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All Saints, Kirby Underdale, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°1′1″N, 0°46′6″W)
Kirby Underdale
SE 808 586
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
24 Apr 2007

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Kirby Underdale is a village in the East Riding of North Yorkshire, about 6 miles N of Pocklington. The site of the church is unusual. There is a very steep slope from W to E, with the village above the church; the churchyard runs down to the beck.

The building comprises aisled nave with W tower, and chancel, the latter rebuilt by Street in 1870-1 from its foundations (Pevsner and Neave 1995, 582). Plan in Shepherd 1939, 31. The walls of the nave and the lower parts of the tower have herringbone masonry, and window-splays of an earlier building remain in the nave clerestory to N and S (Pevsner & Neave 1995, 581). The tower arch has a blocked plain rectangular opening above it. The aisles are probably late twelfth-century, with their very shallow capitals and pointed arches; there are not many churches that have N and S aisles of the same date. The chancel arch, like the W doorway, looks mid-twelfth century but both have unusual details. The blocked N doorway has exterior fabric which looks modern.


Heragrim and Siward continued as landholders after the Conquest. Three thegns held land. Only the king is named in the summary: he had 6 carucates. (VCH II, pp. 287, 324)

The church was given to St Mary’s Abbey in York at its foundation by William the Conqueror in 1085 (Shepherd 1939).


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches
Tower/Transept arches



Morris (1919, 234) suggests the S doorway is of the same date as the arcades, which of course makes sense, but it has no architectural or sculptural feature which would link it to the twelfth century or the Romanesque. For example, it has octagonal capitals and a chamfered pointed arch. Its capitals have a row of nailhead, but are similar to those of the W doorway on the tower in having a prominent ring and a shallow proportion. Pevsner and Neave 1995, 581 give it a 13th-century date. For this reason it is omitted from this report.

The two arcades have similar patterns on their paired capitals which might suggest one workman was learning from the other - compare Sherburn-in-Elmet (West Riding).


G. Lawton, Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de diocesi Eboracensi (London, 1842).

J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire (London, 1906) 2nd edn. (1919).

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. edn. (London, 1995).

W. R. Shepherd, The History of Kirby Underdale (Batley, 1939).

Victoria County History: Yorkshire. II (London, 1912), reprinted (1974).