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St Michael the Archangel, Kirkby Malham, Yorkshire, West Riding

(54°2′41″N, 2°9′48″W)
Kirkby Malham
SD 894 610
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
  • Rita Wood
17 July 1995

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Feature Sets

Kirkby Malham is a village in North Yorkshire, 5 miles E of Settle. The church of St Michael is Grade 1 listed and is described by Pevsner as a 'handsome Pennine church, Perp. throughout' (Leach and Pevsner 2009, 369-70). It is essentially a late medieval church with aisled nave and chancel (without achancel arch); it retains a 12th-century font.


This parish has the first recorded ordination of a vicarage in the diocese, dated 5 July 1205 (VCH III, 23). By the end of the 12th century the advowson was with West Dereham Abbey, Norfolk (Premonstratensian, founded 1188).





For the form of this font, a cylinder on a square plinth, compare Kettlewell and Burnsall; for both decoration and form, compare Birstall.

The lack of planning for the bands of pattern is typical of cylindrical fonts in the county, especially in the East Riding. Yet the sculptor made an excellent job of the dentation, so he was probably familiar with the style, perhaps from Viking period grave-covers as at Brompton-in-Allertonshire, or from roofs and their wooden shingles. Roll mouldings were clearly not so familiar to him. The lugs are another architectural form and it is odd, therefore, that those are so perfectly-formed, but perhaps this is a result of retooling.

Note: there is another font bowl, outside the church. This is not thought to be relevant to the Corpus.


W. R. N. Baron, The Story of the Church of St Michael the Archangel at Kirby in Malhamdale (John Bellows, 1923, 2nd edn., 1926).

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

The Victoria County History of Yorkshire, III (London, 1913, reprinted 1974).