English Churches  - The Sykes Churches of the Yorkshire Wolds

St Andrew’s Church, Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire


A carefully restored Norman church with views across the Yorkshire Wolds


St Andrew’s Church is a lovely setting high on the Yorkshire Wolds above the small village of Weaverthorpe. Reached down an avenue of yew trees from the lych gate, it is surrounded by a large graveyard managed as a conservation area with wild flowers and butterflies.  Near the south porch is the much eroded C14th effigy thought to have been brought here from either Bridlington or Nostel Priory after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

St Andrew’s Church, Weaverthorpe

It is a simple church with a tall square tower at the west end with a stair turret on the south east corner, nave and chancel. The church dates from 1108-30 and was probably built on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The tower has a small double window, giving it a Saxon rather than Norman feel. The porch was added in the C14th when the larger windows were inserted.

Little is known about the history of the church. By the C19th it was in poor condition and was one of the many churches restored by GE Street for Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere House. Several feet of soil had collected against the north wall which had to be dismantled and completely rebuilt using the original stones. The roof of the nave and chancel were raised to their original pitch and the ringing chamber which had been bricked up was reopened. A pyramid roof was added to the top of the tower, but this was removed a few years later. Apart from that, the Norman features of the church were retained although the furnishings date from the C19th restoration. Street’s lead roof was replaced by tiles in the 1950s when it was felt the isolated setting of the church could make it vulnerable to theft.

There is a small C12th priest’s door into the chancel.

St Andrew’s Church,
                Weaverthorpe

Set above the lintel of the south door is a sundial. The Latin inscription is very worn and translates as  “In honour of the apostle St Andre, Herbert of Winchester founded this Minster in the time of ....”  Unfortunately the rest of the inscription is lost.

St Andrew's Church, Weaverthorpe

Inside it is a simple building with an uncarved Norman chancel arch with a lovely C19th open work brass screen with a cross above.  Beside the arch is a C19th statue of St Andrew.

St Andrew's Church,
                Weaverthorpe


St Andrew's Church, Weaverthorpe

At the back of the church, another tall, narrow Norman arch leads into the bottom of the tower. This has a C19th iron screen across the opening. Above the archway is a small window, designed to give the sacristan a view of the altar so he knew when to ring the sanctus bell.

St Andrew's Church,
                Weaverthorpe

The pulpit is also made from an iron screen.

St Andrew's Church,
                Weaverthorpe

At the back of the nave is the Norman tub font decorated with a design of small circles and octagons.

St Andrew's Church,
                Weaverthorpe

The church has a richly painted wagon roof in shades of brown, turquoise and beige.

St Andrew's Church, Weaverthorpe

The chancel has an elaborate brightly coloured tile floor. The simple table altar has a painted polytych behind it with scenes of the Annunciation and Crucifixion. It was made by Clayton and Bell who were also responsible for the stained glass windows.

St Andrew's Church,
                Weaverthorpe

This is a most attractive church in a lovely setting. The seats against the outside of the south wall are sun traps with excellent views across the Wolds. The church is now open daily (previously it was by a keyholder). There are two small laybys on the road outside the church.

The post code is YO17 8ES. The Grid reference of the church is SE967711.

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