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About Us

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Kirby Hill village is situated approximately one mile North of Boroughbridge, in a rural location surrounded by farmland.

Set in the heart of this delightful North Yorkshire village, the Church is very active, full of inspiration and welcoming to newcomers. There are social & children's activities as well as worship. We have a real interest in providing a wildlife haven and in encouraging everyone to share their talents for the benefit of all. We have an induction loop system and ramp access for wheelchairs.

All Saints' Church is a Grade 1 Listed building with Saxon origins. There has been a settlement in Kirby Hill for over a thousand years and All Saints' Church possesses many interesting historical features, including stones dating back to the Saxon era.

Enjoy the website, and if you are in the area, please come and visit us.

All Saints Kirby Hill is part of a United Benefice, the other Churches being St. Helen's, Skelton-on-Ure and St. Mary and All Saints' Cundall.


The church of All Saints' is of great antiquity, and consists of a chancel, nave, north chapel, north aisle, vestry, west tower and south porch.

The nave is that of a little late Saxon and early Norman church, built with large irregular stones, some of which are parts of early carved slabs and cross shafts of Saxon origin. The partial West Tower, before its recent past rebuilding in 1870, was of slightly later date; late 11th century. The original chancel of this church has been destroyed, except, perhaps, a little of its North Wall. A North aisle was added about 1160 and, in the late 13th century, a North Chapel. In the 15th century, the chancel was lengthened and widened southwards to the line of the south wall of the nave, and in 1870 the North aisle was rebuilt. The porch is also of this date.

The site of the church at Kirby Hill is significant. It is on the highest point of the village, and in line with Aldborough (the Roman civil capital Isurium Brigantum) and other probable sites of the Roman crossings of the River Ure. It may be that the present church is on the site of a much earlier, sacred shrine, dating back to Roman or even Celtic times.

Domesday Survey

At the time of the Domesday survey, a 'manor' and six carucates at Kirby Hill belonged to Gospatric. The overlordship was held by the Mowbrays, who probably acquired it from

Henry I.

The church and one carucate of land were included in their foundation charter to Newburgh Priory 1170.


The wood door is very old and of plain detail, but has been carefully restored, it has fine wrought iron hinges which must be of considerable age. The iron work with its threefold markings might indicate the Trinity. The centre portion of this could date from the 12th century. This ironwork compares with that on the door at Stillingfleet church.


South Porch Doorway

The south porch doorway is Norman and has a plain round head. It occupies the position of a larger and earlier doorway, of which the east jamb, and a few stones of the outer arch remain. In this jamb is a large stone (or impost), carved in a low relief with circular interlacing of Anglian work AD 750 -- 800. This is a very fine example and was possibly brought from Ripon in the 11th century when the doorway was altered. A pre-conquest south doorway shows three arches. The earliest arch represents an entrance of "some dignity."


South Porch

The South porch was rebuilt in 1870 and has a pointed outer archway and two side lights. It contains several ancient worked stones in its walling, one is part of a small octagonal shaft, and another is a small early moulded capital, a third is a base, a fourth a piece of edge roll mould and a fifth a Saxon stone with interlacing pattern, while the sixth and largest is a 13th century coffin slab.



The font is thought to date from the 11th century, and the cover from the 18th century. We can attribute the present state of the font to the 13th and 14th centuries. It appears as if the upper part had been worked into a tub shape of the Norman style rather irregularly from an earlier design and mounted upon a new pedestal. The rough markings and irregular proportions of the interior were left as before, most probably because of its previous sacramental use in pre-conquest days.


West Tower

The tower was most probably built in the late 11th century or early part of the 12th century, just after the nave was built, and was re-constructed in 1870, but the old stones were reused and the lower part remained undisturbed. The window is late 19th century. Inside the tower and base are displayed four Anglo Saxon carved stones. The arch from the nave into the tower is a plain round one with chamfered abaci.


Norman Arcade

The Norman Arcade, which divided the nave from the North aisle was restored in 1870. This Arcade is of two bays, and from the appearance of the stones is an insertion into the Saxon wall. The middle pier is of unusual section, being of a round column with engaged semi-octagonal shafts on its east and west faces. The base moulds are modern, but the capitals are original, though heavily restored in parts.


