DOCUMENTS & EXCERPTS RELATING TO LASTINGHAM
FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH
nothing is known for certain about the site in pre-Christian
times. There had been a Roman Camp at Cawthorn, a couple of miles
It may be that Lastingham Church is built
on an older pagan site. What was the current policy about this? Here
is an extract from a letter of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, to
Mellitus, Bishop of London, who was about to join Augustine of Canterbury on
his mission to England which began in ad 597. It contains Gregory’s famous
advice on how to deal with a pagan culture and its symbols.
Let him, after he has purified them with holy water, place altars and
relics of the saints in them. For, if those temples are well built,
they should be converted from the worship of demons to the service of
the true God. Thus, seeing that their places of worship are not
destroyed, the people will banish error from their hearts and come to
places familiar and dear to them, in acknowledgement and worship of
the true God.
Further, since it has been their custom to slaughter oxen in
sacrifice, they should receive some solemnity in exchange. Let them
therefore, on the day of the dedication of their churches, or on the
feast of the martyrs whose relics are preserved in them, build
themselves huts around their one-time temples and celebrate the
occasion with religious feasting. They will sacrifice and eat the
animals no longer as an offering to the devil, but for the glory of
God to whom, as the giver of all things, they will give thanks for
having been satiated. Thus, if they are not deprived of all exterior
joys, they will more easily taste the interior ones. For surely it is
impossible to efface all at once everything from their strong minds;
just as, when one wishes to reach the top of a mountain, he must climb
by stages and step by step, not by leaps and bounds.
Mention this to our brother the Bishop, so that he may settle the
matter as he sees fit, according to the conditions of time and place.
The Romans had left in about the year 410. The church was
founded around 654. The
Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People 3.23,
describes the founding of Lastingham Monastery. He tells us
chose himself a site for the monastery amid some steep and
remote hills which seemed better fitted for
the haunts of robbers and the dens of wild beasts than for human
habitation; so that, as Isaiah says, ‘In the habitations where
once dragons lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes’, that
is, the fruit of good works spring up where once beasts dwelt or
where men lived after the manner of beasts.
man of God was anxious first of all
cleanse the site which he had received for the monastery from
the stain of former crimes by prayer and fasting, before laying
For the full text of Bede's account of the founding of Lastingham,
the right is the full passage from Isaiah from which Bede quotes. It is
one of the lessons traditionally read at carol services. We also read as the first Lesson on the
Feast of St Cedd at the end of October.
THE DEATH OF ST CHAD
CHAD was praying alone, the other monks having gone to the
church, except for Ovin who was working outside. Ovin heard the sound
of sweet and joyful singing descend from the sky to earth floating
into the building where Chad prayed.
Chad then asked Ovin to call the brothers, and he urged them to
virtuously in love and peace with each other and with all the
faithful; also to follow with unwearied constancy the rule of
life which he had taught them.
Chad added that the day of his death was close, and that
his brother Cedd had appeared to him to summon him from the world. The
monks were told to pray, fast, and do good works in preparation for
their own death. Ovin asked
Chad about the singing he had heard floating into the room. Chad replied
that it was ‘angel spirits come to summon me to the heavenly joys
which I have always loved and longed for; and they have promised to
return in seven days and take me with them.’ Bede tells us
Chad was almost immediately ‘afflicted with weakness of body’ and
grew worse until he died on the seventh day after receiving the Body and
Blood of the Lord.
It was the year 672.
by RR from Bede’s
History, IV, 20
of Lastingham (Leeds, 1914) cites a passage from an MS in the Bodleian
Library by Stephen de Whitby (the authenticity of which we are
the King’s Demesne not far from Whytteby, there was a place called
Lastingam [sic], then indeed vacant, but formerly noted for the
number and piety of the monks who lived there.
This place was given us by the King, and we began to restore it
by degrees, and to erect such buildings as were necessary for a
habitation of monks.
VIII & THE REFORMATION
of Grace (1536-1537), in which two Lastingham residents took part -
and were executed - coming soon.
the year 1559 the church was said to be 'in ruin and decay.'
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
OF LASTINGHAM: ANSWERS TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK’S ARTICLES OF
EARLY 18TH CENTURY
Luke Smelt [BA.] Instituted 12 May 1709. Deacon [illegible]
May 1708, John York
We have 225 families whereof are 9
Quaker and 6 Methodist families.
