Christ Church

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Appleton-le-Moors is an isolated village in the middle of nowhere. The attractive stone houses are arranged along the main street with green lanes running down the backs of them. The village is mentioned in Doomsday Book, but the village was a chapel of ease attached to Lastingham.

The church was built in 1868 when Appleton became a separate parish. Designed by the celebrated architect J L Pearson, it has been described as “a little gem among moorland churches”.

It is a simple structure with nave, chancel and east apse and offset tower and tower. It is built from local stone, making use of variations in colour to form bands. Red Mansfield stone pillars with carved capitals provide a contrast. The door pillars have elaborately carved capitals and support pointed arches with star and billet mouldings. There is a narrow carved frieze round the outside walls.

Entry is through the west door into a narthex which seems very dark after the sunlight outside. Even though I had seen pictures on google images, nothing prepares you for the impact of the first sight of the inside of the church with its boat shaped King post roof. It is difficult to know where to look first.

Pale and darker sandstone pillars have highly carved capitals and support plain pointed arches. Different coloured stones form a pattern round the top of the nave and chancel. There is a carved frieze round the chancel.

The pulpit, north chapel and chancel have bas relief figures set on a pale plum background, reminiscent of Wedgewood cameos. Plum coloured wrought iron gates lead into the chancel.

The pulpit has figures of Noah, Moses, Elijah, Jonah, John the Baptist , Peter and Paul, set in small stone arches.

The reredos has a depiction of the Last Supper. Above is a cross with the symbols of the four apostles in the corners and angels on either side. On the left is the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the right is Jesus carrying his cross on Via Dolorosa. This theme is continued in the five lancet windows above.

The Lady Chapel to the north of the chancel is separated from it by a very stylish pointed arch which has a round opening above two smaller arches supported on pillars with very carved capitals. The arches are decorated with lozenge designs. The panel round the wall has scenes of rough seas illustrating Psalm 107.

At the back of the church is a pale stone quadrifoil shaped font with a narrow band of carving round the top and standing on four double pillars with carved capitals.

Lighting is by light bulbs set in coronas hanging from the roof. The simple wood pews act a a foil to the grandeur of the rest of the church.

At the back of the church is a table with help yourself to tea, coffee, squash or fruit juice with biscuits, including a box of home made biscuits.

This is a most unusual church and completely different to any other in the area. The decoration didn’t appeal to our taste, but it is splendid and definitely one to add to the list. The church is open daylight hours and there is parking on the road outside.

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