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All Saints, Thorp Arch, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°54′33″N, 1°20′5″W)
Thorp Arch
SE 438 461
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
19 Jun 1997

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Thorp Arch is a village near Wetherby in N Yorkshire. The church has been described as being mostly by G. E. Street, 1871-2 (Pevsner, p. 513), but a long series of changes are identified by Ryder (1993, 175). Plans of the pre-restoration church in the Borthwick Institute show a west tower with doorway and arch to nave, a narrow nave without any doorway, and a rectangular chancel, with doorway on S wall; a N arcade to the nave with sections of wall at the W and E respond, indicating the arcade was inserted into the first N wall. Of the original plan, the tower, nave S wall. Chancel S wall, E wall and part of N wall still form part of the church. No sculpture survives in situ, although there are some re-set C12th pieces in the S porch.


There was a priest and a church here in 1086. Before the Conquest, Orm, Goduin and Tor had 3 carucates for geld, and after it, 'Osbern has there three ploughs, and six villeins and seven bordars with two ploughs. A priest (is) there, and a church and the onset of a mill.' The manor was worth 10s less.

The VCH (Yorkshire II, 181-2) says that Osbern de Arches obtained in this county 67 manors lying in 39 places... the best manors were Thorp Arch, which still retains the name of the first Norman owner, Walton, Appleton, West Askham and Kirk Hammerton, each being worth TRE £4. See also VCH Yorkshire, III, p. 122 and p. 383 for C12th gifts.


Exterior Features


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Loose Sculpture


Borthwick Institute Faculty Papers, Fac. 1796/1 and York Archiepiscopal Register, vol. 38, fol. 313v-315v, include a sketch plan of the pre-restoration church without measurements or detail. Fac. 1871/6 contains G. E. Street's plans for the largely new church. From these, it appears that the plan for the new S arcade and aisle presented in the earlier faculty application was never carried out.

Suggested tympanum stone: The arc of the L side is sufficient to suggest an original radius of 40cm or 15". This is narrow for a main entrance doorway. The chequer pattern is of an earlier period than the patterns on the reset doorway (i) and the fragment may have belonged to the doorway in the S wall of the chancel.

Plans in the Faculty papers in the Borthwick Institute, York, do not give any indication of the form or size of the original doorway, which was in the west face of the tower. A note on the 1871 plan, sheet 6a, says: 'New Porch. South Door new but old stones from West Door to be reused in it.'

Galbraith's papers contain references to a loose fragment recorded in T. D. Whitaker, The History and Antiquities of Craven, 3rd ed., 1878, Plate between pp. 94 and 95: 'a cross shaft found [...] near St. Helen's Hill upon the River Wharfe two miles below Thorp Arch [...] (23" high, sides 8-10") [...] in the possession of Mrs. Richardson of Gargrave'. Galbraith says it was possibly a boundary cross where three parishes meet and that also in the area were a ford, St. Helen's well and (once) a chapel. St. Helen was an earlier dedication of the church at Healaugh. This may be the stone now in the church at East Marton, near Skipton.


Borthwick Institute Faculty Papers, Fac. 1796/1 and Fac. 1871/6.

Victoria County History of Yorkshire, III (London, 1913), reprinted 1974, p. 122; 383.

Borthwick Institute, York Archiepiscopal Register, vol. 38, ff. 313v-315v.

E. Coatsworth, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture VIII: Western Yorkshire (Oxford, 2008).

P. F. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (Wakefield, 1993).

Victoria County History of Yorkshire, II, (London, 1912), reprinted 1974.

London, Society of Antiquaries, MS 903 (Katharine Galbraith's papers).