Visit To All Saints’ Church, Great Ayton

WhereAll Saints Church, Great AytonType of EventGuided Visit
WhenWednesday 6th June at 6.30 pmTutorDavid Taylor

All Saints’ Church is Grade 1 listed and is the oldest building in Great Ayton by several hundred years and it was surprising how few of our members had previously visited it. We were therefore very grateful when David Taylor offered us a guided tour on Wednesday 6th June 2018 and 16 members were utterly fascinated by what he had to tell us. Accessed from a path off Low Green, the 12th century building is situated above the flood plain of the River Leven between Ayton Hall and the Victorian Parish Church which succeeded it. This area was the centre of the village in Norman times, the Manor House being further West along the north bank of the Leven. 

The building as it stands is essentially unchanged externally from when it was first built, apart from a 13th century porch which has served to protect the wonderful Norman arch of the south door. David first showed us around the external walls, recounting the history of the church; the north wall was particularly intriguing where different windows and doors had been inserted and then blocked up over time. An extension to the west in the 15th century was demolished after the Victorian church was built and the old church then returned to its previous footprint.

Internally there were more fascinating historical stories to be told and details can be found at  or at  where there is a PDF of a booklet co-authored by Roger Arkell and David W Taylor. Better still would be to visit the Church and there are several people willing to guide visitors, David being the best in our view! The church is open every weekday afternoon except Monday.

PS Captain James Cook’s mother and 5 siblings are buried in All Saints’ churchyard with an inscription on both sides of the gravestone. The original side is said to have been engraved by Captain Cook’s father – a poignant detail, especially as many of his children had died very young.  

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