Saturday 3rd August 2013
We had perfect weather for our tour on Saturday 3rd August with over 40 attendees including our guest speakers: Stephen Parry (Architect for Pocklington all Saints Church), Stephen Potts (Architect for Pocklington Methodist) and Matthias Garn, Master (and award-winning) Mason. Thanks also to David Fotheringham the unofficial “YHCT” photographer!
We were warmly welcomed at Pocklington All Saints church where we were offered coffee – very welcome for those who had travelled some considerable distances (one of our Friends came all the way from Worksop!).
Here Stephen Parry (church architect) shared his knowledge of the building and the various repairs/projects he has tackled over the years before handing over to Matthias who explained about the more “hands on” approach of dealing with difficult repairs to this fine building and, in particular, the replica cross outside for which Matthias received a prestigious award for his exemplar carving.
Our next stop was just down the road at Pocklington Methodist Chapel where, again, we were warmly welcomed by the lady minister and Stephen Potts.
Pocklington Methodist Chapel, Internal view
A complete contrast to All Saints (which is very traditional, quite dark with its stained glass windows etc) the Chapel is absolutely filled with light and a sheer joy in which to be. Stephen told us how he had tackled the re-order by removing the pews and doing other alterations and redecoration to achieve a wonderful and exceptional multi-function space whilst maintaining the worship area and feeling. Stephen explained how he had worked very closely with members of the chapel to ensure that they ended up with a scheme they would be able to enjoy for many years to come. The entrance to the building, now a most welcoming glazed area invites people in and indeed there are many weekly community events (coffee mornings etc) which take place in this fabulous light entrance area.
After this we then went on to The Gait Inn in Millington where we enjoyed a light lunch (and the landlady’s famous home-made traditional puddings!) before going on to see Millington St. Margaret’s church to look at look at their (modern) stained glass window.
Having worked on some external repairs, Matthias again explained the intricacies of dealing with the troublesome calcareous stonework which, in the Yorkshire climate, simply shales away. From Millington, we then went on to our special gem of a church, St. Ethelburga’s in Great Givendale.
This church is in a wonderful setting but, again, the building is suffering badly with erosion of the soft calcareous sandstone and posed a lot of in-depth discussion with Matthias and other bodies (just exactly how much should be replaced …..?) before it was agreed the minimal intervention for the time being was the way forward. Inside the church is the tomb of Jonathan Atkins who was Governor of Barbados and rumoured to have said to Charles II “one black man can do the work of three white ones…” and thought to have been responsible for introducing slavery into Britain. This in total contrast to William Wilberforce from Pocklington who was responsible for abolishing it – another good contrast on this day!
Our route then took us on to Nunburnholme St. James where Stephen Bosworth from the PCC welcomed us and took us on a verbal tour of the building before giving us a recital on the organ which was excellent (to get such sound from a relatively small instrument was fabulous!).
St James Church, Nunburnholme
Finally, we visited Burnby St Giles where we were greeted by the wonderful ladies (and gentleman) of the PCC who gave us a most welcome cup of tea and fabulous home made cakes, scones, buns and other wonderful eats. This is another special little church and clearly well loved by its parishioners.
This was the end of the “main event” however Matthias kindly offered to add on a special treat by opening his workshop in Skirpenbeck for those who were able to visit. Here we were welcomed by his wife Kibby and their two small children who again offered refreshments. Matthias showed us some unique (and highly secret!) work with which he is currently involved as well as a hands-on demonstration showing the intricacies of time-consuming letter carving. We were then invited to have a look around his world of specialist stone masonry.
A fine end to a thoroughly wonderful and varied day with perfect weather!
Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the event, a full copy of the tour report with photos of each church can be downloaded here.
By Janet Fotheringham