All Saints Church

Church Lane, Bishop Burton, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire

Sitting in an elevated and prominent position overlooking the heart of a former estate village, All Saints parish church is the oldest surviving building (including the demolition of High Hall in 1952, built on the site of the medieval manor house of the Archbishop of York) in Bishop Burton, three miles to the west of Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

What survives of the church’s medieval fabric belongs predominantly to the 13th century style of gothic architecture. Visible fabric of this early date is existent solely in the west bell-tower; the rest of the church being rebuilt in at least two significant phases throughout the course of the 19th century. 

In 1820 the Revd. Robert Rigby, Vicar (also vicar of St Mary's, Beverley from 1791 until his death in 1823), and the churchwardens, Thomas Donkin and William Watson, submitted a faculty application to ‘pull down and take away’ the former nave and nave aisles; ‘the whole being in such ruinous and decayed a state as not to be capable of being properly retained’. The parish submitted four drawings drafted in 1820 by Watson & Pritchett (two exterior elevations labelled ‘A’, and two interior floor plans labelled ‘B’), ‘to erect and build or cause to be erected and built (with power to make use of or sell the old materials as shall be thought most advisable) a new nave and aisles to the said church upon the present foundation’. This included a new nave clerestory, which may have been present as a part of the fabric of the former building, although this is not specifically stated. A faculty was granted on Saturday 12th February 1820, and the faculty citation was published in the parish church by the Vicar on Sunday 13th February 1820, during Divine Service.

To which style of (gothic) architecture the former nave and nave aisles belonged before they were pulled down is not stated. The Historic England listing entry for the Grade II* listed church states the nave was of the early 13th century and the nave aisles were of the 14th century. The nave (inc. clerestory) and nave aisles were rebuilt by Watson & Pritchett in brick, faced with stone and the roofs were to be covered with 'the best Westmorland slate'. 

The faculty application also proposed to remove the ‘seats, stalls, pews and benches’, as well as ‘the pulpit, reading desk and parish clerks' pews’, which were all to be replaced, ‘in order to make the whole uniform and for the greater accommodation and convenience of the parishioners and inhabitants of the said parish attending to hear Divine Service and sermons performed therein’. The application also included proposals to renew the floors and pavements of the nave and nave aisles; to create a ‘Vault or Cellar’ for the purposes of heating the church, and to erect a Vestry in the north east corner of the church, adjoining the old chancel (which would not be rebuilt until John Loughborough Pearson’s rebuilding in c.1865). It is understood that all of these details were approved under faculty without conditions and readily undertaken within the year. Although a vague sense of the poor condition of the former seating arrangement and other furnishings is inferred in the description set out in the faculty application, there is no known information to determine their age and condition at the point of their removal. However, based on the seating arrangement illustrated in the ground plan of the church interior as it existed prior to the reordering, it is assumed that the interior was Georgian. The ground plan approved under faculty is marked with the central body of pews in the nave, reserved as ‘free seats’. Again, however, the nave interior was overhauled some years after the 1820 reordering and no known examples of the then new nave furniture survive today to be examined. It should be noted that the majority of the nave pews in-situ today are early 20th century, continental woodwork. 

The application was signed by the Vicar and churchwardens, who had ‘caused’ the work to be undertaken by at least the 20th September, 1821. 

The architectural design of the north and south aisles exterior elevations is uniform in character between bays, also in its fenestration and stylistic details down to the plinth and string courses. The overall character does not deviate from the utilitarian gothic design repeatedly adopted by Pritchett later in his career following a professional split from Charles Watson, in examples of his rebuilding at St Peter’s church, Brafferton (1832) and the York Minster song School (1833) and Minster Yard buildings Nos. 8 & 9 (1837). However the character of the interior cannot be said to be wholly in-keeping with Pritchett’s later work, and may demonstrate the stronger guiding hand of Charles Watson in the provision of octagonal piers with moulded capitals of the gothic style in the nave arcades. Details of the piers aside, the nave interior is lofty, but plain and unadorned. The present chancel arch is the work of Pearson c.1865. 

(Inspected 3 December 2022)

  •  West tower
    Image: West tower

  •  South nave aisle
    Image: South nave aisle

  •   South nave aisle (2)
    Image: South nave aisle (2)

  •  Nave interior from chancel
    Image: Nave interior from chancel

  •  Nave interior towards chancel
    Image: Nave interior towards chancel