View of St Giles, Skelton, from village street St Giles, Skelton, doorway framed by churchyard yews
View of St Giles, Skelton

This church, in a village a few miles north-west of York, is small but very important, a perfect Early English church. Even to the uneducated eye – ie mine – it is a handsome building, certainly, approached through an attractive churchyard, past a couple of dark yew trees (always the nicest approach to a church, I think).

Double bellcote, St Giles St Giles, Skelton. west, with oculus window

The Pevsner guide says "This is an amazing building". It was built around 1247, and is said to have been created by the masons responsible for the transepts of York Minster.

St Giles, doorway detail St Giles, doorway – badly weathered stone

It was later restored, 1814-18, and has presumably needed restoration many times since. Including just now, as these photos show, with the stone badly weathered.

Restoration work is underway, as is clear in some parts of the structure.

St Giles, Skelton, doorway

Pieces are being replaced, a replica of the original. In fact, the reason we called here, on the way back from a walk nearby, was because I bumped into an old friend who is involved in this work. (I recall expressing a stupid assumption that the carving of these pieces would be happening on site, which of course it doesn't. It happens in a workshop, and then the pieces are brought here.)

St Giles, Skelton, detail of lancets Skelton St Giles, east end

The photos above show the east end of the church. When paying attention properly, I can see that it's a very elegant building, not the hotch-potch of additions and different materials that you see in many churches.

But I think you need to know your churches better to appreciate it properly. Though I loved its setting in the village, with houses around, and its peaceful churchyard. Perhaps I should revisit, when my appreciation of church architecture is more refined. And see how restoration is progressing.

Links/background information

For more information on Skelton, see the website of the Skelton Village Trust.