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St Lawrence, Hatfield, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°34′43″N, 1°0′0″W)
SE 663 096
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now South Yorkshire
medieval York
now Sheffield
formerly St Lawrence
medieval St Mary
now St Lawrence
  • Rita Wood
15 Jun 2001

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‘A surprisingly large, dominating cruciform church with a crossing tower so big and proud that it might stand in Somerset’ - Pevsner 1967, 254.

The church is cruciform with a central tower, an aisled nave and chapels flanking the chancel.

The church has a round-headed, late twelfth-century western doorway, a west facade with the remains of walling, and windows on both north and south aisles. There is a doorway on the south aisle, and walling of field-picked glacial rubble mixed with blocks of limestone, with facings and a doorway of Magnesian limestone. There are records of a fire in 1760s and a restoration in 1870s.

On the visit in 2002, windows had been broken and we took pictures of the wooden chests near the windows. Two of them 'could easily be Romanesque' according to a letter from Prof. E. B. Hohler (Norway). The chest shaped like a coffin is of bog-oak, which is found in Thorne Moors.


According to the Domesday Book, there was a church and a priest at Hatfield.

Ornsby 1874 says that this was the mother church of Hatfield Chase, which included Thorne and Fishlake. He links the west front to the de Warennes. Ornsby says the narrow window at the west end of the north aisle came to light in the restoration under the architect Jackson, and that the nave arcades are Transitional with pointed arches, square abaci and plinths. The most curious object of interest is ‘a Peter’s-pence chest, hewn out of a single log of oak, studded with nails and strongly banded with iron, with a slit for money in the top.’


Exterior Features




Interior Features






Glynne (Butler 2007, 207) notes 'built into the wall of the south transept is a band of billet ornament showing the fabric to be of early origin': unfortunately, this feature was not seen by the fieldworker. He describes the west doorway as 'a good Norman doorway of late date verging to Early English, having the toothed ornament and shafts with rich foliated capitals': nothing of the nature of toothed ornament [dentation; sawtooth?] remains.

The west doorway calls to mind other examples such as Long Marston, Rufforth and perhaps even Nun Monkton for the overhanging volutes of the capitals. For the horizontal forms in the third order capitals, compare the capitals at the south doorway of Darrington and Farnham.


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

G. Ornsby, 'Churches in the Neighbourhood of Doncaster: Hatfield'. Architectural Societies Reports and Papers, xii, 1874, pp. 90-92.