All Saints Church, Easington

All Saint's Church, Easington

All Saints, Church, Easington in a prominent hill top position on the coast road that runs through Easington.

Worship is held at All Saints every Sunday 10.30am on the first Sunday of the month and 9am on all other Sunday.  We also hold an evening service at 6pm on the second Sunday of each month.  

History of All Saints 
 
All Saints is a Grade II listed late nineteenth century church, mostly endowed by the Palmer family who were local landowners and entrepreneurs. It is built on elevated ground in the centre of the lovely village of Easington, North Yorkshire. 
 
Easington is a rural parish with a population of approximately 1,200. Hundreds of years before there was any organised local community, people were being buried on the open moors in the south of Easington parish. Local legend has it that St Hilda of Whitby (614-668) and St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (634-687) met on the high ground in Easington where our church now stands. There is evidence that a church has stood on this site since Saxon times, and when the church was re-built in 1888 a number of stones were discovered from the pre-Norman period. 
 
A church here is mentioned in the Doomsday survey, which states that ‘Easington has a church without a priest’ as was usual before the establishment of the parochial system. The Saxon church was taken down and re-built by the Normans, but the chancel arch from the Norman church is – most unusually – built into the upper levels of the tower of the present building. 
 
In 1182 Henry II granted the Church of Easington to Guisborough Priory and it is mentioned in the inventory of the Priory at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1540. A document dated 30th April 1319 states that the chancel was ‘old, ruinous and falling to pieces.’ It was rebuilt by Lady Margaret, wife of the Lord of the Manor. 
 
The remains of the Norman church were taken down in 1771 and a simple box-like church built in its place. In All Saints’ parish records there is a letter from the rector, Alfred L Lambert, appealing for funds to build a new church. In his letter he states the Hanoverian church was in ‘a very dilapidated condition.’ 
 
The present church was built by Alfred Lambert and his son Alfred L Lambert, who was rector from 1881 to 1895, in memory of their daughter and sister Augusta Mary Palmer, wife of Sir Charles Mark Palmer. Mrs Alfred Lambert, mother of Augusta Mary, laid the foundation stone on 20th September 1888 with a mallet of oak made from the door of the old church. The present building was opened by William Thompson, Archbishop of York, on 25th October 1889. 
 
All Saints was designed in an accomplished and elegantly-detailed fourteenth century idiom by the locally important Durham architect Charles Hodgson Fowler (1840-1910) and built in 1888-9. He designed a large number of new churches and carried out many significant restorations across the north-east of England. His scholarly and high-minded churches are strongly influenced by the work of GE Street and look forward to many aspects of the work of GF Bodley (1827-1907) and Temple Moore (1856-1920) – the other great regional church designer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is built of local sandstone with a Westmorland slate roof and a tower with a castellated parapet. 
 
All Saints is surrounded by an ancient, well maintained, churchyard extending to around 1 hectare. The churchyard has a number of interesting headstones from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and a Grade II, separately listed, memorial to the Palmer Family.   
 
Stained glass windows 
 
There are six stained glass windows in All Saints. The three-light window above the altar was dedicated in memory of Alfred L Lambert on December 17th 1904 and may be the work of Burlison and Grylls (who did not sign their windows). The subject of the centre light is Christ in Majesty surrounded by symbols of the Passion. It was the first stained glass window to be installed in the church. 
 
There are also three fine windows by CE Kempe and his successor Walter Tower, showing their typical angels with peacock feather wings and signed with their wheatsheaf and tower emblems.  
 
In the eastern corner of the Lady Chapel is perhaps our most interesting window. It depicts St Cuthbert (634687) and the Venerable Bede (672/3-735), and may have been designed by either Douglas Strachan (18751950) or Christopher Whall (1849-1924). Strachan is by far the most important Scottish stained glass artist of the twentieth century, and Whall is widely recognised as a key figure in the history of modern stained glass. The parish proposes to research in detail all the stained glass in the church, and make its findings available to the public.  
 
The most recent window in the church is above the pulpit in the south wall, and is by Harry Harvey (19222011) – a major regional figure and one of the leaders of the Modern York School of stained glass.  
 
Stones 
 
Writing in 1874 Canon Atkinson stated that ‘every fragment of the old church seems to have been relentlessly swept away and probably destroyed.’ However, parts of earlier churches were discovered when excavating for the foundations of the present building. The most complete find was parts of the Norman chancel arch which were reassembled and incorporated into the internal south wall of the present bell tower.  
 
A thirteenth century grave cover found at the same time is now on the left hand side of the present altar.  
 
In the belfry there is a crosshead of reddish sandstone, probably carved in the early years of the ninth century which suggests that this might have been a religious site for the Danes. There are also four pieces of stone from the early part of the tenth century when the Vikings settled in this area, as well as hogsback grave covers, portions of Saxon crosses and some medieval grave slabs. A base for a standing cross is included in Historic England’s Ancient Monument Schedule.  
 
Within the church porch in the base of the tower is a charming memorial to Katherine Conyers, who died in 1661 aged one month. It is carved in fine limestone and represents a baby lying in her crib with a cover hanging down the front. It is thought to be modelled on the touching 1606 memorial to Princess Sophia in Westminster Abbey.  
 
Other interesting features of All Saints 
 
The present altar was dedicated on 13th December 1925 by the Archbishop of York and in the Order of Service it is described as ‘a traditional form of English Altar’, based on designs by Sebastian Comper, a London based architect (and son of the celebrated church architect Sir Ninian Comper) who directed the renovation of the church. The four riddel posts round the altar were presented to the church by the Ladies Needlecraft Guild, made in Huntingdon and painted in London. The angels on the top of the posts were commissioned by Mrs Godfrey M Palmer and sculpted by Mr W Gough. 
 
The Lady Chapel is situated at the east end of the north aisle. It was designed by Leslie Thomas Moore, the son in law and architect partner of Temple Moore, who designed over 40 churches and many church interiors most of which were almost entirely in the Gothic revival tradition.  

The furniture was made by Robert Thompson of Kilburn (‘Mousey Thompson’) and features one of his carved mice. There are a number of pieces of furniture in All Saints bearing the same motif.  
 
The bell tower has a 24/7 quarter striking clock, given by a member of the Palmer family, and an eight bell carillon. Some of the bell-fittings are currently being refurbished by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough. In 2014 the church raised £20,000 for the refurbishment of the organ by the important nineteenth century builder, James Conacher of Huddersfield. 
 
There are a number of plaques commemorating benefactors and important members of the community. 
 
On the north wall of the present church is a board listing the past rectors of Easington beginning with ‘Roger the Parson 1180’ and ending with ‘Marian E Gardner 20072015’.  


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