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St Michael and All Angels, Hubberholme, Yorkshire, West Riding

(54°12′1″N, 2°6′53″W)
SD 926 783
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
  • Rita Wood
17 July 1995, 21 Sep 2014

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Hubberholme is a village in Upper Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dates. It is famous for connections with the playwright J.B. Priestley, who is buried at the church. This has a rectangular plan, with aisled nave and chancel in one, with squat W tower; this plan, with absence of a chancel arch, is common in the NW of the county and surrounding area. Later medieval windows to aisles. Restored 1863. The interior walls resemble the rough walls on the hills (field walls near the river are of rounded water-worn stones).

The S doorway and the S arcade have round arches but are unlikely to be Romanesque. Twelfth-century work is found in the tower and tower arch.


Leach and Pevsner 2009, 336, say it was a chapel of ease of Arncliffe, first mentioned during the lifetime of William de Percy, d. 1245.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches



In 1862, Glynne described St Michael's as 'this rude church [...] in a romantic valley amidst mountainous and picturesque scenery... The churchyard has a sweet tranqil appearance, bounded by the river with view of a picturesque bridge and fine woody hills' (Butler 2007, 230-1). However, like all inquiring visitors since, he finds analysis of the building itself difficult.

Pevsner 1967, 270-1, describes the unbuttressed W tower as Norman, including its tower arch and responds. He pondered whether the round-arched S arcade was 'essentially Norman, or essentially folk art?'. Leach's revision (Leach and Pevsner 2009, 336-7) suggests that the tower arch is a reset chancel arch, and that this was one of several post-Reformation alterations. Pevsner's simplicity of analysis is persuasive in this instance: that the tower and its arch are Norman, and that the rest of the church is a later medieval development which removed any trace of a Norman plan.

The round-headed S doorway has a narrow angle roll, and there are one or two late 12th-century doorways in the N Riding which have a continuous angle-roll somewhat of this kind - for example, Hornby, but the appearance is delicate, even though it uses such great slabs of stone and not cut pieces. Leach suggests it is 17th century.

The round arches of the S arcade would still be built in an area that lacked refined architectural skills, even in the later period indicated by the octagonal piers and chamfer stops (used upside down as capitals?). The stone for the piers had to be brought in, and was perhaps supplied ready-cut by a trained stonemason.

Change of dedication from 1512-1700 Borthwick Inst. docs.


L. A. S. Butler (ed.), 'The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874)', Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 159 (Woodbridge, 2007).

P. Leach and N. Pevsner, Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North (Yale, 2009).

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