Ten Top North Riding Churches

Easby Church St Agatha in the precinct of the Abbey is an early English church with a long low slate roof. The remarkable porch leads to fine wall paintings and decorations surviving from the 13th century.

Pickering St Peter and St Paul is said to be over restored but contains material from all periods of medieval architecture. The beautiful soaring spire of St Peter and St Paul’s leads the way to this magnificent church which is otherwise hidden by the cluster of cottages and shops that nestle around it. The murals are quite a treasure.

St Michael Coxwold has an octagonal tower and relics from each century from the 15th century glass to the 20th century south window. Read more

Thirsk’s St. Mary’s Church was built between 1420 and 1480 and is a magnificent mediaeval perpendicular building. Often called the cathedral of North Yorkshire because of its outstanding Perpendicular Gothic architecture. A two storeyed porch, very fine roof, 17th century murals and tracerier doors are worth exploring.

St Gregory is well sited in Kirkdale, a church from the 13th century whilst the sun dial’s Old English inscriptions tell us that St Gregory’s was bought by Orm Gamelson when it was in ruins and he had it rebuilt during the period when Tostig was Earl of Northumbria, 1055-1065.

Lastingham St Mary’s was founded c.654 as a Celtic monastery by St Cedd of Lindisfarne, as a place of prayer and hospitality. The crypt is dated from 1078 and the days of a Benedictine monastery. More details on the shrine of St Cedd

Wensley’s Holy Trinity church dates from the mid C13 and was built on the foundations of an earlier C8 Saxon church. It consists of an aisled nave with north and south porches, chancel, vestry and three-stage west tower. The church contains a number of furnishings brought from Easby Abbey after the dissolution, including a screen forming the Scrope family pew, choir pews and a reliquary. Set in a beautiful rural location in the small village of Wensley, with a large churchyard on the north bank of the river Ure it is a focal point for visitors.

St Mary Whitby is the parish church of this fishing village and seaside town. ‘St. Mary’s is a delightful hodge-podge of many eras. The oldest parts, primarily the tower and basic structure, are Norman and date from around 1110.’ It can be explored after a climb up 199 steps from the town and is located with the Abbey.
‘The church has never been entirely stripped or rebuilt, but various extensions, modifications and furnishings were added over the centuries. The interior is mostly 18th-century and contains one of the most complete sets of pre-Victorian furnishings in England.’

Scarborough, South Cliff has two gems: St Martin’s, the parish church, which has loads of pre-Raphaelite connections, and St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, which was largely financed by West Riding and Midlands manufacturers, especially Titus Salt of Saltaire.’ according to comments by Patricia McNaughton but for my top selection I am going for St Mary’s in the grounds of Scarborough castle. It contains a collection of eighteenth century brasses but is best known as thwe resting place of Anne Bronte in the graveyard.


St Lambert in Burneston is entirely perpendicular in style with battlements, pinnacles, clerestory and large windows. There are some intersting pews dating back to 1627. Named for a seventh century bishop of Maastrict.

I hope some churches in this list inspire some people to visit these locations as a tourist or attend as a worshiper.  There are numerous other splendid buildings and interiors that deserve to be included. If you have a favourite or come across a good church let us know or comment on our selection below.

See also Top York Churches and  Top ten West Riding Churches

Hebden Bridge a Weekend or 500 Years


Happy 507th Birthday to Hebden Bridge.

The packhorse bridge over Hebden Water  originated in 1510 and if you needed an excuse to visit this quirkly town in Calderdale the year long birthday celebrations may be what you were waiting for. It has just been awarded the best small market town. A well deserved award after the town pulled together after the 2015/16 Christmas floods.

When the Industrial Revolution descended on Hebden Bridge the hill sides were too steep for the area to loose its identity. The domestic activity of cloth manufacture and early ready made clothing thrived. This can still be seen in a row of houses called Machpelah, named after the Baptist minister, with special small windows for fustian cutting.
Fustian is a thick, twilled, short napped, cotton cloth used mainly for men’s wear. The active historical society at Hebden Bridge has an interesting article about a Fustian factory strike at the turn of the 20th century.

Hebden Bridge

Weekend Visit

  • There is a lot to see in the town but do not miss a trip up Hardcastle Crags a National Trust Property which they claim is a ‘Beautiful wooded valley with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart, an exemplar of sustainable energy’.
  • Heptonstall is linked to Hebden Bridge by the Buttress, a narrow pack-horse track paved with setts and as precipitous as any East cost village like Staithes, Robin Hood’s or Runswick Bays.
  • Midgehole is the start of several enjoyable walks and with a name like that who can resist.
  • In an evening there are many pubs including the White Lion dating from 1657 or the more modern art deco 1920’s Picture House.
  • Take a walk or evening stroll along the canal or alongside the river Calder.

