Building record MYO907 - St Saviours Church, St Saviourgate


First documented in 1090 as St Saviours-in-the-Marshes, it was entirely rebuilt in the 15th century as a continuously aisled 2-bay chancel and 3-bay nave with West tower. The church was rebuilt in 1844-45, and the South vestry was added in 1878. It became redundant in 1554, and was converted for use as the offices of the Archaeological Resource Centre in 1990. A small trench was opened to the North of the church in 1996 and a Post-Mediaeval child burial located.


Grid reference Centred SE 6059 5188 (31m by 32m)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (7)

Full Description

Formerly known as: Church of St Saviour-in-the-Marshes ST SAVIOURGATE. Parish church, now educational resource centre; attached railings and gates forming northern and western boundaries of former churchyard. C15 arcades and west end; north and south aisles rebuilt 1844-45; vestry of 1878. Church made redundant in 1954 and converted to present use in 1991. C19 rebuilding by RH Sharp with vestry by WG Penty.

MATERIALS: magnesian limestone with re-used gritstone plinth to north side; tiled roofs. PLAN: aisled continuous 2-bay chancel and 3-bay nave with south vestry and west tower.

EXTERIOR: triple-gabled east end has partly blocked chancel window of 5 cinquefoil headed lights and 3 tiers of panel tracery in double chamfered opening; aisles windows are of 3 trefoil-headed lights with reticulated tracery: all windows have 2-centred heads and hollow chamfered hoods. Round-arched doorway with C20 board door to north of chancel window. On north side, moulded and hollow chamfered doorway in western bay has double doors of trefoiled panels in 4-centred head, beneath coved hoodmould on defaced shield stops: square-headed window of 2 trefoiled lights over door. North and south sides have 2-stage buttresses between pointed windows of 3 double transomed and trefoiled lights with panel tracery and hollow chamfered hoodmoulds. Both sides have moulded eaves courses.

On south side, gabled projecting vestry in western bay has 2-centred doorway and square-headed window of 2 trefoiled lights. At west end, 3-stage buttressed tower has double transomed west window of 3 cinquefoiled lights and panel tracery, beneath coved hoodmould. Second stage has 2-light panel-traceried window deeply recessed in 4-centred opening in west face. Belfry openings are of 3 louvred lights in 4-centred heads. Shallow extruded staircase on south face lit by glazed slit lights. Coved strings to belfry and embattled parapet. Gabled aisles have panel-traceried windows of 3 trefoiled lights, that in north aisle above square-headed window of 3 trefoiled lights.

INTERIOR: north and south arcades of five pointed double chamfered and broach-stopped arches on octagonal piers and responds with moulded bases and capitals. Tower arch of two hollow chamfered orders with hoodmould dies into semi-octagonal responds. North of east window, former vestry door has chamfered 2-centred rere-arch: to south is piscina recess with trefoiled ogee-arched canopy. Tower stair has chamfered doorway with 4-centred head and plank door: second stage floor carried on reset C12 grotesque corbels. In tower, two illegible plank boards in ogee-headed surrounds with crocketed finials and fluted sills. C15 roofs to chancel and nave said to survive above C19 ceilings.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: diagonally set square section railings and standards with fig-shaped and spike finials respectively; two pedestrian gates of similar design. Railings listed on 24/06/83.

(City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 46-49). Listing NGR: SE6059051890

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

Parish Church of St. Saviour stands in the angle between St. Saviourgate and Hungate. The walls are of magnesian limestone and the roofs are covered with modern tiles.

St. Saviour in the Marsh, 'ecclesia sancti salvatoris in Marisco' (Drake, 310), was built on swampy ground reclaimed from the marsh. Oak coffins found 14 ft. below the floor, including one beneath the S.W. buttress, were probably pre-Conquest (YG, 8 May 1845; 18 April 1846). The church is first mentioned in the confirmation by William II of his father's gift of the church to St. Mary's Abbey (EYC, 1, 265). It was completely rebuilt in the 15th century; bequests for the work include 5 marks from Adam Wygan, rector, in 1433 to roof the vestry (TE, ii, 25); 100s. from Richard Russell in 1435; £6 from John Bellamy, rector, in 1452 for roofing the S. part; and £40 from Richard Wartre in 1458 with an additional £10 for the tower (Raine, 77). Chantries had been established in the church before the rebuilding. A priest was admitted to the chantry at the altar of the Virgin in 1281, on the presentation of Mariot, widow of Robert Verdenel (see Coffin Lid (1)) (SS, cxiv (1907), 41), and in 1333 John de Hathelsaye founded a chantry at the altar of St. John the Evangelist (CPR, 1330–34, 384–5). Chantries were founded at the altars of St. Thomas the Martyr in 1396 (CPR, 1391–96, 711) and of St. James and St. Anne in 1399 (CPR, 1396–99, 588). There are also references to altars of St. Nicholas in 1436 and of St. Lawrence in 1444 (Raine, 78).

