Church of St John of Beverley

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Harpham is a delightful small Wold’s village just to the south of the busy A614, Bridlington road. Leaving the road behind, you are soon in the depths of the countryside.

There has been a church here since the C12th built by Roger de Stutville whose family had come across with William the Conqueror. The church was dedicated to St John of Beverley who was born in the village around 640AD and was canonised in 1037. After his death, the land passed to his sister who had married into the St Quintin family, who also arrived with William. The remains of a Norman window can be seen in the south wall of the nave near the porch.

In the C14th, the church was remodelled and extended by Sir William de Quentin who added a chapel to the north as the burial place of the St Quentin family. Sir William is buried in a splendid tomb between the chancel and north chapel. The square west tower was added later and Joan, wife of Sir William was given permission to crenellate the belfry in 1374. The church was renovated in the C19th when the porch was rebuilt and a new gallery built at the west end. The nave roof was raised by adding several courses of bricks to the top of the nave.

The church is a very plain rather uninspiring building from the outside, with a long low nave and chancel and tall tower. The inside has whitewashed walls and wood ceiling. At the back of the west end is a gallery. The organ is housed under the tower.

An arcade of pointed arches separates the nave from the north chapel. The Royal Coat of Arms hangs on the north wall. The plain box pews and pulpit are late C18th. The carved stone font at the back of the church is more recent. The rood screen is also modern. The chancel is very simple with a small altar under the east window.

Set under a crocketed ogee arch between the chancel and north aisle is the massive altar tomb of Sir William de St Quentin who died in 1349 with his wife Joan who died in 1388. Quatrefoils on the sides have blank shields. On the top are the engraved images of Sir William and Joan. On the wall next to this is a splendid memorial to Charlotte de Quintin who died in 1762, with a grieving angel draped over a Greek urn.

The north chapel has a simple altar with a few old benches. The C18th stained glass windows have the coats of arms of the St Quentins. On the north wall are two massive stone sarcophagi, but there is no information about who may have been buried in them. There is also an unnamed C14th effigy of a woman in long flowing robes. Covered by rush mats are brasses to C15th St Quintins. There is Sir Thomas who died in 1418 with his wife and also another Sir Thomas who died in 1445. There are wall tablets to other members of the St Quintin family.

The church is always open and there is a lot of information about the different members of the St Quentin family in the church. There is plenty of parking around the church. There are several steps down into the church.

There are more pictures “here.”:

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