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St Mary, Swillington, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°46′9″N, 1°25′2″W)
SE 385 305
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
formerly Allhallows
now St Mary
  • Rita Wood
08 Aug 2000, 07 January 2015

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Feature Sets

The village of Swillington lies on the River Aire about 5 miles east of central Leeds. The nave of the church is essentially 12thc. with 14thc. aisles and a 14thc. chancel, with organ and vestry spaces on the N side of chancel. The W tower and S porch are 15thc. (Kirk, 1934, with plan; Leach and Pevsner, 2009, 727-28).

There is a reset 12thc. window head with an incised pattern of saltire crosses, and another undecorated. A blocked window was recorded in the N wall of the nave.


The DB records a church. Swillington was part of the soke territory of Kippax and Ledston, under Ilbert de Lacy.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


‘The walls of the nave (see the western quoins, and a blocked window cut by the north arcade) are probably 12th century'; the W tower 'is a typical mid-15th century specimen... reclad in gritstone in 1884’ (Ryder 1993, 173). Over the years of atmospheric pollution, the tower has has blackened and now contrasts with the Magnesian limestone of the late 14thc. church.

Decorated one-piece window heads are not very common, and in most cases the stones are rectangular, but here they are arched or semicircular. The one excavated at Hickleton and now in Doncaster Museum has chip-carved geometric patterns, and, because of the position where it was found, it was possibly an E window of the chancel. Later window heads remain in situ at Adel or Fangfoss (YE) and have an arc of dentation (zigzag on two levels).


G. E. Kirk, Swillington Church, near Leeds, Leeds, 1934.

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

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