We are delighted to invite you to the programme of events we run throughout the year. Booking details are available below, either by contacting Vanessa White on Tel: 07786 656883 or emailing:

Zoom Talks

After the success of the past series of Zoom lectures, we are delighted to be running another series this Autumn/ Winter.

“I just wanted to say how very much I have enjoyed the talks online over the past few months.  They have all been excellent, and so instructive and interesting. they have really been such an enjoyable way to spend an evening at home!” Kate Kaye

  • Arts and Craft churches around Great Britain: Roger Button. In the latter half of the nineteenth century the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement began to transform domestic design; from pottery to wallpaper and furniture, as well as complete houses and gardens. Less well known are the churches that were built on Arts and Crafts principles- hand craftmanship rather than industrial manufacture, design to accommodate the user rather than simply follow fashion, original decoration rather than textbook copies. We will look at some of the churches that embody these principles and see how they stand out from the more conventional buildings that vastly outnumber them. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Roger’s book, please contact him via email at
  • Click here to watch the lecture again.
  • Thursday 14 December at 7pm Local Churches in the Anglo- Norman Landscape: Dr Aleksandra McClain. The period around the Norman Conquest was a time of significant change for local churches, as the parochial system of the later Middle Ages became solidified and churches served as common outlets for secular élite patronage. This talk will explore the development of parish churches in Yorkshire in the 11th and 12th centuries, their relationship with manorial and settlement landscapes, and the role they played in helping to negotiate the sociocultural transition that followed the Conquest.
  • Thursday 18 January at 7pm A Stitch in Time: church textiles through the ages: Dr Jane Crease. What do masterpieces of medieval embroidery, Good Queen Bess’s only surviving dress and twenties silk stockings have in common? The answer is that they were all used as church furnishings. Today’s largely bare churches have little in the way of textile furnishing (apart from kneelers). But surviving medieval and later embroideries show how rich and multi-layered the experience of a church service was in earlier times. And the textiles had stories to tell. From the astounding church copes and funerary palls, through to the William Morris revival of embroidery in Victorian Times to the folk art of church kneelers, we will explore the rich legacy of women’s needlework in the church.
  • Thursday 15 February at 7pm Anglo-Saxon Churches in Yorkshire: Professor Joyce Hill. This illustrated lecture explores some of the churches in Yorkshire which survive from Anglo-Saxon times, many, of course, modified in later centuries, but with much of the original building still to be seen. What are the distinguishing features to look out for? How has it come about that-in the midst of so many changes- there is so much to be seen from more than 1000 years ago? And what can we learn about the attitude these later builders had towards their pre-Conquest churches, even as they developed them to meet the needs of their own modern times? The lecture is a voyage of discovery that offers destinations for today: churches to visit, interpret and enjoy.
  • Thursday 21 March at 7pm Bishops Palace of England: Lisa McIntyre. The bishops of medieval England wielded great power and their residences were often as splendid as those built for royalty. This talk will explore the rise and fall of the palace and the bishops who inhabited them and put their mark on them, with a particular focus on palaces in the North of England

All welcome. Email for the Zoom links

Previous Talks

Medieval wall paintings of Pickering Church. Trustee Dr Kate Giles shared the story of Pickering church and its scheme of medieval wall paintings. Dismissed by some as ‘merely’ a restoration of the 1880s, Kate revealed how Pickering tells the story of many hundreds of schemes like it in the 19th century, where the discovery of medieval church art was met with ambivalence or open hostility by many clergy, or lost due to misguided restoration practices.

To explore the paintings virtually take a look at:  

To watch again, click here:

Is this the tomb of Richard III’s only son? Trustee Dr Jane Crease discussed the small alabaster tomb in Sheriff Hutton Church. This has been claimed to be the tomb of Edward of Middleham, Richard III’s only son and heir, who died at the age of 10. The talk explored whether this really is a royal tomb, where it came from and who is the child commemorated?

