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Help and advice for Reighton: Reighton Church and Churchyard.

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Reighton: Reighton Church and Churchyard.



The majority of these photographs were taken by Doreen Laycock and me (Lisa Blosfelds) on the morning of Tuesday the 21st of June 2011, the weather being overcast but dry. However, on checking that all the graves had been photographed I found that some half dozen had been missed. These I took on the following Thursday morning, the 23rd, when a steady drizzle was falling. Views of the churchyard and the church exteriors were also taken on the Thursday. Further photographs were taken by Doreen on Monday the 8th of August, and a final batch was taken by me between 10 and 11 on the morning of Tuesday the 27th of September, a warm and sunny autumn morning. For the gravestone information please see the "Graves" index (link below)

The order of the photographs is as follows: first is a complete set of photographs of the gravestones in the churchyard in the order that they appear in the EYFHS's booklet of Reighton monumental inscriptions. Graves which are not listed in this booklet appear in the correct numerical position in relation to those around them. Secondly there is a tour of the churchyard and exterior of the church taking a route which is roughly in a figure of 8, firstly clockwise around the church and the northern part of the churchyard, then anticlockwise around the southern half of the churchyard. (I was once told that the devil appears to anyone who walks six times widdershins (anti clockwise) around a church and carries them off to hell. Try it at your peril.). Thirdly there is an anticlockwise tour of the interior of the church followed by a couple of oddments added for interest. The old photographs of the church and the list of vicars will be found hanging on the inside western wall of the church at the foot of the tower. These are slightly out of focus in some cases as they are photographs of pictures which are behind glass. The notes in square brackets in the transcribed list of vicars are taken from the parish records. The photographs were originally taken by following the numbering given to the graves in the 1995 EYFHS 'Reighton Monumental Inscriptions' booklet so as to avoid missing any out. In the event three were missed and a few others had to be re-taken due to poor light conditions (which is why I found myself deep in wet nettles taking photographs of gravestones in the pouring rain - and happy as could be).

The plan of the churchyard was drawn up by tracing the outlines of the church and churchyard from an aerial image taken from Google Earth which was then blown up from A4 to A3 to allow for the addition of symbols and numbers. This was done by using photographs taken from different angles (of which many more were taken than appear on this disk) and checking on site. The finished plan was then shrunk down again from A3 to A4.

Reighton churchyard stands at the top of a hill with farmland to the north and east, a lane to the south with the late Georgian old vicarage beyond it (which itself replaced an earlier structure which was built in the local chalk with a thatched roof), and the Bridlington to Filey road to the west. There are fine views over Filey Bay for anyone who cares to take a peep through the northern hedge.

The path from the gate to the porch and around the front of the church is deeply entrenched, though it is impossible to say whether this is due to the number of burials or simply to the wearing away of the ground over the years. The area to the north of the church slopes gently away to the top of the hill. The southern part of the churchyard was extended in 1924 onto what once formed part of the Georgian vicarage's garden. The two large trees probably indicate the line of the earlier boundary as checking the dates on the memorials shows that those to the north of the trees mostly date from before 1924 whereas all those to the south of the trees date from after 1924. The first burial in the extension was that of Brenda Rotherham Hayward (picture 62) who died aged five weeks on 24 October 1924 and is buried in the extreme south west corner. A map of about 1800 in the East Yorkshire Archives (cat no DDGD/900) shows that an even older vicarage once stood in what it now the south eastern corner of the present churchyard and describes it as 'a small dilapidated cottage', while the terrier of 1777 describes it as 'built of white stones and thatched'. The remains of it probably still exist under the sexton's shed (see picture 219). The same map also shows outbuildings standing immediately to the right of the main gateway as one enters. A distinct change in the level of the ground will be noted near the churchyard's southern boundary (see pictures 218 and 219) where the cremation plots will be found between a row of mature trees and the boundary hedge. The hedge seems to be of a relatively recent date and may indicate a further small extension to the churchyard. A gate in the hedge allowed the vicar direct access to the churchyard from the back garden of the old vicarage and now leads into the lane. The Georgian vicarage stands immediately to the south of the churchyard and although it is now a private house it can be glimpsed from the road. The most modern vicarage is over the road opposite the church but is also now a private house. The present incumbent lives in Flamborough as Reighton is now part of the 'Headland Benefice' which comprises Reighton, Speeton, Bempton and Flamborough.