Hebden Bridge

  • When you are tired of walking there are mountain bike trails and some great hill climbs for the avid cyclist. perhaps your bbike was bought or hired from this cycle shop.

Hebden Bridge

Welcome to Saltaire – BD18

Aire I saw elba

As a UNESCO World Heritage site a visit to Saltaire is a must. This is due to the present amenities and  Saltaire’s extremely interesting past. Set alongside the river Aire from which it gets part of its name Saltaire also has the Leeds Liverpool canal running through it’s heart.

  1. Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian mill owner, built  Saltaire as a model town and endowed it with many employee friendly features. Workers cottages  built and named after Salt family members, Alma,  Ada, Mary, Constance , Helen,  Fanny, Grace Streets are now occupied by West Yorkshire commuters. I guess the  names seemed modern  in the 19th century. Sir Titus built his mill on the river Aire to clean the Alpaca wool he imported from Peru.
  2. The former mill now houses a small museum, retail emporium, art gallery, 3 eating establishments and workspace.
  3. Shipley glen tramway is just across the river and canal bridges and runs up to picturesque Shipley Glen. Even if the tram is not running the glen is a good place to take children with rocks to climb, woods to explore, Brackenhall Countryside Centre to visit and a tea house.
  4. Roberts Park is squeezed between the river and the canal and has 2 cricket pitches  to deposit balls into either waterway.
  5. “1853 Gallery” which houses a collection of the works of the famous local artist David Hockney.
  6. Victoria hall and exhibition   premises hold a range of events. the Antiques Road Show was fillemed here last month..
  7. The United Reform round church based on Italian architecture and built by Titus Salt in 1859. His mausoleum is situated below the lead dome with sunbursts in round arches.
  8. The old tramsheds are now a restaurant and entertainment venue but it is easy to see where the old Trolley buses stopped when they reached their Saltaire destination. Another licensed and thus irreverent location is called Don’t Tell Titus.
  9. Walks include paths on the ‘Dalesway Bradford Link’  that lead up to Dick Hudsons and over Ilkley moor to the official start.
  10. Salts Walks is a demonstration of the local enterprise culture which keeps the community spirit live and thriving.

Yorkshire Bank Funding National Trust


The UK’s biggest ever plant hunt is underway with a survey that will cover tens of thousands of plants at more than eighty significant National Trust Gardens. The project is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, sponsors of the Outdoor Programme which also includes help to conserve and protect National Trust gardens through investment in greener gardening initiatives.

Using the latest technology including GPS positioning to record plant locations over 1,000,000 plants are being recorded to give an overview of the largest collection of cultivated plants in the UK. Many of these plants tell the history of a garden’s creation, people’s passions and changing fashions through the centuries.

During the three year sponsorship deal Yorkshire Bank is also supporting the Greener Gardens initiative to improve the way both the Trust and its supporters can maintain gardens in more environmentally sustainable ways. This includes composting on an industrial scale, rainwater harvesting and reviving old wells, to experimenting with drought-resistant varieties of plants and introducing solar-powered lawnmowers.

It is good to see a bank putting something into more than just executive bonuses.


Locations from the National Trust Yorkshire section that you might like to visit include

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens
This imposing Georgian mansion contains one of England’s best baroque interiors. Over 100 pictures are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside there is a delightful walled garden and a fantastic adventure playground.

Continue reading Yorkshire Bank Funding National Trust

Welcome to Hovingham – Yorkshire

Hovingham Ford - Yorkshire

Hovingham is in great farming country on the North Yorkshire Moors. Whilst farmers are notoriously hard to please it must be a joy to work here with the animals and crops.

