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St Marys Church Scarborough

St Marys Church Central Tower

St Marys Church Central Tower

St Marys Church Scarborough

The church of St Mary belonged to the Abbey of Citeaux, but passed to Bridlington with the confiscation of the property of the Alien Houses. The twelfth century church was probably an aisle-less building and a much larger new church was begun around it 1180.

The West front, formerly with two towers, is the earliest art of this structure and was followed by the nave arcades of which the arches sit irregularly upon cylindrical piers. This may mean that the bays and piers were inserted individually in the walls of the earlier nave. The western part of the South arcade has a thinner wall and a different types of pier rather later date than the rest.
The surviving south transept was built in the second quarter of the fourteenth century and late in the same century the barrel-vaulted chapels were added to the South aisle and a second aisle was added on the North. The aisled chancel was rebuilt about the middle of the fifteenth century. It was much damaged in the siege of the Castle in 1644-45, and ruined by the fall of the central tower in 1659; the North transept also fell into ruin. The present tower was built in 1669 and the outer North aisle in 1848-50.

In a detached part of the burial ground is buried Anne Brontë, who died on 28 May 1849, aged 28.

St Marys Church from Scarborough Castle

St Marys Church from Scarborough Castle

The parish church of St. Mary, originally a convent for the Cistercians, is a vicarage, in the patronage of Lord Hotham, of which the Rev. John Kirk, is the incumbent. This church was formerly a spacious and magnificent structure, as the ruins at the eastern part of it sufficiently indicate, and in the time of Henry VIII. It was adorned with three ancient towers; but during the siege of the castle, a lodgment was made in it by Sir John Meldrum, and the present edifice is only a fragment of that which the Carmelites enjoyed. This was the only church in Scarborough, though the town could once boast its three houses of “friars -grey, black, and white.

St Marys Church from south east

St Marys Church from south east

The Parish Church of Scarborough (1170-1200) was originally built with imposing twin towers possibly by the Masons at the Castle. Extensions and alterations, including the removal of the twin towers, were carried out during the fourteenth century. The Central Tower and the Chancel were destroyed by artillery during the Civil War when the Parliamentarians used the Church for their batteries to attack the Royalist held Castle. The existing tower was rebuilt in 1670 and the extent of the original Chancel is marked by masonry.

St Marys Church in Scarborough from west

St Marys Church in Scarborough from west

St Mary’s Chapel. First built about AD 1000 and rebuilt in the 12th century and again in the 14th century, it stands in the ruins of a Roman Signal Station built AD 370, to give warning of Anglo-Saxon raiders. Before this time the headland was occupied about 500BC by Iron Age settlers from the Low Countries or the Rhineland.

Time Line

1000 A Christian chapel is built within Scarborough.
1125 St. Mary’s church was built circa 1125, based on a one room chapel.
1180 Larger new church begun. Re-modeling of the nave with the addition of the north and south aisles.
1189 King Richard the Lionheart granted the revenues of the Church of St. Mary to the Abbot of Citeaux – a Cistercian order of white robed monks based in Burgundy and known as White Monks. Gilbert de Turribus becomes the first Vicar of Sarborough.
1200 Second major building phase commenced by King John. Addition of aisles to the north and south of the nave.
1225 South aisle completed.
1330 Edward 111 and John Belter the vicar, work commenced on the north and south transepts. Built in the early Perpendicular architectural style. Only the south transept now remains but fortunately, the five-light south window containing some of the original reticulated tracery has survived.
1350 Start of the far north aisle, known as the fishermen’s aisle, which is dedicated to St. Nicholas the patron saint of seafarers.
1380 Commencement of chantry chapels on the south side of the church.
1390 Second chapel is dedicated to St. Nicholas.
1396 The erection of the south porch with a room above, which was probably a priest’s chamber,
1397 The fourth and westernmost chapel was dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ started
1450 The church was completed by 1450, with the addition of the choir. Its full length was now 208 feet with a breath of of 108 feet.
1645 1st Siege of the Castle
1648 2nd Siege of the Castle
1648 St. Mary Magdalene Chapel was demolished by the Parliamentarian soldiers because it was in the way of their cannon trained upon the castle walls
St Marys Church Scarborough Clock tower
Looking up at Central Tower from South

1659 Fall of central tower and the north transept fell into ruin
1669 Present tower built. Northern aisle built
1848-50 Refurbishment of the church. Closed for 2 years.
1849 Anne Bronte buried in churchyard. Service at Christ Church as St Mary’s Church not in service.
1857 Scarborough is hit by a great flood on the 13 of August, which destroys many buildings including St Mary’s church yard .

Old view of St Marys Church Scarborough

Old view of St Marys Church Scarborough

 

Past Vicars of Scarborough
1180 Rev. Gil de Torribus 1502 Rev. R. Ogram
1199 Rev. H. de Thornton 1506 Rev. W. Evers
1226 Rev. R. de Chaunseye 1510 Rev. Richard Bull
1289 Rev. T de Roston 1602 Rev. W. Ward
1291 Rev. W. de Langetoft 1608 Rev. T. Taylor
1306 Rev. I de Roston 1630 Rev. W. Simpson
1313 Rev. W. de Wandesford 1667 Rev. W. Hodgson
1313 Rev. R. de Scardeburgh 1676 Rev. N. Boteler
1335 Rev. J Belety 1696 Rev. John North
1349 Rev. E. de Skyrpse 1708 Rev. H. Docker
1363 Rev. H. Bendebowe 1721 Rev. T Garenciers
1397 Rev. R. Askham 1750 Rev. J. Morfitt
1408 Rev. R. Shropham 1782 Rev. J. Kirk
1412 Rev. J. Longe 1828 Rev. M. H. Miller
1414 Rev. R. Abraham 1848 Rev. J. W. Whiteside
1454 Rev. Robert Killom 1864 Rev. R. F. L. Blunt
1464 Rev. Robert Sutton 1905 Rev. T. E. Lindsay
1475 Rev. T Bedford 1913 Rev. Cecil Cooper
1485 Rev. R Tunstall 1923 Rev. J. W. Capron
1494 Rev. W. Penet
1501 Rev. T. Rokeby

Sources for information: Sir Alfred Clapham, Stan Pope

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