Hedon is now a small market town but in the C12th it was a flourishing town, major port and the most important shipping centre on the north bank of the River Humber. St Augustine’s Church reflects the importance and standing of Hedon, hence it’s local name. “The King of Holderness”
Unfortunately by the C15th, Hedon’s importance as a port had moved to Hull which offered better facilities. The Black Death had killed off many of the population and the merchants and trades people no longer had the money to complete the building of the church on the lavish scale originally planned.
The church replaced an earlier church. Building of the chancel and transepts began at the end of the C12th followed by the nave which was eventually completed by 1350. The tower was the last part of the church to be built in the C15th and the money to build it was raised by a special church rate levied on the Burgesses. They got value for money with its crocketed pinnacles, tracery windows and decorated parapet
The outside of the building is more impressive than the inside which feels a bit sterile. It is worth walking round the outside to admire the Norman south and west doors and the chevron carving round the windows of the north transept.
Just inside the north door propped against the wall is a massive C13th black granite tomb slab with a carving of the tree of life with a cross at the top. Near it is an old font, thought to have come from one of the Holderness churches lost to the sea.
The nave is Decorated with an arcade of graceful pillars and pointed arches with clerestory windows above, separating nave and side aisles. The transepts and chancel have an arcade with a wall passage running round the top of the walls which is reached by stone staircases above the crossing arches.
The font at the back of the south aisle is C14th and has unusual carvings of flower motifs and heads around the bowls. The pulpit is modern, replacing an older one. Pews are 19th.
In the chancel is the remains of a C14th effigy thought to be one of the Burgess of Hedon complete with sword and money bag. Behind is the remans of a thee seat sedilia.
The reredos behind the high altar is C20th and has the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments and the Creed set in gilded arches. The east window is 19thC. At the top is St Augustine with other saints and apostles as wells as scenes of the Crucifixion and Ascension. To one side is a splendid medieval tall backed priest’s chair. On the floor are Minton tiles.
There is a small stall selling cards, knitted small toys and decorative paper boxes.
The church is kept locked, but a key can be obtained from either Nutmeg’s Cafe in the Market Place, or Frames on Souttergate. There is an hour’s free parking in the Market place and the church is just a short walk. There is a large board at the base of the small north door to negotiate to gain entry to the church. This may cause problems for wheelchair users.
The town is still a thriving small market town serving the local area with a good range of small shops. The outside of the church is definitely worth a look, rating 5*. I’m not so sure about the inside which we found disappointing, hence the lower star rating.
There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/yorkshire/east_riding/east_two/hedon/index.html