St Gregory's Minster, Kirkdale
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'One would look far before finding a place which surpasses Kirkdale for the combination of beauty of setting with historic and architectural interest.' Few would disagree with these opening words of St Gregory's Minster's guide book written by Richard Fletcher. Kirkdale's most famous monument is the ANGLO-SAXON SUNDIAL situated just above the main doorway under cover of the C18th porch. It is well preserved owing to its having been covered by a coating of plaster for several centuries prior to 1771 and to the subsequent protection afforded by the porch. The Old English inscriptions on the sundial tell us that St Gregory's was bought by Orm Gamelson when it was in ruins and he had it rebuilt. It tells us that this was during the period when Tostig was Earl of Northumbria, 1055-1065. The earliest phase of the present building was therefore within this decade. The inscription makes it clear that the church built by Orm replaced an earlier one and expert scholarly opinion, on the evidence of decorated stone slabs and more recent excavations, dates the history of the site to about 750 or perhaps even earlier. There are several more interesting items within the church.
The present-day church community is pleased to welcome visitors from all over the world who, judging by their comments in the visitors book, are delighted to find the church open during the day. During summer weekends, volunteer stewards are on hand to help people make the most of their visit. By prior arrangement it may be possible for groups to be given a guided tour.
The Friends of St Gregory's Minster make financial contributions towards the maintenance of the fabric of this tiny Minster and new members are always welcome. At the AGM, usually in May, a short business meeting is followed by the Kirkdale Lecture, the subject of which is usually of a historical nature pertaining to Kirkdale or the surrounding area, given by experts in this field. Notice of the Lecture is posted on the noticeboard at the appropriate time and non-members are welcome to attend. The Friends hold an annual lunch following the Patronal Festival Service in September and also arrange various visits and events throughout the year.
St Gregory's Minster Choir welcomes enquiries from anyone interested in joining them. They sing a very wide selection of music at weekly services, from Gregorian Chant to present day composers. Why not have a word after the service if you might be interested?
The Parish of Kirkdale has been a Local Ecumenical Partnership for many years together with our daughter church,St Hilda's, Beadlam.
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The current editor is: Richard Wilson