  1. The parish is large containing Coulton, Scackleton, and six other townships. Hovingham, formerly a market town, is situated in the vale of Ryedale.
  2. There were three mineral springs, yielding respectively sulphurous, chalybeate, and clear water. Originally Hovingham was the site of a Roman bath.
  3. Ancient parish information is available from the local historian.
  4. Hovinham Hall, for 440 years, has been the home of the Worsley family. The Palladian house was built in 1770 and is open through June.
  5. Hovingham Womens Fellowship is just one of the community activities in the area.
  6. Sport is taken seriously with Tennis, Cricket, Bowls and Table Tennis clubs all active.
  7. A full community plan can be downloaded from this pdf.
  8. Gardens in Hovingham will be open to the public
  9. All Saints Church (above) was rebuilt in 1860   retaining its Anglo-Saxon tower and a number of other early features including a Saxon west doorway and a 10th century Saxon wheel cross inset over the south belfry.
  10. The Worsley Arms is the only hotel in Hovingham but there is a shop and tearoom situated on the green. Walking is a popular activity and you can enjoy the magnificent North Yorkshire countryside

Hovingham Estate

  • The Hovingham Estate has been in the ownership of the Worsley family for 450 years.
  • It is a thriving rural Estate, in the heart of North Yorkshire located 17 miles North of the City of York.
  • The majority of the Estate lies within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • photo Hovingham Ford – Yorkshire by nick.garrod CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • It was the childhood home of  the Duchess of Kent Katharine Worsley.,
  • About a mile from the village is The Spa, which is much visited during the summer months by invalids; the waters are of a sulphursodaic character, and there is also a copious and very strong chalybeate spring, and one of pure rock water.

Quilts Museum and Gallery for Quilters

Sadly now closed York was the UK home for the Quilters Guild and their museum. There is always a good selection of varied quilts on display in the gallery. When you visit my experience is that there will be quilters and staff available to discuss all aspects of the art of making quilts. The Quilters’ Guild has a unique collection of over 700 antique and contemporary quilts and augment this with regular quilt exhibitions.

Based in St Anthony’s Hall, one of the medieval guild halls in York, you will find the environment is peaceful. The old building St Cuthberts Church and an art gallery are tucked away under the protection of York’s wall on Peasholme Green.

Quilters Guild
‘In 1990 The Guild embarked on the `British Heritage Quilt Project` to document items of patchwork and quilting dated prior to 1960, resulting in the publication of `Quilt Treasures` in 1995. In June 2001 we opened a small Resource Centre in our previous offices in Dean Clough, Halifax and this provided a stepping stone to our current home in York which opened just seven years later in June 2008’

Quilt Museum and Gallery – St Anthony’s Hall, York is the national headquarters of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles and its extensive collection of quilts and quilt related artefacts.
The Quilt Museum and Gallery is Britain’s only museum dedicated exclusively to quilting and textile arts based in historic St Anthony’s Hall, York. The hall was originally built as the headquarters of a religious guild in the 15th century, and has had a colourful past – as a workhouse for the poor, a hospital, prison, and a school and archive. The beautiful medieval spaces have been restored and adapted to accommodate the Museum and its wide range of displays and activities. It is not cheap to visit but members of the guild get special deals and there are regular exhibitions. The current exhibition is ironically called ‘The Celtic Fringe’ (I wondered when the Fringe would come to York).

For a full and fascinating review of the exhibition by a British Quilt History List member who has visited the exhibition, read more on Textile Hunter blog
Triangle Tilt Quilt - For The Love of Solids Swap - Round Two
Not all quilts are rectangular ‘Triangle Tilt Quilt – For The Love of Solids Swap – Round Two by Sarah @ pingsandneedles CC BY-SA 2.0’ proves that ‘Turquoise linen, klona & kona solids, perle embroidery thread …. foundation paper pieced from own pattern.’

Quilt Styles Old and New

Quilts made of a solid piece of fabric as the top layer are referred to as Whole Cloth Quilts. The three layers of top, batting and backing were quilted together, and the quilting itself became the decoration.
Trapunto is the technique of slipping extra stuffing into certain areas of a quilt to bring out the quilting in that area.
Broderie perse refers to the applique of cut out motifs from printed fabric onto a solid background. This form of quilt making has been done since the 18th century.
Medallion quilts are made around a center. The central area is surrounded by two or more borders. Although some borders were solid, many were pieced or appliqued.
The latter years of the nineteenth century the best know quilt style was the Crazy Quilt made of abstract shapes sewn together.
To promote excellence in the art and status of quilt making and, through education, to extend knowledge and understanding of its heritage.
Quick scrappy quilts are usually made from many different bits of fabric or leftovers.
Nine patch is based on a pattern of square block designs three units by three.
Log Cabin patterns have a narrow strips around a central square often sown on to a foundation cloth of paper or fabric.
Four patch is a block 4 by 4 or multiples of 4 in rows

Book Cover

Pam Linott was also the author of The Quilt Room: Patchwork and Quilting Workshops.

