The ancient church of St Gregory’s Minster sits in the scenic valley of Kirkdale, almost surrounded by woods. The church was rebuilt between 1055 and 1065 when the existing one fell down. Parts of that church survive in the south, west and east walls of the nave, the west wall archway, and parts of the arch from the nave into the chancel. Two tomb slabs from the very first church exist under the arcade in the church interior.
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In the 12th century the south doorway replaced a previous entrance on the west side. In the 13th century the north aisle and arcade of three arches cutting through the north wall of the nave were built. The east wall lancet windows date from that time. In the 15th century the chancel arch was enlarged and windows were put in the south wall of the nave and east wall of the vestry. The south porch was added sometime after this.
In 1663 the chancel was re-roofed. The 18th century saw the addition of a western gallery and box pews. The tower was added at the west end in 1827 while 1881 saw a complete rebuilding of the chancel giving it a high, steep-pitched roof. The church interior was restored in 1907-09. At this time the box pews and gallery were removed.
In the church is an old stone quern excavated from the churchyard, various sculptural fragments, a 13th century font and piscina, and a 15th century statue of the Virgin and child. The church has two bells, dating from 1300 and 1500. The organ, altar rails, choir stalls, reredos and screen are early 20th century.
The triple lancet east window glass is by C.E. Kempe (1914). The workshop of Robert Thompson, the Mouseman, created the chair in the sanctuary and the processional cross (look for his trademark, the carving of a mouse).
In the outer wall of the nave above the south doorway under the porch is an Anglo-Saxon sundial. The stone slab measures 8 feet in length and 20 inches in width. In the center with the dial is an Old English inscription. There are panels on both sides of the dial with further inscriptions.
The church is located on a minor road off the A170 west of the town of Kirkbymoorside.
Photos © by Barbara Ballard