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St Mary, Skirpenbeck, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°0′19″N, 0°51′25″W)
SE 750 572
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
formerly St Mary
now St Mary
  • Rita Wood
31 July 2007

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Skirpenbeck is a village about ten miles E of York. The church lies to the E of the village and consists of coursed rubble with freestone dressings building of a nave and a chancel with a ‘brick churchwarden tower’ (Morris 1919, 285) at the W end, added in the 18thc; the S porch in stone and the N vestry were built during the 19thc. Restorations were carried out during the Victorian period (Borthwick Faculty 1893/25). Remains of Romanesque sculpture include the S doorway to the nave, the chancel arch and the font with arcading.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 'Scarpenbec' was held by Forne son of Sigulf; in 1086 it passed under the lordship of Odo Arbalistarius (also known as 'the Bowman') who held nine carucates: of these the Count of Mortain had three carucates two bovates. Orm and Forne had had three carucates, then Odo had it; the value had halved from 10s to 5s. ‘Sworn men’ testified that the land formerly held by Orm and Bunde at Skirpenbeck and another place (and now in the hands of Odo) ought to be the King’s. Odo gave 4 ½ carucates in Hanging Grimston to St Mary’s Abbey, York, by 1089, and later he gave the tithes of Skirpenbeck and Bugthorpe.


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




There is a possibility that the S doorway had originally had a tympanum and a lintel; this would explain the unusual presence of the pattern (compare with the S doorway at Thorpe Bassett).

The stone used for the shafts is thought to be Hildenley Limestone (thanks to Richard Myerscough, geologist).


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, London 1899, III, 257.

J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire, London 1919, 285.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire, York and the East Riding, London 1995, 690.

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

The Victoria History of the County of York, ed. by W. Page, vol. 2, London 1974, 182-3, 293.