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St Michael the Archangel, Emley, Yorkshire West Riding

(53°36′59″N, 1°37′52″W)
SE 245 134
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
now Sheffield
  • David Mercer
  • Rita Wood
  • Ron Baxter
  • David Mercer
30 September 2011

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Feature Sets

Emley is a village in the West Riding, now in the Kirklees Metropollitan Borough, 6.4 miles E of Huddersfield and 7.1 miles W of Wakefield. The church is in the village centre and is dominated by the tall 15thc W tower. It has a nave with a N aisle and a S porch and a chancel with a two-bay north aisle, with a small vestry N of the aisle. The S wall of the nave is of rough coursed rubble, probably 12thc, and the rest is of coursed ashlar and probably 15thc. The nave may have been partly rebuilt (possibly incorporating an older south aisle) in the 13th or 14th cent, then the whole church was remodelled in the late 15th or early 16th cent. with the addition of tower, north aisle and chancel chapel. The chapel was extended to form a burial chapel for the Assheton family in 1632. The interior was restored in 1874. The Romanesque material consists of a tympanum depicting the Lion and the Lamb and 4 engaged capitals, all set inside the church.


According to the Domesday Survey, 3 carucates in Emley belonged to the manor of Wakefield, held by King William in 1086 and by King Edward before the Conquest. The manor was perhaps held from the King by William Fitzwilliam and then by his son Ketelborn. It remained in the Fitzwilliam family until the later middle ages.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


According to WYAAS there are at least 8 re-used 12thc architectural pieces built into the church fabric as well as several re-used medieval cross slabs with incised designs, but not all qualify for inclusion in the Corpus. Pevsner describes the tympanum as Lamb and Dragon, but a lion seems likelier in view of the quadruped nature and lack of obvious wings. He also notes (p. 22) that figured tympana are rare in the West Riding. No-one has ventured a precise date although Wood (2012) compares the style of carving to the fonts at Cawthorne and Skelmanthorpe, perhaps implying that it was carved c.1100.


Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 341289

J. E. Morris, The West Riding of Yorkshire (The Little Guides). London 1911, 2nd ed. revised 1923.

  1. N. Pevsner and E. Radcliffe, The Buildings of England, Yorkshire West Riding, Harmondsworth 2nd ed. 1967, repr. 2001, 194.
  1. P. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire (West Yorkshire Archaeology Service 1993), 150.

West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS), Church of St Michael the Archangel, Emley (Monument 901).

  1. R. Wood, Romanesque Yorkshire, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper 9 (2012), 89.