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St Nicholas, Dunnington, Yorkshire, East Riding

(53°57′57″N, 0°58′59″W)
SE 668 527
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, East Riding
now North Yorkshire
medieval York
now York
  • Rita Wood
08 Dec 2003, 08 Oct 2015

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Dunnington is a village about 4 miles E of York. An exterior view from the SW shows the church is a thorough mixture of styles. Nave has N and S aisles, chancel has N chapel and S vestry. The former exterior walls of the W tower are enclosed by the modern extension running N to S.

Within all this accretion, the base of the tower and its arch to the nave are the earliest remaining work; together with the nave walls, they may even be pre-Conquest according to the VCH. The exterior of the tower wall was difficult to photograph and had no sculpture. The N and S arcades of the nave are late Romanesque.


In 1086, the chapter of York had an estate, and Geoffrey held land of William de Percy. A prebend of York, an office existing from at least 1175, was supported by the Percy estate at some later date. The church is not mentioned in documents until 1220 (VCH East Riding, iii, pp. 6, 10).


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches



Pevsner & Neave (1995, 393) say ‘the window above [the tower arch] shows how small the church was that went with it'. However, the window might have preceded the tower, or been used by someone in a tower room to see into the church.

The church was visited twice by Sir Stephen Glynne, in 1834 and 1842 (Butler 2007, 264). Under the first date, Glynne wrote: 'This church in its original state was a small and very inconvenient structure, consisting of a nave with diminutive aisles, a chancel with a north aisle, and a low west tower. The exterior very plain, the nave with leaded roof, the chancel tiled, and the clerestory modern. The tower in its lower portion very early and plain, without buttresses... The tower opens to the nave by a low semi-circular arch upon imposts. The nave very short, and no longer than the chancel, having on each side two semi-circular arches, upon round piers of rather light proportions, having square capitals and bases, apparently late Norman...'. No other features of our period are mentioned. In 1842 he found the church 'much improved and the interior newly arranged...'. The editor, Lawrence Butler, notes that 'the chancel was added in 1902 on the site of and using the old foundations'.

All three aisles (outer walls) were rebuilt 1839-41; further building, of vestry etc in 1877, of western extension in the 1980s.


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

N. Pevsner and D. Neave, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding, 2nd. edn. (London, 1995).

VCH East Riding, Vol. III (London, 1925).