Building record MYO1946 - CHURCH OF ST GILES


Church. Circa 1240 with restorations of 1814-18 by Henry Graham and 1863 by Ewan Christian. Probably by the masons of the south transept of York Minster. Magnesian Limestone, Westmorland slate. 2-bay aisled nave and single-bay aisled chancel with bellcote at junction.


Grid reference Centred SE 5684 5655 (17m by 14m)
Map sheet SE55NE
Civil Parish Skelton, City of York, North Yorkshire
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Church. c1240 with restorations of 1814-18 by Henry Graham and 1863 by Ewan Christian. Probably by the masons of the south transept of York Minster. Magnesian Limestone, Westmorland slate. 2-bay aisled nave and single-bay aisled chancel with bellcote at junction. West front: nave and aisles divided by buttresses, with dogtooth string course at sill level which runs round whole of facade. Central lancet with nook-shafts with annulets and dogtooth decoration beneath oculus. Aisles: lancets with dogtooth to hoodmoulds. Low angle buttresses. South porch: exact C19 copy of original pointed doorway of 4 orders with stiff leaf capitals and dogtooth decoration. South aisle: 2 very narrow lancets flanking a priests' door. North aisle: 3 very narrow lancets with blocked doorway opposite south porch. East end: triple stepped lancets with collared shafts and dogtoothdecorated beneath vesica flanked by buttresses lancets to aisles and angle buttresses. Interior: tall pointed arcades of 2 chamfered orders on filleted quadripartite piers with similar chancel arch. The external string course is echoed inside as are the nook-shafts are of original Purbeck marble. Contemporary font with facetted decoration. Memorials. Tomlinson Bunting, died 1768. White tablet on grey mount with shell motif below and orange marble frieze carrying pediment with arms. Joseph and Sarah Hotham, erected by Sir Richard Hotham in 1791. White shield. Grey mount with shield to base. This is a particularly fine and complete example of C13 church building. Pevsner N, Yorkshire: the North Riding, 1966. Wilson,C, O'Connor D and Thompson M, St Giles Skelton, A Brief Guide, 1978. Christian E Architectural Illustrations of Skelton Church, Yorkshire, 1846.
Derived from English Heritage LB download dated: 22/08/2005

The church of ALL SAINTS at Skelton is a rectangular building consisting of a chancel and nave, both with side aisles, and measuring internally 44 ft. 3 in. by 32 ft. 6 in. The church as it stands was completed shortly before 1247, and the building presents examples of no other period. Though small in dimensions, as an example of early 13thcentury work it is unequalled by any other parish church in the county. The building was carefully restored in 1814 to 1818, under the superintendence of Henry Graham, but the groining then introduced has since been removed.
The church is divided into three bays, of which the chancel occupies the easternmost, being separated from the nave by a chancel arch. The east window consists of three equal lancets with detached shafts between them both internally and externally. These have moulded bases and capitals with nail-head ornament, and the window-heads are deeply moulded and enriched with dog-tooth and nail-head. Halfway up the external shafts are moulded bands. A line of dog-tooth is also carried down the edge of the outer external jambs. Above the central lancet is a vesica-shaped window in the gable having a moulded hood carried round it. The north and south chancel walls have a deep eastern respond and a single arch on each side communicates with the side chapels. The arches are pointed and of two simple chamfered orders and the responds have each three attached shafts keeled on the outer edge with moulded capitals and bases, those on the east being banded at half their height. In the south-east respond is a trefoil-headed piscina, the bowl of which is supported on carved foliage. Opposite this is an aumbry and on the east wall to the north side is a foliated bracket shaped like a column capital. The north chapel has a single lancet in the east wall with an external label and two much smaller lights of similar form in the north wall.
Near the eastern one is an aumbry and in the south wall is a trefoilheaded piscina. On the east wall are remains of the broken corbels supporting the altar. The south chapel corresponds exactly to the north, with regard to the windows, piscina and aumbry, but in place of the western window in the south wall is a small door with a head segmental-pointed internally and two-centred externally with chamfered jambs. At the west ends of both chapels are traces of the mortises for wood screens now destroyed. The chancel and chapels are covered by one highpitched roof, the east wall being divided only by small gabled buttresses two stages high, and having a pair of low buttresses of similar detail at the two angles. Both internally and externally a moulded string-course is carried round the east wall below the sills of the windows, on the side walls it becomes externally a hood to the windows and door. On the east gable is a very beautiful cross with a moulded base, circular stem and floreated arms. The chancel arch is of similar character to the arcades, of two chamfered orders with a hood moulding on the west face springing from responds with three attached shafts. Above it the wall is pierced with a simple pointed opening in the gable. Resting on this wall is a bellcote of stone, gabled and finished with a cross with floreated arms which is apparently not original. The two bell openings are acutely pointed and divided by a pier of four attached shafts with moulded capital and base. Both arches are included under a main arch, the spandrel being enriched with a quatrefoil having dog-tooth ornament.
The nave is two bays long only, with arcades exactly similar to those between the chancel and chapels. The shafts are all keeled on their outer edges and the moulded capitals have nail-head ornament. The west wall is pierced by a tall lancet window with external banded jamb shafts having moulded capitals and bases and a line of dog-tooth ornament. The head is enriched in the same manner, and above it in the gable is a circular window with a hood moulding carried round. The nave aisles are continuous with the chancel chapels and have each a small lancet window in the first bay. In the second bay on the north is a simple pointed north door. The south door, opposite to it, is the finest feature of the building, and, though considerably restored, is an exact reproduction of the original work. It is set in a gabled projection from the aisle wall and is recessed in four orders. The pointed arch is richly moulded and has two rows of dogtooth ornament which is again repeated on the hood. The latter terminates in carved foliage bosses. The jambs have each three free and one attached shaft with bell capitals enriched with 'stiff leaf' foliage. The bases are of the 'hold water' type and rest on a moulded plinth following the line of the bases.
The abacus of the capitals is carried round the projection as a string-course, stopping against the aisle wall. Above the arch is a horizontal string-course and the acutely-pointed gable terminates in a cross of curious form, and having a band of nail-heads round the stem. At the west end of each aisle is a lancet window uniform with the eastern chapel windows. The buttresses of the west end are similar to those on the east. The church is faced entirely in ashlar and the roofs are all modern, blue slating having taken the place of the earlier tiling. On the walls of the nave aisles are painted Scripture texts in frames of scroll work.
The font is contemporary with the church with an octagonal bowl chamfered back and cut into a number of facets on each side, the stem is a plain octagon and the base is moulded.
In the south chapel is a slab with a partially obliterated marginal inscription in black letter to Robert Lovell and Anne his wife, who died 24 July and 25 March 1421 respectively. Some fragments of ancient glass remain in the west window of the north aisle.

