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St Michael, East Ardsley, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°43′23″N, 1°32′37″W)
East Ardsley
SE 302 253
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
now Wakefield
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
08 Aug 2000

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Feature Sets

East Ardsley is now within the metropolitan area of Leeds, only 6 miles from the centre. The medieval church consisted of a W tower, nave and chancel (Ryder 1993, 149; Booth (1963) 1997, 14-15). The building was demolished in 1881. Before that Sir Stephen Glynne visited in April 1871 and described a church that 'had originally only chancel and nave, but a north aisle has been added [1781], in debased style, to the nave, and there is a poor modern west tower, of small size, and not worthy of being exactly described. The south wall of the nave is original and had a fine Norman doorway...three orders of arch mouldings, two with bold chevron work and one with lozenges. The shafts are gone but the capitals have square abaci and good sculpture.' (Butler 2007, 166). A new church was built to the N of the old site, reusing the 12thc doorway, but apparently no other elements of the earlier structure.


According to the Domesday Book, East and West Ardsley (Erdeslau) were lands of Ilbert de Lacy. Before the conquest Alric and Gerneber had 5 carucates and 3 bovates, but after the Conquest Swen held those lands from Ilbert (VCH II, 251), and the king had 4 carucates and 5 bovates at Erdeslau (VCH II, 302). Nostell Priory's possession of the ‘chapel of Ardsley’ was confirmed between 1164 and 1181 (Faull and Moorhouse 1981).


Exterior Features



The beasts of these beakhead voussoirs may represent the evil in the world that men have to resist. Comparisons for the lop-sidedness of the smaller beakhead exist, for example, at Stillingfleet (South Yorks) where a capital has a distorted mask; at Liverton (North Yorks) another lop-sided beakhead can be found on the chancel arch. A label-stop mask at Moor Monkton (West Yorks) is treated similarly.


J. M. Booth, The Parish Church of St. Michael, East Ardsley, 1963, 2nd ed. 1997.

L. A. S. Butler, ed., The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874), Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 159, Woodbridge, 2007.

M. L. Faull & S. A. Moorhouse, eds., West Yorkshire : an Archaeological Survey to 1500, Wakefield, 1981.

P. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire, Wakefield, 1993.

Victoria County History of Yorkshire, vol. II, reprinted 1974.