St Ricarius, Aberford, Yorkshire, West Riding

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Feature Sets (2)


The old church, described by Sir Stephen Glynne as 'only a nave and chancel with western tower and spire...', with the exception of the tower was demolished in 1861, and rebuilt by Salvin (who also worked at Sherburn-in-Elmet) in 1861-2 and 1891. Photographs were taken in 1946 of photographs that had been taken during the demolition (Ryder reproduces three of these (plates 33, 148, 149)). The tower still has a few original (very worn) corbels and there is a small Norman window reset in the N wall of the chancel.


Solloway has suggested that there might have been a pre-Conquest monastery here. There is no mention in the Domesday Survey of a church, but according to Solloway, Stapleton in 1846 suggested 'Cudford' (not in the DS either) might be Aberford. Kirk says that the advowson was held by Ralph Paynelof Ilbert de Lacy. In 1166, Aberford and Becca were held by Richard le Gramaire (Faull and Moorhouse).


Exterior Features


Chancel, N wall


A small window 'inside-out' between the vestry and the chancel. Ryder (p. 27) describes it as a monolithic arched head of Anglo-Saxon type, but that 'it is stamped as post-Conquest by its chamfered hoodmould'. The window-head was presumably fractured when being moved.

Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels



Although Ryder says there is an ancient belfry (Ryder, 1993, 30), all window facings, the stonework of the belfry windows and some of the wall surface of the tower are all restoration, and with little attempt to look genuine. There is a scattering of corbels which are probably old. Their condition is too poor to merit individual description, but they seem to include masks and moulded forms.


There are similar towers at Bardsey and Ledsham (Ryder, 135). Ryder also links the 12thc. history of Bardsey with Kippax. The earlier church at Aberford, as seen in the old photographs, had herringbone walling and a tympanum at the south entrance, both features which could be compared to those surviving at Kippax. Kirk mentions simple plans traceable - here, Bardsey, Barwick-in-Elmet, Ledsham and Monk Fryston.


  • S. Glynne, 'Notes on Yorkshire Churches',Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 23 (1915), 126f.

  • G. E. Kirk, The Parish Church of Aberford, with a short notice of Lotherton Chapel, Shipley, 1959.

  • M. L. Faull and S. A. Moorhouse, eds., West Yorkshire: an Archaeological Survey to 1500, Wakefield, 1981.

  • N. Pevsner,The Buildings of England. Yorkshire: The West Riding, Harmondsworth, 1959. 2nd. ed. rev. by E. Radcliffe, 1967, 67.

  • P. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yokshire, 1993.

  • J. Solloway, Aberford: its church and parish, 1912 (1991).

Tower, S face, general view.
Church, various parts, early photos, pre-restoration (4 views).
Demolition, 1860-61 (photo of photo of photo).


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SE 434 372 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Yorkshire, West Riding
now: West Yorkshire
medieval: York
now: York
now: St Ricarius
medieval: St Ricarius (1456)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Rita Wood