Building record MYO1868 - Church of St Mary Bishophill Junior


10th century tower, heightened in early 11th century, repaired, reroofed and embattled circa 1411; late 11th century nave with mid 12th century north arcade and north aisle; early 13th century chancel extended circa 1300; mid 14th century south aisle and chancel north chapel; nave reroofed 15th century. South aisle extended in early 19th century. 1860 restoration included construction of south porch and new windows at east end and to south aisle. Tower restored 1980. East end gable cross. 2-bay chancel with north vestry and organ chamber in former chancel chapel; 2-bay nave and north aisle; 3-bay south aisle; 4-stage west tower. Several cross-shaft fragments, part of a grave slab and part of a hogback, have been found in the church during restoration work. Part of a 10th century cross shaft is built into the east face of the tower.


Grid reference Centred SE 5999 5147 (25m by 29m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (16)

Full Description

Parish church. C10 tower, heightened in early C11, repaired, reroofed and embattled c1411; late C11 nave with mid C12 north arcade and north aisle; early C13 chancel extended c1300; mid C14 south aisle and chancel north chapel; nave reroofed C15. South aisle extended in early C19. 1860 restoration included construction of south porch and new windows at east end and to south aisle. Tower restored 1980.

MATERIALS: base of tower of Roman saxa quadrata beneath irregularly coursed magnesian limestone and gritstone rubble with herringbone brickwork bands. Remainder of church of gritstone and squared limestone with some rubble stone and ashlar dressings. Chancel chapel has hipped slate roof otherwise roofs on north side are tiled, those on south of slate.

EXTERIOR: east end gable cross. 2-bay chancel with north vestry and organ chamber in former chancel chapel; 2-bay nave and north aisle; 3-bay south aisle; 4-stage west tower. East end has reconstructed 2-centred window of 3 uncusped lights with geometrical tracery, in double chamfered surround. North chapel has two segment-headed windows with trefoiled ogee heads and vestigial ogee tracery, largely renewed, in chamfered quoined surround. In south side of chancel is a round-arched door, with window of paired lancets to east and two single light windows to west. All openings in restored quoined and chamfered surrounds. Nave north aisle has plank door beneath chamfered 4-centred arch to east. To west of door, square-headed window of 2 trefoiled lights with cusped inverted ogee tracery. Further west, similar window, decaying, of 3 cusped lancets with trefoil tracery. South aisle has east end window with reticulated tracery in double chamfered surround. Gabled porch has 2-centred doorway of three chamfered orders which die into chamfered jambs, and corbelled hoodmould: within, the south door is hollow-chamfered and broach-stopped. Three 2-light windows with Decorated tracery, to aisle, 2 to east of porch, one to west. Tower is quoined and has embattled parapet with pinnacles. On ground stage, original west door replaced by round-headed window of paired round-arched lights on centre shaft with roll necking and cushion capital, in stepped surround beneath corbelled rolled hoodmould. To south, reconstructed square-headed window of 2 cusped ogee-arched lights. On second and third stages, to north and south, are slit lights. Belfry is set back above string course, and each side has paired round-arched belfry openings on turned centre shaft with cushion capital, beneath stripwork arch on pilasters. West side opening is renewed.

INTERIOR: chancel north arcade of 2 chamfered 2-centred arches on slim octagonal pier with moulded capital. Chancel arch is asymmetrical and 2-centred, of 2 chamfered orders, the inner corbelled, the outer continuous. Nave north arcade is round-arched, of 2 chamfered orders on cylindrical pier with hollow chamfered capital and base, and square responds with imposts chamfered on lower face. At east end, a pointed "confessional arch". South arcade of 2-centred, roll-moulded arches, the inner filleted, on cylindrical pier with roll necking, hollow-chamfered octagonal capital and torus and chamfered base. East respond is half cylindrical with similar detailing, but west respond mutilated. Quoined tower arch is round, of 2 stepped orders beneath hoodmould, on stepped double imposts on square section responds. Roofs: 5-bay nave roof panelled with moulded beams with bosses at intersections. C15 ceiling to tower ground stage, carried on chamfered beam supported at north end on stone corbelled arch-braced post. FITTINGS: medieval font with octagonal bowl with round upper section, on octagonal stem and C19 base; early C18 scrolled cover with dove and acorn finial. Hatchment dated 1793. Reredos and octagonal pulpit with tester of 1889, by Temple Moore. 4 panels of late C15 glass reset in second south window of chancel. 2 bells, one C14, the other C15, await re-hanging at west end of nave. Monuments include a wall tablet in bolection moulded surround, to Frances Nicholson, d.1721. (City of York: RCHME: South-west of the Ouse: HMSO: 1972-: 27-30; Bartholomew City Guides: Hutchinson J and Palliser DM: York: Edinburgh: 1980-: 216).
Listing NGR: SE5999251475

Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

Survey in 1980 by YAT prior to restoration of the west tower indicated that, despite clear differences in the stonework between the belfry stage and the rest of the tower, it had been built in a single campaign. Three pieces of pre-Conquest sculpture were recovered. A further fragment was recognised but remains in situ.

2 bells, both on the list of historic significance dating to c1450 by J Hoton. CARE NO. 43/1042

Excavaions at St Mary Bishophill. (1)
Description of the Anglian cross-shafts, grave covers, and hogbacks in the church. (2)
(SE 59995147) St. Mary's Church (C of E) (NAT) (3)

Church of St Mary Bishophill Junior. Mainly C12 and C13. Nave with aisles. Chancel, largely rebuilt C19 and pre-Conquest west tower which is the oldest ecclesiastical structure in York. The tower is Late Saxon, C10 at the base and is topped by a battlemented parapet with pinnacles added early C15. The church contains a little late C15 stained glass and numerous monuments and floor slabs. (RCHM Vol III Monument 8) (4)

1 St Mary Bishophill Junior and St Mary Castlegate
Published for the York Archaeological Trust 1987 by L P Wenham, R A Hall, C M Briden and D A Stocker 74-140
2 Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture, volume 3 : York and eastern Yorkshire 1991 by James Lang 83-7 216-245
3 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Default value used to record large numbers of archive items which are not separately catalogued. See Monument Recording Guidelines for details of use. OS 1:2500 1962
4 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest

BF060220 ST MARY BISHOPHILL JUNIOR'S CHURCH, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued

Information derived from NMR

1986, Anglo-Scandinavian settlement SW of the Ouse AY 8/1, p25 (Unpublished document). SYO28.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Unpublished document: 1986. Anglo-Scandinavian settlement SW of the Ouse AY 8/1. p25.

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

May 12 2020 8:32AM


Your feedback is welcome; if you can provide any new information about this record, please contact the City Archaeologist.