St Michael & All Angels
An award winning Grade I church in the heart of the Thornhill Conservation Area which is said to have the best stained glass in Yorkshire outside of York Minster.
About this church
Welcome, you are in good company as there has been Christian worship on this site since Anglo Saxon times.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, this building is grade one listed and is included in Simon Jenkins' book 'England’s Thousand Best Churches'.
The church is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the fragments of Anglo Saxon memorials including crosses and a grave slab indicate that there has been a church here since at least the 9th century. Fragments of stones carved in the Norman and Early English styles mark rebuilding or extensions in the 12th and 13th centuries, the oldest surviving parts of the church are the 15th century tower, chancel and chancel chapels. Inscriptions on the stained glass windows give precise dates for the chancel and the chapels. The Savile Chapel on the north was first built in 1447 and extended eastwards in 1493. The south chapel was built in 1491 and the chancel was remodelled, 'clerestoried and arched' by 1499.
The nave of the church, probably an Anglo Saxon or Norman structure modified and enlarged in the 13th century, was pulled down in the l8th century. In 1777 the medieval nave was rebuilt as a 'preaching box', in a mixed gothic and Classical style. The dedication slab of the 1777 nave survives, as does a photograph of the nave. The Victorians condemned the 1777 nave as 'Churchwarden's Gothic' and 'in poor style'. It was rebuilt (with aisles again) in 1877-9 by the architect GE Street. The style of the architecture which he used was the 14th century Decorated style; this was chosen because it was the one style not represented in the building or among the fragments of architectural stonework. Street, also added the present south porch and vestry, the latter projecting beyond the cast end of the church. The 20th century added a fine organ in the north aisle with a detached console.