At the Reformation, lead was stripped from the roof and given to the king. Decay in the roof was reported on between 1551 and 1553 (YCR, cx, 67, 85). The exchange in 1583 of two bells for three from St. William's Chapel, Ouse Bridge (Benson, Bells, 10), may have been the occasion for constructing the present bell-frame. In 1586 the parishes of St. John, Hungate, and St. Andrew, Andrewgate, were united with St. Saviour's. In 1798 a faculty was granted for the building of a W. gallery. In 1822 part of the steeple blew down (YG, 19 Jan. 1822). Gas was installed in 1827 (YG, 3 Nov. 1827). In 1844–5 almost the whole of the North and South Aisles were rebuilt, under the direction of R. H. Sharp, architect; the church before the rebuilding is shown in a drawing by E. Abbott dated 1776. In 1867 a faculty was granted for rearranging the interior, and in 1878 W. G. Penty designed a new S. vestry to replace a previous vestry to the E. In 1954 the parish was united with All Saints, Pavement, and the church became redundant. It was leased to York Corporation in 1955 and the fittings were dispersed.

Architectural Description. The church forms an aisled quadrilateral, without structural division between chancel and nave, with a tower at the W. end partly projecting from it. The gabled E. wall of the Chancel is 15th-century; it contains a five-light window with vertical tracery under a hollow-chamfered label and double-chamfered jambs which continue downwards as straight joints below the present sill level, the lower part of the window having been blocked by the vestry removed in 1878. The inner skin of the blocking is of 17th-century brickwork. Further N. is the blocked doorway to the vestry, with two-centred rear-arch remaining. The N. and S. arcades each consist of five two-centred stilted arches of two chamfered orders, supported on octagonal piers with moulded bases and capitals, and similar E. and W. responds.

The North Aisle was largely rebuilt in 1844–5. The gabled E. wall continues the line of the E. wall of the chancel. Two deep courses at the bottom, incorporating some gritstone blocks, are mediaeval. The three-light window has reticulated and flowing tracery in a two-centred head with a hollow-chamfered label, all of 1844–5. The N. wall is built on a single deep course of large mediaeval gritstone blocks forming a ledge below sill level. There are three two-stage buttresses and all, except the westernmost, have plinths. The four main windows, of 1844–5, are identical, of three transomed lights with vertical tracery under hollow-chamfered labels. The pointed-arch doorway at the W. end of the wall, with continuous moulded reveals and a hollow-chamfered label with shield-shaped stops, is set below a window of two trefoiled lights in a square head with a hollow-chamfered label. The flanking masonry may be reworked mediaeval stone. The gabled W. wall is of restored 15th-century masonry, faced internally with 19th-century brickwork. There is a worn moulded plinth. A two-stage buttress at the N. end projects westwards. There are two windows, one above the other. The upper one is of three trefoiled lights, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head under a hollow-chamfered label. The lower window, square-headed without a label, has similar details to the upper window, but the mullions are square in section internally and it has a wooden lintel beneath a brick relieving arch at the head.

The South Aisle is uniform with the North, but retains no mediaeval walling and the old foundations appear to be all of magnesian limestone. The S. wall is partly masked by the vestry, and pierced by the vestry doorway opened in 1878. Above the S. doorway, the blocking for a square-headed window matching that over the N. door is visible internally. The W. gable wall mirrors that of the N. aisle, but without a lower window, the plinth is unmoulded, and the two-stage S.W. buttress, with a plinth, is diagonally placed.

