New St Stephen’s Church

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February, 2016

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Set in Robin Hood’s Bay, this replaced the earlier church of Old St Stephen. In 1857, a new vicar arrived, Rev Robert Jermyn Cooper, who had studied at Oxford and came from a high church background. He was a staunch supporter of the Oxford Movement who disliked the Georgian form of worship based on the pulpit and wanted the reinstatement of earlier traditions of faith and ceremony. Rather than trying to alter the old church of St Stephen, he funded the building a new church, which would also be more accessible to the people of Robin Hoods Bay.

The new church is built in the Victorian Gothic style and was designed by G E Street in 1870. It is a rather sparse building with a tall and narrow offset tower with a rounded apse and bright red tiled roof.

Inside it is a large building with plain stone walls and a stone vaulted ceiling in the apse. An arcade of octagonal pillars with carved capitals of vine leaves separates the nave from the south aisle.

The old Norman font was found buried in a field and has been returned to the church and stands near the chancel arch.

Steps lead up to the high altar in the apse. A screen on the south side of the chancel separates a small chapel.

The stained glass was designed by Henry Holliday, who was considered to be a member of the Pre-Raphaelite group. It is brightly coloured and the windows in the south wall are remarkably modern looking. The west window is much more traditional.

There is little information about the church on the web. Although built only fifty years after the old church, it is completely different.

The church is open daily from 10-5. On a dull day, it can be quite dark inside. I was lucky as I arrived as someone was coming to check on the flowers and could put the lights on for me. These are in a cupboard in the room at the back of the west wall. There is plenty of parking along the road. The post code is YO22 4TH and the grid reference is NZ 948053.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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