Top 5 historic churches in Yorkshire

Beverley Minster, photo by shirokazan/flickr

The United Kingdom is home to several gorgeous historic towns which include numerous historic buildings and monuments. The country is home to some of the finest churches in Europe, as it is Yorkshire, too. There are some amazing and beautiful historic churches here. Yorkshire is an important historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Besides the beautiful churches, there are some fantastic architectural jewels here, such as castles, stately homes, palaces, city halls, museums, abbeys and so on. Below, there will be presented the top 5 historic churches of Yorkshire, which are must-see attractions of the county. Visiting these churches, you will have the occasion to get a glimpse into the medieval life, architectural style and religion of England.


St. Michael’s Church


The overwhelming Norman church of St. Michael can be found in Barton-le-Street. Architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner called it “a sumptuous small Norman church, rebuilt without any restraint”. St. Michael is a jewel of Yorkshire, boasting some of the finest Romanesque carvings of Europe. The first church at Barton-le-Street was built around 1160, and the current building retains much of the original stonework. The church is well-known for the wonderful carvings which decorate the church inside and out. The finest of these decorate the porch entrance arch and the south doorway. It is definitely a “don’t miss” church.


Beverley Minster


It is one of Yorkshire’s best-known churches. The roots of Beverley Minster go back to the 8th century, when John, Bishop of York, founded a monastery on the site of the current church. After the death of the bishop (721), his body was buried in the church. He was canonized in 1037 as St. John of Beverley, and when miracles were reported at his tomb, Beverley became a popular destination for pilgrims. The church is 393 feet long, longer than many English cathedrals. There are two towers standing high above the west front which are considered one of the best examples of Gothic towers in the country. There are several fine monuments in the church, including the Percy memorial, with its excellent carved canopy. The minster is also famous for its carvings of medieval musical instruments. There are over 70 such carvings which are depictions of bagpipes, flutes, pipes, organs, tambourines, cymbals, trumpets, lutes and so on.


Beverley Minster, photo by shirokazan/flickr


St. Mary’s Church


The small East Yorkshire town of Beverley boasts, besides the minster, the superb historic church of St. Mary. Inside the last surviving medieval town gate stands the outstanding medieval church of St. Mary. It is one of the most famous Parish churches of England. The west front dates from the late 14th century, but the church of St. Mary was founded in 1120. The nave was rebuilt later, in the 13th century, when the current chancel was added. The church is perhaps best known for its beautifully carved pillars. One of the most famous of these is The Minstrel Pillar with musical themed carvings. The Minstrel Pillar shows 5 carved and richly painted figures of musicians standing atop the column capital. Another famous carving is the so called White Rabbit, near which is the Vestry, where the ceiling is beautifully painted and represents a map of the heavens. If you are in Yorkshire, you can’t miss to visit this church!


St. Mary’s Church, photo by summonedbyfells/flickr


St. Martin Church


The Parish church of St. Martin can be found in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, at Allerton Mauleverer, outside Allerton Park estate. A Mauleverer ancestor founded the first St. Martin’s church in the late 12th or early 13th century. A descendent of the family, Richard Arundell, rebuilt the medieval church in 1745 which is the actual form of the building. The new church was constructed in Norman style, but many medieval features were retained. Also, numerous medieval memorials can be found in the church, including the tombs of generations of Mauleverer family members. The interior has Georgian pews, benches, and carved pulpit. Above the chancel arch is a large and richly colored painting depicting Moses and Aaron.


All Saints Church


The lovely Saxon church standing on high ground is situated in Appleton-le-Street. All Saints managed to escape the worst excesses of Victorian restorers. The first written reference to a church at Appleton dates from the 12th century. It boasts one of the finest Pre-Conquest towers in North England. The small section of stained glass at the top of the east window depicts the arms of the Greystock family, owners of the well-known Castle Howard. The only fragment of medieval glass in the church dates from the 13th century. The altar rails and altar table of the gorgeous church date from 1636-37.

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