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St Mary, Full Sutton, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°59′24″N, 0°51′43″W)
Full Sutton
SE 747 555
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
25 Jun 2018

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The small village is about two miles E of Stamford Bridge in low-lying country. It is best known as the site of the high security prison which succeeded an air force base; this is immediately to the W of the village. The church, which is not seen from the village street but lies to the N of it against fields, was rebuilt 1844-5 by G. T. Andrews as a simple neo-Gothic building of nave, chancel and vestry. There was some reuse of medieval stonework (Pevsner and Neave 1995; VCH II). There are no faculty papers at the Borthwick Institute.

The main fabric of the building is a rotting golden stone, probably from Birdsall or elsewhere in the local Jurassic beds. The present window tracery is largely of recent date and in a uniform style. A few reused medieval building stones were seen in the outside walls, including two carved pieces of 12thc date. It is noticeable that stones with possibly 12thc tooling are in better condition than the modern fabric, and one was used for an OS bench mark arrow. The interior is plastered, the floor boarded; any paving visible is not medieval.


In Domesday Book, Full Sutton was included in the manor and soke of Catton, which included Stamford Bridge and five other settlements. Sutton possibly had 6 carucates out of 40 (VCH III; VCH Yorkshire II). In the later 12thc Full Sutton may have been held under the Percys by Peter, son of Grente (EYC xi).

In the early 13thc it was a chapel of Catton, granted independence for certain payments (VCH III). At some date, it is said to have been a chantry to the Priory of Watton, near Beverley (Sheahan and Whellan II).


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


Two carved stones: these have the same pattern as stones presently seen at Skirpenbeck church, about 1 1/2 miles N. There the pattern is used on the doorway alongside a capital with volutes and other details probably of the early 12thc.

Piscina basin: this item was returned to the church from the garden of the vicarage (notes displayed in the church). It may be a late 12thc or even 13thc addition. If so, it would suggest that the Romanesque church to which the carved stones belonged was still using a floor drain for the ablutions.


C. T. Clay ed., Early Yorkshire Charters: the Percy Fee, Wakefield 1963, 255.

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, The Buildings of England: York and the East Riding, London and New Haven 1995, 429

J. J. Sheahan and T. Whellan, History and Topography of the City of York; The Einsty Wapentake; and the East Riding of Yorkshire, Beverley 1856, 560-1

Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire. III. Ouse and Derwent Wapentake; Harthill Wapentake, Wilton Beacon section, West, London 1976, 171-2

Victoria County History: Yorkshire. II. General volume, including Domesday Book, London 1912, reprinted 1974, 219.