There is licensed Quaker meeting house,
2 licensed Methodist houses. The Quakers (I am informed) assemble
every other Thursday and have one George Mason who teaches them. The
Methodists seem to have no fixt time of assembling, nor can I know
their number as they have generally a rabble attending them when the[y]
preach in the house or townstreet: nor can I tell who teaches them as
they have sometimes 3 or 4 who all preach at one of their love feasts,
or watching nights as they call them.
We have only a maner woman who teach[es]
children to read, English and to write, and care is taken to instruct
them in the Christian religion and they are brought to church as the
We have nothing left to pious but the
following, viz., William Thorp of Appleton left by will to the poor of
Appleton 6s. 8d. annually, to be paid out of certain lands there. John
[illegible] of Appleton left £1 to the poor of Appleton, Hutton
and Spanton cum Lastingham to [illegible] yearly paid out of
certain lands mere. Also left by one [illegible] whose will can
now [illegible] here be found) 6s. 8d. yearly paid out of
certain lands at Hutton to the poor of Appleton and Spanton cum
Lastingham, to each town 6s. 8d. Also left by the wills George and
Thomas Hobson of Cropton, in the parish of Middleton, to the poor
widows and fatherless children of Lastingham one Garth at Lastingham
called [illegible] Garth of the yearly rent of £1. All the
above charities are and have been immemorially paved. 20 June 1700
John Robinson Senior of Hut ton in the Hole in the parish of
Lastingham, by will left and gave to the poor people of Hutton in the
Hole in the said parish the summ of 10s. yearly to be payed out of his
leasehold estate there for the term of 1000 years unexpired and to
come by equal portions at Christmas and Easter. NB the above charity
has not been payed for 11 years last past.
5. Our vicar, being superannuated, lives
with his daughter at Sinnington, a neighbouring parish.
I have been a residing curate above 24
years in the town of Lastingham and duly qualified according to the
Canons in that behalf. A tenant lives in the vicarage house. I have
£25 yearly payed according to contract.
Divine service is performed twice every
Lord’s Day at our church with a sermon in the morning at 10, except
that once in 6 weeks we go to Farndale, a chapel in our parish, and
have divine service in the afternoon from Easter to Michaelmas, and
from that time to Easter in the morning.
I know not of any of our parish who come
to church not being baptized, or being of a competent age are not
confirmed, nor have I baptized any adults since your Grace became our
I always catechise at what times I
expect to have the greatest number of children and servants and the
largest congregation; the parishioners are very careful in sending
their children. The expositions I make use of, as I have no other,
Course of Catechising
for the 52 Sundays in the Year,
printed 1664, another by Ed[mund] Broughen DB. 1720.
We have the sacrament administred in our
church on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Day and Whitsunday, and
at Farndale Chapel Tuesday before Easter. I give open and timely
notice. We have 551 communicants, whereof 204 communicated last
Easter. I have no occasion to refuse the sacrament to anyone.
We have a chapel 6 computed miles
distant from our church, without endowment, served as mentioned in
answer the seventh.
One publick penance was performed last
year by Anne Dodsworth of Lastingham, single woman. We have had no
commutations for penance that I know of, ever, since I came in the
Record of an Archdeacon’s Visitation
between 1815 and 1828
of the Manor
Darley Esq, Huby Park.
owners – Residents
Duncombe Esq., Duncombe Park.
W. Shepherd Esq.,
Mr. Abbey, Hutton.
Miss Blakelock, Lastingham.
Rev. W. N. Darnell.
No. of Acres
6500 enclosed, 107000 unenclosed.
Hutton including Dowthwaite Dale.
Farndale East side, Rosedale west side.
by Licence 5s.0d. by Banns 1s.6d.
Churching 1s.0d. Funeral 1s.0d. Mortuary 10s.0d.
N.&S. or E.&W.
North & South
Any burying in Church
repaired by whom
Yard wall by whom
Average No. of
spared at the Sacraments given to the sick.
Tablets of small Benefactions, amounting annually to the sum of
Pence a House throughout the Parish collected at Easter.
by Licence 2s.6d. by Banns 1s.6d. Funeral 2s.0d.
Prayer Book state of
Prayer Book. Bible
& Communion Plate State of
new Surplice & silver Chalice, & a pewter Flagon server,
Terriers in Iron Box.
