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St Mary's Kippax is the most dramatic example of the Yorkshire group of Norman Churches characterised by their herringbone pattern masonry. It is a Grade 1 listed building dating from the late 11th century. It is of a simple plan - aisleless nave, west tower and chancel - but of substantial size, standing on a hilltop close to the earthworks of a castle (probably wooden). The original windows were small and round headed, and in the Anglo Saxon tradition of being set high in the wall, three of which remain the others having been replaced after a fire in around 1300.
Although a church at Kippax is mentioned in Domesday Book it is certain that the use of the site for worship and burial extends back to more remote periods. In the 1870’s a Roman coffin was found – possibly re-used – beneath the nave of the church during its restoration by Gough while in c.1875-6 a local antiquarian, Mr Holmes, found two fragments of an Anglian cross-shaft built into the threshold of the high-level doorway in the west wall of the tower. This stone, which is now preserved in the nave, was dated by Collingwood to the period after AD 900.
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