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(North Yorkshire)

Church of St Mary Bishophill Junior

    The tower of St Mary Bishophill Junior, dated to the third quarter of the 11th century, is the earliest church structure in York and built in a style which is as much late Anglo-Saxon as early Norman. It stands 23.4m (76 feet 9inches) high (the parapet is late medieval) and is constructed of re-used Roman building stone. The belfry windows each have, or had, twin openings (now partly blocked), divided by shaft made from a Roman column, beneath a round head defined by a raised strip which continues down each side.

Inside the church there is a simple stepped tower arch which springs from equally simple stepped capitals. A narrow hood mould was probably carried down to the ground on each side of the opening. The arch is thought to have led originally to a small chancel, leaving the ground floor of the tower as the church nave which was entered by a western and probably a southern door. Above ground floor there were four storeys including the belfry. The early chancel was replaced by a larger structure, now the nave, to which in the late 12th century a north aisle was added. The church reached its final form in the 14th century.


Pevsner, D. and Neave, D., 1995. The Buildings of England, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (London, Penguin), 171
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), 1972. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York. 3: South-west of the Ouse (London, HMSO)
Wenham, L.P., Hall, R.A., Briden, C.M. and Stocker, D.A. St. Mary Bishophill Junior and St. Mary Castlegate, The Archaeology of York 8/2