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St Mary the Virgin, Beeston, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°46′21″N, 1°33′57″W)
SE 287 308
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now West Yorkshire
medieval York
now Ripon and Leeds
  • Rita Wood
25 Jan 2000, 07 Mar 2014

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Feature Sets

Beeston is a parish about 3 km from the centre of Leeds. The church was rebuilt in the 19thc. (chancel, 1877, nave 1885-86 by C. H. Thornton). Kirk says: 'The oldest surviving feature is the inner arch of the outer doorway of the vestry. This arch consists of ... worked stones which were removed from the walls of the old chapel at its demolition in 1885'. These 12 stones are fragments, probably from more than one arch, and of c.1130. (Kirk, 1936; Ryder 1993, p. 33).


In 1086 the Domesday Book described Beeston as ‘waste’, i.e. land that was not paying geld or had been wasted during the conquest. It was held by Ilbert de Lacy but no church was recorded. In 1294 a woman anchorite was enclosed (Reg. Romeyn, card index at Borthwick Institute).


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Knaresborough has a length of string course with a saltire pattern, one diagonal lying over the other, that is similar to the stones at Beeston. The same pattern is also used at Campsall on an arch of voussoirs, and there the overall effect is more like a interwoven chevron pattern than saltire crosses. (fieldworker)


Faculty Book 1789 (Borthwick Institute Archives), p. 435.

G. E. Kirk, Beeston, Leeds: Its Ancient Parochial Chapelry, Chapel and Present Church of St Mary the Virgin, Leeds, 1936.

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

N. Pevsner and E. Radcliffe, The Buildings of England. Yorkshire: West Riding, Harmondsworth, 1967, 325.

P. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire, Wakefield, 1993, 33 and 141.