& Terriers regularly kept in an Iron Box
a Parish Library
Schools weekly or Sunday
is a weekly School in each Village except Spaunton.
There is also a Sunday School for Boys & Girls in the
Ranters, & Quakers.
collected usually or average upon Briefs
upon Briefs 1s.6d.
is full Duty every Sunday morning at Lastingham & Prayers in
the Afternoon, except when there is Duty at Farndale Chapel,
which is once in three weeks in the summer and once in six weeks
in the winter Seasons, then there is no Evening Prayer at
is administered at Lastingham Church four times in the year, viz,
Easter Sunday, Whitsunday, Christmas Day & Good-Friday.
Sacrament is administered at Farndale Chapel only once in
the Year, viz, on the Tuesday before Easter.
- PEARSON 1877 FACULTY
document in the Borthwick Institute, University of York: ‘Lastingham,
by Dr Loma Watts, June 2006
of the Works proposed to be done in the Restoration of the Parish Church
of Lastingham near Pickering Yorkshire. John. L Pearson. A.R.A. of
Harley Street London, Architect
take down the gallery and to remove all the present high pews, to take
down the picture and the modern dome over the East end of the Chancel
and take up the floors.
take off the whole of the roof and parapets.
To take down any monumental slabs or tablets in the Church and
refix them within the Church where directed when the work is
To remove any tombstones in the Church yard as may be necessary
for the execution of the restoration and refix them at
completion repairing and making good all damage (if any).
Excavate for heating vault under part of the North Aisle and for
steps down to its outside.
Level the Churchyard as may be deemed necessary and lower or
remove and re-inter any burials should any be met with in
excavating for the vault etc. This to be done in the most
careful manner and under the supervision of a responsible
To rebuild the clerestory walls and to insert new windows in
character with the ancient work.
New Chancel arch in character with the old work in place of the
present modern one.
parapets to Nave and Aisles
To restore the ancient groining of the Nave in place of the
present plaster ceiling
To restore the ancient barrel vaulting of the Chancel including
the apsidal East end
To open out and restore the three Eastern windows of Chancel now
To insert new tracery in the heads of the present South Aisle
To repair and alter the modem porch to make it correspond with
the ancient work adjoining.
To clean all plaster and colour wash from the surface of the
walls inside and out and to point the joints. At present the
whole of the inside surface of the walls and the dressed
stonework of the windows, arches etc. is very thickly coated
To clean all plaster from dressed stonework inside and to repair
and restore all the dressed stonework inside and outside to
piers columns, arches, windows, stringcourses, base mouldings
plinths and elsewhere.
The inside walls of crypt to be cleaned and restored as
described for Church walls and a new and more convenient flight
of steps to be provided down to the crypt from the Nave.
Provide new Pulpit.
Remove and refix old Font.
new Reredos as shewn.
To warm the Church with some suitable apparatus.
To relay the floors and steps in the Chancel and Crypt to new
levels with paving tiles in patterns except where described to
be wood. Those in Chancel to be somewhat more ornamental than
New roofs to the Nave and Aisles, Porch and Chancel.
New buffer boards to the belfry windows.
New wood block floors under the seats throughout the Church.
The old benches at East end of South Aisle to be adapted and
refixed for the use of children.
The Nave and Aisles to be seated with chairs for the present,
open benches being proposed to be put in at some future time.
New doors generally.
New Chancel Stalls, Lectern and Altar Table and Altar rails and
iron gate to Crypt.
whole of the roofs to be covered with 7lbs cast lead and gutters laid
with 8lbs lead with proper flashings; down pipes from all the roofs and
earthenware glazed and socketted drains.
Lightning Conductor from the top of the
To reglaze all the windows
throughout and with all necessary ironwork and with wrot iron
casements wherever necessary.
drawings to follow.
Venerable Bede expresses the purpose of the founding of Lastingham
church in terms of the following passage from Isaiah (Ecclesiastical
wilderness and the
solitary place shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice,
and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and
rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be
given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall
see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.
ye the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to them
that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your
God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he
will come and save you.
eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf
shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an
hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness
shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the
parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs
of water: In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be
grass with reeds and rushes.
an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called:
the Way of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, and
fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall
any ravenous beast come upon it; they shall not be found there.
the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of the Lord
shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy
upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow
and sighing shall flee away.