The 15th-century West Tower (Plate 12) is partly overlapped by the aisles. It is of three stages, with a string-course between the top two stages, and has a battlemented parapet. At the lowest level, the N. and S. walls are splayed in plan, with a wide E. arch opening to the nave. Beyond the W. wall of the S. aisle the S. wall of the tower is thickened to contain a newel staircase, which rises to the second stage; it is entered by a four-centred arched doorway and lit by three rectangular slits in the S. wall, with a further blocked slit towards the interior in the N. wall. The tower arch is of two hollow-chamfered orders which die into semi-octagonal responds without capitals and has a hollow-chamfered label towards the nave. The W. window, of three lights in two ranges, has cinque-foiled cusping and vertical tracery, and a hollow-chamfered label and rear-arch. The upper stages are square on plan internally, and the load from the oversailing masonry at the E. ends of the N. and S. walls is transmitted to the tower arch and to substantial masonry further W. by squinch arches in the lowest stage and relieving arches in the middle stage. The floor of the middle stage is supported on ten reset grotesque 12th-century corbels, five on the N. side and five on the S. The middle stage is lit by a two-light window with vertical tracery and a two-centred head in the W. face. The top stage is lit on all four faces by three-light louvred openings with four-centred heads. There are multiple-stage buttresses in the planes of the E. and W. walls and flanking the W. window.

The timber Roofs of the chancel and nave are of five bays. The arched-braced collar-truss, marking the sanctuary, and the three queen-post trusses to its W. are of 1844–5 but, above the underdrawing, rafters and collars probably of 15th-century date survive. The N. and S. aisle roofs, with closely-spaced arched-braced trusses, are all of 1844–5.

Fittings—The removal of the 19th-century floor in 1976 revealed a number of Indents, Coffin Lids and Floor-slabs, which are shown below, under the respective headings, within square brackets. Bells: (1) 'JACOBUS WHITEHEAD 1730', with stamp 'E. Seller, Ebor'; (2) small plain sanctus bell, probably 18th-century. Bell-frame: of oak, with three pits, the trusses having central posts and downward braces supporting saddles (Fig. 1d), probably 16th-century, altered. Benefactors' Tables: in tower, on N. and S. walls, boards with shaped panels, transverse-fluted sills and ogee-shaped tops with crocketed finials, late 18th-century. Brackets: in tower, on N. and S. walls, ten grotesque corbels of animal and human faces, 12th-century reset. Brasses and Indents. Brass: in nave, [R.M., 1791, M.M., 1823, M.M., 1836]. Indents: in nave, (1) for four shields and inscription plate, latter removed to All Saints, Pavement (see Monument (1), Brass (3)), later reused (see Floor-slab (2)); [(2) and (3) for two and three figures, respectively, with canopies and inscription bands, late mediaeval]. In S. aisle, (4) for two shields (see Floor-slab (11)); [(5) for two shields and inscription plate, later reused (see Floor-slab (12))]. Chairs, Chest, removed to All Saints, Pavement. Coffin Lids: in N. aisle, [(1) asymmetrically tapered, with sun and moon and inscription in Lombardic letters '+ HIC : IAC[E]T : ROBERTVS : VERDENEL CVIVS : ANI[M]E : PROPICIETVR : DEVS', late 13th-century]. In S. aisle, [(2) tapered, with indent for inscription plate, mediaeval]. Communion Table, from St. Crux, removed to All Saints, Pavement. Font and Font-cover, removed to Holy Trinity, Micklegate (York III, 15a). Glass: chancel, E. window, except for some small sub-lights, removed to All Saints, Pavement (see Monument (1), Glass, W. window, wl).

Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: in N. aisle, (1) Gothic surround, inscription missing, probably of the Rev. John Graham, 1844; (2) Edward Smith, 1799, white marble tablet and urn on shaped black background; (3) Rear-Admiral Hugh Robinson, 1802, Mary his wife, 1852, and family, shaped and carved white tablet on shaped black background with coat-of-arms, signed Waudby, York; (4) Col. Roger Morris, 1794, Mary his wife, 1825, white tablet mounted above smaller shaped and carved tablet to Maria their daughter, 1836, all on black background, signed Taylor; (5) Lancelot Tasker, 1807, Mary his niece, wife of Robert Foster of Coney Street, 1810, the said Robert, 1845, and children, with inscription recording active part taken in 1844 church restoration by James Lancelot Foster, 1883, white tablet within trefoiled head with supporting columns on base, shaped black background, signed Skelton; (6) Thomas Atkinson (architect), 1798, Anne his first wife, 1774, Mary his second wife, 1796, semicircular black tablet with outer lighter band and labels, above frieze with transverse fluting and roundels over white tablet on black background recording its erection by surviving children, signed Jno. Atkinson.

