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Kirkdale (Yorkshire) - revised

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Dedication : St Luke     Simon Jenkins: *                                                            Principal Features : Isolated Norman and Early English unchanged since c13. 

Tixover Church is a little gem, charmingly but awkwardly located some 3/4 mile from the village at the end of a long farm track. Given its remoteness, this is a church that is rarely unlocked so you need to borrow the massive key. Nowadays it hangs on a hook outside a house near the farm and, engagingly, there is now a conspicuous signpost showing where to find it!

Tixover has an early c12 tower. The nave and chancel are early c13, replacing the c12 structures. Although the Norman provenance of the tower is obvious, the rectangular windows of the nave, aisles and chancel look for all the world to be Tudor. Yet they are believed to be c13, a very unusual configuration indeed. This is reinforced by the fact that there are no signs of alterations in the surrounding masonry. In fact, these windows are best thought of as Early English lancet windows with square rather than pointed  tops. Either the master mason was well ahead of his time or he found it easier to build rectangular windows! Only slightly less surprisingly, the “battlements” that surmount the church tower are also believed to be contemporary.

There is a good Norman arch between nave and tower with three orders. Intriguingly, both capitals and bases have quite different mouldings. Maybe the masons had a difference of opinion and decided to decorate half each...? There is string course above the arch and then a crude door opening nestled beneath the very obvious original roofline. Nobody seems to have hazarded a

guess as to what this was for. My own speculation was that it was used by the priest to show holy relics to the toiling masses below.

The south arcade and aisle with its two bays with rounded arches slightly pre-date the north whose arches are pointed in the Early English style.

The font is c12 but is of little aesthetic appeal due to the removal of its original blind arcading. The chancel is c13 but otherwise rather undistinguished apart from the extraordinarily  disproportionate Dale family monument on the southern side which dates from the death of Roger Dale in 1623. The hands of the figures have been removed with Cromwell’s men being the “usual suspects”; in which case they were unusually restrained!

Norman South Door with simple billet and zig-zag moulding.

The Norman Tower Arch.

The mysterious tower doorway showing also a string course with diamond moulding and the original roofline.

The Norman two-bay south aisle arcade. The lightness of the masonry is evidence of it comparative “lateness” within the Norman period. Compare the capitals with the much cruder and heavier ones of the tower arch pictured below

The sadly defaced Norman font.

Tower arch capitals, southern side.

The completely different tower arch capitals on the northern side.

...and ditto the tower arch bases.

Looking from the chancel towards the tower arch. The difference between the rounded arches of the south arcade and the pointed ones of the north aisle can be clearly seen. Note also the compactness of the nave.

The simple but comparatively spacious chancel with the Dale Family monument visible to the right.

The “handless” Dale Monument.

A more recognisably Norman window with its round head and deep splay from within the chancel.

Triple bell openings on the Norman tower.

Capital on the Norman doorway.