Danby St Hilda

Name: St Hilda's

Date of Temple Moore Work: 1903-4

Work done: Restoration

Church Description

A skilful restoration of an earlier church to bring it into line with the contemporary taste for the gothic.

Temple Moore was not the first to add his imprint to the interior of St Hilda's. The original church had been rebuilt in 1789 to suit the very different tastes of the time, and galleries and box pews had been added. Moore's banished these Georgian intrusions into the pure gothic. He replaced the pews with simple benches and divided the nave with slender arcades.

Opening times: Please see www.achurchnearyou.com/danby-st-hilda


The gothic movement that swept through church-building in the 19th century inspired many communities to backdate their churches to the Middle Ages by adding or restoring gothic elements. In the wrong hands this could lead to a great deal of faux-medieval frippery, which has generally not aged very well. St Hilda's, however, is an example of how to medievalise a church judiciously. Temple Moore had a genuine respect and enthusiasm for the romance of ancient buildings and under his guidance the remaining mediaeval stone from the earliest church on the site was carefully revealed.

The conventions of gothic architecture required churches to have a separate chancel. Moore didn't have to add one here, because it had already been added in 1848 during an earlier bid to subject the building to the ecclesiological rules of church building.

The Reverend John Christopher Atkinson was vicar of Danby from 1847 until his death in 1900. Besides being a clergyman, he was a pioneering archaeologist, geologist, folklorist and philologist, best known for his book “Forty Years in a Moorland Parish” (1891). This neglected classic is a fascinating account of the local landscape and the people of Danby.

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.

Duck Bridge

East of Danby

Fine example of a single-arched packhorse bridge. It dates from the late 14th century and is named after a local stonemason, George Duck, who restored it in the 18th century.

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.

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.

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.

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