All Saints’ Church

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Bishop Burton is an attractive village of white painted houses around the large village green and equally large pond with ducks and geese. The church stands on a rise to the south.

There has probably been a church here since the C8th consecrated by St John of Beverley. In the Middle Ages, it was an important manor of the Archbishop of York. Nothing is left of the Bishop’s Palace which stood to the east of the churchyard.

The low squat tower dates from the C13th. It would have had a spire, but this was pulled down in the C17th. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in the C19th, reusing some of the original stone.

Inside it is a large church with arcades of octagonal pillars with pointed arches separating nave and side aisles. Stained glass in the side aisles is Victorian with some Kempe glass. The clerestory windows are plain glass making the church feel light and airy. The chancel feels much darker in comparison.

The glorious deep golden pews were made from Austrian oak in the 1920s. The end panels were carved in Bruges with images of all the saints.

On the wall near the south west corner of the church is a Norman carving of the Virgin Mary.

In the opposite corner is the alabaster tomb of Rachel Gee, wife of Sir William Gee of Bishop Burton Hall, who died in 1649. The small figure at her head is described as her daughter Elizabeth on the information board in the church, but the time line guide says it is her son, William. The tomb was found in a vault under the chancel during the C19th restoration and placed her. On the wall next to it is the coat of arms of the Parker family of Ratton in Suffolk. Rachel was a Parker.

High on the west end of the church are three hatchments. At the top is that of the Dean and Chapter of York. Below are two hatchments of members of the Watt family.

On a window ledge in the south aisle is a carved wooden bust of John Wesley made from the wood of the wych elm tree he often preached under in the village. The bust was originally in the Wesleyan Chapel but was thrown out when it became infested with woodworm. It was bought by the vicar who paid for it to be treated and restored and then placed it in the church. On the wall near it is a memorial to the seventeen airmen accidentally killed at Beverley Aerodrome in 1917-8.

The altar has a glorious C19th mosaic reredos by Clayton and Bell, with a scene of the breaking of the bread at the Last Supper in the centre.

The church is open daily. It is best to park round the green and walk. There is a ramp and a low step into the church.

There are more pictures “here.”:

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