The Nave

The nave is that of a small early church, built with large irregular stones and it probably dates from the latter part of the 11th century. Note parts of early carved slabs and cross shafts. One of the largest stones in the body looks like the inverted head of a small round-headed light. The South window is mainly of 14th century origin. The first part had two lancets to which a third was added later (more noticeable from outside).
There are two blocked windows at a high-level, which possibly lighted the gallery, which was taken down in 1870.The arch into the chancel is a copy of the archway into the chapel. Built into the arch are a few old stones.


The Chancel

The chancel was originally late 11th and early 12th century work. In the 13th century, the chancel was enlarged. In the 15th century it was widened on the south side so as to bring it in line with the nave walls. A new window was inserted here, the lower part of which formed a wide sedilia (seat). The former small window in this position was rebuilt beyond it so as to give more light to the altar. A hagioscope (squint) was made in the North of the chancel to give a view of the altar from the side chapel. West of it, near the floor, is a socket stone of a cross and built into the wall.


The Chancel (cont.)

The archway into the chapel is of good late 13th century detail, the jambs and being of three engaged shafts with a fillet in the middle shaft. The bases are of two rounds, the capitals moulded, and the arch pointed of two chamfered orders. The stonework of the archway is reddened as if by fire.

The first window on the southside is flush with the east wall and is a plain rectangular light, its stonework is old, but is of uncertain date. The east window is 15th century of three cinquefoiled lights under a three-centred arch.


The Chancel (cont.)

The Priest's doorway (seen more clearly from the outside) is of the 15th century and has a four-centred external head with a flat internal lintel. The window west of the doorway is an old rectangular light, like the former and set low.
The south wall consists of coursed square rubble, in the east wall it is more rectangular and has large quoins at the angles.
Note the corbel to the left of the arch into the nave, it is of the original Norman chancel and has been carefully preserved.
Possibly, only a little of the North Wall of the original 13th century chancel remains.


North Aisle

The North aisle (not in its present state) was originally added about 1160. The aisle is separated from the nave by an arcade of three arches, two of which are Norman, and one Gothic. In 1870, in pulling down the walls of the former aisle, a fragment of tracery was found belonging to a decorated window. The design was traced and has been carried out in the new Windows. Most of the windows are square-headed. Five have been fitted with memorial stained glass in the late 1800's by Hardmans.

North Chapel

In the 13th century, a North Chapel was added, and this was heavily restored in 1870.
The modern east window is of 14th century character; the North window is similar in type, but retains an old stone or two in the inner jambs.
A 'modern' arch spans the West End of the chapel, but its South jamb is a carved 12th century impost with hatched and sunk star ornament, and with a cable mould in the hollow chamfer of its underside. It is perhaps taken from the former Norman chancel arch in the 14 century.


The vestry was moved from the East End of the present chapel in 1974 to the west end of the North aisle. Standing against the south wall is an interesting cupboard, made up of 17th century panelling. On its door are the initials E C/W C 1699. The initials W C could stand for William Clarke of Boroughbridge, who died in 1707. He had close connections with the church at this time. The cupboard was, in fact, formed at a much later date than 1699, from portions of one of the box pews. Quote from parish register "whereas William Clark of Borrowbridge left 40s for the poor of Kirby-Hill to be paid by 10/- at a time, every Christmas till the said sum of 40s be wholly pay'd". (This cupboard is now in the North Chapel).


All the seats are of oak, made from the original design, with carved poppy head finials. When they were restored in 1870, the 15th century seats were reused, wherever possible. Poppy heads have the lily, symbol of the Virgin Mary, and underneath the cross.
The pew ends were a bequest of Lady Jean Warde of Givendale in 1473.
In 1870, the box pews were turned back into bench pews.
In the 16th century carved wooden altar rails were erected across the chancel for the use of kneeling communicants.
The Church chest, now in the base of the tower, is late 16th century or early 17th century and it has three clasps for locks. The vicar and two churchwardens would each have kept a key.
The altar table is probably 18th-century. The altar rails in the North Chapel were erected in 1974 and carved by a local craftsmen.
It has been suggested that the Altar rails originally formed a banister with two newel posts – possibly taken from Newborough Priory at the dissolution. It is most rare – possibly unique – to have such posts along the length of a communion rail.


