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St James, Bilbrough, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°54′43″N, 1°11′40″W)
SE 530 465
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
formerly St Cuthbert
now St James
19 April 1996, 31 Mar 2014

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Feature Sets

Bilbrough is a village 6 miles SW of York. Medieval church rebuilt in 'Norman' style, following faculty of 1872. It is entered from the village street on the N side. The church retains the Perpendicular Fairfax Chapel on the S side, but there are no twelfth century remains reused in the structure. According to Crawford (p. 2) that 'A font, perhaps Norman, was taken out of the old church when it was rebuilt in 1873 and is in the garden of the Old Rectory'.


Appropriation to Holy Trinity Priory was confirmed in 1286 (Reg. Romeyn, Borthwick Institute). Lawton 1842, citing Drake's Eboracum, says the church was appropriated to the Abbey of Newburgh, but no vicarage was ordained. Lawton also says, citing Archbishop Sharpe's manuscript, that it was 'antiently' a chapel in the parish of Askham Richard.

Crawford (1973), 2, says "A picture of the first church, in the possession of Mrs Totty of Bilbrough, shows a small church with a tower at the west end and entry to the church by a south door. The windows are Gothic... the old church seated only 76".





In the 1868 Visitation return, the vicar, Mr Metcalfe, stated that the church was "in as good repair as the old rubble walls and coarse stoothing will allow". Stoothing is a partition or wall-casing of timber and plaster (Ryder 1993, 188).

There is a wall along the road to the W of the church, and an outbuilding at the E end of the same street, which is made of cobbles which would have been pulled out of the fields.

The twelfth-century church probably resembled other small churches locally in the group defined by Eric Gee (1972, xliii) as of 'haphazard' walling, rectangular plan and without a chancel arch. Compare Copmanthorpe.

Crawford (1973, 7) says the altar table of 1970 incorporates a medieval stone altar with 5 consecration crosses. The guide current 2014 says that when the church was reordered c.1970 'the medieval altar stone was taken from the chancel floor, under the old altar and incorporated in the present altar table'. It has not been inspected.


Anon., Bilbrough St James church (undated).

Borthwick Institute Faculty 1872/1

Borthwick Institute Visitation returns V1868/Ret vol. 1 no. 50

Crawford, P. H.S., The church of St James Bilbrough York: centenary of rebuilding of the parish church kept on July 22nd 1973.

Gee, E.A. 'Ecclesiastical buildings', Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, vol. iii, South West of the Ouse. (Oxford, 1972), xlii-xlviii.

Leach, P. and Pevsner, N. Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North (Yale, 2009).

Ryder, P. F. Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire: West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (Wakefield, 1993).