We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

All Saints, Aughton, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°50′20″N, 0°56′10″W)
SE 701 386
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
16 May 2005, 31 May 2005, 03 Feb 2016

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=10701.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


The church is at the W end of the village, overlooking the Derwent Ings. To its N is a Norman motte, and to its E is the moated site of the late-medieval manor house. The church has a Norman nave, an Early English north aisle, a chancel built in 1836 and shortened in 1963, and a late 16th-century W tower. There was a restoration in 1891-3 by Demaine & Brierley, plans of which are in Borthwick Institute (Fac. 1890/16). The ‘as now’ drawings in the faculty papers show the south wall with two round-headed windows, which look 18th century by their glazing. The surviving string course is shown.

There is a ‘fine Norman chancel arch’ and a font of the same period, while the ‘somewhat over-restored’ S doorway is based on a 12th-century one (Pevsner & Neave 1995, 268).


The Domesday Survey says that pre-Conquest ‘Ernuin had one manor of 6 carucates, now Nigel has it of the Count (of Mortain)’, see VCH, II, 224, 293. In the Claims section, this is disputed: ‘They say that the land which Ernuin the priest claims in Actun [Aughton] ought to be his; but Nigel Fossard calls the king (as) voucher, concerning this land, to the use of Count Robert.’ See VCH, II, 318. Ernuin the priest was a large landholder in Yorkshire, not the local parson dispossessed.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches



Loose Sculpture


The medieval dedication of this church has been variously recorded. Arnold-Forster (III, 38) gives the pre-Reformation dedication as All Souls or All Saints. Raine, on the other hand, claims All Souls is a modern inscription and lists 'Allhallows' as the 'old ascription' (1873, 184).

Sir Stephen Glynne visited Aughton, probably in 1827. He says: 'The south doorway is Norman, the arch narrow, and its shafts have rope ornament in the capitals'. He thought the chancel arch a very fine Norman one, and the font a good Norman one. He says 'the church stands very low, and the parts around it are frequently flooded quite up to the churchyard' (Butler 2007, 72). The Ings floods are perhaps more controlled nowadays (some years not so!), but they support a famous nature reserve at Wheldrake nearby; the ground water movement probably contributes to the settlement of the chancel arch.

Chancel arch Despite the distortion of the arch, the first impression is of the precision and vigour of the sculpture, which is no doubt what drew praise from Neave and, earlier, Morris: ‘a good Norm. chancel arch’, and, before the restoration, from Sir Stephen Glynne. Some of the freshness might be due to the restorers reworking the surface but, at least since the chancel has been shortened, the light is very good to see the carvings.Beakheads on the chancel arch. It is unusual to have beakheads on a chancel arch, they are more often found outside on doorways, the proper place for evil spirits. Here, they are kept at bay by the comprehensive presence of chevron patterns (spiritual Light), and small domes or stars (more heavenly Light, sometimes perhaps angels).

String course. Perhaps comparable to that inside and out at Lockington, where the vertical measures 0.105m.

The font. As so often, one wonders how they set about it. No compass, no lathe. An axe. A gauge or a straight edge? A piece of string and a piece of charcoal?? When compared to the example at Wetwang, another font with intersecting arcading, this work shows little sign of regular techniques of setting-out, though they were available at Brayton (YW); see comments by Dr. Martyn Pedley regarding the plain cylindrical font at Market Weighton.

This is not the font sketched in the 1893 Faculty papers, perhaps they had hoped to replace it.

In the form of its blank arcade, Aughton’s font resembles those at Sherburn (near Filey) and Burton Agnes (near Bridlington), and might perhaps be a work by the same hand. If that could be shown to be the case, it would raise interesting questions about the way the making of the fonts was organised. Was it centralised at a quarry or workshop: was it done on-site by travelling workmen?


Frances Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications: or, England’s Patron Saints, Volume 3. London 1899, 38.

Borthwick Institute Faculty Papers. Fac.1890/16.

J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire,. 2nd ed. London 1919.

N. Pevsner & D. Neave, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd ed. London 1995, 268.

J. Raine, 'The Dedications of the Yorkshire Churches', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 2 (1873), 180-92.

Victoria County History: Yorkshire. II (General volume, including Domesday Book) 1912, reprinted 1974.