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Old St Stephen's Church



Yorkshire_north Map

Last Visited: 2011

Old St Stephen's Church

Old St Stephen's Church

When Robert Jermyn Cooper, a follower of the Oxford Movement with its emphasis on ritual and ceremony, became vicar of the remote Fylingdales parish in the 1860s, he was so offended by the old preaching church of 1822 with its box pews arranged around a triple decker pulpit, that he locked the door and refused to go near the place.

Instead, with some help from a local landowner, he built and paid for a new church at a cost of £6000. Thus it is that this almost perfectly preserved Georgian church has come down to us.

It is interesting to note just how elegant box pews can be when installed in a purpose built building, rather than be retrofitted to a much older one such as at nearby St Maryʼs in Whitby.

The Maidens' Garlands

The Maidens' Garlands

Of particular note are the Maidensʼ Garlands. Also know as Virginsʼ Crowns or Crants (from the German Kranz meaning a wreath).

They were made for the funerals of young unmarried women, and are similar to the floral bridal wreaths they would have had, but for their untimely death.

In some parts of the country the garlands were placed in the grave; in others, such as here in Fylingdales, they were hung in a prominent position inside the church.