Book Cover

Scrap Quilts offers lots of ideas and tips for both experienced and beginner quilters.

Book Cover

Quilt Romance is the 11th book by Kaffe Fasset who settled in England in 1964. He has exhibited at the V&A museum in London and is highly regarded for his knitting, patchwork and needlepoint books.
Click on book covers to purchase them from Amazon.

Other Sites of Interest for Quilters

Quilting at the Victoria and Albert museum has its own blog with good photographs.
Quaker Tapestry museum Kendal
Rag Rugs and Ragging in Yorkshire
If you are looking for other craft hobbies why not try making your own soap. There are some ideas on ‘Craft Your Own Homemade Soap’.
Quilt history an American site where quilting is very popular.
Quilting Magazine
Knitting for Yorkshire.

Top Ten West Riding Churches

To select but 10 churches for a ‘best of’ list was impossible so I tried to find 10 varying churches in each Riding and this is my effort for the West Riding of Yorkshire. I would be happy to consider for inclusion a readers top ten if you send me details.

    1. St John Baptist Adel is one of our finest Norman churches and is a Grade 1 national treasure and an architectural gem. Internal decoration, chancel arch and carvings are of top quality. Through the church yard is York Gate a garden open for Perennial the gardeners charity
    2. St Cuthbert Fishlake (above) is believed to have safeguarded the remains of Cuthbert from the Vikings. The priest’s doorway is Norman and the south doorway is one of the most decorative in the country.
    3. Hatfield St Lawrence is a large cruciform church with a crossing tower externally perpendicular with some good windows and crenelations . Norman and medieval features include a fine clerstory, monuments and font.
    4. St Mary’s Sprotborough like other churches had its tower heightened in the perpendicular period. Monuments from 13th century onward and an interesting rood screen make this an interesting church to visit.

shipley St Paul's

    1. Shipley St Paul’s (above) is the original 1826 parish church of Shipley. It has dark, soot blackened sandstone walls that befits a church from and set in the industrial West Riding.The building, an historic “Waterloo” or “Commissioners'” church also has a “listed” organ
    2. Birkin St Mary’s is an impressive Norman church with a 14th century south aisle. Due to associations with the Templars there are items of quality in many areas of this fine church.
    3. Halifax St John is the largest 15th century parish church in Yorkshire. Fine 17th century ceilings and communion rail, poor box and box pews are key features.
    4. St Andrew`s Church Aldborough was partially destroyed by Scots raiders in 1318. The present building is the third church to occupy what is thought to be the site of a Roman Temple of Mercury in Roman garrison town of Isurium Brigantium. The north wall dates from around 1330, and carries a brass of William de Aldeburgh dating from around 1360.
    5. Dewsbury All Saints or minster has been rebuilt in 18th & 19th cneturies but many sculptural pieces from the 9th century have ben reincorporated. There is also some stunning stained glass.
    6. St.  Mary Tickhill housed Austin friars and has north and south porches. There is also an important church organ from the mid 19th century

The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874) Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record is available by clicking on the picture below but at a price of £28.50. You may choose to spend the money visiting or donating to the churches mentioned ABOVE.
Book Cover

The medieval review says this book (Editor L.A.S. Butler) has ‘effectively rescued Glynne’s Yorkshire Church Notes from merely describing a frozen moment in time into a valuable resource for those who wish to trace for themselves the 19th-century changes in church architecture’. ‘A major contribution to the study of Yorkshire church architecture at a time of change’. Leeds Civic Trust.

See also Ten Top North Riding churches and Top York churches on Gods Own County.

Welcome to Otley – LS21

Otley Clock

Otley is a thriving market town renowned for the number and quality of its pubs (see earlier posts). The Clock commemorates Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, battles in the Transvaal and war time exploits. Near-by is the Navvies memorial that commemorated those railway workers who died building local tunnels. There is lots to see for history buffs.
The surrounding countryside provides  scope for fishing, clay pigeon shooting, riding and other outdoor sports.
Walking is a major activity as Otley is set in beautiful surroundings close to the Ebor Way and the Dalesway with the new attraction of the Six Dales Trail. This 38 mile route from Otley to Middleham  formally  inaugurated on 26th June 2010 by Janet Street Porter.

Otley still retains it’s cattle market, agricultural suppliers, blacksmiths, paper manufacturers, printers, engineers, lens manufacturers, a busy shopping centre and popular open street markets.
Disappointingly there is a shortage of bed and breakfast and overnight accommodation, surprising for such a bustling town but no shortage of pubs.

