St Andrew’s Church

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St Andrew’s church is set on a steep hillside above the small village of Kirby Grindalythe. There has been a church on this site since Saxon times although the present building dates from the C12th. The church was in very poor condition by the C19th and Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere House paid for its restoration by GE Street. The restoration preserved the essence of the original church. The north arcade and north aisle were restored and the chancel was completely rebuilt. The church was in poor condition again at the start of the C21st and in danger of closure from falling masonry. With a grant from English Heritage the villagers raised money to carry out a major restoration to keep the church open. A note on the door explains the electrics are very old and have yet to be replaced. They have to be turned off at the mains when there is no-one in the church. The churchwardens are happy to turn the electrics on for visitors if contacted in advance. Even on a bright sunny day the church is dark inside and it takes the eyes some time to adjust to the poor light. The camera was struggling with some of the pictures.

It is an attractive church with pinnacled west tower with a tall spire. The long low nave and chancel have red tiled roofs. The original Norman doorway is on the west wall of the tower.

Entry is through the south porch and there are steps into the church. The Street restorations are very successful and form a satisfying whole. Low pointed arches separate nave and north aisle. The C19th carved capitals at the top of the pillars are have water leafs which are typical of the style found 1170-1210. Above is a small carved head.

The organ chamber was converted into a small north chapel which has a wrought iron screen around it. On the north wall set under a round arch with typical Norman carving is what is described as the ‘Founder’s Tomb’, although there is no evidence for this.

Unlike many of the other churches restored by Sykes, Kirby Grindalythe has an unpainted oak ceiling, said to be the result of a fit of economy by Sykes.

He didn’t economise when it came to the glorious mosaic on the west wall. This was made by the Venice and Murano Glass Company. Set around a Norman door is the risen Christ surrounded by angels. Below are Mary and the eleven disciples.

At the back of the church is the font which is a faithful copy of the original Norman font. The pulpit is pure C19th with a design made from different coloured rocks.

The rood screen was designed by Street and has Christ on the cross on the top with the Virgin Mary and St John.

The chancel floor is covered with brightly coloured tiles. The simple altar has a marble and alabaster reredos with the crucifixion. The frieze on either side of the altar shows the crucifixion of St Andrew on the north and St Peter crucified upside down on the south side. On the south wall is a three seater sedilia.

The church is much loved and obviously important to the villagers. It is definitely worth a visit, but do choose a bright sunny day.

It is open every day. There is a small gate on the side of the road into the village. We used this and parked on the verge. There was a steep drop down to the church through the grave yard. The main entrance to the church is down a side turning. Steps lead up from the lych gate to the church. Parking is restricted in the lane although there are places to park in the village.

There are more pictures “here.”:

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