Building » Kirkbymoorside – St Chad

Kirkbymoorside – St Chad

Piercy End, Kirkbymoorside, York, North Yorkshire

An attractive late nineteenth century small stone-built church in lancet Gothic style, set within a churchyard on the edge of the conservation area. The church contains some furnishings of interest, notably some carved wooden panels from a seventeenth century altar previously at Gilling Castle. 

Kirbymoorside’s association with Ampleforth Abbey began in 1859, when Prior Cooper said Mass in a house in Piercy End. In 1867 his successor Prior Prest negotiated a lease on an old joiner’s shop in Tinley Garth (demolished in the 1960s), which served as a church and from 1877 doubled up as a school until the present church was built in 1897. This was built on land acquired from Lord Feversham, and the foundation stone was laid on Michaelmas day, 1896. The architect was Bernard Smith, a London architect and Amplefordian, and the contractor Anthony Lyons of Norton. The church was opened on 15 June 1897, when the Prior of Ampleforth preached. Mrs Barnes of Gilling gave a fine seventeenth century carved wooden altar from the old chapel at Gilling Castle, and this was supplemented by carved and painted reredos with saints, by Pippet of Birmingham.

In 1902 St Chad’s House was built as accommodation for the priest, abutting the east end of the church. At the time of the church’s Golden Jubilee in 1947 it was given a new stone altar, designed and carved by Fr Laurence Bevenot, a monk of Ampleforth. This replaced the old wooden altar from Gilling Castle, the carved panels from the front of which were incorporated in a new reredos. Fr Laurence also carved a reliquary in Blue Hornton stone for the relic of St Chad (which had been given to the church by the Archdiocese of Birmingham), and carved the Stations of the Cross.

At the time of the Diamond Jubilee in 1957 the present reredos was re-fashioned, still incorporating the panels from the old Gilling Castle altar, but in a more elaborate setting of carved wooden angels carved by John Bunting (art teacher at Ampleforth College), incorporating salvaged picture frames and mouldings. This and the Stations were gilded by a team of parishioners. The triple lancet east window was internally reconfigured in Perpendicular Gothic style and fitted with medieval stained glass fragments laid in an abstract pattern (this from the collection amassed by the father of the parish priest).  The ensemble was surmounted by an elaborate canopy, carved by Bunting, with angels and the dove of the Holy Spirit.


The church is built in the Early English style, of Sleightholmedale stone, with a slate roof. Aisleless nave, short square ended chancel, south porch. The west elevation is dominated by a large triple lancet window, and surmounted by a gabled bellcote containing one bell. The east window has a similar, smaller window arrangement (remodelled in Perpendicular style internally).  Lancet windows to nave, triple lancet to south chancel wall, bays marked by stepped buttresses. Gabled stone porch with slate roof at west end of south elevation. Attached stone-built presbytery attached to the east, with a single storey lean-to sacristy abutting chancel north wall.

The interior consists of two cells, the nave divided from the chancel by a moulded chancel arch. Open timber boarded roof, canted in the nave, pitched in the chancel. The main furnishings are the reredos, incorporating carved  seventeenth century panels (described above), the 1957 work (reredos in which the panels are set, tester) and the 1947 Stations. Plain benches in the nave installed in the early 1960s, by Thompson’s of Kilburn, who did so much work in the Ampleforth parishes.

In 1975 Fr Laurence’s altar and the altar rails were removed and a new freestanding wooden altar introduced (now replaced by a stone altar which is a cut-down version, or a free copy of Fr Laurence’s altar).

Amended by AHP 15.01.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Bernard Smith

Original Date: 1897

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed