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St John of Beverley, Harpham, Yorkshire, East Riding

(54°2′19″N, 0°20′2″W)
TA 092 616
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now East Riding of Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
1 May 2007

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Feature Sets

A largely 14th-century church of chancel and N chapel, nave, and W tower, but probably based on a 12th-century nave and chancel since it incorporates 12th-century walling on the S nave wall and adjacent part of the chancel. The north chapel extends further W than the chancel and is entered from the nave. The church is visited for its 18th-century glass by James Peckitt of York, and memorials in alabaster and brass to members of the St Quintin family (Pevsner and Neave 1995, 449-51). Stone coffins are in the N chapel (Pevsner & Neave 1995, 450).

In the S nave wall there is a slit window, two mass-dials and tooled ashlar. The early ashlar fabric is likely to be a Jurassic stone, with chalk used inside wherever possible, see the E wall of the tower below the old roof-line.

There is no certain Romanesque sculpture (depending on your definition).


Leland mentions John of Beverley (d.721) is reputed to have been born in the village, but there is no contemporary evidence (VCHER II, 224).

In the 12th century, Harpham was a berewick of Burton Agnes. The King held 4 carucates at Harpham, along with 12 at Burton Agnes (VCH II, 198). Ernuin the priest held 8 carucates at Harpham, as he had held it in TRE: this land was waste in 1086 (VCH II, 287). Rotbert de Bruis (or, Robert de Brus) was given the land of Ernuin shortly after ‘the book of Winton’ was written (VCH II, 291, 292).

The overlordship descended with Burton Agnes, and in the 12th century the immediate lords of Harpham were the Stutevilles of Burton Agnes. However in 1199 the male line failed and the lordship passed to the St Quintins.

Harpham church was a chapelry of Burton Agnes, but came to be regarded as an independent parish. A church was first mentioned c.1100-15 when, along with Burton Agnes church, it was given to St Mary’s Abbey, York (VCH II, 226-7).


Exterior Features




Compare mass-dials on the nave wall at Kirkburn.


G. Lawton, Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de diocesi Eboracensi; or, collections relative to churches and chapels within the Diocese of York. To which are added collections relative to churches and chapels within the diocese of Ripon. New edition, London 1842, 292.

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

Victoria County History: East Riding of Yorkshire, II (Dickering Wapentake). 1974.

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