Inside the church the font, chancel arch and door corbel are of particular interest as they are all of Norman origin. The font is in the form of a Roman altar and is carved with a different design on each of its four sides (pictures 259 - 262). The arch is described by Pevsner as being likely to date from the 1130's while the stone head to the right of the door as one enters (picture 238) is also probably of a similar date. Pictures 263 to 267 show the church as it appeared around the turn of the twentieth century when the brick built tower collapsed and extensive repairs and restoration had to be made. The picture of the church interior shows the original box pews. The floor was originally paved with stones from the beach (which can still be found at the foot of the tower) but these were covered by tiles when the church was restored around the turn of the twentieth century. Curiously although there are memorial windows and monuments in the church there seem to have been no actual burials under its floor.

Finally it should be remembered that although there are only about 170 memorials in Reighton church and churchyard, and the parish records start in 1559 (the first burial recorded being that of Margaret Awmond on 27 December 1559) there is likely to have been a church on this site since Saxon times. In the 361 years between January 1560 and December 1921 about 1,557 people were buried at Reighton. (It is impossible to tell the precise number as the condition of the earliest parish register is such that in some cases records have faded away.) However, given that there has probably been a church on this site since about the year 800 and that the population of the village and the death rate are likely to have remained roughly constant, there are probably over 5,000 human burials in the old part of Reighton Churchyard alone. These few stones, therefore, commemorate only a tiny proportion of the people who must have been buried in this small patch of land.

These photos were taken in 2011 and consequently no photos after this date appear here.

The links given below take you to the first photo with the relevant name.

The number for the photograph is given in the caption below the photograph, with (were applicable) the MI number from the EYFHS's booklet given in brackets.

There are three sizes of photos: the thumbnail images which link to a page containing a larger image (640 by 480 pixels), and then a full size image which is linked from the previously mentioned larger image. The full size image can of course be saved for your own personal use.

The list of photographs

The photographs:

  • The Graves
  • Photos of the Church and its surroundings:
Arcade_from_base_of_tower  Bench_-_Memorial_to_chapel  Bench_1 
Bench_1_  Bench_2  Bible 
Bible_Inscription  Chancel_Niche  Churchyard_-_east_side 
Churchyard_-_south_side_from_E  Churchyard_-_south_side_from_SE  Churchyard_-_west_side 
Church_-_Arcade  Church_Exterior_  Church_Exterior_from_NW_ 
Church_Exterior_from_SW_  Church_from_Gate  Church_from_NE 
Church_from_NW  Church_from_SE  Church_from_Vicar's_gate 
Church_Interior_  Church_Interior_looking_East  Church_interior_looking_W 
Church_Spider  Cranswick_graves_from_porch  Cranswick_graves_near_gate 
Cremation_plots_and_Vicar's_gate  Cremation_plots_from_east  Cremation_plots_from_W 
Doreen_and_Lisa  East_of_church  Font_-_East 
Font_-_North  Font_-_South  Font_-_West 
Graves_between_hedge_and_church  Graves_near_road_from_base_of_tower  List_of_Vicars 
Mass_Clock  Memorial_-_Harriet_Clubley  Memorial_-_Leslie_Dodd 
Memorial_-_Nathaniel_Constantine_Strickland  New_graves_from_Vicar's_gate  New_section 
North_side_of_churchyard  North_side_of_the_churchyard_from_the_east  Older_graves_in_new_section 
Old_graves_on_south_side  Pulpit  Steps_by_war_memorial 
Stone_Head  SW_corner  SW_corner_from_S 
S_E_corner  The_North_Door  Two_big_trees_in_line 
Vicar's_gate_from_Clarke_graves  View_along_bank_from_east  View_from_path_towards_road 
View_from_porch_towards_road  View_from_porch_towards_SW_corner  View_L_from_Vicar's_gate 
View_R_from_Vicar's_gate  View_S_from_porch  Window_-_Elizabeth_Alcock 
Window_-_John_Wynne  Window_-_Marion_Thompson  Window_-_Matthew_Cranswick 
Window_-_North_Wall  Window_-_Sidney_Hennings     

Happy hunting!

Doreen Laycock and Lisa Blosfelds