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St Oswald, Kirk Sandall, also called Kirk Sandal, Sandal Minor or Sandal Parva, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°33′57″N, 1°4′55″W)
Kirk Sandall, also called Kirk Sandal, Sandal Minor or Sandal Parva
SE 609 081
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now South Yorkshire
medieval York
now Sheffield
medieval St Oswald
now St Oswald
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
11 March 2010, 15 Nov 2016

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Kirk Sandall is about 3 miles NE of Doncaster; the site is not to be confused with Sandal Magna, near Wakefield. The compact medieval church, of Magnesian limestone and cobbles, lies alongside a canal and the river Don. There are fields nearby but the approach is through an industrial estate and the site of the former Pilkington glassworks, which itself had replaced the old village (Holland 1999, 94-5).

The church has a small chancel with a larger 16thc N chapel and a two-bay nave with late 12thc to early 13thc arcades; the S porch is Victorian, from a restoration in the 1860s. The satisfying pyramidal roof on the tower over the W bay of the S aisle replaced the upper stage of a pinnacled tower of c. 1828 in 1935-1937; at the same time a vestry was added to the N aisle (Pevsner 1967, 292-3).

There is a mixed fabric of cobbles, limestone rubble and ashlar even in the later 12thc work. The grave-slab against the W wall in the N aisle is said to have the remains of a floriated cross but that is too damp and efflorescing to discern (Barnes 2001, 3). Remains relevant to this Corpus are the S doorway, a slit window at each end of the S aisle, the two arcades, a piscina and a plain cylindrical font.


At the time of the Domesday Book, there was a church and a priest at Sandall, held by the Warenne fee (formerly Earl Harold's). However, under the claims section, the church was Skotkollr's, of which the soke belonged to Conisbrough, and the claim was that the church should be Nigel Fossard's (Williams et al. 1987-1992). The church and the chapel of Armthorpe (both dependencies of Conisbrough church) were confirmed by Warenne to Lewes Priory in 1147 (Clay 1949, no. 34). Armthorpe was a separate parish before 1202 (Thompson and Clay 1943, 48).


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration


Interior Features





Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


The early core is described by Ryder (1982, 94 with phased plan) as a small Overlap building; it is built of creamy Magnesian limestone rubble with brownish river cobbles. The quoins and splayed 12thc windows are cut blocks of Magnesian limestone. There are patches of herring-bone in the exterior W wall. The late 12th-century aisle has similar fabric, perhaps reflecting the scarcity of good available stone (Holland 1999, 89-90). There was no other major medieval extension apart from the addition of the Rokeby chapel in the 16th century.

Barnes et al. 2001, suggest that the octagonal piers in the centre of each arcade ‘appear to be mediaeval replacements of the original Norman piers which were no doubt rounded.’

The building is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, having been vested in the Trust's predecessor, the Redundant Churches Fund, in 1980.


Barnes, A. et al., St Oswald's church, Kirk Sandall, S.Yorkshire, Churches Conservation Trust. n.p., 2001.

Clay, C.T. Early Yorkshire Charters 8: The Honour of Warenne. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series Extra: Leeds, 1949, 6.

Holland, D. "Jigsaws of building history: three parish churches in the Lower Don Valley." In Aspects of Doncaster: 2, ed. B. Elliott, Wharncliffe. 1999, 89 - 95.

Pevsner, N. Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, 1959. 2nd. ed. revised E. Radcliffe. 1967, 292-3.

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

Ryder, P.F. Saxon Churches in South Yorkshire, 1982, 94.

Thompson, A.H. and C.T. Clay. Fasti parochiales 2 part 2. Yorkshire Archaeological Series 107 [Deanery of Doncaster part 2]. Leeds, 1943, 48.

Williams A. et al. The Yorkshire Domesday. Alecto Historical Editions. 3 vols. London, 1987-1992, f.321, 373v.