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St Germain, Winestead, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°41′40″N, 0°2′2″W)
TA 299 238
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
27 Jun 2005

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Feature Sets

This is a church without a tower, standing isolated in a ring of trees, south of its village across the main east-west road. When it was built, it was near the Humber, but reclamation means it is now 5km or more away (VCHER V, 148, with map). It has a nave, chancel, rebuilt south aisle and a south chapel now used as a vestry, with a compact, almost domestic, late medieval interior. Morris 1919, 331, says ‘well-restored’, the architect was Temple Moore (Borthwick Institute, Faculty papers 1888/7; plan in Miller 1937, 183; Pevsner and Neave 1995, 756).

Miller 1937, following James Raine, associates the unusual dedications at Winestead (St Germain) and Patrington (St Patrick) to a ‘Culdee’ mission. Ingram (no date) mentions visits of Germain, bishop of Auxerre, to Britain in the 5th century, as recorded by Bede, and suggests an early Christian settlement at Winestead. Selby Abbey was dedicated to St Mary and St Germanus, following the arrival of a monk from Auxerre in the Norman period. Pevsner and Neave 1995, 756, use the shortening 'St German'; the Diocesan Directory gives the dedication as 'St Germain'.

The north and south walls of the twelfth-century chancel remain and, of the nave, the north wall and part of the west walls are of the Romanesque period. These walls are 5ft (1.5m) thick according to Miller, and of ‘late Norman or Transitional date’ according to the architect, Temple Moore, 1895, 85. The corbels on the south wall of the chancel were found in the walls at the restoration, and their original positions cannot be known. ‘Pieces of round-headed windows, with engaged shaft, like the one in the north wall of Halsham, and a fragment of an arch with zigzag ornament’ mentioned by Miller (1937, 181) were not found, nor were they known to the churchwarden. From the wording, these could have been loose pieces, as they are contrasted with the ‘built in’ corbels.


An estate in Patrington and 8 ploughlands here were granted by King Cnut to the archbishop of York in 1033; 7½ carucates in Winestead were held as a berewick of the archbishop’s manor of Patrington in 1086. A knight, possibly William de Verli, was enfeoffed at Winestead in 1086; Robert and Hugh de Verli are also mentioned. The medieval manor house is believed to have been at the moated site immediately to the west of the church. In the 16th century, the manor house moved to the north end of the village.

The church is not recorded until the early 13th century, when the advowson was with the de Verlis (VCHER, V, 151, 154).


Exterior Features



The corbels, with similarities to those at Kirkburn and Kilham and elsewhere in the Wolds, suggests that the oldest walls would be earlier than ‘late Norman or Transitional’ which is the period suggested by Temple Moore.


M. E. Ingram, The Church of St Germain, Winestead, No date, no place

N. J. Miller, Winestead and its Lords: The Story of a Holderness Village, Hull, 1937

T. Moore, ‘St. German’s, Winestead’ [sic], Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society, Volume 3, 1895, 85-91

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

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

Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire V (Holderness Wapentake, south and middle, parts), 1984