Healaugh Church

Ledsham Church

Harewood Church

Collingham Church

Masham Church

Hubberholme Church

Easby Church

St Gregory Minster

Kirk Hammerton Church

Alne Church

Bardsey Church


3m North of Tadcaster.  From Wetherby, go by Walton and Wighill.
Fine Norman door and chancel arch.  Normally open with information and church guide leaflets

2m South of Garforth.  From Wetherby go down A1(M)/M1. Turn off to Garforth, then A 556 Castleford.  On left after Ledston.
Lots of interesting features. Oldest building in West Yorkshire, Saxon and perpendicular windows. Local connection with Lady Elizabeth Hastings. Normally open.

From Wetherby take A659 to Leeds.  On the Harewood Estate. 
15th century Perpendicular church with amazing alabaster tomb chests (probably the finest collection in the country) well displayed with information. Entrance free and it’s normally open.

On A58 Wetherby-Leeds.
Most people should be able to find St Oswald; finding it open, well, that’s another matter - try Thursday mornings after Communion. The Anglo-Saxon cross remains are important but there are many other interesting facets of this very early church.

If you are having a country run from Ripon to Leyburn look into this churchyard and you will find one of the Saxon crosses we talked about.

On a longer day out in Upper Wharfedale have a look at the Rood Loft and Screen, and the ‘Mouseman’ pews.

Turn off the Richmond to Catterick (A1) road at Easby.  Beside the Monastic ruins.  Wonderful wall paintings in St Agatha’s Church.

Signposted on left between Helmsley and Kirkby Moorside .
Amazing Saxon inscription above doorway.  On your way out or back, why not pop into Rievaulx Abbey(English Heritage). Nice little tearoom.

Just off the A59 Knaresborough-York road, so within easy reach.
A Saxon church that is now the south aisle of the later church. Look out for those windows and huge building stones at quoins.

This is on the little back road from Aldwark Bridge to Easingwold.
Norman church with lots of interest. Even if closed, you will be able to look at the fantastically decorated door with beasts and medallions.

Last but not least, this is on the doorstep, with Saxon, Norman,and Perpendicular features to interest you. I’ve always found it open.

Select Bibliography
The cost of the books listed below can vary widely, though eBay, Amazon and others may often have what you want at reasonable prices (I checked on-line and all these recommendations are available).However, it’s well worth casting about, particularly as the information in older publications is still largely valid.

Nikolaus Pevsner and others The Buildings of England, London: The Yale University Press, various dates.
There are three volumes covering the North and West Ridings, and York and the East Riding. They can cost as little as £3-£4 or as high as £20-£30 but, having said that, you could manage just with these as they cover everything from churches, castles and monuments to abbeys, etc.

Roy Strong A Little History of the English Country Church, London: Jonathan Cape, 2007
A pleasant readable introduction to the subject more than a reference book, it’s available in paperback (Vintage) for £9.99 but I’ve seen it in many bargain bookshops at half this price.

Simon Jenkins. England’s 1000 Best Churches, London: Allen Lane; 2004 Revised Edition
This, on the other hand, is a good reference book, particularly if you are travelling and would like to visit the most notable churches in the area. Paperback edition (Penguin),RRP £16.99.

Pamela Cunnington. How Old is that Church? London: Blandford Press, 1990 (out of print)
This is probably the best beginner's primer on building features and, although the pictures are in black and white, it’s clearly and simply set out and doesn’t get too technical.  I’ve seen it listed at £1 or £2 on eBay so it’s still available.

Ella Pontefract and Marie Hartley The Charm of Yorkshire Churches, Leeds: The Yorkshire Weekly Post, 1936
If you can find this in a second-hand bookshop, buy it (that is if you can find a second-hand bookshop, and if it’s not too expensive - I think mine was under £10 some time ago).  Published in 1936, it resulted from a series of newspaper articles written by Ella Pontefract and illustrated by her friend Marie Hartley. Together they went on to become great writers on Yorkshire Dales social history and after Ella died in 1945, Joan Ingilby became Marie’s collaborator.  The book is charming, still pertinent and very interesting.

The authors’ local connections are numerous.  Ella lived at ‘West Acres’, just beyond Wetherby Golf Clubhouse.  Later, her family moved to Spofforth Hill.  Marie lived at ‘Baron Hill’ opposite Linton Meadows, just past Shaw Barn Lane. She and Ella moved to a cottage at Askrigg in 1941.  Marie’s earliest art lessons were given to her by the famous Yorkshire painter Owen Bowen who lived in Colllingham.  Owen’s daughter, Mrs Betty McDougall, is Linton Antique Society’s longest-serving member and is regularly on the front row at meetings. Joan Ingilby, also a local, lived from 1918 at North Deighton Manor and was Sir Thomas Ingilby’s aunt.  As someone said, ‘Not a lot of people know that!’

Colin Griffiths, March 2013