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St Eloy, Great Smeaton, Yorkshire, North Riding

(54°26′1″N, 1°27′54″W)
Great Smeaton
NZ 348 044
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, North Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
medieval St Eloy
now St Eloy
  • Jeffrey Craine
September 2011

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Feature Sets

Great Smeaton is a village about nine miles SE of Darlington, and the church lies to the centre of the village. With the exception of the 14thc S arcade, the present church is largely the result of the 1862 restoration and consists of a chancel with N vestry, a nave with S aisle, a S porch and a W bell-turret. This is the only church in England dedicated to this French Saint, born in 588, who is the patron Saint of farmers and blacksmiths. The only surviving Romanesque piece here is the font.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 the manor of 'Smetton' was held by Madalgrim and Earl Edwin; in 1086 it passed to the Count Alan of Brittany, but two carucates were granted to King William and one to St. Mary's Abbey of York. The manor valued £80.

There are sufficient references to confirm the existence of a church in the early medieval period, with the church and associated lands exchanging ownership during the reign of Henry II.





The decoration on the font is reminiscent of some of the piers in the nave at Durham Cathedral. Without assuming a direct link, but on the basis of the popularity of this form of decoration after c.1140, a date of around the middle of the 12thc would be reasonable for the font.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Yorkshire, The North Riding, Harmondsworth 1966, 174.

W. Page (ed.), A History of the County of York North Riding, vol. 1, London 1923, 198-9.