminating these corbels, it must have been a conscious design devise by the architects to line them up so perfectly with the sun for that short period of time, it is a care to detail and thought that we sometimes do not credit our predecessors with.  Other areas of the nave also benefit from the soft glow, which gives this place a feeling of safe haven and sanctuary, it is in fact, simply a but beautiful moment to enjoy.

It is a 12th c church built over Saxon foundations but suffered the fate of many medieval churches when the Puritans striped it of most of its treasures and again when well meaning Victorians did their bit; they went so far as to rebuild the walls, remove the earlier stained glass and turf-outing tombstones that belonged inside the building, but did manage to leave the tower in its original state ; it has a peel of three; the 1637 oak rood screen also survived.

The reclining stone tomb effigies in the north wall are that of (possibly) a 14th c knight of The Knights Hospitallers, and two 15th c local dignitaries, the exact identity of any of them cannot be certain.

During the 18th c there was a minstrels gallery, but that is now long gone.

In spite of some harsh treatment over the centuries, this really is a lovely peaceful church in a beautiful setting and well worth a visit.

All Saints, Hovingham


Address: Church Street, Hovingham, YO62 4LG

Parking: On the road.

Opening times: Daily; 10 am – 5 pm or dusk if earlier.

Wheelchair access: Good; gravel and flagged path, small step into the nave and two steps onto the chancel.

Interior lights: R/H/S nave door and L/H/S chanel.

Refreshments: Bakery & Spar Tea Rooms, Main Street; Wed to Sat 8.30 am – 5 pm. Sun 9.30 – 4 pm and Mondays from Easter through the summer.

Information: This church was rebuilt during the Victorian period to replicate its original medieval appearance with the exception of the late Saxon tower (approx. 1066 AD) which is original and in its early days used for defence and refuge.  It is believed to be built on the site of an earlier church, fragments of which can be found built into various parts of the building; there is an eighth century cross built into tower above the west doorway, also an Annunciation Stone in the Lady Chapel and a tenth century Wheel Cross in the south side of the tower. The Lady Chapel is the most recent part of the church, being built in 1937.

The interior has a very light and airy feel to it, there is plenty of stained glass to be seen here including  the work of York craftsman, Harry Stammers. The many hand stitched kneelers, which have been made to a high standard by local parishioners give the place added colour (and comfort).

Taking centre stage on the chancel is a tenth century Saxon stone cross set in a wrought iron framework; it really has quite a dramatic effect; it was of course, originally in the churchyard, but was brought inside in recent times to protect it from the elements.

Hovingham Hall is next door to the church and is a private residence; it open its doors to the pubic occasionally for guided tours, but you will have to check on the net for up to-date information.

All Saints Church, Helmsley


Address:                      Cannon Garth Lane, Helmsley, YO62 5AD

Parking:                      On the road or in the market place.

Opening hours:         Daily; 9am – 4pm or dusk if earlier.

Wheelchair access:  Good; use churchyard gate and path from corner of the market square.

Hearing loop:            Yes.

Interior lights:          On.

Refreshments:          All over town.

Market day:                Every Friday.

Walk: Easy,                6.5 miles for route:

Information:             This church is 13th c but with a major rebuilt in 1867 in the Gothic revival style; its origins date back to the Doomsday Book.  Some features from the 12th to 14th c have been retained, including the fine Norman chancel arch; one of the largest in the county, it is made up of; on the inside, a chain of beads; 2nd – chevrons; 3rd- non sculpted and the outside ring-28 hook-masks with their tongues hanging out; there is a 10th c decorated hogback tombstone in the porch, this was a style used during the Anglo Saxon period.

The theme of the murals and fine stained glass starting in the south transept and running through into the north isle depicts the coming of Christianity to the north of England, it is both novel and effective.  The art and glass work is by Gast while the lovely starry roof in the north isle is by Temple Moor; the arcade of arches in the nave are 13thc.

The font is a recent replacement, and has a large but strange Neo Gothic Victorian cover by G.G.Pace, what it may represent is anyone’s guess (if anything).  On the back wall of the bell tower is a slave yoke from Cape Town which seems a little incongruous.  Some of the woodwork in the chancel is that of Mouseman Thompson.

This is of course is a town not a village but too nice to be excluded, it is a lovely place with plenty to see; there are the remains of a castle and, near the church at the far end of the public car park is the 250 year old Walled Garden and Vine House Cafe:   Also near the town is the stately home of Duncombe Park which can be made a day-out on its own: