All Saints, Barmston, Yorkshire, East Riding

Feature Sets (4)


Barmston is a village on the Holderness coast, about 6 miles S of Bridlington.  The church, which is Grade 1 listed, lies adjacent to the Old Hall. It has a nave with S aisle, chancel, south-west tower and porch. There are Norman origins to nave and chancel; the tower is Perp. The main Romanesque features include two doorways into the nave (one open, one blocked), an arch in the S arcade, and a cylindrical font with bold lozenge decoration.


Four pre-Conquest manors in the area passed to Drew de Bevrère and then to the Aumale fee. Most of Barmston was held by the Monceaux family perhaps from the 1120s  (VCH ER II, 215). According to the VCH, Barmston church was presented by Alan de Monceaux to Whitby Abbey. The grant was confirmed c.1170. (VCH ER II, 220).


Exterior Features


Blocked doorway to S aisle

Narrow, round-headed doorway immediately to the E of the S porch and the main entrance into the church. The angle roll has a narrow fillet.

Main doorway to S aisle of nave

Doorway with shouldered lintel, the main entrance to the church. Its date is contested (see Comments section).

Interior Features


Internal arch

A round-headed opening in the E end of the S arcade, plain except for a hollow-moulding on the inner order and roughly-shaped capitals incorportaing a stepped hollow-moulded section.

ht. of opening 1.9m
w.of opening 0.71m




The main feature of the large round font is its bowl, cut with a bold lozenge pattern. As approached from the S side, the lozenges appear raised by their being separated by a hollow roll. On the N side, the separating strip is of convex form. The boundary between the two areas is a diagonal, starting on diametrically opposite sides of the cylinder at the top, and sloping northwards in both cases. Thus the area having the positive roll is less that that with the hollow roll. The top of the cylinder is finished off with a double cable pattern of many narrow but rounded divisions. The upper cable acts as an angle roll since it continues onto the horizontal rim. The arcaded base shows some damage on the lower parts, but with little general wear on the angle roll


Depth of interior of bowl 0.29m
External diam. of bowl 0.735m
Ht. of base 0.19m
Ht. of font, excl. base 0.56m
Internal diam.of bowl 0.545m to 0.52 at bottom


It has been suggested that ‘the shouldered-lintel south doorway may have been reset from the 12th-century nave... as an entrance to a screened-off south aisle.’ (VCH ER II, 221). However, the frame has a wide and deep hollow chamfer similar to that used on the arcade and chancel arch inside, which are said by Pevsner & Neave to be of Perpendicular date.

The blocked doorway is considered by the fieldworker to be perhaps late 12th century, but no known parallels spring to mind.

The N wall of the nave and the E end of the aisle arcade (which includes what may have been an arch to a porticus or room off the nave of the first church) are said to be 12th century.  Arches off the chancel to possible chambers have been surveyed at Rillington and Sutton-upon-Derwent. 

There are other fonts with double cable and trellis patterns: for example, Bainton, but compare particularly Flamborough, which has the same number of repeats vertically but uses convex rolls as divisions throughout (apart from an entirely blank panel). Both patterns at Flamborough are laid out and cut in a less practised manner than at Barmston, but the intention is identical. The dimensions of the basin at Flamborough are quite similar and the height of the cylinder is the same. The base is possibly also twelfth-century. Morris 1919, 62, calls it ‘a very interesting and unusual base’. It seems unlikely to be of this period because nothing else like it has been seen locally, although compare Edstone or Great Edstone of which Pevsner, North Riding, 155, says ‘the millstone-like base has Norman arcade carving’. Also compare the similar form and tooling of the spandrels of the arches on the Cowlam font. There are, fairly often, plain cylindrical bases forming a single step around a cylindrical font. The font at Atwick has a reworked base which could have been like this one.

(Note: Both font and base seem to have been coated with a dark reddish-brown render. This coating makes geological examination difficult. The font at Thorngumbald has been cleaned from a similar coating).

In the porch is a fragment of a hog-back tomb cover, though perhaps not local, as this piece has been cited in published discussions of a possibly 12th-century carving at Lissett (East Riding) and so is not covered here.


  • W. G. Collingwood, ‘Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the East Riding’. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 21 (1911)

  • J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire. (London, 1906), 2nd ed. (1919).

  • N. Pevsner & D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. ed. (London, 1995).

  • The Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire. VII - Holderness Wapentake, north and middle sections. (London, 2002).


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TA 156 589 
now: East Riding of Yorkshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Yorkshire, East Riding
now: York
medieval: York
now: All Saints
medieval: All Saints (1390)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Rita Wood 
Visit Date
26 Jul 2004