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All Saints, Bishop Burton, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°50′38″N, 0°29′42″W)
Bishop Burton
SE 991 397
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
03 Feb 2005; 16 Jan 2015

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Bishop Burton is approximately 3 miles W of the market town of Beverley. The church stands on a prominent hill in the village, overlooking a large pond by the main road. It is built of ashlar, with chancel, aisled nave and W tower. In 1663 the tower was taken down to make it safe; the nave and aisles were rebuilt 1820-1, and in 1864-5 the chancel and vestry adjacent were rebuilt, by J. L. Pearson (VCH ER IV, 9). The main features of interest are all ex-situ, including a small early twelfth-century figure sculpture, a loose capital and a stoup.


The thane Puch built a church dedicated by St John of Beverley (see Bede, History of the English Church, V.4); this is thought to have been at Bishop Burton. To the east of the village is a stone sanctuary marker traditionally associated with the saint.

In 1066, the estate belonged to the Archbishop of York. In 1086, it was 17 carucates in extent and a berewick of Beverley belonging to the canons of St John’s college. In the area, Killingwoldgraves hospital (SE) was founded before 1190. The church was presented to the Dean and Chapter of York in 1194.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Loose Sculpture


The figure sculpture is compared by Morris, correctly, to the figures on the tympanum at Danby Wiske, YN (Morris 1919, 101-2). At Danby Wiske there are two women and a central figure of Christ, all similar to this piece. The woman wearing long cuffs is likely to be a Foolish Virgin (see Wood 1994, 74-76). The context at Danby Wiske is in a doorway with heavy roll mouldings in the arch and irregular capitals: the date of this comparable piece would seem to be early in the Romanesque period.

The waterleaf capital would seem to have been too large and splendid a piece to have been part of the medieval church at Bishop Burton: perhaps it came from a source in Beverley. It somewhat resembles a loose capital at Great Driffield. The fragment is shallow in proportion to its span, though the neck of the capital does not survive. One can compare the nave arcade capitals at Drax and Burton Agnes.

For details of the 19th century rebuilding, see the Borthwick papers, Fac. Bk 1820/2, to ‘remove nave and aisles, rebuild and repew’.


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

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

The Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire. IV - Harthill Wapentake, Hunsley Beacon (London, 1979).

R. Wood, ‘The Romanesque Doorways of Yorkshire, with special reference to that at St. Mary’s, Riccall’. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 66, (1994), pp. 59-90.