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St James of Compostella, Lissett, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°0′19″N, 0°15′21″W)
TA 144 580
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
26 July 2004

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The church has a nave and chancel, with a bellcote between. It is of mixed fabric – rubble and boulders with ashlar dressings, patched with brick and largely rendered.

The relevant features include a remade doorway, a reset corbel and a capital, and a possible piscina basin.


At the time of Domesday Book, Drew de Bevrère held the manor, then it passed to the Aumale fee. In the late 12th century, Sir Ingram de Monceaux acquired half a carucate of land (VCH VII, 231).

In the 12th century, Beeford parish included chapels at Dunnington and Lissett (VCH VII, 237). The chapel had right of burial by 1407, but did not become parochial until the 20th century.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features

Interior Decoration





An illustration of the church in 1876 is in VCH (VII, 242, Fig. 16). It was restored in 1876 (Pevsner and Neave, 1995, 597). The white-painted porch and the open position give a sea-side air to the little building.

Doorway: the ‘laziness’ of the chevrons and the presence of the little domes recalls Millington. North Dalton also has small ornaments in a wide-angled arrangement of chevrons.

Reset stone over doorway: Pevsner (1972, 304), following Collingwood (1911, 257-8), states this feature is a Saxon muzzled bear from a hogback, such as exists at Barmston. Pevsner and Neave (1995, 597) do not repeat this dating. VCH (VII, 242) also mentions the fragment of a tomb-cover at Barmston, but notes that Jim Lang (1991, 230) believes the feature is Romanesque, and a reset corbel. Lang’s opinion is supported by the fact that the dimensions are those of a standard block of 12th-century masonry or a corbel. Moreover, the muzzle which not only binds the jaws but passes up over the brow, is seen in many 12th-century corbels. The general use of the heads of muzzled beasts on pre-Conquest tomb-covers, such as those at Brompton, North Yorkshire, and in 12th-century sculpture illustrates the continuation of a common iconography across an artificial art-historical boundary which would have had little meaning at the time.

Reset stone or piscina: This piece is unlikely to have been made to be a piscina, or the two extensions would not be as they are; it is like a capital of an archway or doorway. The pillar and capital were thought by the Rev. G. Trevor, rector in the 1870s, to be from the chancel arch (VCH VII, 242). The pointed hood above it suggests a Gothic or later reuse of the capital, whether as piscina or, more likely, as a support for a statue.


W. G. Collingwood ‘Anglian and Anglo-Danish Sculpture in the East Riding’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 21 (1911).

J. T. Lang, et al., York and Eastern Yorkshire. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, III, Oxford, 1991.

G. Lawton, Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de diocesi Eboracensi; or, collections relative to churches and chapels within the Diocese of York. To which are added collections relative to churches and chapels within the diocese of Ripon, New edition (London, 1842), 377.

N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, Harmondsworth, 1972.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd ed. London, 1995, 597.

Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire. VII (Holderness Wapentake, north and middle parts), 1984.