Crathorne - St Mary

Hutton Rudby Road, Crathorne, North Yorkshire

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This chapel is of exceptional importance on both historic and architectural grounds. The exterior is typically modest for a Catholic chapel of its time, but the interior is a remarkably complete survival and its ensemble of box pews, gallery and rich Gothick decoration is of the highest quality. 

The Crathorne family maintained the Catholic faith after the Reformation and, no doubt, Mass was held in the manor house. It is sometimes said (e.g. the list description) that a (or this) chapel was built in 1777 but this is challenged in Peter Markey’s publication. He cites a document of 1816 stating that the then chapel was ‘formerly a Cowhouse’ but there seems no firm evidence for the 1777 dating and this is probably a self-perpetuating tradition. Markey cites documents that indicate the chapel was complete by the end of 1821 and suggests it was probably the result of efforts by the ‘resident Missioner’, Fr George Corless, using funds from a donation by Ralph Crathorne in 1742 to endow the Crathorne mission. After much neglect the chapel was restored from the mid-1960s.

The list description is sparse but lists its essential features. The following additional points/corrections are worth noting:

  • There is one broad west gallery, not ‘galleries’.
  • The porch, following Markey (p.7) seems to be the work of the period mid-1960s-1977 (‘Fr. Dunstan has added … the new church porch’). It is therefore not ‘C19’ as in the list description.
  • The decorative treatment of the east end is quite notable: triple hanging arches at the nave/sanctuary junction; the pair of concave sided canopies over niches either side of the altar; and the decorative treatment of the reredos.

LIST DESCRIPTION:Roman Catholic 1777 built for the Crathorne family, Roman Catholics and former lords of the manor.
Local handmade light red brick, English garden wall bond. Welsh slate roof with stone gable coping, bracketed eaves.
One tall storey, three windows, Tudor arched and roll-moulded, with interlaced glazing bars and cill band.
C19 south-west porch in similar style.
Gothick interior with galleries and box pews.

Diocese: Middlesbrough

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1821

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II*