Ramblers leaving the Ramblers’ Church
“Since being rescued by a group of walkers in 1931, St Mary’s has been known as the Ramblers’ Church. The repairs made then are recorded on the back of the church door.
The church stands alone in the middle of a field filled with the bumps and furrows of earthworks that indicate the site of a Medieval manor house, for which St Mary’s was probably originally the chapel.
Nearby is Towton, the site of the War of the Roses battle, believed to be bloodiest in English history which brought the Wars of the Roses to an end in 1461.
Battle of Towton Information Board, Crooked Billet Pub, Lead, North Yorkshire
Ten thousand men are said to have been killed, and Cock Beck, the little stream which you cross to get to St Mary’s, is said to have run red with blood.
You can find monuments to crusading knights in this tiny 14th-century church.
Despite its awesome history, St Mary’s is a peaceful place. The tiny rectangular building is very simple. It was probably built by the Tyas family, whose massive grave slabs are set into the floor.
The massive grave slabs
Carved with heraldic symbols and inscriptions, and dating from the 13th-century, they are an important and interesting collection.
Pulpit, Clerk’s Pew and Reading Desk and Altar
Later additions were made to the church in the 18th-century, with a rustic pulpit, clerk’s pew, reading desk and painted texts.”
From the Churches Conservation Trust website.
Interior of the Ramblers’ Church
Window behind the Altar paid for by the Richard III Society – topical!
Today I have been out in the Yorkshire countryside. Weekday Wanderers headed east of Leeds to the flat countryside between Leeds and York. Flat but not uninteresting. Parking in Aberford we crossed the A1M by footbridge and eventually after a while left the noise of the highway behind and crossed fields and followed easy tracks on a circular walk that included a ‘castle’, a village, two churches and two pubs. We stopped at one of the pubs for our picnic lunch and had a look at one of the churches – St Mary’s, Lead, The Ramblers’ Church. We were not quite on the Battlefield of Towton, mentioned above, but we did return to the cars alongside Cock Beck. The perfect winter ramble.
The ‘castle’ was Hazlewood Castle now a very popular luxury hotel and wedding venue. Originally owned and lived in by the Vavasour family from 1971 until 1996 it was a Carmelite Friars’ retreat and opened as a hotel in 1997.
All Saints Church, Saxton
The Greyhound Pub at Saxton
The Crooked Billet Pub, Lead near Saxton North Yorkshire
Muddy boots welcome! The sign of a good pub!