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South Otterington Church History

This church is the third church on the site. In the 19th Century the church was a plain Norman structure with the tower being constructed from the stones of an earlier church. The main features of the early church were its unmoulded round tower and chancel arches. The nave walls were thought to have been rebuilt in the reign of King Charles II. The earliest register was recorded from 1689.

There was very little space in the early church, with the nave being able to accommodate only 10 pews. The pews were allocated to 25 families in 1717 who had to pay an annual rent for the privilege. The aisle was a sunken cobblestone pavement and the doors, common with many of it’s time, held large wooden bolts on the inside to resist assault.

In 1844 with the church in a “dangerous and ruinous state” and wholly inadequate to accommodate the increasing population, permission was given to pull down, rebuild and enlarge the existing building. It is documented that they removed the tombstones, headstones and monuments “with the utmost respect”.

The new church was rebuilt with enough room for 300 and an enlarged churchyard of a fifth of an acre. The rebuilding was fully funded by William Rutson of Newby Wiske Hall for a sum of £7000. This was a memorial to his father William Charles Rutson Esq., an eminent Liverpool merchant. He made one stipulation, which was that the seating in the north aisle was to be used forever by the tenants of his estate who attended the church. The remaining pews were to be free for all parishioners but that they were to pay due regard to their station and rank in life. The average weekly attendance in 1870 was 92.

St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s Church is the Parish Church and is a Grade 11 listed building. The current building was built in 1846 in the Norman style, with square tower and Westmorland slate roof. It consists of a chancel measuring internally 22 ft. 8 in. by 18 ft. 1 in., nave 48 ft. 10 in. by 25 ft. 9 in., north aisle 8 ft. 1 in. wide, west tower 13 ft. square and a south porch.   The belfry tower contains three bells by C & G Mears which were erected in 1847.

The stone reading desk at the north aisle of the chancel has three zigzag moulded and deeply recessed arches, with further zigzag moulding around the ledge. The pulpit forms five sides of an octagon on a pillared pedestal, having deeply sunken arches on each of the five sides with fine sculpturing where the base joins the supporting pedestal.

On the east wall there is a wheel window and two arched windows which originally contained plain glass, but now has fine stained glass fitted. These were completed in 1907 in memory of John Rutson.