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English Church Architecture -

North Yorkshire.


APPLETON-LE-STREET, All Saints (SE 735 736)     (April 2015)

(Bedrock:  Upper Jurassic, Lower Calcareous Grit Member)


This is an excellent little building, as well as by far the most important of the line of small churches strung out along the B1257 between Malton and Hovingham, on account both of its age and its relative freedom from Victorian restoration.  Park in the car park behind the church when visiting, in order to obtain an uninterupted view, across the small field from the southeast (as illustrated above).


Paramount here is the Saxon W. tower, rising in three unbuttressed stages, probably - to judge from the two-light bell-openings in the second and third stages, with their slightly bulging baluster mullions between the lights - of tenth century date.  (Cf., for example, the bell-openings in the tenth century tower at Barton-on-Humber, North Lincolnshire.)  Pevsner, however, considered the third stage to represent a heightening of the tower, probably.... in the early twelfth century, and on conservative lines, which is a judgement he might have based on the zigzag decoration on the shafts and the slightly different quality of the masonry.

The present doorway to the church (left), in the N. wall of the tower, is clearly a late Norman insertion.  The arch is formed of two chamfered orders with the outer order supported on side-shafts with waterleaf capitals, unlikely to predate c. 1190.  The doorway is enclosed within the most basic of porches, comprising two simple wall pieces with a couple roof balanced on top.  The present tower arch - which has spread widely towards the north and is formed of a single chamfered order supported on jambs chamfered at the angles but without attached shafts - may be contemporary with the N. doorway.


As for the rest if the church, this consists of a chancel and two-bay aisled nave which are Early English or very early fourteenth century in most of their details.  The chancel retains two tall and slender S. lancets, and a third pierces the N. aisle E. wall and a fourth, the S. aisle W. wall.    The N. arcade consists of pointed arches carrying two narrow flat chamfers, supported on a circular pier and responds formed of keeled shafts attached to jambs chamfered at the angles - the work, perhaps, of the mid thirteenth century.  The S. arcade (right) appears a little later and may be contemporary with the three-light E. window in the aisle, which has cinquefoil-cusped intersecting tracery commensurate with c.1300-10. The arches are similar to their northern counterparts but the pier and responds are octagonal and semi-octagonal.


The nave roof has clearly been dramatically lowered at some stage in its evolution as a former and very much steeper gable line can be seen fossilized against the E. wall of the tower.  That this was not the original roof either, is evident from the way it bisects the bell-openings.  Finally, furnishings in the church do not amount to much but most noteworthy are the communion table and altar rails, chiefly because they can be precisely dated to the year 1636, when a visiting commission ordered that they should be remade.  There are several eighteenth and nineteenth monuments on the chancel N. wall, but none of them are special.