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St Michael, Sutton Upon Derwent, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°55′4″N, 0°55′41″W)
Sutton Upon Derwent
SE 705 474
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
08 September 2003, 06 November 2015

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Feature Sets

The village is arranged along the Escrick moraine and is probably at an early crossing place of the Derwent, where it was still tidal. The Woodhouses settlement, two miles east, existed in the later 12th century and a grange of Kirkham priory was established there.

The church is known for the pre-Conquest fragment of a cross shaft - one of several things found during alterations in 1927.

Outside, this appears to be a Gothic and later building, with a mixed fabric including rubble and an ashlar often of a golden yellow oolitic stone. The church has a nave and chancel of the same width, and this perhaps represents the plan of the first stone building. There are N and S aisles to the nave, a W tower of 14th and 15th centuries, S porch and 20th c. vestry to the N of the chancel. A clerestory was added to the nave in the 16th century. Restorations are recorded in 1841, 1846 and 1926-8.

A blocked round-headed arch in the chancel, opened up in 1927, is probably early 12th century. The three eastern bays of both arcades are from the late 12th century. The western bays later, added when the tower was begun, but the old responds seem to have been reused. The two arcades have much in common in their measurements, and in the use of lugs and foliage for sculptural detail.


There were two estates of 6 carucates in the village in 1086. One was controlled by the Percy family, and the other by the count of Mortain.

The church is first mentioned between 1161 and c.1170, when it was given by Robert de Percy to Whitby Abbey. The advowson was later exercised by the abbey, but it is not clear what the situation was in the twelfth century.


Interior Features




Interior Decoration


The tower arch or the chancel arch at Drax (West Yorkshire) might be compared to the arch found in the N wall of the chancel. The N arcade has waterleaf capitals very squat, somewhat reminiscent of Drax.

The two nave arcades have much in common in their measurements, in the use of lugs and foliage for sculptural detail, etc. They could have been built in close sequence, and presumably after the gift to Whitby Abbey, but the work is local.

The nave arcades may be compared with the N arcade at Huggate, where one capital has clusters of upright leaves alternating with a large waterleaf and all the capitals are octagonal. The profile on the N arcade is like that at Huggate.


Carus Vale Collier, ‘A Stone Panel at Sutton on Derwent’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 29, 1929.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. ed, Buildings of England, London, 1995.

A History of the County of York: East Riding, Volume 3, Victoria County History, Oxford, 1976, 173-8.