Marton-cum-Grafton is a village 6 miles NE of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. The present simple church of nave and chancel, with S vestry and N porch, was consecrated in 1876. It replaced an even humbler medieval church situated a distance away from the village (at site of the graveyard on Church Lane, SE 416 623).
This new church reused much stone of the old one, including a sizeable quantity of 12th-c carved work harvested from the walls by the vicar, Mr Lunn, during demolition. 12th-c worked stone was reset in the entrance doorway to the nave, the vestry’s exterior doorway and interior, and in the reconstruction of a supposed chancel arch, now an internal doorway opening from the chancel into the vestry (the latter includes much new work).
In Domesday Book, Gospatric had 12 carucates at Marton; the manor was worth 20s, half of its value in the time of King Edward (VCH II, 283).
|Height of opening||2.06 m|
|Height of recessed area of tympanum||0.37 m approx.|
|Width of opening||1.06 m|
|Height of opening||2.05 m approx.|
|Width of opening||0.95 m|
|Height of opening||2.09 m|
|L capital, height incl. ring||0.18 m|
|R capital, height excl. ring||0.17 m|
|Span across label from side to side||2.42 m|
|Width of opening||0.86 m|
The voussoirs have one row of slender chevrons on the soffit; on the face there are two fatter rows flanking two slimmer ones, these are centrifugal chevrons.
According to Lunn, the chevron voussoirs found seemed to be fire-marked (1879-80, 229). However, sandstone notably grades in its colouring and sometimes has quite sharp changes. The colouring of these voussoirs is not unusual; the first voussoir of the second order shows a natural change in colour, with strong pinks in part of the stone.
The plain detached shafts to order two are original, as are the capitals used in this order. The L capital is in yellowish sandstone and carved very flat although it is rich in beading. Integral ring is cabled. The capital does not widen much upwards. Each face has a central hollow surrounded by a double beaded ring, which opens like a narrow funnel at the top. A further row of beading runs round the top of the capital on the two faces. The R capital is a double scallop capital, again of an upright form; it seems to have been trimmed on the R side. The shields are emphasized by a deep channel on the curve edgess. Lunn found two capitals (1879-80, 241), but they may have been in different orders originally.
Three voussoirs are identified as original in this arch: voussoirs 2, 6 and 9. The profile of the arch is a heavy cable roll on the angle with a smaller plain roll outside. The cable twists in opposite directions, meeting (as reconstructed) symmetrically in a V at the centre. The cable itself is sophisticated; it has alternating wide and narrow ropes, and the wide ones are alternately convex and concave. See Comments.
The third order is similar in profile to the second, but the roll is not cabled. Lunn found 'a single voussoir worked into a plain roll' (Lunn 1879-80, 230). The third order seems to be based on one fragmentary piece only, lower R.
The plain and chamfered label seems largely restoration, but Lunn says he found 'a few pieces of label' (Lunn 1879-80, 230), and perhaps three pieces might be identified: other pieces of similar stone may have been re-tooled.
|Broken capital, height||0.12 m|
|Grave slab, height||0.57 m approx.|
|Grave slab, thickness||0.12 m|
|Grave slab, width||0.43 m|
|L impost fragment, max. dimensions||0.42 m x 0.26 m|
|R impost fragment, max. dimensions||0.44 m x 0.21 m|
|Single window head, width||0.51 m|
Lunn says he found two small and two larger window heads (1879-80, 230, 234), but more can be seen in the present church. Three small ones are reset romantically in the vestry. The two used together were too high to measure, but their ‘window’ is nearly 1m high. The third window head is at the top of the niche with shelving. It is of fine yellowish sandstone. Two larger window heads were reused in the N and S walls of the chancel, but are pointed.
It is assumed these two pieces are from impost blocks but, as only one face can be seen, that function is uncertain. The pieces now form the sides of a niche with shelving. Their star pattern was said to be the model for the imposts of the internal doorway. Along two edges these stones have a double rounded border, any chamfer is lost in the wall. The star-in-square pattern, which would have been on the upright of the impost, is two rows deep but has been trimmed of its full height.
In the E wall of the vestry, in front of windows, high up, is set a thin slab edgewise. On the N face is a saltire cross whose ends extend to the limits of the stone and probably once beyond; on the S face is a cross patee with a central disc, all flat and the background excavated to make the cross stand out. Lunn mentions it and calls it a ‘standing grave-stone.’ (Lunn 1879-80, 230-231).
Reset as if the jamb between two windows in the E wall of the vestry is a broken capital with integral ring; this seems to have had a column integral also. It was perhaps a sort of scallop or cushion capital, with angle tuck.
L. A. S. Butler (ed.), The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874)', Yorkshire Archaeology Society Record Series 159 (2007).
Elizabeth Coatsworth, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, Vol. VIII: Western Yorkshire, Oxford 2008, 281, 291.
J. R. Lunn, 'Marton-cum-Grafton Church, Yorkshire', Associated Architectural Socities Reports and Papers, XV (1879-80), 226-41.
J. R. Lunn, The Ecclesiology of the Rural Deanery of Knaresborough, York 1870.
P. F. Ryder, 'Cross Slab Grave Covers at Christ Church, Marton-cum-Grafton', Unpublished notes and drawings, 1986.
Victoria County History, Yorkshire, vol. II, ed. W. Page, London 1912, 283.
R. Wood, 'Not Roman, but Romanesque: a decayed relief at Conisbrough church', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 76 (2004), 95-111.