To watch again, click here:

The Belasyse Tombs in Coxwold Church. Trustee Moira Fulton gave us an insight into the Belasyse Tombs in Coxwold Church. The tombs, ranging in date from 1603-1830, demonstrate not only the changing fashions in funerary monuments, but also the way that religious beliefs and attitudes to death evolved over time.

To watch again, click here:

The Guild Chapel, Stratford Upon Avon. Dr Kate Giles, Co-Director of the Centre for Christianity and Culture in the University of York and a trustee of the YHCT, has been closely involved in the major conservation work in this important Guild Chapel which had close associations with William Shakespeare’s family. She talks about how the University of York has been able to support and work alongside Stratford Town Trust and its volunteers to create an award-winning collaboration between academics, students, volunteers and visitors to bring the stories of this wonderful building to light, and shares the latest news about upcoming opportunities to engage with and support ‘Death Revealed’.

The Sykes churches of East Yorkshire. Trustee Moira Fulton talks about the remarkable group of churches built or restored by Sir Tatton Sykes, the 4th Baronet, (1772-1863), and his son Sir Tatton Sykes, the 5th Baronet, (1826-1913). These churches are little known outside East Yorkshire. Many of them, situated in remote rural locations, contain stained glass, wood and metal work of the highest quality and were designed by some of the most prominent church architects of the time. Click this link to watch again:

‘For botchying glasse’ the Crosby family of glaziers and glass painters in 17th century York. Dr. Louise Hampson, Research Fellow in the Centre for Christianity and Culture, University of York talks about a little-known, but important family of glaziers,who operated between 1620s and 1690s and worked on York Minster, Temple Newsam and other churches. Although their work has been overshadowed by that of the better- known Henry Gyles and William Peckitt, the Crosbys were a remarkable family of craftsmen who were practising glass painting and glazing at a time when it was widely considered that stained glass crafts had died out.

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Survivors of the wreck – post reformation monastic remains in Yorkshire Parish Churches. Dr Jane Crease, discusses how, when the monasteries were looted and destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII, some of their more valued furnishings were rescued and installed in near- by parish churches. Was this an example of Yorkshire thrift or a desire to preserve a connection with a much – loved and respected monastery whose loss was bitterly regretted?

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The Stave Churches of Norway

What is a Stave Church? How old are they? How were they built? Where are they found? Why are they decorated with the heads of dragons?

These and many other questions are addressed in a richly illustrated talk by Mike Stallybrass. Mike who is half Norwegian spent a month in Norway in the summer of 2014, when together with his wife Catherine, they undertook a research tour looking at medieval churches in Norway. During the trip, with help from the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, they were able to visit & photograph most of the Stave Churches of Norway.

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Secret Spaces: private Catholic chapels in Yorkshire from 1400-1900. Talk by Jane Crease.

For nearly 250 years after Elizabeth 1 came to the throne, Catholic worship was illegal and subject to severe penalties. In spite of the difficulties, Catholics continued to maintain, and even build private spaces for worship. Not until 1791 was it legal to build Catholic chapels for private use; in 1829 the Catholic Emancipation Act made it possible to build Catholic parish churches. This talk looks at the surviving chapels from before 1829 and then considers the outstanding buildings erected when the 1829 Act came into force. It also considers the wider social and religious context into which the buildings fit.

To watch again, click here:

Late-Georgian Churches, c1790-1840.  Talk by Dr Christopher Webster.

After centuries of post-Reformation inactivity, the Church of England began to address the desperate shortage of accommodation and build on a large scale. Almost all the leading architects were involved and, amongst approximately 1500 new churches, there were some of outstanding designs; buildings of the highest order architecturally. As well as discussing some of these churches, including a few Yorkshire examples, the talk will also explore a lost world of late-Georgian church-going: what people expected and experienced in a church service.         

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Ruined and Rebuilt, St Mary’s Church, Beverley, 1520-1531. -Talk by Professor Barbara English.

