Holy Cross Old Church, Whorlton, Swainby
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An earlier Saxon church may have stood on this site but no Saxon remains have been found. The present building dates back to the 12th Century.
In the introduction to "The Story of Whorlton Old Church", the author writes "Whether you visit Whorlton Old Church on a spring evening when lambs are calling in the fields nearby, a day in high summer, in autumn when the beeches are aflame, or even in November when the yew trees drip and the hills are invisible, you cannot fail to be moved by the peace, and sense of the past which surrounds it.
Through the 'peephole' you see crumbling sandstone, dim windows and a sleeping knight almost seven centuries old, but there are fresh flowers on the altar, and coins on the floor, thrown inside by visitors towards the upkeep of the church."
The Church is dedicated to the Holy Cross and was known as the Church of the Holy Rood prior to the Reformation.
The Effigy in Whorlton Church commemorates the second Lord Nicholas de Meynell of Whorlton Castle, who died in 1322. It is made of bog oak, is hollow and was originally packed with charcoal to preserve it. It is thought to be the only wooden, London-made military effigy in Yorkshire, comparing favourable with the magnificent monuments of Edmund Planatagenet and Aymer de Valence in Westminster Abbey.
By the middle of the 19th Century, the struggle against decay and the battle of trying to heat the building were taking their toll. There were more entries in the accounts for repairs to the stove, mending the old stove, coal for the new stove, new galvanised iron stovepipe, than any other single item.
On 7th March, the fourth Sunday in Lent, 1875 the old parish church was used for the last time for divine service (although due to an oversight the new church [see Holy Cross, Swainby] was not officially designated as the Parish Church until 1911). It would be a sad occasion for the worshippers who had regularly climbed the hill Sunday by Sunday to kneel in prayer there for the last time.
"The Story of Whorlton Old Church" is available from the Parish Church.
Occasional services are still held in the Old Church [see details on this page and on the Parish Church Notice Board].
We look forward to welcoming visitors and parish residents, whatever their age, to our services in Holy Cross Old Church and the other churches of the Benefice.
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The current editor is: Peter Shipp