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All Saints, Wold Newton, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°8′35″N, 0°24′6″W)
Wold Newton
TA 045 731
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
3 October 2006

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Wold Newton is a small village about nine miles S of Scarborough; All Saints' is ‘a humble church of great interest’ according to Pevsner and Neave (1995), 764. It has a nave with a N aisle, a chancel and S porch; there is also a bell turret at the W end of the nave.

The chancel was rebuilt in 1850, while the N arcade dates from 1857, replacing an earlier arcade and aisle. There is a small round-headed window high up on the S nave wall near its E end; the S and W walls include early masonry (VCHER II, 302). The form of the bell turret is partly due to the restoration by Temple Lushington Moore in 1898-9, but may have earlier origins: masonry is ‘carried up to form the west face of the turret, suggesting there was always some provision for a bell at the west end of the church’ (VCHER II, 302). The W wall has been refaced below that, but there is the possibility that the wall represents the original form, and this can be compared with the W turret at Adwick-upon-Dearne (West Riding of Yorkshire). The S doorway with tympanum, and the font, have 12thc sculpture, and there are the remains of jamb shafts of the chancel arch below the modern arch.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 'Neutone' (or also 'Nevton') was held by Karli, Ligulf and Ketilbert of Folksworth; in 1086 it was under the lordship of Gilbert of Ghent: 7 carucates were a berewick of Hunmanby manor and held by Gilbert de Gant, and 4 more were held by King William, and these became part of the Gant fee. Gilbert gave the manor to Emme his daughter when she married Alan de Percy around the beginning of the 12thc; in 1187 Simon de Rochford held it (VCHER II, 298-9).

The church was a dependency of Hunmanby and in 1115 Walter de Gant gave Hunmanby and its churches to Bardney Abbey (VCHER II, 301). Wold Newton continued to be subject to Hunmanby, and a burial ground was only consecrated in 1828 (VCHER II, 302).

Over time, the name of the settlement has varied, Wold Newton and Newton Wold, or Newton Rochford.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




Doorway: despite the dependent relationship with Hunmanby, the doorway at Wold Newton is far more elaborate than those there and at Fordon, although they all have a central cross on their tympana; this would suggest the activity of a local patron, perhaps Emme (de Gant) or a descendant. The panel with the bird has been discussed as illustrating the concluding part of a bestiary fable about the Perdix or partridge (Wood (2003), 31-2). The Perdix represents the lapsed Christian, here returning to the Church (White (1954), 136-7). The doorway with its abstract geometric patterns is meant to suggest heaven, or the way to it, the ultimate destination of the Perdix. The plumage roughly sketched or scratched on the bird at Wold Newton is paralleled by similar markings at Kirkburn (where other stages in the fable are carved), and is not likely to be due to recutting as has been suggested (Pevsner and Neave (1995), 764). The bird is an accurate observation of a familiar creature (a local person thought it might be a dotterel, but did not disagree with my suggestion of partridge); again, Kirkburn is brought to mind, and the realism of the cat and mouse on the font there. The concentric patterning used on one voussoir is not common, but also occurs at Kirkburn, and might be compared to similar on the font at North Grimston.

The doorway is said to be of c.1140-50 (Pevsner and Neave (19959, 764), though the fieldworker would prefer an earlier date for it, perhaps roughly contemporary with Kirkburn, that is, in the 1130s. This, of course, might cause tensions with estimates for the date of the font, for some font would have been needed when the church was ready. Might a plain font have been reworked a little later, and would this account for its thin walls? Has it been turned on lathe, unlike most of the cylindrical fonts of the Wolds?

Font: including the plinth, the font would have stood on the floor at much the same height as the usual cylindrical fonts of the Wolds. According to the VCHER II, 302, it would probably date to the late 12thc, but a mid-century date is more likely as the bowl is still cylindrical and deep, made to stand on the floor rather than a stem. Furthermore, the foliage pattern - fans of leaves arranged in alternating triangles – although new in the repertoire is not as advanced and complex as foliage patterns on the Newbald font, while the type of double cable at the rim belongs towards the end of a postulated sequence of development of the pattern (Wood (2011), 119-122). A similar font is at Ruston Parva.


W. Felton, Restoration of Thwing Church, East Yorkshire, Scarborough 1900.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, London 1995, 764.

Victoria County History: Yorkshire. II (General volume, including Domesday Book), London 1974, 298-302.

T. H. White, The Book of Beasts, being a translation from a Latin bestiary of the twelfth century, London 1954, 136-7.

R. Wood, ‘The Augustinians and the Romanesque Font from Everingham, East Riding’, Yorkshire Arcaeological Journal, 83 (2011), 112-47.

R. Wood, ‘The Augustinians and the Romanesque sculpture at Kirkburn church’, East Yorkshire Historian, 4 (2003), 3-59.