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English Church Architecture -

North Yorkshire.


SPROXTON, St. Chad (SE 614 816)     (May 2003)

(Bedrock:  Upper Jurassic, Ampthill Clay Formation)


This tiny building is reputed to have an Elizabethan origin, much of the fabric having been moved to this spot from the chapel of West Newton Grange, one and a half miles to the southeast, in 1879.  However, the attractive, three-light S. windows, with their rectangular outer lights set beneath stepped labels, were likened by Pevsner to others at Berwick-upon-Tweed, dated 1653.  The architects of the reconstruction were George Gilbert Scott Junior (1839-97) and Temple Moore (1856-1920), and probably principally the latter, for where he was brought in to help Scott, he often ended up with the lion’s share of the work and responsibility.  Moore was certainly careful in his handling of what he considered important earlier work in his restorations, so these windows are probably true to their sixteenth or seventeenth century form, but whether, as now, they were previously on the same side of the building, of course, is another matter entirely.  St. Chad’s has no N. windows, in common with a number of Moore’s smaller churches in which the principal façade is to the south, but it seems unlikely that this would have been the case at West Newton Grange also.


The church consists of a nave and chancel built as a single unit, and a small wooden bell-cote above the nave W. end.  The round-arched W. doorway bears a single small flat chamfer, and the wall above is pierced by an oval window.


Pevsner considered most of the church furnishings to be due to Moore, but the brief church guide is reluctant to attribute anything specific to him.  The chancel is panelled on all walls.  The rood screen is formed of heavy wooden balusters supporting three arched lights on either side of a wide, gated central section with a broken pediment through which the rood rises.  The figures of Christ on the Cross and, on either side, St. Mary and St. John, came from Oberammagan in Germany.  The chancel has an attractively tiled floor, and the plaster triptych in a heavy wooden frame which forms the reredos, depicts the Deposition in its central panel.  This is based on Michelangelo’s “Entombment” in the National Gallery.