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St Michael and All Angel's Church, Spennithorne

A brief history

The village of Spennithorne is situated in Richmondshire, on a gentle elevation above the Ure, sheltered by high grounds from the north and east, and commanding two beautiful reaches of Wensleydale up and down, with Middleham and its majestic castle full in front. Overlooking the village there is the fine tower of Spennithorne church, part of which is older than Middleham Castle.

Early days

There was evidently a church here in Anglo-Saxon times, and there was certainly a church in existence by the time of the Norman Conquest.

By 1086 the Anglo-Saxon thegns* had been ousted in favour of a Norman Lord. By the 13th century the Spennithorne Estate had passed to descendants of the Fitz Randolphs who held the land until the 16th century

*(Thegn [thane] in Anglo-Saxon England a lesser nobleman granted land by the King or a higher ranking nobleman)

Rebuilt and enlarged

By the middle of the 12th century the church had been built and enlarged, with the existing tower probably dating from the 14th century, when the aisles were also widened to their present width. The chancel would also have been rebuilt and extended eastwards to its present length with the vestry being added on the north side.

The church now

The structure of the church now is still basically a medieval building of which so much remains in the 21st century.

In the 1970's and 1980's Spennithorne church was featured in the BBC television series "All Creatures Great and Small"�.

A more detailed history and description of St. Michael & All Angel's Church can be found in a booklet by V. H. H. Green which is held in the church, price 50p.


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