In S. aisle, (7) Thomas Withers, 1809, Elizabeth his wife, 1802, white marble sarcophagus and cross on plinth against shaped black background (see Floor-slab (11)); (8) Andrew Perrott, 1762, Martha his wife, 1786, and family, white tablet on black background, signed Fisher's, York; (9) Mrs. Phebe Mallatratt of Godmanchester, 1831, shaped white tablet on black background, signed Fisher, York; (10) Thomas, 1826, and George, 1831, sons of Thomas and Jane Wilkinson (see (11)), Charlotte, wife of George, 1840, white tablet on black background, signed Fisher, York; (11) Thomas Wilkinson, 1810, Jane his wife, 1811, oval tablet on shaped black background with roundels and ribbon between pilasters, signed Stead & Son, secondary shaped tablet below with shaped background, William Wilkinson, 1812, Mary his wife, died London 1813, buried Brighthelmstone. In tower, on S. wall, (12) John James Dobson, 1763, and family, oval brown tablet inset in eared black background. In churchyard, shaped headstones of late 18th and 19th-century date include: on S. side of church, (13) Elizabeth, wife of William Cobb, 1795; (14) Joseph Todd, 1795, Thomas Todd, 1796; (15) Mary Crosby, 1798. Flat slabs include: (16) Mary, daughter of Francis and Ann Hunt, 1756, Ann, 177., Francis, 179.; (17) George Cornelius Swan, 1788, . . . . n his wife, 1793; (18) Henry Sydney Heron, 1798. Floor-slabs: in sanctuary, (1) Sir John Hewley, 1697, Dame Sarah Hewley his wife, 1710. In nave, (2) Benjm. Atkinson, 1773, Mary his wife, . . . . (re-using Indent (1)); [(3) Nicholas Price, 1787; (4) Richard Booth, 1741, Martha his first wife, 1724, Jane his second wife, 1758]; (5) Ann, wife of John Wood, 1832. In N. aisle, [(6) Roger Meek, 1730; (7) A.A., 1774; (8) George Russell, 1802, . . . . . d, 1802, Anne Russell, 18 . . ; (9) Anthony Knowles, 1814; (10) inscription in black-letter along all four sides, 'Orate pro me']. In S. aisle, (11) Dorothy Catherine Withers, 1789, Elizabeth Withers, 1802, Thomas Withers, M.D., 1809 (see Indent (4)); [(12) Thomas Plummer, 1810, Mary Plummer, 1813 (see Indent (5)); (13) Andrew Perrott, 1762, Charles Lambert his son, 1759, Sarah his daughter, 1772, Martha his wife, 1786; (14) John Hebden of Scarborough, 1766; (15) Willm. Mudd, 1771, William Wilkinson, 1812; (16) Robert Jardine of Worksop, 1802].

Piscina: in S. aisle, rounded arch with trefoil canopy, five-sided recess, probably 15th-century. Plate, removed to All Saints, Pavement. Reredos: five panels with texts, etc., 19th-century. Seating: pews with ball-finials, incorporating carved panels identical to some in Holy Trinity, Goodramgate (2), 19th-century in 17th-century style, fragments since removed (Morrell, Woodwork, 158, Fig. 181). Stalls, removed to All Saints, Pavement.

Monument 15; City of York: RCHME: The Central Area: HMSO: 1981-: 46-49

NMR Information

Full description

(SE 60595189) St. Saviour's Church Building (NAT)

1. ST SAVIOURGATE (south-east side) 5343

Church of St Saviour (formerly listed as Church of St Saviour-in-the-Marshes)

SE 6051 NE 17/49 14.6.54


Largely rebuilt 1844-5 by R H Sharp in the same C14 style and using the original materials, apart from the C15 tower. Some C15 glass by Richard Caldebok of York. Monument to Thomas Atkinson, the
architect, (1798). See also Church of All Saints Pavement. (RCHM Vol V, Monument 15).

Ordnance Survey Map. OS 1:2500 1963.
2 List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p300 City of York, June 1983.

613515 Architectural Survey Investigation by RCHME/EH Architectural Survey
1096686 Excavation ST SAVIOURS CHURCH

BF060227 ST SAVIOUR'S CHURCH, YORK File of material relating to a site or building. This material has not yet been fully catalogued.

NMR, NMR data (Unassigned). SYO2214.

RCHME, 1981, City of York Volume V: The Central Area (Monograph). SYO65.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Unassigned: NMR. NMR data.
  • --- Monograph: RCHME. 1981. City of York Volume V: The Central Area.

Protected Status/Designation

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Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 14 2020 7:21PM


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