Filey church, a solid cruciform building, stands north of the old centre of settlement, a fishing village, across a ravine which leads to the shore. The church has only one house near it. Church and village are north of the newer parts of the town that grew up in the early 19thc. as a resort. There appears to have been an attempt to build a W tower in the late 12thc. that was abandoned, leaving the spreading SE and SW jambs. The nave arcades have pointed arches and little that could be considered Romanesque, except for perhaps one capital. The round-headed S doorway is barely Romanesque in the full sense; it employs forms found in contemporary Cistercian buildings.
In 1086 the whole 18 carucates of Filey and its townships (areas in the North Riding) were soke of the royal manor of Falsgrave. The estate at Filey subsequently passed to the Gants, and later the Tattershalls. A church at Filey was part of Walter de Gant’s foundation endowment of Bridlington Priory c1109-13, but little clear evidence of an early twelfth-century building survives. No vicarage was ordained, and the church was served by priests from Bridlington priory until the Dissolution. Fish tithes were payable in the 12thc; between c.1120-9 and 1192 the tithe of Filey fish landed at Whitby was enjoyed by Whitby Abbey. Houses and a mill in Filey were given to St Peter’s Hospital, York, and to Thornton Abbey, Lincs.
A round-headed doorway of four orders and label.
|Height of opening||2.22 m|
|Width of opening||1.38 m|
No bases. The mouldings of the jambs (angle column flanked by hollows) starts from a plain square plinth with no projecting parts; this plinth continues under the bases of subsequent orders and appears to be renewed.
Coursed pillar on the angle, flanked by a hollow on jamb and face; plain to the door. No capital, and the impost does not have the profile of the imposts of succeeding orders, nor is it continuous with them, but finishes slightly higher. It is like a reduced squat capital, having a rounded ring, hollow bell and plain upright. In the arch, in the soffit, a wide hollow with a central narrow round moulding; on the angle above the coursed pillar, a roll moulding; on the face a hollow and a roll moulding.
On the plain plinth, a plain square block with a double torus; free-standing column. Capital with plain round ring, hollow capital with narrow abacus; impost with plain chamfer and upright. In the arch, on the angle a keeled roll, flanked by hollows; plain to the adjacent orders.
The plinth as before; base has wide torus and an upper torus; they are separated, on the L by a hollow with arris, and on the R by a hollow only. Column, capital and impost as for second order. In the arch, at an angle are two rolls separated by a hollow; plain outside that to the adjacent orders.
Plinth, bases, columns and capitals as before. In the arch, a keeled angle roll flanked by hollows. In the first two voussoirs of the R side of the arch are seen the remnants of chevron mouldings, suggesting that these two stones have been reused from an earlier arch.
Plain and chamfered with a hollow in the chamfer. Outside, it stands normal from wall.
The W tower was never completed, but its NE and SE piers remain at the W end of the nave arcades. They are both leaning outwards, it has been suggested this is why the project was abandoned.
On all faces, the central shaft is strongly keeled, the capitals have a deep hollow chamfer and are also keeled. The outer columns are smaller and half-round. Keels, but not so strong as these, were seen in late 12thc. work in the W end of the nave of Selby Abbey.
Both arcades have alternating round and square plinths, round and octagonal pillars, with pointed arches of two plain and chamfered orders and simply-moulded capitals.
There is nothing for our Corpus in these arcades, except for the details carved on the capital of the octagonal pier, S arcade, Pier 4. The eight faces of this capital have been carved with a variety of individual ‘stiff leaf’ forms. While that implies leaves of a solid form but fluid line, and would not be relevant to this Corpus, there are small leaves in the centre of three faces of this capital which are symmetrical in the Romanesque manner (NE, N, NW), and every angle has a pair of waterleaf scrolls, with the basic waterleaf outline still just identifiable down to the ring.
This is of uncertain age, but similar to many early ones that have been recorded. Found since 2004 buried in the church. It has a fine polished surface. It is said to have five incised crosses and a place for relics but unfortunately these were not seen by the CRSBI fieldworker.
|Depth of slab (short side)||0.893 m|
|Height of slab, upright and chamfer||0.2 m|
|Height of upright||0.145 m|
|Width of slab (long side)||1.82 m|
Milner, N. "St Oswald's church, Filey: a study of a cruciform church in North Yorkshire", Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 77 (2005) 93-114.
J. Bilson, St Oswald’s Church Filey. (Filey 1900)
W. Farrer, Early Yorkshire Charters, vol 2, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series (Leeds 1915), 466.
W. T. Lancaster, Abstracts of the Charters and other documents contained in the chartulary of the Priory of Bridlington in the East Riding of the county of York (Leeds 1912), nos. 12, 80.
H. Lawrance, "Two effigies on the East coast (at Filey and at Barmston)". Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 37 (1948), 195-7.
J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire. 2nd ed. (1906).
N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd ed., The Buildings of England, London, 1995, 415-16.
J. Siddle, St Oswald's Church, a brief guide. N. p., (amended) 2008.
Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire. II (Dickering Wapentake). 1974, 131, 138, 147.