We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Mary, Goldsborough, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°59′58″N, 1°24′56″W)
SE 384 561
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
  • Rita Wood
30 May 2000, 21 Aug 2014

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=6318.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Goldsborough is a village situated about one mile east of Knaresborough. The church of St Mary the Virgin adjoins the gatehouse or former stables of the Hall. It has nave with aisles, W tower, chancel with vestry to north, and contains various effigies. (Leach and Pevsner 2009, 282-3). The guidebook claims that the E and W ends of the nave show mid-twelfth-century walling.

The only Romanesque sculpture present is found on the S doorway, now on the S wall of the S aisle. Kelk suggests that the doorway may have been moved here from the nave in the early fourteenth century. It has been restored in recent years. An exterior feature, possibly a font, is also recorded here.


At time of DB, Nigel held it of the Count of Mortain; now waste. No mention of church. About 1095, Hubert held Goldsborough of Ralph Paynel.


Exterior Features


Loose Sculpture


Modern history and restoration of the doorway

Evidence of the twentieth-century condition of the doorway was provided in the form of three printed pages provided by Mrs Pat Wood, a local resident. The first sheet probably shows the doorway in c.1900-1922; lower parts of the shafts are beginning to wear, but no other detail is clear. The second image is dated 1970 - the Virginia creeper when in leaf would have covered the arch. The shafts appear much more worn, and were the object of the next restoration. This can be seen in the picture dated 1989: shafts renewed throughout, also the left-hand capital. Despite the removal of the holdfasts of the creeper (or perhaps because of that), the arch has suffered. Since then, both the beakhead and the chevron orders have been renewed in the first two voussoirs from the L. There are photos by Kit Galbraith in the Conway Library, reference 353/21(3-7). These show that when she visited the church the creeper was similar to the 1970 view. The lost left capital may be illustrated by Galbraith in 353/21(5,6). These faces have foliate patterns in the upper part of the capital similar to the S face of the R capital.


When the fieldworker first saw the doorway, around 1995, the new voussoirs were in place and the doorway appeared as if painted white. The above local contact staed that a preservative had been applied in the past, and also that the carved stones removed were not retained. At the second visit, in 2014, the doorway had been cleaned so that most of the white coating had been removed. The use of limestone and sandstone mixed has become clearer. It is very unusual to have this mixture of stone types in one doorway: perhaps the present S doorway is made from two originals.


A distant parallel might be drawn between the R capital of the doorway and the capital fixed near the tower at Campsall and exhibited in 1984.


The marking of one or two of the beakheads with motifs of regular star patterns or sprays of foliage occurs at other sites. It might suggest the beakheads were branded, that is, their evil was under control.

Exterior 'font' feature

Compare Otley stone diam. 0.75m; and South Stainley capital, diam. 0.8m.


Kelk, Rev. A. H. Short History of St Mary the Virgin, Goldsborough (Goldsborough, undated).

P. Leach and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire West Riding - Leeds, Bradford and the North (Yale, 2009).