Ancient Monuments

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Remains of St Michael's Church, 50m north west of Dairy Bridge, Rokeby Park

A Scheduled Monument in Rokeby, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5249 / 54°31'29"N

Longitude: -1.8714 / 1°52'17"W

OS Eastings: 408419.251853

OS Northings: 514404.767664

OS Grid: NZ084144

Mapcode National: GBR HJC3.MQ

Mapcode Global: WHC5R.7J3J

Entry Name: Remains of St Michael's Church, 50m north west of Dairy Bridge, Rokeby Park

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016875

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32058

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Rokeby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of St Michael's Church,
which is situated 50m north west of Dairy Bridge and within the north east
corner of the grounds of Rokeby Park. The monument includes the church, a
socket stone for a cross and an associated graveyard. The church survives as
an earthwork up to 0.5m high. It is unusual in form, the nave being
approximately 6m square in plan. There is an attached cell which measures 2m
by 3m to the south, believed to be a porch, and one to the east believed to be
the chancel, which measures 3m by 5m. The graveyard contains a number of
marked graves and the socket stone of a churchyard cross which are Listed
Grade II. The gravestones include a number of undated standing examples, a
group of 17th and 18th century gravestones now recumbent, a small tomb slab
and a 12th century coped tomb slab. The small tomb slab is 0.7m long and
tapers in width from 0.3m to 0.2m. In section it is a halved octagon and its
top panel is decorated with a cross on steps. The 12th century coped tomb slab
is 1.65m in length and tapers in width from 0.4m to 0.35m. A cross is depicted
on one side panel and on the other is the shears symbol which is interpreted
as indicating a female burial. The socket stone measures 0.6m square at its
base and is 0.45m high. At 0.07m above the base is a concave moulding and at
above 0.18m a broad, slightly concave chamfer reduces the dimensions of the
socket stone to 0.4m square at its top. The socket is 0.2m by 0.25m. The
extent of the graveyard is delineated by a later park wall on the east and
north sides, and on the west by a stone wall garden boundary which is
continued as a low bank 24m south beyond the end of the garden wall. The bank
then turns east towards Dairy Bridge.
Nearby Rokeby Hall was mentioned in the Domesday Book and the site of the
present mansion overlies the site of the medieval hall. The earliest mention
of the church occurs in 1204 when the advowson of Rokeby Church was given to
Brian Fitz Alan of Bedale by the Lord of Rokeby Manor, Robert de Rokeby. Brian
Fitz Alan's descendants held the advowson (right of presentation to benefice)
until 1340, when the king's licence was obtained for the church to be granted
to Egglestone Abbey. By this time the value of the church had fallen from ten
pounds at the inquisition of 1282 to 66 shillings and eightpence due to the
effects of Scottish raids. In 1342 the church was appropriated by Egglestone
Abbey and ordained. In 1539-40 Egglestone Abbey was dissolved and the church
was returned to the possession of the incumbent of Rokeby Manor. The lead roof
of the church was removed in 1674 and replaced with slate. When Sir Thomas
Robinson built a new church dedicated to St Mary the Virgin to the west of
Rokeby Park in 1740, the old church became disused, and in 1769 the church and
its churchyard was sold to John Sawrey Morritt in exchange for five acres
opposite the new church.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are the septic
tank and adjacent soakaway for Teesview Cottage, fence line, garden stone wall
and poles for services; however, the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of
furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre-
Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were
generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation
for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and
contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built
between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for
the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish
church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial
lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status
residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were
established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some
chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of
which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their
communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry
chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in
the 1540s.
Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the
landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being
nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively
identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often
left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the
nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St Michael's Church is a well documented example of a medieval church, with a
number of medieval grave slabs in their original settings within its
associated graveyard. The church has an association with Rokeby Hall which can
be traced back to the 13th century, and burials indicate its existence in the
12th century. The extent of the churchyard is well preserved and deposits
within the churchyard are undisturbed and will be well preserved beneath the
present ground surface.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Oliver, W, St Mary's Church, Rokeby, (1943)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the Counties of England - Yorkshire, North Riding, (1914), 116
Ryder, P, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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