York, Bishophill Junior

The church is thought to be the oldest in York.  The first 20' of the west tower is built with 'saxa quadrata' squared stones, thought to have been pilferred from Roman buildings.  The 30' of tower above this consists of herringbone courses of magnesian limestone and gritstone, intermixed with pieces of Roman tile and irregularly coursed rubble.  Although the upper storey, above a projecting string course, appears of a different build the fact that putlog holes continue all the way up the tower has been taken as evidence that the whole structure was one build.  This is possible, although it is more likely that the putlog holes were added to the 2 phase structure later.  The 4 twin bell openings of the belfrey are set in apparently reused Roman stone and have a Saxon appearance.  The fine Romanesque tower arch has carved Saxon stones set in the wall around it, while there are traces of blocked doorways to the north and west.  Possibly there was also one to the south making this tower somewhat similar to the one at Wootton Wawen.  Certainly both towers are fine early structures.

Two wall stubs to the east of the tower suggest there was an early nave.  The current, larger nave would therefore be later than the tower.  The chancel has an ashlar east end, probably of the fourteenth century, however, the rubble masonry of the south wall could be considerably older.


Copyright©2021 Paul Martin Remfry

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