At first sight, St Mary’s looks like a typical Gothic building of the 1400s. But in 1520 the church ‘fell down’, in the words of contemporaries, and the tower, the nave, and part of the chancel aisle lay in ruins. Eleven years later, the church had been rebuilt. The records of the rebuilding are fragmentary
and scattered, but we know the names of the organisers, some of the donors, and something of the process. Here is Tudor work, closely dated, and accomplished just before the Reformation changed everything.

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Pious, Pathetic & Pompous, a tour of some 17th -18th century Funerary Monuments in Yorkshire Churches. Talk by Moira Fulton.

One of the pleasures of exploring parish churches is often the unexpected discovery of a magnificent monument to a local landowner. Even a cursory examination can be thought-provoking: what message to the visitor was intended by the monument; what does it tell us about contemporary attitude to death;can we trust the veracity of the tributes to the deceased? This talk will consider,if not perhaps, succeed in answering,some of these questions.

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Some North Yorkshire Churches in Pevsner To watch again click here:

If you enjoyed these lectures and would like to make a donation to the Trust, please do so here:

Every effort has been made to secure copyright for any imagery used in the lectures, but we will immediately remove any content upon request       

                                 Past events                                                          

The Two Architectural Gems of Beverley

In June 2023 we had a tour of Beverley Minster and St Mary’s. Starting at the Minster, we had a tour with John Phillips, an authority on the history & architecture of the Minster. He is the author of a book on its complex building history 1188-1736. Although founded in the 8th century, the visible part of the building is mainly of 13th and 14th century construction. It is regarded as one of the finest Gothic churches in Britain. After lunch we met again at St Marys for a tour with Professor Barbara English. Many of you will have watched her very informative Zoom talk on the rebuilding of the Church after the tower collapse in 1520 (watch again here: .As an added bonus we were given privileged access to the Priests Room which is not normally open to the public. The Priests room, probably used by visiting priests in the Middle Ages, is now a museum full of fascinating objects, connected with St Marys and the inhabitants of Beverley.

Howardian Hills tour April 2023

Our first event of 2023 saw 30 friends undertake a tour of four very different churches, all situated in the lovely countryside of the Howardian Hills. We started in the village of Sheriff Hutton which is dominated by the evocative ruins of its castle. Here we visited the church of St Helen and the Holy Cross at the east end of the village. An effigy in the church was formerly thought to be that of Richard III’s son, but this identification has now been disproved on stylistic grounds.

St Helen and the Holy Cross, Sheriff Hutton

After enjoying afternoon tea at the village hall, we then headed to the church of All Saints in the small village of Foston. The most striking feature in the church is the richly carved, Norman south doorway. Sydney Smith, the wit and social reformer, was the rector from 1806-1829.

All Saints, Foston

Our next church was St Martins in the Castle Howard estate village of Bulmer. This was the oldest of our 4 churches with substantial remains of 11th century Saxon work.  Many of the former staff from Castle Howard are buried in the church yard. Our final visit was to the small, isolated church of St Peter in the hamlet of Dalby, which houses a 15th century, stone-vaulted chancel.

St Peter’s, Dalby

Sykes churches tour September 2022

On a fine September afternoon 30 friends of YHCT assembled on the village green of Helperthorpe to start their tour of three remarkable churches designed or restored by the noted architect G. E. Street (1824-1881), for Sir Tatton Sykes (1826- 1913) of Sledmere. G. E. Street, who is regarded as one of the finest architects of the Victorian era designed, rebuilt or restored  8 churches in total for Sir Tatton, before they fell out in 1877. Sir Tatton continued church building & employed J. L. Pearson, Temple Moore & Hodgson Fowler to restore a further 9 more churches.

Our tour was led by Dr Jane Crease, a YHCT Trustee and expert on church architecture. The first church we visited was St Peter’s Helperthorpe, situated on an eminence above the village, and oddly approached through a stable yard. Completely rebuilt in 1871, the church has a magnificent painted roof and fine stained glass.

St Peter’s Helperthorpe

We then drove the short distance to St Mary, West Lutton, a church in a totally different style. Built in 1871-2 it cost Sir Tatton over £13,000. The interior is sumptuously – decorated with an elaborately painted ceiling & reredos.

