Lealholm St James

Name: St James's

Date of Temple Moore Work: 1901–1902

Work done: Design and build, including furnishings

Church Description

Access information: There are steps to the porch. These have railings and may be accessible for people using a walking frame.

This appealing church has Temple Moore character in abundance.

St James's sits in an elevated position on the hillside above the River Esk, overlooking the village of Lealholm. It was built at a cost of £1,283 to save local Anglicans from having to walk the two miles to their nearest church in Glaisdale. Notable features of the building include a terrazzo floor, the only one Moore ever designed.

Opening times: The church is open during the day (usually locked at around 5pm). If locked, there is a notice in the porch stating where the key is held. More info at www.mideskbenefice.org.uk


Pevsner praised Moore's work on St James's as “a job to do him credit”. With its subtle detailing and unfussy use of materials, it is clearly a product of his artistic maturity. His architectural appreciation of form is everywhere in evidence.

The almost semi-circular ceiling, with its longitudinal boarding, is of a type that Moore used in numerous locations, except that here it is complemented by a pointed chancel arch. The same acute aesthetic judgement is evident in the careful scaling of details and the asymmetry of the windows, and in the little windows to the sedile and piscina, similar to those at St Botolph's in Carlton-in-Cleveland. The small west tower is a recognisable Moore feature.

Lealholm also has a Catholic church, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and a Methodist chapel. Catholicism flourished behind closed doors in Eskdale after the Reformation, but for some reason the area became the focus for persecution. In the 17th century a priest called Father Nicholas Postgate from nearby Egton Bridge was arrested during a raid on a house near Whitby where he was carrying out a baptism. On the 7th August 1679, at the age of 82, he was hanged, disembowelled and quartered at York.

John Castillo (1792–1845), the so-called Bard of the Dales, was a local stonemason, preacher and poet who lived in for much of his life in Lealholm. He is best known for his interminable dialect poems, which would test the patience of even the most ardent Yorkshireman. But he also wrote poems in standard English, such as this one about Lealholm.

Things to do nearby

Moors National Park Centre

Danby YO21 2NB

01439 772737


The North York Moors National Park's flagship visitor centre, housed in a beautiful old shooting lodge on the banks of the River Esk. Tourist information centre, fascinating exhibition about the Moors, lovely grounds, art gallery, woodland walks, cafe and shop. Surrounded by spectacular countryside.

Falling Foss


Here an energetic little stream called May Beck tumbles off a slab of sandstone to create a waterfall, or a foss as they're called in these parts. With a modest drop of 9 metres, it's not the highest waterfall in the North York Moors — that's Mallyan Spout, near Goathland — but it's a stirring sight, especially after heavy rain. The surrounding woods are exceptionally pretty.

Esk Valley Walk

A superb long-distance walk from source of the River Esk at Esklets, in the moorland fastness south of Westerdale, to its estuary in the historic port of Whitby. Yes, it's thirty-five miles long, but you can easily make chunks of it into day walks. And this is probably the best walking country in the North York Moors. Look for the symbol of a leaping salmon on signposts. The North York Moors National Park publishes a guide to the route if you want to find out more.

Danby Beacon

North east of Danby

Landmark with a peerless view over the moors to the sea. Used in Napoleonic times as a beacon to warn of invasion from France, hence the name. Amid the heather lie the faint traces of a later "beacon" – one of the first radar stations of the Second World War.

Scaling Dam

Whitby Moor Road TS13 4TP

Yorkshire only has four natural lakes, but it makes up for it with a profusion of reservoirs. Scaling Dam has one of the best locations of them all: a wild moorland spot just off the A171. Easy to get to, but with a real feeling of remoteness. Sailing, birdwatching, walks, scenic splendour. Car park and toilets. Free.

Boating at Ruswarp

Ruswarp Whitby YO21 1RL

01947 604658 / 601610


What could be more genteelly English than a jolly afternoon messing about on the river? The Esk here is at its mellowest, so you needn't break a sweat. Simply bob about, watching the wildlife. Boat and canoe hire from March to October.

Whitby Dracula Experience

Whitby YO21 3PR

01947 60192


Whitby is the official world capital of all things gothic, and here's why: Bram Stoker chose to set his classic horror story Dracula here. The Whitby Dracula Experience retells the story using animated scenes, electronic special effects, live actors and good old-fashioned bloodcurdling noises. It's spooky and just a teeny bit silly — great fun.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby YO22 4JT

01947 603568


Spend about three seconds here and you'll know why Bram Stoker chose it as the location for a pivotal scene in Dracula. Even in bright sunshine there's something creepy about the place. Thanks to its position on a headland overlooking both town and sea, you needn't be a Dracula aficionado to enjoy Whitby Abbey. It's worth visiting for it's astonishing marine views alone.

Museum of Victorian Science

Glaisdale YO21 2QL

01947 897440


Delightfully quirky little museum containing weird and wonderful gizmos from the laboratories of Victorian scientists. Steampunks and science teachers will be equally enthralled. Visits are by appointment and last approximately an hour and three quarters.

Esk Valley Railway

01947 601987

www.eskvalleyrailway.co.uk enquiries@eskvalleyrailway.co.uk

The railway runs from Middlesbrough to Whitby, right through the North York Moors, serving 15 stations along the route. These folk share our enthusiasm for getting out and about in the North York Moors and they have plenty of suggestions for cycling and walking in combination with the train. There are Temple Moore Trail buildings at four of the stops on the line, at Middlesbrough, Nunthorpe, Danby and Lealholm, you can take bikes free of charge and you don't need to book. If you're so minded, they also run the Music and Ale Train in the summer, which sounds fun.

Where to eat and drink

Duke of Wellington Inn

Danby YO21 2LY

01287 660351


Traditional inn overlooking the village green. Friendly atmosphere and reasonably priced fare.

The Fox & Hounds Inn

Ainthorpe YO21 2LD

01287 660218


Right on the edge of the moor at the toe of Danby Rigg, and so perfect for a post-walk pint. Garden and outside seating area with fine views. Oak-beamed bar with open fire. Cask conditioned beers and good quality meals.

Stonehouse Bakery

Danby YO21 2LZ

01287 660006

Independent village bakery, justifiably popular.

Poets Cottage Nursery

01947 897424


A nursery run for the last forty years or so in the garden of the Bard of Lealholm, John Castillo. Gets good reviews on TripAdvisor

User Comments

2012-11-04 22:01:12

A couple of recommendations from Lealholm residents for where to eat and drink in the village: The Board Inn with real ale and real fires - www.theboardinn.com Shepherds Hall tearooms too- www.shepherdshalltearooms.co.uk