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St Edmund, Knapton, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°10′10″N, 0°39′12″W)
SE 880 757
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
medieval St Edmund
now St Edmund
  • Rita Wood
02 March, 10 April 2007

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Feature Sets

The church is a small Victorian building in the grounds of Knapton Hall; the Hall and church lie between the A64 and the small village of East Knapton NE of Malton. A private trust was formed when the church became redundant about 1970; occasional services are held.

The church consists of a chancel, nave with N aisle, and bellcote. Pevsner and Neave (1995, 590) say that in the structure ‘old masonry S of the nave and a number of Norman corbels’ survive. There are three corbels reset either side of the window to the E of the porch.


The Domesday Book records that in 1066 Alwin held the manor; in 1086 the lordship passed to Richard (son of Herfast).


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Corbel 1: a more extreme example of the long neck is a corbel reset inside the church at Thwing, which might perhaps be an earlier work of the same carver; similar form occurs at Butterwick.

Corbel 2: men’s heads on the doorway at Salton similarly have a continuous angle marking the nose, eyebrows and hairline. Those heads show a lot of neck and have large eyes, but on the other hand they are monotonous compared to the peculiar heads on these two corbels at Knapton.

Corbel 3: a corbel at Fangfoss pairs a man with a beakhead, and there is another at Alne with two men and a mask between them - but such combinations are unusual. The sculptor has cut the minimum of stone and merely incised the features, but the stark juxtaposition of the man and evil-spirit is all the more chilling. The beast is muzzled, with the tip of its tongue showing but unable to bite; the straps are all there and the functionality of the muzzle cannot be doubted.


Borthwick Institute faculty papers: Fac. 1876/3.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd edition, London, 1995, 590-1.

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

Victoria History of the County of York, vol II, ed. W. Page, 1912 (reprinted 1974).