Do try to walk around the outside of the church when visiting. Start in the porch, notice the Anglo-Saxon stone remains and the doorway showing three arches.
The walling to the east of the porch (nave), contains very large stones, and one that looks like the inverted head of a small round headed window. The window, has an extra lancet added.
An obvious dividing line is seen where the chapel was widened in the 15th century, to be in line with a wall of the nave. The 15th century priests door is very obvious, blocked up from the inside. The walling here is of more coursed, squared rubble. Note the large quoins at the angles. Walk around the East End of the church, the walling of the chancel is more a regular here. The window is 15th century, the next window (North Chapel) is Victorian.
Walk along and round to the tower. Many of the old stones were reused in the reconstruction of the tower in 1870. No external break or string course defines the lowest storey from the second, which is lighted by small lancets, but a moulded string defines the second from the third or bell chamber. The plain projecting parapet, carried on a corbel table, is Victorian. The plinth on the west side of the tower is of unusually large projection, and there are some large stones in the lower walling; one of these at the South West angle is clearly Roman and has a sunk panel, which once contained a 13 line inscription. Unfortunately, it is now very badly weathered. It was a posthumous dedication to either Antonins Pius or Caracalla, the first such recorded from Roman Britain. There are more details on a leaflet in church.


‘Churchyards exist like small islands of time past in the midst of the modern world …. In Britain nearly all our lowland hay meadows, which once played host to wild flowers butterflies and wildlife in plenty have gone. Now the precious few remnants need to be treasured and conserved. In churchyards we can often find such remnants, possibly the only place in the parish where such life can be found.

This is true of inner city areas as it is of rural churchyards.’
The Living Churchyard

All Saints Church and Churchyard Group (CCG) have created a wildlife area which was originally proposed in September 2000 and launched in November 2002 by marking out an area in the south-eastern corner of the churchyard. This has been established as a Spring Meadow by a regime of differential mowing, bird boxes have been erected and species of flora and fauna recorded. We have been greatly encouraged in our efforts by the support we have received and by becoming joint winners of the 2003 Yorkshire Living Churchyard Project Awards – Newcomer Category.

Although the wildlife area is small and in its infancy many interesting species have been recorded including Lady’s Smock, Lesser Celandine and Meadow Saxifrage.

The CCG is an active Group, with plans for future development included these information leaflets, permanent signs and use as an educational resource by the village primary school.


In September 2000 a report was prepared and proposals were presented to a meeting of the PCC 2 months later.

' Proposals in outline:

  • Delineate a wildlife area

  • Management regimes

  • Removal of redundant store shed

  • Establishment of composting area

  • Encourage use of site as an educational resource and forge greater links with school.

  • Encourage birds and mammals

  • Communication/interpretation

  • Future development'

Extract from the September 2000 report.

The following Spring 2001 an area was 'pegged out' and a new mowing regime instigated to leave this area out of the regular mowing cycle. The wildlife area was officially 'launched' at an open day on the 19th May 2001,

 where the proposals were displayed to the public, and various activities took place.


Short Term
• Erect signs.
• Parish magazine, articles on progress.
Medium Term
• Interpretation panels.
• Record species in a database.
• Involve school (relationship already established, school are interested in being involved and establishing wildlife area within their grounds).
• Composting area.
• More open days.
• Create seating area within wildlife area.
• Propose children take part in RSPB great garden birdwatch.
• Develop CD-ROM and website information.
• Continue to communicate
Long Term
• Produce series of leaflets.
• Quarterly magazine articles
• Develop trails and information on the churchyard as a whole, including work on its heritage.
• Extend information to include area adjacent e.g. the hedgerows and areas of interest around the village.
• Regularly record and monitor e.g. by means of phase 1 survey work.
• Use as an educational resource.
• Develop relationships with similarly minded parishes and continue to learn and exchange information.


In addition to implementing a regime sympathetic to the native flora, other measures have been undertaken to encourage wildlife. Linear wildlife corridors have been created and the use of herbicides is discouraged. Bird nesting boxes have been erected in several of the mature trees within the churchyard.

We carry out a differential mowing regime, there are 5 distinct areas within the churchyard, all are managed slightly differently. The wildlife area itself is managed as a 'Spring Meadow', the grass being cut after the wild flowers set their seed. The hay is left to dry and for the seeds to disperse. The hay is then collected and removed from the area to keep the soil fertility low.

This encourages the wild flowers which struggle to compete with the more vigorous grass species which prefer a more fertile soil. An area of grass around the edge remains as a wildlife corridor.

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The plan opposite shows the layout of the churchyard.
There are 5 'types of areas' marked on it that represent the differing management regimes:
1. Areas with Spring bulbs left uncut until May/June.
2. Grass frequently close mown.
3. ‘Wildlife Area’ cut in June & late August/September. Developing as a 'Spring Meadow'
4. Mown path cut as required.
5. Areas proposed for single cut or left uncut.
The area reference codes e.g. 1A, 1B etc. are used to record the location of the churchyard flora.

