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All Saints, Barwick-in-Elmet, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°49′52″N, 1°23′26″W)
SE 402 374
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
now Ripon and Leeds
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
01 May 2001; 24 Mar 2014

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Feature Sets

The village of Barwick-in-Elmet is now subsumed within the suburbs of Leeds. Very little of the 12thc church remains, essentially the plan of the nave and chancel as marked by the quoins, recorded by H. M. Chippindale (Colman, 1908; Kirk 1933). 'The eastern responds of the 15th-century arcades seem to be built up against earlier responds composed, like the eastern nave quoins, of megalithic blocks of almost Anglo-Saxon appearance’ (Ryder 1993, 27, illus. 35). Although no chancel arch survives, herringbone walling survives in all three walls of the chancel, and a round-headed window in the N wall of the chancel (Leach and Pevsner 2009, 112). No Romanesque sculpture. The church was restored by G. Fowler Jones and re-opened in 1856; he blocked a priest’s door still visible inside (Colman 1908).


In 1086 Barwick was part of the Ledston lordship and belonged to the manor of Kippax, and Barwick and Kippax had the same Saxon and Norman lords (Colman 1908). Barwick castle was fortified 1135-54 (Faull and Moorhouse). There are Lacy connections: in 1190 the rector was a William de Vescy, brother-in-law to Henry de Lacy, the patron (Colman, 54-55).


Exterior Features




Colman and Ryder compare Kippax and Barwick churches, saying the dimensions are practically identical (Ryder 1993), although Kippax lost its chancel. Barwick has its chancel but the nave was enlarged (58 x 23’6”). Kirk says the dimensions of the chancel (25’6” x 17') are almost identical with Adel. (Kirk 1933)

Ryder considers that ‘the nave and chancel walls may be late 11thc or early 12thc. with herringbone masonry, as at Kippax. Barwick replaced Kippax as the administrative centre for this part of the honour of Pontefract around 1100. Both villages have early earthwork castles (Ryder 1993, 140). The term 'motte' is not used, ringwork being preferred. Ryder also speculates that the the plan of the original church may have had transepts, side chapels or even a porticus (1993, 27).


E. Coatsworth,Western Yorkshire. CASSS vol. VIII, Oxford, 2008.

F. S. Colman, “A History of the parish of Barwick-in-Elmet in the county of York”. Thoresby Society Publications, Leeds, 1908.

M. L. Faull & S. A. Moorhouse, eds., West Yorkshire: an Archaeological Survey to 1500, Wakefield, 1981.

G. E. Kirk, Barwick-in-Elmet: notes on the Parish Church, Rectory House, Village Cross, Maypole and Earthworks, Leeds, 1933.

P. Leach and N. Pevsner, Yorkshire West Riding:Leeds, Bradford and the North, London, Yale University Press, 2009.

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