Friends visiting St Mary’s, West Lutton

Our last church was St Andrew, Kirby Grindalythe, tucked away at the end of the village. It is sited on a steep hill with a prominent spire, above the west tower. G. E. Street rebuilt the nave of this 12th century church and restored the chancel. The church’s most remarkable feature is the striking mosaic on the west wall, made by Italian craftsmen from Venice.

Friends outside St Andrew’s

We ended our tour at Sledmere House, where we enjoyed tea and scones in the newly refurbished café. A great day was had by all.

Hazlewood, Tadcaster and Bolton Percy visit June 2022

On a lovely warm day in June, over 20 friends met at Hazlewood Castle for a tour of the 13th century chapel with YHCT trustee Dr Jane Crease. Friends then enjoyed lunch in Tadcaster before visiting the 15th century parish church of St Mary’s. Due to flooding, it was rebuilt 1875 on a base four foot higher than the original, although sadly this did not prevent further severe flooding in 2015. The church has fine stained glass by Burne- Jones and William Morris. The final stop on the tour was at Bolton Percy for a tour of All Saints, the 15th century parish church with a magnificent stained glass east window. The lofty and spacious interior of All Saints coupled with the particularly fine quality of the chancel has earned it the name of ‘Cathedral of the Ainsty’.

Stained glass, All Saints, Bolton Percy
Friends gathering in Hazlewood Chapel

Rotherham visit May 2022

In 2021 the YHCT gave a grant of £5,500 to Rotherham Minster towards the cost of the much- needed restoration of the great West Window. Work has now been started on this major £400,000 project, which has been mainly funded by the Culture Recovery Fund. While the glazing panels had been removed for restoration, Friends of the Trust were invited by the Minster for a visit to see the stone work repair in progress.

Friends met at the Minster for a tour and then a talk on the work being undertaken on the West Window. This was followed by refreshments before a visit to the Chapel on the Bridge. This medieval chantry chapel had a chequered history after the Reformation but, following restoration work in the last century, it is once more used for services. The YHCT has given a grant of £4,800 towards repair work on the Chapel.

Rotherham Minster
Friends visiting the Chantry chapel

Hovingham visit May 2022

In May, almost thirty friends enjoyed a trip to All Saints Church in Hovingham, with a talk by Helen Whittaker on the window she designed in memory of Sir Marcus Worsley and his wife Bridget. This was followed by an introduction to the Anglo- Saxon stonework By Kate Giles and a tour looking at the principal monuments to other members of the Worsley family. Friends were then welcomed at Hovingham Hall, where Sir William Worsley gave an interesting talk on the history of the house, it’s gardens and Roman villa, while enjoying a delicious tea in the vaulted room overlooking the cricket ground.

Beautiful stained glass window in memory of Sir Marcus Worlsey

Churches of the Western Wolds July 2021

In July, we were joined by 27 friends and supporters for a wonderful exploration of four very different churches. We visited All Saints in Pocklington, a large town church, St Ethelburga, a small Norman church in Great Givendale and St Edith in Bishop Wilton, where we also enjoyed lunch at the local pub. Our last stop was All Saints in Kirby Underdale, a church of great historical and architectural importance. The tour was led YHCT trustee Dr Jane Crease and a great day was had by all.

Click here for full details of the tour

All Saints Church, Kirby Underdale (c) Peter Church

Churches of the Derwent September 2021

In September we were joined by 30 friends and supporters and visited three very interesting churches in the Derwent Valley. We started with St Botolph in Bossall, a church in transitional Norman style with a very fine south doorway. From there we visited St John at Howsham, a church designed by G.E. Street in 1859 and onto St Peter at Scrayingham, largely rebuilt in 1853 by G.T.Andrews. The tour ended at the early Georgian house of Aldby Park, where guests enjoyed a tour of the principal rooms, followed by tea and cake!

The group hearing about St John’s at Howsham