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St Luke and All Saints, Darrington, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°40′36″N, 1°16′2″W)
SE 485 203
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
26 Apr 2002

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Darrington is a small village, 3 miles SE of Pontefract, now divided by the main A1 road. The large church stands prominently on its hill. Built of magnesian limestone and local red sandstone, it consists of a nave, chancel, W tower, S aisle, N aisle and a chapel. It was restored in 1880, but lower parts of the tower may be Norman (Pevsner 1967,175), and the tower arch retains some relevant work.


In 1086 the manor was held by Ilbert de Lacy, and a priest, a church and a mill are mentioned in the Domesday Book (VCH II, 247). The appropriation of "St Luke" by Pontefract Priory was confirmed in 1286 (Borthwick: Reg. Romayne).


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Interior Decoration


Loose Sculpture


Ryder (1993, 22, 148) says "almost the whole (tower) arch, in its present form, is the product of an 1880 restoration". He suggests an Anglo-Saxon date for the first version of the tower, remodelled with a new belfry in the later 12thc.

Some features at Darrington may be linked to work associated with the Cluniacs, who, in my opinion, worked at Pontefract Priory and Fishlake in the 1150s. As at Campsall and Conisbrough, the tower is enclosed by the aisles, and the high tower arch may be compared with Thorpe Salvinis. Curved cones on scallop capitals are unusual in Yorkshire and more often found in the the SW of England, where I have suggested the Cluniacs acquired workmen before coming to Yorkshire.

'St Andrew' slab: the round arch at the top and the use of bosses in the quadrants of the cross, together with the terminations of the cross-arms, are all features which could be 12thc. However, the ball-flower form of the six bosses may suggest a later date for the slab into the 13thc. Again I believe that there could be links with the Cluniacs, because medallions used on the clerestory windows at Malmesbury Abbey have roundels with folded-over 'petals' that also occur in South Yorkshire at Old Edlington on the S doorway. The connection between the slab and 'St Andrew'remains obscure - perhaps it relates to the provenance of the piece.


R. Holmes, “The boundary crosses of Pontefract”. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 13 (1895), 559-61.

N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth, 1959; 2nd. ed. revised by E. Radcliffe. 1967.

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