Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saxon Kirk Hammerton

As its name might suggest, the church in the village of Kirk Hammerton, between York and Boroughbridge, is Saxon in origin.  The church, signposted 'ancient church' from the A59  welcomes visitors.

Situated on a mound in the centre of village, the church of St John the Baptist has areas dating from 600-800 ( south nave and chancel) and from around 1,000AD (tower and west door).

On entering the church, you are struck by the contrast between the parts which are of Saxon origin, in places revealing Saxon masonry, and the lofty Victorian nave and chancel (1834, 1891). Sitting in the south aisle you cannot but sense the antiquity of this place, a house of prayer continuously for 1,500 years, loved and adapted by each generation for its use in worship.

The Diocesan Tourism Group is busy working on a Saxon trail to take in sites around the area that are of Saxon origin or have Saxon artefacts. Beginning with the crypt at Ripon cathedral (672) you can spend a long summer day visiting some of these delightful ancient sites - Masham (Saxon burials), West Witton, Staveley, Goldsborough, Follifoot, Spofforth, Harewood and Collingham, Bardsey. A big thank you to the Revd Paul Spurgeon for talking to us about the church at Kirk Hammerton - not simply its history but also giving us an insight into the way the church has been developed dwon the centuries and the part it plays in village life today. 

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