English Churches - North Yorkshire

All Saints Church, Hovingham


A Viking cross and a Saxon carved stone


Hovingham is an attractive stone village with Hovingham Hall, the family home of the Worsley family.  All Saints Church is next to the Hall.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

Although the nave, chancel and side aisles were completely rebuilt in the C19th, the Saxon tower was left untouched.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

This still has the Saxon Doorway at the west end, with a small Anglian cross above and some diagonal stonework. At the top are the typical small double windows. The small pyramidal roof is later. The tower had a defensive role and villagers could take refuge in the upper part of the tower and pull up the access ladder.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

The new church was built in C13th style and incorporated parts of the earlier masonry. The chancel has a Saxon priests door and small double Saxon windows.

Entry is through the south porch with its solid wooden door and round arch above. Light streams into the church through the large Decorated style windows. An arcade with pointed arches separates nave and side aisle. The simple wagon roof has a row of carved corbels under the beams.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

At the back of the church is a lovely Saxon arch into the tower. In front of it is an elaborate C19th square font made of marble, standing on darker marble legs with fancy capitals.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

The chancel is empty apart from the altar standing in front of a C10th Viking cross, mounted in a wrought iron frame. This would originally have been an outside preaching cross and would have been painted. Traces of paint can still be seem. The surfaces are very eroded but the interlaced knotwork still survives.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham      All Saints' Church, Hovingham

On the east wall are three modern wooden priests chairs in memory of William and Joyce Worsley. Above them is a stone reredos with flower motifs on the base and crocketed ogee arches above. The stained glass window has the crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St John on either side.   

The altar in the Lady Chapel has a Saxon carved stone dating from about 770 as a reredos. This is divided into eight round headed panels with high relief figures.

All Saints' Church, Hovingham

The figure on the extreme left is an angel. Facing him in the next panel is a seated figure, thought to be the Virgin Mary. The two forming an Annunciation scene.

The next five figures are eroded beyond recognition but the final panel looks like another angel. Above the panels are doves. Below are horizontal vine leaves.

On the walls are monuments to Worsley family members, including a huge urn like chest in the north aisle with the most amazing carved feet.

This is an attractive church and definitely worth visiting for the Viking cross and Saxon carved stone. The church is open daily and there is on road parking by it. The post code is YO62 4LU  and the grid reference is SE 666757

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