The Church of St Mary and St Alkelda
The Church of St Mary and St Alkelda is a Church of England parish church in Middleham, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire. The church is a grade I listed building, and it dates from the 13th century.
The church was made a collegiate church in 1477 by Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III). The collegiate body consisted of a dean, six chaplains, four clerks and six choristers. The post of dean was replaced by rector in 1840. The church was a Royal Peculiar until 1845.
On 15 February 1967, the church was designated a Grade I listed building.
Today, the church is part of the benefice of “Middleham w Coverdale and E Witton and Thornton St” in the Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven of the Diocese of Leeds.
The parish stands in the Open Evangelical tradition of the Church of England. The benefice has not passed resolutions rejecting the ordination of women.
Harry Topham, clergyman and cricketer, served as rector from 1903 to 1925.
The school enjoys strong links with the church which we value greatly.
We often visit our local church, St Michael and All Angels . It is a beautiful church and we use it for collective worship and many festivals, such as Harvest, Christmas and our special leavers’ service. A brief history
- The fine tower of Spennithorne church is older than Middleham Castle.Early days
- There was evidently a church here in Anglo-Saxon times, and there was certainly a church in existence by the time of the Norman Conquest.
- By 1086 the Anglo-Saxon thegns* had been ousted in favour of a Norman Lord. By the 13th century the Spennithorne Estate had passed to descendants of the Fitz Randolphs who held the land until the 16th century*(Then [thane] in Anglo-Saxon England a lesser nobleman granted land by the King or a higher ranking nobleman)Rebuilt and enlarged
- By the middle of the 12th century the church had been built and enlarged, with the existing tower probably dating from the 14th century, when the aisles were also widened to their present width. The chancel would also have been rebuilt and extended eastwards to its present length with the vestry being added on the north side.
The church now
- The structure of the church now is still basically a medieval building of which so much remains in the 21st century.
- In the 1970’s and 1980’s Spennithorne church was featured in the BBC television series “All Creatures Great and Small”.
- A more detailed history and description of St. Michael & All Angel’s Church can be found in a booklet by V. H. H. Green which is held in the church, price 50p.