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Ledsham Church
Wikimedia Commons

All Saint’s Church is an active Anglican church in Ledsham, West Yorkshire. It is in the BeneficeCollection of parishes working together under a single incumbent. of Ledsham with Fairburn, the Deanery of Selby and the Archdeaconry and Diocese of York, and is a Grade I listed building.[1] The church has Anglo-Saxon origins, and is possibly the oldest extant building in West Yorkshire.

It has been much altered, extended and restored, but retains ancient stonework from different phases of building and memorials to local dignitaries who lived at Ledston Hall
Grade I listed former country house in West Yorkshire, now divided into residences.
including Dame Mary Bolles17th-century Yorkshire woman uniquely created a baronetess in her own right. and Lady Elizabeth Hastings.[2]


Ledsham Church has a very early foundation, possibly 700 AD, and it may have been “the monastery that lies in Elmet Wood” referenced by Bede in 731 AD, which make it the oldest extant building in West Yorkshire. The church has been altered and extended many times.[3]

The Saxon church had a nave, a small chancelPart of a church containing the altar, used by the officiating clergy., a two-storey west porch, a south, and probably a north, porticusSide chamber typically added to the north and south sides of early Christian churches to give the building an overall cruciform plan.. The west porch was raised into a tower in the 11th century, and the belfryStructure in which bells are hung. and steeple added in the 12th-century Norman style. The chancel was replaced in the 13th century, and the church was enlarged by the addition of a north aisle in the Perpendicular style in the 15th century. In 1871 the church was restored by the Victorian architect Henry Curzon.[4]


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West tower
Wikimedia Commons

The church is built from local Carboniferous sandstone and paler Cadeby Formation Dolomitic limestone, and has a stone slate roof.[5] Its plan consists of a naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety. with a north aisle and south porch, a chancel and a north chapel. The Saxon part of the tower is of sandstone rubble, and above it the Norman belfry is of Magnesian Limestone ashlar. On the south side is a Saxon doorway surrounded by a restored band decorated with a carved vine scroll and a small window with a head carved from a single stone. The belfry stage has louvred two-light windows on all sides, below a corbelStructural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent load. table and corner gargoyles, an embattled parapet with crocketed corner pinnacles, and an octagonal spire.[1]

The three-bay nave has a gabled porch, made from the south porticus, between three-light Perpendicular windows. The north aisle has two windows each of three arched lights with hollow spandrels from the 15th century. The chancel has three lancet windowsTall, narrow window typically associated with the Gothic architectural style., a priest door, and a five-light east window. The north chapel has a Perpendicular east window of three cusped lights, with a traceried head.[1]

Inside at the west end of the nave is a Norman round-headed tower arch, with an earlier round-headed window above it. At the east end is the restored Saxon chancel arch. On the north side is a Perpendicular aisle arcade with octagonal columns with moulded caps supporting two-centred arches. Remains of Anglo-Saxon masonry are incorporated in the aisle’s north wall. The north chapel contains family monuments with life-sized effigies of Lady Mary Bolles recumbent on a tomb chest, Sir John and Lady Lewis reclining on a sarcophagus, and Lady Elizabeth Hastings reclining on a wall-mounted sarcophagus, all of them residents of nearby Ledston Hall.[1]