The parish of Amotherby has two churches, St Helen's Amotherby and All Saints Appleton-le-Street.
The church of Appleton-le-Street is of very old foundation. It may be that it stands on the site of a pagan temple, certainly it would appear that the site has been used for burials since Roman times.
The earliest written reference to a church at Appleton exists in a charter of King Henry II (1154-1189). It is curiously omitted from the Domesday Book, yet it is beyond dispute that there was a church at that time. The charter confirms that the church was under the guardianship of the Abbey of St. Albans, but quite how this state of affairs came about is unclear.
In 1215 the register of Archbishop Walter Grey of York begins and from then on there is a more or less continuous historical record. The first reference in the register to Appleton is on 20th September 1232 when a Mr. Stephen de (Eglefeld?) was instituted as first rector. From these earliest records it is evident that Appleton was a Mother church, with the church at Amotherby being a dependent chapel.
It is the tower which is the oldest part of the church. Built in late Saxon times, it is a particularly good example of the period; indeed it is said that it is one of the finest Anglo-Saxon towers in the north of England.
The tower is built in three stages; the lower two built at the end of the Saxon period (1000-1050. The top stage may date from after the Norman conquest (1066. The porch is a 16th century addition. Above the porch is a niche with a statue of virgin and child, which was defaced at the time of the Reformation.
Originally the entrance was by means of a door in the west wall of the tower, but this was replaced with a round-headed Norman window and a new door was made in the 12th century again with the rounded arch.
The tower holds two bells: one inscribed ‘God save His church 1665’ and the other ‘Gloria in altissimis Deo 1705’ (Glory to God in the highest).
The simple tub-font is Norman and is probably not in its original position.
High on the wall is a plaque known as a “bread board” whereby on death, a wealthy member of the parish bequeathed monies for the maintenance of the poor. In this case William Stockdale left £70.
The original nave and chancel were much smaller than the existing ones. It is suggested that the present walls of the nave, excluding the north and south arcades mark the walls of the Saxon nave.
The nave was enlarged about 1175-1200 with the building of the NORTH AISLE but it seems never to have been structurally sound and was propped with substantial buttress in the middle ages.
Notice the contrast between the fine pointed arches of the arcade in the Early English style and the earlier Norman round arch dividing the tower from the nave.
It is known that an altar stood at the east end of this north aisle in mediaeval times. The present Lady Chapel and altar were dedicated by the Bishop of Selby on 12th October 1973.
Added around 1300 A.D. A chantry was founded by a certain Sir Thomas de Boulton in 1346, here a chaplain would pray for the souls of Sir Thomas and his family forever. It seems almost certain that this chantry of the Holy Trinity was in the south aisle, the altar standing before the east window. The niche in the south wall, known as a piscina adds weight to this argument.
In the apex of the east window is the church’s only remaining fragment of mediaeval glass: a shield showing the arms of the Greystock family, barons of Henderskelfe, (Castle Howard) in the 13th and 14th centuries.
The pulpit was a gift from the parish of Richmond in 1950.
Chancel and Sanctuary
That the chancel was once much longer is clearly evidenced; in fact it was shortened during the 15th century, the reason probably being that it was slipping down the bank at the east end.
The doorway in the north wall leads straight to the outside, although a corbel projecting from the external wall tends to suggest that there may have been another room, perhaps a vestry, to which this door led.
The altar rails and table date back to the 17th century. A commission examined Appleton church in 1636 and ordered that a new communion table be provided and that it be railed off. Thus, they can be dated exactly to 1636-1637. In 1901 the east window was filled with glass in memory of the Fairbank family, lords of the manor of Appleton from the mid 19th century.
The effigies in the sanctuary are of two ladies of the Boulton family, lords of Appleton in the 14th century. The effigy on the north has two shields upon the robe depicting the Boulton arms. The figure probably dates from 1250-1300 and may represent Alienore de Boulton, the grandmother of Sir Thomas de Boulton, who founded the chantry in 1346. The second effigy, on the south side, probably dates from 1300-1350, and may be Sir Thomas’ mother Hawise de Boulton, or alternatively, one of his two wives Clementia de Boulton (nee Constable) and Alice de Boulton.
The Baptismal Font
Object: Baptismal font (stone [type unknown]-- cylindrical -- un-mounted)
Location: Parish Church of All Saints, Appleton-le-Street, North Yorkshire (England)
Date: 11th-12th century(?)
Period/Style: Anglo-Saxon? / Norman?
Notes on font: Described in Cox & Harvey (1907) as a 'rude' [i.e., crude] unmounted cylindrical baptismal font, probably of the early Norman period, but possibly Saxon. Morris (1931) notes: "Rude, circular, perhaps late 12th-cent. font, similar to, but taller than, that at Amotherby."
Cover: yes - conical, with finial
The above information
regarding the fonts is reproduced, with
from BAPTISTERIA SACRA INDEX www.library.utoronto.ca/bsi