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St Ethelburga, Great Givendale, or Givendale, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°58′29″N, 0°45′43″W)
Great Givendale, or Givendale
SE 813 539
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
24 Oct 2003 and 13 Oct 2006

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The church lies beautifully in a Wolds valley below its hamlet. The church looks down the stream to a large pond, a ribbon of planting and sensitively-farmed fields.

Nave and chancel in one, bellcote. Rebuilt on old plan using historic materials by W. H. Dykes (Pevsner and Neave 1995, 445). A plan in Borthwick Faculty 1885/21 shows fairly thin walls except at the chancel arch. The church is just over 14m long.


Domesday Survey (quoted by Leadman) states that the king had 8 carucates here, and in Grintorp 4 carucates.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




Morris (1919, 165), says the church was rebuilt 1849 ‘but much of the old detail was preserved…a beautiful Transitional chancel arch with carved capitals and zigzag mouldings’. The date of the arch may be about 1150, according to Pevsner and Neave; it is not Transitional. Leadman writes: ‘Though much of the old stone was retooled and used, more was cast aside for the purpose of road-mending. An old road man, now dead, told me how he had seen carved stones ready in heaps to be broken up. Thus many interesting features perished, and but for the Misses Singleton the fine Norman chancel arch would have gone too... in the grounds of Givendale House, there is the ancient Norman font, a lot of corbels, and zigzagged stones. In the house is still preserved a picture of the old church by Wm Ettey, R.A., showing that it was a low building consisting of chancel, nave, with south door, a wooden bell-turret, and a red-­tiled roof fairly pitched’ (1901, 297). Since this was written, fragments of the font have been returned to the church; there are no other remains known apart from the chancel arch (in situ).

Chancel arch: the mask on the second order L capital, emitting the reeded strands, also occurs at Nunburnholme and Kilnwick Percy. The capitals give the impression of having been reworked as they show little decay. The nose on one head has been repaired suggesting the head is older work. The men’s heads on the L are unusual, perhaps unique, in this area, and the one to the chancel especially seems to be more realistic than the usual more stylised heads, yet it uses the same conventions for hair. Eyes are deeply drilled on another – could this be restorers? The eyes are drilled at Bishop Wilton too. The L side capitals are consistently more elaborate than those on the R, perhaps a master did that side and a pupil the other. The faces of the men on the R capital recall those of faces on capitals of the chancel arch at Bishop Wilton. The down-turned mouth cannot be glumness, but firmness, solemnity, standing to attention, concentration.

Font: similar forms are found at Great Driffield (but atop a new stem), and at Newbald. The font at Beverley Minster is also on a stand.


Borthwick Fac. 1885/21 plan of new church (ie 1849 construction). Accounts for the rebuilding work are also in the Borthwick.

J. H. Goodhart, St. Ethelburga’s parish church, Great Givendale. No date, Bishop Wilton.

A. D. H. Leadman, ‘Five East Riding Churches’, Y. A J., 16, 1901, pp. 297-304.

J. E. Morris, The East Riding of Yorkshire (Givendale Magna). 2nd ed. (1906) 1919.

N. Pevsner & D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. ed. London, 1995.