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Ellerton parish:

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Ellerton, History transcription:

The a short history of the Church on a plaque outside St. Mary's Church, Ellerton.


The Priory Church of
Saint Mary and
Saint Lawrence

Since 1203, when a small house of Gilbertine canons was established on this site to care for the elderly, a church has looked out from Ellerton across the winter floods and summer hay-meadows of the lower Derwent valley - one of the most precious and protected lowland landscapes in England.

Ellerton Priory was dissolved in December, 1538, after which the churchyard and part of the monastic church were adopted by the local village community. By 1846 it had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, and was re-built at a cost of £1,200 by the great architect John Loughborough Pearson (1817-1897). He incorporated much mediaeval masonry and many ancient features into the re-constructed building.

It was closed as a parish church in 1978. For the next 18 years it was abandoned to dereliction and vandalism, and was stripped of its contents and important mediaeval stained glass in 1984. Ellerton Church Preservation Trust was founded in 1996 and took over ownership of the building in 1997, within days of its being demolished.

Through the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Local Heritage Initiative and many other charitable and private sponsors, Ellerton Priory church is being carefully repaired and conserved for its architectural, historical and landscape value, and as a demonstration of the skills of modern artists and fine craftspeople. The churchyard is managed for its benefit to wildlife. Following traditional practice, it is cut for hay in the Summer and grazed by sheep in the Autumn.

Once again, the church houses a fascinating collection of stained glass, including the magnificent east window installed in 2003 to mark the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Priory and to record the magnificent support of the people of Ellerton and the surrounding villages.

Ellerton Church Preservation Trust was awarded the prestigious CPRE Mark for 2005 in recognition of excellence, value and long-term benefit in rural conservation.

This former Priory Church is now in the care of:
Ellerton Church Preservation Trust, Registered Charity No. 1052689.
Address for correspondence: ECPT, 13 South Parade, York, YO23 1BF.

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Data transcribed by
Jack Parry.
from photography by Colin Hinson