English Churches - East Riding of Yorkshire
"The King of Holderness"
is now a small market town serving the local area with a
good raange of shops. In the C12th it was a flourishing
town, a major port and the most important shipping centre on
the north bank of the River Humber. St Augustine’s Church
reflected the importance and standing of Hedon, hence its
local name, “The King of Holderness”
Unfortunately by the C15th, Hedon's importance as a port had moved to Hull which offered better facilities. The Black Death had killed off many of the population and the merchants and trades people no longer had the money to complete the building of the church on the lavish scale originally planned.
The church replaced an earlier church. Building of the chancel and transepts began at the end of the C12th followed by the nave which was eventually completed by 1350. The tower was the last part of the church to be built in the C15th and the money to build it was raised by a special church rate levied on the Burgesses. They got value for money with its crocketed pinnacles, tracery windows and decorated parapet
The outside of the building is more impressive than the inside which feels a bit sterile. It is worth walking round the outside to admire the Norman south and west doors and the chevron carving round the windows of the north transept.
Just inside the north door propped against the wall is a massive C13th black granite tomb slab with a carving of the tree of life with a cross at the top. Near it is an old font, thought to have come from one of the Holderness churches lost to the sea.
The nave is Decorated style with an arcade of graceful pillars and pointed arches with clerestory windows above, separating the nave and side aisles. Above the arches are small carved shields.
The transepts and chancel have an arcade with a wall passage running round the top of the walls which is reached by stone staircases above the crossing arches.
The font at the back of the south aisle is C14th and has unusual carvings of flower motifs and heads around the bowl.
The pulpit is modern, replacing an older one. Pews are 19th.
In the chancel is the remains of a C14th effigy thought to be one of the Burgess of Hedon complete with a sword and money bag. Behind is the remans of a thee seat sedilia.
The reredos behind the high altar is C20th and has the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments and the Creed set in gilded arches.
The east window is 19thC. At the top is St Augustine with other saints and apostles as wells as scenes of the Crucifixion and Ascension. To one side is a splendid medieval tall backed priest’s chair. On the floor are Minton tiles.
The church is kept locked, but a key can be obtained from either Nutmeg’s Cafe in the Market Place, or Frames on Souttergate. There is an hour’s free parking in the Market place and the church is just a short walk. The post code is HU12 8JG and the grid reference is TA 188287
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