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St Nicholas, Askham Bryan, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°55′46″N, 1°9′33″W)
Askham Bryan
SE 553 485
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
12 Apr 1995

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Askham Bryan is a village 6 miles SW of York. The church of St Nicholas is a single-cell building substantially of the 12thc., built of rubble masonry with a plain round-headed S doorway to the chancel.

Two restoration programmes took place in the 19thc. One, as noted by Canon Dixon, vicar of Bishopthorpe 1837-54, included the addition of a brick porch, a brick tower, a ceiling and a gallery. A second restoration removed most of this, replacing the brick porch with one of stone, into which the S doorway was reset.

The main points of interest include the original decorated S doorway which was reset as part of the 19thc. restoration work, now forming the entrance to the 19thc. porch. The E end of the church also has three small round-headed windows with arcuated lintels with a small mandorla-shaped oculus above.


Count Alan held the manor in 1086. No church or priest was recorded. At that time it was called Ascam or Ascham; the addition of Bryan relates to Bryan Fitzalan, who held it in the 12thc.


Exterior Features



Interior Features

Interior Decoration


The plan and fabric of the 12thc. church is similar to that at Copmanthorpe and Askham Richard.

Bilson compares the ornament in the triangular fields of the chevron to that at St Mary's Abbey, York, while the boss motifs may be compared to similar ones found at Brayton, on the chamfered impost of the chancel arch. They are also found at Quenington in Gloucestershire, on the label of the N doorway.

A Conway Library photo exists with a view of the doorway where the 'jelly-mould' bosses on the S doorway are clearly visible.


J. Bilson, 'Proceedings of the Soceity in 1913', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 23 (1915), 108.

W. H. Dixon, 'Notes on Some Ainsty Churches', Proceedings of the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society, I, no. 1 (1933), pp. 26-27.

C. E. Keyser, 'Norman Doorways of Yorkshire', Memorials of Old Yorkshire, ed. T.M. Fallow. (London, 1909).

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Yorkshire: The West Riding (Harmondsworth, 1959). 2nd. ed. rev. by E. Radcliffe, 1967.

P. Reutersward, 'The Forgotten Symbols of God', Stockholm Studies in History of Art, 35 (Uppsala, 1986).