Whorlton Church; The Church of the Holy Rood

So as a follow on from yesterdays post I decided that today I would write a little blog post about Whorlton Church. Nestled in a grove of trees, in the abandoned Medieval village of Whorlton lies Whorlton Old Church. It is absolutely stunning and like the castle- pretty forgotten! Read below to find out more!

It is believed that a Saxon church would have originally stood at the site however remains of this are sadly lost to us. The chancel arch however is believed to be as early as the 11th century and the north aisle and three bays are also thought to be 11th century structures. The nave was extended westwards by one bay and the chancel was rebuilt in around the 13th century when the east window was made wider- this is visible from the outside of the church. It is believed that in the 13th century the walls were raised by two courses. The south aisle was a later addition to the church.

The tower which you can see from the castle was built in the 15th century and became the entrance porch for the church. Inside the tower there is a bell which dates back to Henry VIII.

A chantry chapel was built on the north side of the chancel but was demolished when in the 19th century, works were carried out on the church. In the 19th century the Meynell tomb and monument were built in the chancel arch and can be seen there today! The effigy in the church commemorates Lord Nicholas de Meynell of Whorlton Castle who died in 1322. It is made of bog oak and is hollow, originally filled with charcoal to preserve it. This effigy is thought to be one of the only wooden, London made military style effigies in Yorkshire making it comparable to monuments like that of Edmund Plantagenet in Westminster (managed to get a Plantagenet link in here!)

The church fell into a state of disrepair in the 1800’s and a new church was built in Swainby in 1877. The roof and walls of Whorlton Church were taken down in 1975. When the plaster was taken off the walls during this demolition, the old Norman arches were discovered. They were strengthened and still stand today.

Whorlton Church is another example of just how history can pop up out of nowhere! It is one of the most serene and beautiful places you can visit in the middle of the North Yorkshire countryside. You can feel the history when standing next to the Norman arches- it is a must visit!

Happy history everyone!

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