Thursday, 7 September 2017

All Saints Church, Weston, Otley

Leaving Otley on Bridge street turning of onto Weston lane, once you are past the housing estate it's like stepping back in time. Fields flank the country road which leads to Ilkley. Passing large houses and farms you come across a red telephone box on the road side, turn down on to Church road. A little single track road through a dark wooded area. To you left is the grand building of Weston Hall, old farm buildings with the church nestled at the bottom of the track.

Weston Hall    

Country house. Late C16/early C17 hall and cross wing, possibly with
medieval core, mid C18 extension and rebuilding to west and south sides and
refenestration probably c1820 to east (garden) front.....READ THE REST

(*)Weston manor appears to have originally
been part of Otley manor but was
separated from Otley before the Norman
Conquest and made a parish in its own
right. This parish extended as far as
Dob Park, Askwith and Snowden, and its
church was probably on the site of the
existing All Saints’ Church. The Domesday
Book (1086) records that Weston manor
was held by Torbrand before the Conquest
and thereafter it was granted to Berenger
de Tosny. The Domesday Book records
that Weston had a church whose priest
had a small area of meadow. Four villeins
were based in the manor. Villeins were
higher status serfs. They were essentially
farmers ‘tied’ to living and working in
Weston who had to farm land owned by
the lord of the manor as well as their own
allotted farmland. They often paid rent
or provided goods or produce to the lord
of the manor as part of their serfdom. In
1086 Weston manor covered 1,400 acres,
half of which was woodland.(link)

Weston - Wikipedia showing house and church.
Handed on Blog showing house and church.

Tithe barn

The tithe barn is 16th century or earlier, probably cased in stone in the 17th century and converted into stables and a coach house in the mid-18th century. A fragment of Anglo-Scandinavian cross, presumably from the church, has been here since the late 19th century.

A old Apple Orchard is to the left of the barn.

...........A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the Middle Ages for storing rents and tithes — one tenth of a farm's produce which was given to the Church. Tithe barns were usually associated with the village church or rectory and independent farmers took their tithes there. The village priests would not have to pay tithes—the purpose of the tithe being their support—and some had their own farms anyway, which are now village greens in some villages.

Many were monastic barns, originally used by the monastery itself or by a monastic grange. The word 'grange' is (indirectly) derived from Latin granarium ('granary'). Identical barns were found on royal domains and country estates.

The medieval aisled barn was developed in the 12th and 13th centuries, following the examples of royal halls, hospitals and market halls. Its predecessors included Roman horrea and prehistoric longhouses.

According to English Heritage, "exactly how barns in general were used in the Middle Ages is less well understood than might be expected, and the subject abounds with myths (for example, not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn, although such barns existed)"

Iron kissing gate

The church and priest in Weston were referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086 although there is evidence of earlier Christian worship on the site including the remains of a 9th century cross shaft. The present building dates from the 11th century with additions in the late 14th century and the porch in 1686. It contains box pews from the 18th century and an unusual three-decker pulpit. There is also some early 14th century stained glass. It has a Squire’s Parlour with a separate entrance door. All Saints’ church is now a grade I listed building.

The older bell is believed to date from about 1200 while its slightly younger cousin is dated to about 1370.They are now housed inside the church after they were pinch but found.

(*)The church has
no tower and instead there is a double
arched bellcote at the apex of the western
gable. There is a massive stepped
buttress between the nave and northern
aisle on the western gable. 

(*)There are three grade II listed structures
within the churchyard. The sundial to the
south of the Church dates from the late
eighteenth century. It consists of a fluted
circular gritstone column on a square
base. The moulded capping has been
reconstructed in recent decades following
damage. Nearby is a pair of table tombs
dated 1669 and 1671 for William Ward and
his daughter Elizabeth. The large gritstone
slabs have roll moulded edges. Three
other table tombs are to the east of the
Church. One is dated 1698 and all three
gritstone slabs have squared edges

Spiral motif

One of the stained glass windows through a window from the outside.

When I got home I discovered I should have taken a closer look at the stone (with plaque ) on the left as it is a Cup and ring stone.. 
( just read it has been re- located ) !!

you can read about it here 

 The graveyard contains headstones and monuments
from the seventeenth century onwards,
including a railed table tomb.

Though the date above the porch reads 1686, parts of the church — a small window in the south wall and the chancel arch inside - are Norman. The bell-turret is thought to date from the early fourteenth century. 

Many of the graves under the trees were covered in Harlequin ladybirds, and beautiful yellow Lichen on the graves.

View across to the river Wharfe, behind the line of trees.

St Mary's Church - Main Street, Burley in Wharfedale


I loved the place and the area,.
Church closed but can be opened on appointment.


Weston Conservation area character appraisal - I have used some of their words marked (*). Many more photos of the area, worth a look.


  1. What an interesting area to explore with the hall, tithe barn and church. Thanks so much for all the history and information. So many interesting gravestones and tombs in the churchyard and lovely to see the lichens.The spiral motif is fascinating - not come across anything like that before.

    A shame the building was closed but at least you can ring and arrange a visit. I have always been loathe to do that but talking to a man who showed me round a church this afternoon he said key holders were always pleased that someone is showing an interest in the church. So I will try and remember that!!

    1. I never new about "Tithe Barns" so that was a great find, the spiral could be from the old church and built into the re-build. There is also a note saying it was part of a Saxon cross , there are a few stones in the church wall which are from the Saxon church.
      Another on my list to go back to, quite fancy going to one of the services they have.
      Amanda xx