History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of the City of York

by Peter Kessler, 6 March 2011



Outer York Part 3: Churches of Askham Richard, Rufforth & Hessay

St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church, Askham Richard, is on the eastern side of Jackson's Walk, off Main Street. The first record of a church here dates to 1086, probably a wooden Saxon building. The present single cell church is Norman, built in rubble masonry, and it was given to Nun Monkton Priory in the 1130s. It was partly rebuilt in 1887 (or 1878-1879), when chancel arch, vestry and porch were added. Askham Richard Wesleyan Methodist Church was nearby in 1848, but has since gone.

Rufforth Methodist Church

Rufforth Methodist Church is on the eastern side of Wetherby Road, midway between the junctions with Victoria Farm Close and Gable Park. The chapel was built in 1843. Little is known of its history, but in more recent years it has come to the rescue of the village in its efforts to save the local post office at a time when hundreds of offices across the country were being closed down. The chapel supplied a store room which was converted and opened as a part-time post office.

All Saints Church

All Saints Church, Rufforth, is at the north-east corner of Wetherby Road and Pear Tree Farm in the middle of the village. The first church here was either late Saxon or early Norman, but nothing of its history can be uncovered. The present church was built in 1894-1895, designed in the decorated Gothic style by the architects Domaine and Brierley of York, with accommodation for 120. Externally, the building is of Killinghall stone with Whitby stone dressings.

All Saints Church

Internally, suitable stone from the old church has been used, and the two Norman doorways were preserved and refitted inside the new building. The interior underside of the roof is of oak, barrel vaulted with carved bosses and carved figures. The church was refurbished in 1998. In 2007 the bells were increased to six, forcing the clock to be stopped while the work was carried out. The new bells were salvaged from a redundant Methodist church in the Midlands.

Hessay Methodist Church

Hessay Methodist Church stands on the northern side of Main Street at the very western end of the village. Hessay appears to be very poorly documented, with almost nothing to be found either on the Methodist church or the nearby parish church of St John the Baptist (below). The village itself has a population a little below two hundred and, until 1996, it was in the Harrogate district of the North Riding of Yorkshire, and lies about eight kilometres (five miles) away from York.

Church of St John the Baptist

The Church of St John the Baptist, Hessay, occupies an open plot on the western side of New Road, midway between the village to the south and the railway line to the north. Within the parish of Moor Monkton in 1821, the village was given to St Mary's Abbey in York by Osbern de Archis, probably in the twelfth or thirteenth century, and remained in their possession until the Dissolution  under Henry VIII. No other information on the church itself can be uncovered.

All photos on this page contributed by Colin Hinson.

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