St Martin’s Church

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The church stands in a grassy churchyard above the main road through Bulmer. It is a simple church with square tower with low battlements and small pinnacles. The nave is tall with a variety of window shapes and positions resulting from different rebuildings, with lower chancel beyond.

There first church on the site was Saxon and traces of herringbone masonry can still be seen on the north and south walls. The blocked north doorway has a Saxon arch. The Normans rebuilt and extended the chancel. The tower was added in the 15thC when the clerestory was added. A chantry chapel was built on the north wall but later demolished. Only its foundations remain. The south and east walls of the chancel were rebuilt by the Victorian, a priests door added as well as the south porch added.

On the east wall of the porch is a slab set in a geometric pattern to Christopher Thompson who died aged 78 in 1748. He ‘wrought iron and brass’ for 45 years for the earls of Carlisle.

There is another smaller inscription in a border on the south west corner of the tower.

Steps lead down into the church. It is a simple building with plastered walls and a rather fancy arch into the base of the tower.

Over the blocked north door is a very eroded Saxon cross head. The round 13thC font with octagonal stem and base is at the back of the church.

Furnishings are Victorian. The rood screen was fully restored in 1940 and there are some remains of th original woodwork on the chancel side.

Tucked away on the north wall by the pulpit is the effigy of a knight. This is thought to be Sir John de Bulmer d 1268, and is one of the oldest effigies in Yorkshire. The tomb was originally on the north wall of the chancel and may also have included a female figure. He was unceremoniously placed here sometime during the 18thC. He now rests on his side and his legs and the lower part of his body were removed to fit him into the space. Beneath him is another stone tomb slab, again on its side with carved decoration.

On the sanctuary steps and now partially covered by a carpet is a large slab recording that Charles Howard 3rd Earl of carlisle was buried in the church in 1738 and was later moved to the mausoleum at Castle Howard which was completed in 1742.

We called in while passing as we were intrigued by the Saxon masonry on the north wall. Inside it is a very simple church, with not a lot to merit a stop. The Saxon cross is very eroded and we had seen better at Hovingham.  

The church is open 9-5 and there is plenty of parking along the broad main street.

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