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St Wilfrid, Ottringham, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°42′2″N, 0°4′56″W)
TA 267 244
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
03 September 2003

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A large church with W tower, aisled nave, S chapel and chancel; pantiled porch. Part of the SE corner of the nave is supposed to be early fabric. Steep pitched roofs are marked on the E walls of tower and nave. The fabric is very mixed, often cobbles are used, whatever the date. Box pews remain in the nave; a stone lectern in the chancel. Thick walls at SE corner of nave and part of the S wall of the chancel are considered to be of the 12thc.

The tower arch was perhaps remade from the chancel arch; two remounted corbels are in the wall above the N arcade. The fabric of the tower arch indicates a good quality building, while the corbels are quite simple.


The Domesday Survey recorded various landholdings. A church is recorded on both the provost’s fee and on that of Drew de Bevrere. Whether this is one or two churches is not clear. Around 1130 Archbishop Thurstan confirmed a church at Ottringham to Bridlington priory. Around 1135 William of Ottringham and his brother Richard gave a church there to the priory, which was to install as many canons at Ottringham as the place would support. The dedication to St Wilfrid is mentioned at this time. In the mid 12thc the canons of Bridlington had a house at Ottringham, and there were several small gifts of land in the parish.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Interior Decoration


Various suggestions can be made about the tower arch:

1. That it is authentic and marks the arrival of Gothic (leaflet), but the capitals would negate that;

2. That it may be a reordering and resiting of the chancel arch in the 14thc.

3. Pointed arches with chevron patterns exist in Campsall and Kirk Smeaton (YW), and would date from possibly in the 1150s, but it is unlikely that these influenced the East Riding.

This would seem to be a genuine case of the re-use of a chancel arch as a tower arch.

Concerning the reset corbels, there is no shaping of the usual corbel chamfer, and these items as seen might just as well be label stops, compare the W doorway at Etton, where head stops existed. On the other hand, restorers in this area were not beyond recutting corbels (Fangfoss and Pocklington), and might have made corbels more interesting by chopping the back off to leave the face.


N. Pevsner & D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. ed., London, 1995, 639

St Wilfrid’s Church Ottringham, Hull WEA group, 1977.

A History of the County of York East Riding, v, ed. C. R. Elrington, Oxford, 1984, 77-80, 83-84