The church stands high on the N side of the Great Wold Valley and above the main W-E section of the course of the Gypsey Race stream before it turns at Burton Fleming and Rudston. To the immediate E of the church is the site of an early medieval manor house, which has been excavated (Brewster, 1972; Norton, 2006, fig. 11).
The church, with its W tower, nave and chancel, largely retains its Norman form (Bilson, 1922, 52), although elements were restored in 1870-72 by G. E. Street. It was faced with well-cut coursed ashlar blocks in the Norman technique (Norton, 2006, 55).
There are three doorways with tympana: one in the chancel and two opposite each other in the nave. One of the stones that forms the tympanum over the S doorway is an inscribed sun-dial with an inscription, which means that this church can be dated to c.1109-c.1118. Sculptural embellishment of the building is otherwise almost non-existent, apart from the capitals of the belfry windows and an unusual impost profile on the chancel and tower arches; there are no corbels. The cylindrical font is patterned.
Domesday Book records a manor of 18 carucates, which, with its berewicks, had 26 carucates. Previously held by Archbishop Eldred of York and having a value of £14, Archbishop Thomas II held it in 1086 when it was 'waste' (VCH, II, 212).
Herbert the Chamberlain (chamberlain to King Henry I), named on the inscription as Herbert of Winchester, was granted the main Yorkshire estates centred on Weaverthorpe and Londesborough by Archbishop Thomas II of York in 1108-09; Herbert's son William fitzHerbert (later Archbishop) was appointed to the office of treasurer of York Minster and archdeacon of the East Riding at about the same time (Norton, 2006, 11-16). Herbert granted Weaverthorpe church to his son William, who gave it in turn to Nostell Priory, probably in spring 1121 (Norton, 2006, 43-45).
The inscription describes the church as a ‘monasterium’, a minster church. Eight local churches mostly in the Great Wold Valley were subject to Weaverthorpe (Norton, 2006, fig. 2). Of these, only West Lutton and Cowlam have any 12thc remains today.
|Height of opening||1.695m|
|Thickness of lintel||0.13m|
|Width of opening||0.61m|
|Height of opening||2.11m|
|Width of lintel approx.||2.11m|
|Width of opening||1.137m|
|Height of opening||2.035m|
|stone with inscription||0.355m x 0.317m|
|Width of lintel approx.||1.51m|
|Width of opening||1.145m|
A two-light belfry window on each face of the upper part of the W tower between the two stringcourses.
Bilson (1922, 57) points out that the S belfry window has recessed jambs and two orders, whereas the other three have jambs and only one order. All four openings have ‘curious plain projecting corbels under the outer arch.’
S belfry window:
1st order. Plain jambs. Central pillar recessed and base not visible from below. A cushion capital delneated with a single-scallop to the pillar. Impost plain and chamfered with quirk near the angle. A plain arch with two or three voussoirs to each opening and a springer separating them. In the filling above this is a plain horizontal corbel supporting the main arch.
Bilson (1922, 55) identifies two original windows in both N and S walls of the nave. These are plain and flush with the general surface. Illustrated with N doorway.
There is one slit window in the W wall of the tower; there are slits in the turret with the spiral staircase.
|Height of slab as set||0.285m|
|Incised cross approx.||0.06m high by 0.055m wide|
|Width of slab||0.79m|
|Height to top of impost||2.36m|
|Width of opening||3.5m|
|Height from floor to springing approx.||4.5m|
|Width of opening||2.17m|
|Depth of interior of bowl||0.255m|
|External diameter of bowl||0.71m|
|Height of font cylinder||0.59m|
|Internal diameter of bowl||0.56m|
J. Bayly, Four Churches in the Deanery of Buckrose restored or built by the late George Edmund Street, RA, for Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart, London, 1894.
J. Bilson, 'Weaverthorpe church and its builder', Archaeologia 72 (1922) 51-70.
T. C. M. Brewster, 'An Excavation at Weaverthorpe Manor, East Riding, 1960', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 44 (1972) 114-133.
W. G. Collingwood, ‘Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the East Riding, with addenda to the North Riding’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 21 (1911) 254-302.
W. G. Collingwood, 'Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the North Riding of Yorkshire', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 19 (1907) 266-413.
J. T. Lang et al., York and Eastern Yorkshire. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, III. Oxford, 1991.
J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire, London, 1919.
C. Norton, St William of York, Woodbridge, 2006.
M. Pedley, Brief report on the building stone and font stone in Early Norman Churches of East Yorkshire, Typescript, 2004.
N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, London, 1995.
D. H. Rayner and J. E. Hemingway, The Geology and Mineral Resources of Yorkshire, Leeds, 1974.
Victoria County History:Yorkshire, II (General volume), London, 1912; reprinted 1974.