Otley from Moors

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Otley

  1. 1000 years of worship and the solid All Saints Church The church are organisers of the Otley Parish Church Beer Festival. A restoration and refurbishment project is currently underway in the church
  2. Thomas Chippendale cabinet maker extraordinaire celebrated by Otley-online
  3. Otley Folk Festival 2010
  4. Otley Show – The agricultural show for Lower Wharfedale first held in 1796.
  5. Wharfedale Morris Dancers the Wayzgoose
  6. Otley Museum
  7. Otley Courthouse cafe and event venue. Celebrating its 10th anniversary with lots of art and shows. Currently raising charitable funds to buy new chairs
  8. Otley Victorian Fayre and Christmas Market
  9. Otley Chevin and the Danefield Estate for walks and views.
  10. Titty Bottle Park and the riverside with a fine weir, ducks and park amenities.

Cloggers Otley

Around the corner is the Otley Lions bookshop that raises funds for good causes using only volunteer staff. Pop in for a chat and a book or two.

Welcome to Harrogate – HG1

Cloud conference

Harrogate is ‘a bit county’ with a long reputation as a Yorkshire Spa and tourist attraction. For a day trip or as a base for a Yorkshire holiday you are sure of a good welcome.

Top Ten Harrogate Activities and Attractions

  1. Harlow Carr gardens are managed by the Royal Horticultural Society. They have a superb new Alpine house and modern eco-library as well as the gardens and woods to visit. At Harlow Carr they hold national collections of Rhubarb, ferns Polypodium and Dryopteris plus Fuchsia of the Quelusia section.
  2. The Great Yorkshire Show is held at the show grounds in July every year 13-15th in 2010. It claims to be ‘the country’s leading agricultural event’ and us Yorkshire folk have long believed that to be so.
  3. The Royal Pump room is now a museum containing ancient Egyptian treasures including a Mummy cast, Mummy masks, canopic jars, jewellery and more. After a look around you can see the sulphur wells and taste the strongest sulphur water in Europe! Hard to believe this was why Victorians came to Harrogate to take this water! Ugh!
  4. The Valley Gardens lead up the hill from the pump room and as well as some immaculate and interesting council parks and garden layouts there are the caps of several wells that produced a variety of Spa water.
  5. The modern International Exhibition centre hold a variety of events in October for example Harrogate Antique Fair, Rotary 1040 Conference, CGP Annual Conference 2010, Association for Perioperative Practice, and the not to be missed Institute of Revenues Rating & Valuation Conference.
  6. There are 3 good performance venues, The Royal Hall with it’s elaborate decor, perfect acoustics and great location my personal favourite. The International centre main hall and the Harrogate Theatre
  7. The sumptuous council run Turkish Bath is a great place to unwind and have a bit of pampering see details
  8. Harrogate has many fine hotels and a variety of accommodation. Pick a time when there is no special event in the town and you will get a good Yorkshire deal.
  9. As a centre for touring the dales, Fountains Abbey or other beauty spots there are good bus, train and coach trips.
  10. After shopping or walking the ‘Stray’ you can always queue at Bettys cafe for a cup of Yorkshire  tea

There are other annual events in Harrogate like the Great Yorkshire Shoe, The Crime Writing Festival and the Spring & Autumn flower shows.

Horse Racing in Yorkshire

Horse race

There is a Yorkshire racecourse to suit all tastes for a day visit or evening out! Some key links are listed below to find dates and times of key events.
Where there’s muck there’s brass but it might be horse muck and horse brasses so don’t bet the farm.


Horse racing

York Special Mention
The celebration of fifty years of the John Smith’s Cup on 10th 11th July 2009 was an event not to be missed. The informal party highlight of the year combines betting excitement and summer fun. Ever since it was first run in 1960, the John Smith’s Cup has had a story to tell.
On 15-16 June 2012 enjoy top class racing whilst raising money for charity. Since 1971 this charity event has now raised over £5,000,000. The John Smith Cup meeting is on 13-14 July this year
The support of the Tadcaster brewer makes this the longest running sponsorship on the flat anywhere in the world and the golden jubilee celebrations promise to be fun. A range of special cask ales will be brought in specially to toast the occasion. Other special events will be announced here as the big day approaches.

Photo credits

Horse race by Boston Public Library CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Horse racing by Paolo Camera CC BY 2.0