Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ancient Carved Stones at St Hilda's, Ellerburn


 St Hildas Church Ellerburn

St Hilda's, Ellerburn, Near Thornton-le-Dale, Yorkshire.

This beautiful ancient church dates back to 1050AD, and there is evidence of an earlier structure dating back to at least 850AD. Dedicated to the first abbess of Whitby Abbey, it is by far the oldest church in the area.

Simple Wooden Cross, St Hildas, Ellerburn
A beautifully simple wooden cross adorns the porch

As well as being a quite charming little church, in an enchanting setting, its other interest lies in the multitude of pre-conquest stone-carved fragments set into its walls.


Carved cross in wall, St Hildas, Ellerburn
Carved cross fragment set in the wall

Most of the carvings date from the 9th and 10th centuries. 


Carved stone fragment in wall of St Hilda's, Ellerburn
Carved stone fragment set in the wall


A lovely interlaced design with a bound serpent below in the Scandinavian 'Jellinge' style, is particularly interesting.


Ornate Scandinavian 'Jellinge' cross fragment in wall, St Hildas, Ellerburn
Ornate Scandinavian 'Jellinge' cross fragment set in the wall

Other carvings are more enigmatic:


Carved stone St Hilda's, Ellerburn
Enigmatic Carved stone fragment incorporated into the wall

 
Carved stone St Hilda's, Ellerburn
Carved stone fragment set into the wall


The inside of the church is also beautiful, with a few more carvings, and an ancient font and altar stone.


St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior
 
 
Spiral carving on the piers supporting the Chancel Arch, St Hilda's, Ellerburn
Spiral carving on the piers supporting the Chancel Arch
 
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior - carved chancel piers
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior - carved chancel piers

 
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior - carved chancel piers
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior - carved chancel piers

 
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior
St Hilda's, Ellerburn - interior


Ellerburn is just a short distance from the beautiful Thornton-le-Dale, and is a lovely little hamlet set within a clearing, in a wooded valley, by Thornton beck.


St Hilda's, Ellerburn
St Hilda's, Ellerburn

Well worth a visit. There are several walks that lead by the church, and by foot is the best way to visit, both for the beauty of the area, and due to the limited parking available.

Thanks for reading!

Toni

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Sources and further reading:

Wikipedia Ellerburn
St Hilda's Church
Walk from Thornton-le-Dale to Ellerburn




4 comments:

  1. What a beautiful church,so simple. Looks like they recycled the stones rather than dump them

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    Replies
    1. It is Bill - well worth a visit- beautiful area too. Always interesting to find these recycled, and enigmatic, stones.

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  2. I love the reuse and recycle approach in these buildings - seeing them always feels like finding a secret.

    Cheers - Stewart M - In Melbourne, but jet-lagged!

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    Replies
    1. Very true Stewart - just love examining the stonwework of ancient buildings! So many intriguing hints to other phases and times.... Hope you're getting over the jet lag ☺

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