The bells were formerly hung in a little covered steeple at the west end of the church, removed in the late 18th century. They are two in number, the first inscribed 'Gloria in excelsis Deo. Richard Maskell Churchwarden 1677'; the second 'Soli Deo gloria pax hominibus Dalton founder York 1782.'
The plate consists of a cup (London, 1728), the gift of Mr. Francis Taylor, a flagon (London, 1777), a paten (London, 1720), also the gift of Mr. Taylor, and a modern plate.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1538 to 1654. A note at the side of the first page reads: 'This charge to register the names was first given in the 30th yeare of Hen. the 8th Anno Dm. 1538 in the Lo. Abbotts Visitaton holden at Byland. John Darley then Parson of Skelton Octob. 27, 1538'; (ii) mixed entries 1657 to 1750; (iii) mixed entries 1751 to 1790; (iv) baptisms and burials 1791 to 1812; and various transcripts of the earlier registers.

A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County
History, London, 1923, Pages 167-172.

NMR Information:

(SE 56855656) All Saints Church (NAT) (1)

St Giles Church (NAT) (2)

Grade A Church of All Saints
Completed in 1247,, probably built by the craftsmen of the South transept of York Minister, and is unaltered. Though small it is an excellent and rare example of an early 13th Century church. Carefullyrestored by Henry Graham in 1814. Ashlar, modern slate roof. Consistsof nave and aisles beneath a single steep pitch roof, stone bellcote. The East end has 4 lancets with a vesica window in the gable. The west end has a single lancet with a circular window above. The churchis divided into 3 bays, one being the chancel seperated from the naveby an arch. The East window has detached shafts both inside and out, with moulded and enriched capitals and window heads. The chancel has a single arch either side, opening to the north and south side chapels. Both chapels have a single lancet in East wall and smaller lights to sides. East gable has original cross with moulded base, circular stem, and floreated arms.. Richly carved south door, set in gable projection from the aisle wall, recessed in 4 orders. Moulded arch and 2 rows of dogtooth ornament repeated on the hood which terminated in carved foliage bosses. Shafts have bell caps and stiff leaf foliage. Large trefoil headed piscina, foliated bracket and contemporary font. (3)

1 Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 25" 1893.
3 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest DOE(HHR) Flaxton R.D, N.Yorks, Aug 1949,7

Victoria County History, 1923, A History of the County of York North Riding Vol2, p167-172 (Monograph). SYO2117.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Monograph: Victoria County History. 1923. A History of the County of York North Riding Vol2. p167-172.

Protected Status/Designation

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 5 2019 1:50PM


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