BUILDING & CHURCHYARD
The oldest gravestone in the Churchyard bears the date 1668.
Medieval Preaching Cross
Opposite the Porch stands the base and part of the stem of a medieval Preaching Cross.
There is a sundial or scratch dial (also known as a Tide dial or Mass dial) on the south wall of the transept on a jamb to the east of the window. Before the church had a clock, this was used by the vicar to mark the times of services.
The 5 foot long millstone grit monolith lying in the churchyard was found buried 3 feet below the ground at the base of the tower during drainage work in 1994.
Vale of Belvoir Angels
In the churchyard there are three early gravestones of the kind known as Vale of Belvoir Angels. These commemorate John Burton (who died in 1668) and his wife Catharina (1701), Em (sic), the wife of Richard Burton, who died in 1695 and Mary, wife of John Henson, who died in 1735. There are about 330 of these slate gravestones, mostly dating between 1681 and 1759, which are decorated with either one or two angel faces, usually at the top edge of the stone. They are located in churchyards mostly in the western end of the Vale of Belvoir. The suggestion has been made that they were carved by a family of monumental masons resident in Hickling or thereabouts (see ‘Vale of Belvoir Angels’ by Pauline F and Bernard V Heathcote, 2008 [ISBN 978-0-9541934-1-6]).
Commonwealth War Grave
The churchyard contains one Commonwealth War Grave, that of Frederick William Atkinson, who died on 2nd May 1917, aged 19. A few years ago, when Frederick Atkinson’s World War I memorial plaque (‘Dead Man’s Penny’) was found at a house in Nether Broughton, we were able to return it to his relatives who continue to live locally.
Wooden Cross with Carved Mouse
There is also a wooden cross with a mouse carved on the upright, in a manner reminiscent of Robert Thompson, the ‘Mouseman’ of Yorkshire. This marks the grave of Madeleine Sykes, who died in 1957. She was one of the sisters of Frances Harriet Terry, wife of Charles Wright of Saxelbye Park, and daughter of Sir Joseph Terry, of the chocolate manufacturers, Terry’s of York.
The churchyard as we see it today was extended northwards in 1918; before that date the north side of the churchyard ended within a few yards of the north wall of the nave. This extension is reflected in the dates of the gravestones.