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St Mary the Virgin, Long Preston, Yorkshire, West Riding

(54°1′7″N, 2°15′0″W)
Long Preston
SD 837 581
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now North Yorkshire
formerly Bradford
medieval York
  • Rita Wood
23 Oct 2009

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Feature Sets

The village is on the main road A65, between Skipton and Settle. It has farms, Victorian and earlier houses, and a railway station. The church has a W tower, a nave with aisles, and a chancel that was rebuilt in 1868. The arcades seem 14thc. The font is the only remaining Romanesque element.


The Domesday Survey mentions that Ulf had 3 carcates for geld, and one church (VCH II 290); Roger the Poitevin had 3 carucates (VCH II 307n). Roger forfeited the lands in 1102 (VCH II 261n, 289n35).

Pevsner (1967, 356) notes that the churchyard is adjacent to two Roman forts, one inside the other and associated with the Roman road running up from Ribblesdale to Ribchester.





Pevsner: ‘Font circular, with very tall, tapering bowl. The date probably Norman, but whether early or later, or indeed pre-Norman, it seems impossible to say.’

Morris: ‘very rude, hexagonal font…’.

The basin of the font must be original, and its shape and measurements are comparable with those of the early twelfth-century font at Horton-in-Ribblesdale; the rim of the Horton font is a similar width to the widest parts of the font at Long Preston. Land at both Long Preston and at Horton-in-Ribblesdale was held by Roger the Poitevin and forfeited in 1102. Horton is 12 miles from Long Preston.

A white sandstone was noted used at Dent for facings of the late twelfth-century north doorway: the source of stone has not been identified.

A cylindrical font might have been reshaped into something vaguely hexagonal in the thirteenth century, but the cylinder (or truncated cone) was irregular and a perfect reshaping could not be achieved. Fonts elsewhere were reshaped, as at Ryther (West Riding) and Goodmanham (East Riding). It is probable that the heavy retooling (‘rustic’) was a modern improvement.


P. Leach and N. Pevsner, Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North. Yale (2009), 579.

J. E. Morris, The West Riding of Yorkshire. London, 2nd ed. (1923), 344.

N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: West Riding.The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, 1959. 2nd. ed. revised E. Radcliffe (1967), 355-356.

Victoria County History of Yorkshire, vol. II (1974), 261, 289, 290, 307.