Historic churches
 of Northern Ryedale



  In the north aisle are remains of carved masonry with spiral designs, including parts of Saxon crosses. The Archer stone has part of a carved bow, and may have been part of a tombstone of a medieval huntsman.  

St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale

St Gregory’s Minster is a delightful small church tucked away in a deep valley off the Hodge Beck in Kirkdale. Set off the main A170 road and away from habitation, the only sound is bird song. Surrounded by trees with sheep grazing in the churchyard it has a timeless quality. There has been a church on this site since 750AD. The present church was built between 1055-65. The tiny square west tower with small pointed top looks as if it ought to be ancient, but was actually built in 1827.

The highlight of St Gregory’s is the thousand year old Anglo-Saxon sundial above the south door.

It is remarkably well preserved as it was covered with plaster for several centuries and was also protected by the porch. The centre portion with the sundial has an inscription which translates as “This is the day’s sun-marker at every hour”. On either side are carved inscriptions in Old English which give information about the foundation of the church telling that it was rebuilt by Orm Gamelson, replacing an earlier church,  when Tostig was Earl of Northumbria, 1055-1065.

 The nave is basically the C11th church and has a magical atmosphere. On the side walls are the stone benches used by the old and infirm before churches had pews. At the west end is the original Saxon doorway into the church. On either side of the arch are painted boards with the Lord's Prayer, Creed and Ten Commandments.

The  North aisle was added in the C13th and separated from the nave by an arcade of round pillars with low pointed arches. The pillars have wrought iron bands round them holding candles.


Kirkdale may not be marked on the road atlas, but the grid reference is SE 677857. The nearest postcode is YO62 7HF. There is a small sign off the A170 just to the east of Nawton. Coming from Nawton, continue straight on along the unclassified road when the A170 bends right. Continue straight at the next two road junctions and then bear left at the fork to find the church. it has a large car park and is open daily.