I am sure many people believe that The Church of England is a large, immensely rich organisation that can afford to pay for the thousands of churches and cathedrals scattered across the country-nothing could be further from the truth. In actual fact the Diocese places on each church congregation an obligation to remit a sum of money annually to pay for priests stipends and pensions for retired clergy. Admittedly the amount to be paid is based on the numbers attending each church-but a formula amends the amount on an estimation of the “wealth” of an area, so that a church in a deprived inner city area would not be asked to pay as much as a comfortable village like ours .This, together with the cost of electricity and fuel oil, means that our Treasurer has to find £350 a week to pay for the cost of the church in our village. We also have to pay for statutory inspections of the church fabric, its electrical system and Fire Extinguishers-as well as clearing gutters and drains and paying for roof repairs and other defects.

Our small but dedicated congregation do their best to raise more funds by holding events throughout the year - Quizzes, concerts and fairs etc .Each Autumn around the Harvest Festival we hold a Gift Day ,when many villagers -who are not necessarily church goers-generously donate money to the church because they value its place in our village society. Our church is an historic landmark that has stood at the centre of our village since at least 1080 and possibly earlier. The sign “ANCIENT CHURCH” on the A59 draws admiring visitors from all over the world -last year we had visitors from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The churches’ presence enhances the prestige of our village and everyone should be proud of it.

So this is the point-people want a church like ours to be proud of and to use for Weddings, Christening and sometimes (sadly) Funerals- but like everything these days it comes at a cost. We would ask all members of the village to ponder on the possibility that our church could be placed on the list of redundant churches because we couldn’t afford to keep it open. A Monthly Standing Order of about the same cost as a take-away meal by those who felt they could afford it would change the situation markedly. Lets make sure we pass our church on to future generations for them to enjoy in the same way that we have .If you feel you can help in this way, please contact either Les Hornby (Church Treasurer),the Rev Paul Spurgeon, Mrs Barbara Taylor or myself for Bank Details.

Many thanks




There are several mysteries about Kirk Hammerton Church, not the least of them, how and why such an impressive stone structure came to be built at such a small place when the Saxons rarely built in stone. Perhaps the solution may be found by considering both the site and the materials. The hill on which the Church is built is almost certainly artificial and may perhaps have formed part of some military fortifications erected not by the Saxons but the Romans. Similarly, it is noticeable that the squared stones used in the tower are of a type quite different from those used in the rest of the Saxon structure and are of a sort frequently used by the Romans. Indeed, some architectural historians have claimed to see signs of Roman toolwork on some. Could it be that the church was built of stone here at this point of time because the builders were merely re-using materials from some earlier Roman structure?

The church itself, now dedicated to St. John the Baptist, but originally – and for more than six centuries – dedicated to St. Quentin, was probably begun during the reign of King Edward the Confessor some time between 1040 and 1066 and is thus an almost exact contemporary of the two other major Saxon churches at Barton - upon-Humber and Earls Barton. It consisted of the present tower, south nave and chancel and the best view of it can be gained from standing to the south west of the church. Characteristic features to note from here are the division of the tower into two stages by a square stone string-course, the twin bell openings with their round colonettes and the large quoins (alternately large and small corner-stones) all the way up the outside. If a visitor does stand here,he will also see one of the other puzzling features of the church: the Saxons rarely had more than one door, yet Kirk Hammerton church not merely has two extant Saxon doors (one in the W. wall and one in the S.),but there are signs it had three (there is one a few feet to the right of the door in the S.wall) This Saxon church was mentioned in The Doomsday Book where it describes Kirk Hammerton as possessing ‘land for several ploughs, a mill, a fishery, a church and a priest.’

After the Norman Conquest there were two important changes. Firstly the parish ceased to be independent. After the building of the Benedictine Priory at Nun Monkton in 1150,the parish ceased to have a priest of its own, but merely priests in charge appointed by the Priory Chapter.

Also certain structural alterations were made to the church. First and most important, a sort of stone lean-to was added to give the church a new north isle and the original north wall was made into the Gothic arcade which can still be seen between the two parts of the church. At this stage, though, the north nave and chancel would still be subsidiary to the original Saxon buildings with altars in both chancels.

Over the course of these centuries too, one after another, the original Saxon windows were taken out and new Gothic windows were inserted in their place (examples of these can be seen in the lancet in the south wall and the fine perpendicular east window) and the walls of the old Saxon portion were covered in fine murals of the sort often painted in churches (a fragment of it can still be seen on the inner side of the chancel arch in the old church).

After all these changes, little happened for many centuries. After the Dissolution of the Monastries, Kirk Hammerton acquired a vicar of its own and it would be during this period that the murals would probably be painted over and obliterated.

However, even as late as 1833, the Church still looked in all essentials, the way it had done in the middle ages. Then in the Nineteenth Century, it was tampered with, not once, but twice! The first time was in 1834 when the Mediaeval lean-to was extended and refurbished in the Protestant style then popular. At this time, the Church contained a wooden gallery, box pews, a Royal Coat of Arms hung over the chancel arch between the two tables of the commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. However, in all essentials, even then, the old Early English north Chapel survived, as can be seen from photographs of the time. But then, in the years following 1890 came the most drastic rebuilding of all. In a series of revolutionary changes, Col. E. W. Stanyforth had the old porch removed, the whole of the now updated Early English Chapel completely demolished, so that not a trace of it remains now, and what amounts to a completely new Church designed by H. Fowler added in its place. Only the original Saxon structure was spared and this had the ignominy of being transformed from the main part of the Church to a mere side Chapel to the south of the main aisle. It is in this totally revolutionised Church that the present day visitor sees and interested visitors will notice the great influence of High Church ideas and the pre-Raphaelite movement on the Church.