Farndale East St Mary's

Name: St Mary's

Date of Temple Moore Work: 1907–1909

Work done: Restoration

Church Description

An engagingly plain country church in a glorious setting.

St Mary's occupies an isolated spot on the hillside above the hamlet of Church Houses. The church had had work done on it in Georgian times by William Stonehouse, which Temple Moore was commissioned partly to undo.

Opening times: Please see www.achurchnearyou.com/farndale-st-mary for information. Access is level, along a gravelled path, and with two spaced steps into the church.


One of Moore's major tasks was the removal of a very ungothic gallery. It's a measure of how much tastes in church architecture had changed over the course of the 19th century, and how influential ecclesiology had become, that there was a plaque in the church from 1831 proudly commemorating the gallery's installation. Moore had the plaque removed, too.

The builder of St Mary's was Brotton of Bilsdale, whom Temple Moore used on numerous churches. Lord Feversham provided most of the sum of £800 for the restoration work. Among the interior furnishings designed by Temple Moore is the seating, which was inspired by 17th-century models. Also by Moore is the wide, segmental chancel arch.

Farndale is arguably the most beautiful dale in the North York Moors, but it very nearly ended up underwater. The farmland at the head of the dale was bought in the 1930's by the Hull Corporation, who intended to dam and flood it to create a reservoir. After a long campaign by local people, the plan was finally abandoned in 1971. It was only formally laid to rest in 1988.

In spring the banks of the River Dove between Church Houses and Low Mill are lit up by thousands of daffodils. It's often said that they were planted by the monks of Rievaulx Abbey, but they're actually the work of Mother Nature. The wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus is one of our native plants. It grows elsewhere in the North York Moors, as well as in other parts of Britain, but seldom does it grow in such abundance.

Things to do nearby

Rudland Rigg

The old road from Stokesley to Kirkbymoorside is a stony track laid across the moor. Rudland Rigg is its highest section, where it runs along the crest of the high land between Bransdale and Farndale (rigg is the Old Norse word for "ridge" or "spine"). It's a favourite with mountain bikers, but it's just as rewarding for walkers. Park in Low Mill, labour your way up the hill, and then relax and enjoy the spellbinding views.


Absurdly pretty village with a babbling beck running through the middle and sheep nibbling the green. Honey-coloured cottages, craft shops, pub and cafes. The village is also home to Ryedale Folk Museum.

Ryedale Folk Museum

Hutton-le-Hole YO62 6UA

01751 417 367


One of England's finest regional museums, fascinating, inventive and beautifully presented. Reconstructed buildings and displays of material culture down the ages offer a moving insight into the history of rural life in the region. If you want to get to know the North York Moors, this is the place to come. Highly recommended.

Cropton Brewery

The New Inn Cropton YO18 8HH

01751 417 330


One of the first comers in the modern trend for microbreweries, Cropton Brewery has been turning out the Beautiful Drink since 1984. Having said that, brewing has been going on in Cropton since 1613. At that time it was illegal and rogue brewers were liable for a stretch in York gaol. Three hundred and one years later, on the nail, and with the law a tad more relaxed, Cropton Brewery was hatched in the cellars of the New Inn. It was an instant hit with the punters, who loved the first brew so much that a new batch had to be hurried into the vats. Important note to beer-lovers: if your husband/wife/partner shows signs of reluctance, remember you're supporting a local business. It's an awful sacrifice, but someone has to do it.

The Band Room

East Farndale YO62 7LE

01751 432900


By the roadside near the tiny village of Low Mill in Farndale is a corrugated iron shed. Except it isn't: it's a tiny and splendidly idiosyncratic music venue called the Band Room. Built for the Farndale Silver Band in the 1920's, it has a capacity of 100, a great atmosphere, and a determinedly homespun ethic. Acts tend to be drawn from the worlds of folk, blues and Americana, and they're often big names, if you're familiar with the scene. Shows are few and far between, but it's worth checking if there's anything on — the trick's in the timing.

Cawthorn Camps

Near Cropton, north of Pickering

Roman military complex high on a wooded promontory at the edge of the Tabular Hills, overlooking the moors. A waymarked trail takes you around the earthworks. To get the most of your visit it's worth going armed with the guidebook published by the North York Moors National Park Authority. It can't be bought on site, so pick up a copy in Pickering or at the New Inn in Cropton before you go. Entry free.

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.

Where to eat and drink

Feversham Arms

Church Houses Farndale YO62 7LF

01751 433206


Quintessential country inn, with flagstone floors and decent beer. Gets very busy when Farndale's famous daffodils are in bloom in April.

Lion Inn

Blakey Ridge YO62 7LQ

01751 417320


One of the classic Yorkshire pubs, in a lofty position high above Farndale. Good food and beer and boundless moorland in every direction. Keeps its larders well-stocked in winter in case customers are lucky enough to get snowed in for days. Not to be missed.

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