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St Michael and Our Lady, Wragby, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°39′2″N, 1°23′14″W)
SE 406 173
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
  • Rita Wood
13 March 2003; 02 June 2016

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Wragby is a small village about 4 miles ESE of Wakefield. Its church is at the entrance to the grounds of Nostell Priory. The building of coursed squared sandstone consists of an aisled chancel, an aisled nave, a S porch, a W tower, and a vestry. The church was built in the 1520s-1530s, although the W end of the nave and the tower may be slightly earlier; the vestry was added in 1825. Romanesque sculpture is found on a font and a reset slab, neither of which is thought to be part of any earlier medieval church on the site.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 'Waragebi' was held by Guthfrithr and Countess Judith, and in 1086 it passed under the lordship of Erneis of Buron and Waldin the Artificer; a priest is also mentioned in the survey.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration





Nikolaus Pevsner (1967), 560, describes the decoration of the slab as ‘a group below an arch; unrecognizable’. Local opinion is that the ‘stone picture’ shows St Michael carrying Our Lady to Heaven. If it is a seated angel, then the subject might be a Judgment; this can be compared with the voussoir at Foston (North Yorkshire). However, without a close match for the composition in a manuscript, speculation is useless.

Wolds fonts sometimes have a proportion of the circumference blank, and the limiting of the pattern on part of the Auburn font amounts to the same thing - it is an economy. The fonts seem to have usually stood against a wall, or were used in such a way that the whole cylinder was not seen.

The panelled ceiling of the chancel has an inscription asking prayers for the soul of Alured Comyn, last Prior of Nostell, and the date 1533 (Ryder (1993), 181). The chancel houses a large collection of antique Swiss glass in its windows.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire: West Riding, rev. by E. Radcliffe, Harmondsworth 1967, 560.

P. F. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire, Wakefield 1993, 181.

St Michael and Our Lady, Wragby, Yorkshire, 2nd edition of guide, n.d., n.p.