Bilsdale Midcable St John the Evangelist

Name: St John the Evangelist

Date of Temple Moore Work: 1894-6

Work done: Design of building and fittings

Church Description

A lovely church with a simple but picturesque appearance, set in a broad green valley.

Temple Moore designed the building and its furnishings between 1894 and 1896. Inside it is quietly simple. Moore's creations include the pulpit, the choir seating, the curved benches and the plain panelled wagon roof. The elongated octagonal piers are typical of his work.

Opening times: The church is always open. More information at www.upperryedale.org.uk. Access is limited for those of restricted mobility because of the church steps. At service times, someone is always on hand to assist and there is a handrail.

More...

Lord Feversham commissioned St John's in the late 19th century to serve the inhabitants of Bilsdale's scattered farms and hamlets. Even when it was built, though, there were hardly enough people in the area to support it. Bilsdale has always been sparsely populated and blissfully detached from the outside world. The road along the dale was only metalled in 1930. St John's has been threatened with closure more than once, but happily has survived.

The church was built by the firm that Temple Moore often used, Brotton and Son, who were on their home soil here. Things didn't get off to a good start. The site was poor, and substantial foundations had to be dug and buttressing added to the tower. Brotton and Son were obliged to fend off a query from a vexed Lord Feversham as the job went over budget.

In a fit of cheerful Victorian nepotism, Moore recommended his brother-in-law, Bernard Wilton, as the incumbent of St John's. Wilton had been a curate at Whitby for five years until 1898. The vicarage at Fangdale Beck was built for him.

It's said that when the builders of St John's met each morning they came to an agreement. “We'll toss a coin, an' if it stays up in t'air, we'll wark. Bud if it cum dahn, we'll gan ti t'Sun Inn for a beer”. The church got built, so we can only assume luck wasn't on their side.

The odd-sounding “Midcable” part of the parish name is a corruption of the Latin media capella, meaning “midway chapel”. It probably refers to the ancient chapel of ease in the adjoining parish of Harome.

The behaviour of the congregation of neighbouring St Hilda's in Chop Gate didn't meet with the approval of Vicar Gray. On Good Friday 1883 he complained: “They seem to have spent the day as one of regular jollification, a fruit banquet, a series of races and a concert”. Obviously Good Friday at St John's was a more sober affair.

Things to do nearby

Spout House

4 miles south of Chop Gate on the B1257

A beautifully preserved example of a traditional local building. Spout House is the finest surviving cruck-built house in the north of England. Crucks are pairs of curved timbers raised upright to create A-shaped frames. The infill walls were built of local stone and the roof was thatched with heather. Nearly all the houses in the North York Moors were built in this way until the advent of more cosmopolitan building styles in the 18th century spelt the end of the vernacular tradition. Nearly all of the cruck-built houses of the North York Moors were pulled down or renovated beyond recognition. By happy accident Spout House escaped alteration. Built in 1550, it was originally a farmworker's cottage. In 1714 it became an alehouse known as the Sun Inn. It traded as an inn for two hundred years until a bigger premises was built across the yard. Time was called at Spout House in 1914 and the building was closed up and used as a store. The building was restored in 1982 and is now open to the public. Open Easter to 31 October daily 10am to 4pm except Thursdays.

The Wainstones

Hasty Bank, near Chop Gate

Hilltop outcrop of sandstone boulders with fabulous views over the Cleveland Plain. Free parking at Clay Bank, about a mile away.

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Nr Helmsley YO62 5LB

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Rievaulx Abbey was once among the finest in Europe, and its atmospheric ruins still convey a sense of what it was like in its prime. Worth visiting for the location alone: beautiful riverside fields in the emerald depths of Ryedale. On the hillside above the abbey are the National Trust-owned Rievaulx Terrace and Temples, a contrasting bit of 18th-century classical landscaping with fine views.

Urra Moor

Nearest village Seave Green

The highest point in the North York Moors at 454 metres. You'll be hard-pressed to say when you've arrived at the top - this being the Moors, there are no conspicuous pointy bits - but you won't care because you'll be goggling at the gorgeous view over the Cleveland Plain and the sublime hideousness of Teesside, smoking balefully to the north.

Hawnby Hill

Near Hawnby, off the B1257 north of Helmsley

Near the confluence of the Rivers Rye and Seph are two shapely humpback hills: Easterside and Hawnby Hill. Either one's worth the walk to the top, but Easterside's rounded top just loses out to Hawnby Hill's craggy summit ridge. Sunny day: don't delay. Rainy day: stay away.

Where to eat and drink

Spout House

4 miles south of Chop Gate on the B1257

A beautifully preserved example of a traditional local building. Spout House is the finest surviving cruck-built house in the north of England. Crucks are pairs of curved timbers raised upright to create A-shaped frames. The infill walls were built of local stone and the roof was thatched with heather. Nearly all the houses in the North York Moors were built in this way until the advent of more cosmopolitan building styles in the 18th century spelt the end of the vernacular tradition. Nearly all of the cruck-built houses of the North York Moors were pulled down or renovated beyond recognition. By happy accident Spout House escaped alteration. Built in 1550, it was originally a farmworker's cottage. In 1714 it became an alehouse known as the Sun Inn. It traded as an inn for two hundred years until a bigger premises was built across the yard. Time was called at Spout House in 1914 and the building was closed up and used as a store. The building was restored in 1982 and is now open to the public. Open Easter to 31 October daily 10am to 4pm except Thursdays.

The Wainstones

Hasty Bank, near Chop Gate

Hilltop outcrop of sandstone boulders with fabulous views over the Cleveland Plain. Free parking at Clay Bank, about a mile away.

Rievaulx Abbey

Rievaulx Nr Helmsley YO62 5LB

01439 798228

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/rievaulx-abbey

Rievaulx Abbey was once among the finest in Europe, and its atmospheric ruins still convey a sense of what it was like in its prime. Worth visiting for the location alone: beautiful riverside fields in the emerald depths of Ryedale. On the hillside above the abbey are the National Trust-owned Rievaulx Terrace and Temples, a contrasting bit of 18th-century classical landscaping with fine views.

Urra Moor

Nearest village Seave Green

The highest point in the North York Moors at 454 metres. You'll be hard-pressed to say when you've arrived at the top - this being the Moors, there are no conspicuous pointy bits - but you won't care because you'll be goggling at the gorgeous view over the Cleveland Plain and the sublime hideousness of Teesside, smoking balefully to the north.

Hawnby Hill

Near Hawnby, off the B1257 north of Helmsley

Near the confluence of the Rivers Rye and Seph are two shapely humpback hills: Easterside and Hawnby Hill. Either one's worth the walk to the top, but Easterside's rounded top just loses out to Hawnby Hill's craggy summit ridge. Sunny day: don't delay. Rainy day: stay away.

User Comments