St Michael & All Angels

Regarded as one of England's 1000 best churches, St Michael & All Angels is easily overlooked but visitors would do well to stop and enjoy the remarkable peace of this thin place in the heart of Swaledale.

About this church

Situated 4 miles from Richmond, adjacent to the A6108, St Michael & All Angels dates from 1180 and was at the centre of the village of Downholme until the plague affected the area and the village was removed to a new position a mile away. Downholme is referred to as 'Dune' in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The village's name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word 'dun' meaning hill. The suffix 'holme', comes from the Anglo Saxon word 'holegn' meaning holly and appears to have been added at a later date. The stone exterior of this suggests more than a primitive Dales chapel. There is decorated tracery, including the 14th century east window that is described as 'three trefoiled ogee lights with reticulated tracery above and within a two centred double chamfered arch with a label'.

The south doorway is Norman and original to the building. Amongst the points of interest are: The 14th century gravestone incorporated into the 18th century porch, depicting a stepped cross with a flowered head, all in incised lines, and with a pair of shearsby its side. The stone coffin near the chancel door that is thought to be Saxon. The large hatchments on the north wall depicting the arms of the Hutton family, whose magnificent memorial is in the chancel of St Mary's, Richmond.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Level access throughout
  • Car park at church
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Other nearby churches

St Mary the Virgin

Raised on a hillside above the River Swale, the history of Christian church building can be traced through the fabric of St Mary's from the 12th to the 21st centuries.


St Agatha

St Agatha's is a beautiful church dating from the 6th century.

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