Wildlife Trust

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and The Diocese of York



Yorkshire Living Churchyard Award

The Diocese and Trust sponsored by npower run the ‘Living Churchyard Awards’. This award is for the churchyard/burial

ground managed most sympathetically for wildlife.

We entered the 2003 awards in the newcomer category,

and were declared joint winners together with

St. Mary's Church Woodkirk, Dewsbury


Diocese of Ripon and Leeds - Newcomer Category

                          ALL SAINTS, KIRBY-ON-THE-MOOR

Congratulations on the relaunch of your project, and the splendid and comprehensive presentation to show the work that you have been doing to improve the value to wildlife of the Churchyard. The grassland cutting regime seems excellent, and the bio-diversity of the award is illustrated by the presence of the uncommon Meadow Saxifrage. Your medium and long-term aims are commendable.


MAY 2003

As part of the preparation for our entry in the awards scheme some of the Church and Churchyard group attended a Churchyard Management Seminar run by Yorkshire Wildlife trust. This was held at St. Peter's Church, Thorner Leeds on the 10th May 2003. The visit was informative and stimulating and we all learned a great deal from both the organised sessions and the conversation with like minded people following the presentations.

For more information on Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, click here

Wildlife Species


Recording of species commenced in May 2001, no records were kept in 2002 but visits to record flora in 2003 were undertaken in Spring and early Summer. These were done on an amateur basis and do not constitute a formal botanic survey, grasses have not been identified. We now have obtained a 'key' and are hoping to continue and expand our recording methods.

Regular observations have been maintained to note other wildlife such as mammals and birds. Insect species whilst noticed have not been formally recorded.

Saxifrage, Meadow (Saxifraga granulata) Field before Stoney Bridge Sapcote SP 5035 9299 (t

Wild Flowers

The Meadow Saxifrage (opposite) once only seen in areas where grass was left uncut because of the spring bulbs has now been seen in more that one location, the Pignut continues to do well and a number of species that have not been noticed previously have been recorded: Bugle, Common Vetch, Crosswort, Greater Stichwort, and Oxe Eye Daisy.
There are a number of grass species that remain to be identified.
In Spring 2004 the Meadow Saxifrage became well established in significant numbers, although this predominantly remains in the areas of flowering Spring Bulbs. The Lady's smock did less well in 2004 but this was thought to be due to a dry Spring.
The wildflowers are indicator species of ancient woodland:

Meadow Saxifrage ‘…found on grassland & hills;not very common’
Phillips, R. (1977) Wild Flowers of Britain, London, Pan Books Ltd.
'Meadow saxifrage and pignut two indicator species of ancient meadowland..'
Greenoak, F. (1989) A matter of life and death, The Times Educational Supplement 2/6/89

Click here to view the 'cumulative' results of the flora observed on the following dates:
19th May 2001, 11th May 2003, 31st May 2003 and 15th June 2003.



A number of mammals have been seen when the grass was cut and collected, these included: Bank vole, Common Shrew, Field Mouse and Field Vole.

Mole activity is noticeable together with a population of rabbits. A stoat has been seen crossing the road between the churchyard and hedgerow opposite, and bats can also be observed over the summer.



Many butterflies have been noticed in and around the churchyard in particular the ‘Brown’ species. Bees have made a nest in the Wildlife area, and for the first time dragonflies have been seen in the garden opposite the churchyard.

On the open day in May 2004 a mini-beast hunt took place led by Colin Slator accompanied by a number of children. Many 'bugs' were found including a rather large stag beetle which was the 'star' catch of the day. An ants nest in a memorial urn was also discovered together with as yet unrecorded creepy-crawlies amongst the log pile, and a good time was had by all!



Swallows nested in the porch, whilst the blue tits have been more innovative and taken advantage of the ancient wood of the Lychgate. Great tits have also made their home in the churchyard and other visitors or residents have included: Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Finches and Sparrows whilst evidence of Owl activity has been seen and heard.
During the 2004 open weekend a wren's nest was discovered with chicks in it, a nesting box was occupied by a Tree Sparrow and a Pied Wagtail was seen darting in and out of the Lychgate which it appeared to claim as its nesting site.


Barn Owl, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, House Martin, House Sparrow, Kestrel, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tawny Owl, Tree Sparrow, White Throat, Wood Pigeon, Wren

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