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Ric. Johnson, a bushell wheat to pray for me. Also I will that my executor deale for me at the day of my buriall, xxxiijs. iiijd., if it may be doyne (Ibid., xi, 96d).
Aug. 3, 1536. Mawde Troughton, of Marderbye, wydowe. My bodie to bee beryed in the qwere of my paryshe churche afore Sancte Felicie, where my sone, vicare Troughton, lyeth. To my sone, Maister Ecclesfeld, xxs. To my doughter Ecclesfelde my beste gowne and a sperver that ys aboute my bedde. To my curate, Sir Ric. Janson, to pray for me, xxd. and a syluer spone. To my suster Fownder 4li. and one cowe named Mopcye. To my cousing, Thomysyn Troughton, xli. and the great bras potte and vj siluer spones that was at Dalton. To Felicie kyrke a baner clothe of silke brodered with golde and syluer. To Thyrske kirke workes, vjs. viijd. (Ibid., xi, 238).
March 3, 1536-7. Thomas Wright, of Thirleby. To bee beried in the kyrk of Sancte Felice. To the kyrke of Sancte Felice, xvjd., to haue iiij torches to meete mee at Catlyf noike whan I goe to the kyrke, and so to burne aboute me to I be beryed. Also I gyve vs. to the fynding of one serge to burne yearelie afore thymage of our Ladie in the northsyde of the kyrke for euermore, where it standeth at thys day, and I will that my maister, Mr. Roberte Mennell, haue thordering of the said serdge (Ibid., xi, 285d).
THIRSK. CHURCH OF ST. MARY.
The church consists of a chancel, with a basement chambre or crypt, a clerestoried nave of six bays, with north and south aisles, a south porch with upper chamber, and a western tower.
There are some slight remains of an earlier building. When the present tower was built, much of the east wall of the previous tower was retained, and a portion of the hood-moulding of a wide semi-circular tower-arch, probably of the early part of the twelfth century, remains in the wall south of the towerarch made in the fifteenth century. The south-east buttress of the tower rests on a foundation which seems to be part of the west wall of the twelfth-century church ; and at right angles to this, north of the centre of the west wall of the south aisle, a large block of stone, projecting into the aisle, appears to mark the limit of the south wall of the building. The position of this block, however, postulates either an aisleless nave of
unusual width or an unusually narrow aisle on this side. There are no corresponding remains on the north side of the church.
An entire rebuilding was begun in the early part of the fifteenth century. The work was, apparently, started by laying the foundations of a new tower; for it is noticeable that the north-east and south-east buttresses of the tower have been built up entire from the ground, and are not bonded into the west walls of the aisles, which were built up to meet them after they were completed. The buttresses are set at right angles to the sides of the tower, two at each angle, and are of considerable projection, somewhat out of proportion to the height of the tower. It is clear that the tower was not completed until a much later date; but it was probably built as high as the floor below the belfry stage before the middle of the fifteenth century. The lofty tower-arch of three orders bears a striking likeness to the arches of the central tower of the priory church at Mount Grace, to which a date early in the fifteenth century is attributed.
The old nave arcades, of whatever date they may have been, were probably left east of the new tower, while the new aisles were set out and their walls built. The date of this work can be fixed approximately by various notices relating to the chapel in the south aisle. On 25 May, 1415, Robert Thresk, chaplain, had a grant of royal letters patent authorising him to found a chantry of three chaplains at the altar of St. Anne in the church of Thirsk, and granting licence to the chaplains of the chantry to acquire lands and rent to the value of £20 or advowsons to the value of £40.3 Thresk, who was one
one of the remembrancers of the exchequer," and held the rectory of Market Bosworth, Leicestershire,5 died in 1419, before he could carry the grant into effect. New letters patent, however, were applied for by Nicholas Dixon, clerk, one of the feoffees of Thresk's lands; and on 12 May, 1431, Dixon obtained licence to found a chantry of two or three
1 See W. H. St. John Hope, in Yorks. Arch. Journal, xviii, 284, 285.
2 This was the usual method of mediæval rebuilders. Striking examples, in which there was an interval of several years between the completion of the aisles and the rebuilding of the nave arcades, are seen in the large churches of Cirencester and Northleach, in Gloucestershire.
3 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1413-6, p. 361. The grant was made in return for the surrender by Thresk of letters patent, by which he had obtained the alien priory of Ware from the Crown.
* See Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1399-1401, p. 3; 1413-6, p. II.
5 He also held a prebend in St. Stephen's, Westminster, at his death (Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1416-22, p. 254), and a few other livings. He was parson of the church of Yelvertoft, Northants, in 1399 (ibid., 1399-1401, p. 3), which he exchanged for the vicarage of St. Nicholas. Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1403 (ibid., 1405-8. p. 375). He was presented by the Crown to the church of All Saints, North Street, York, 14 Feb., 1402–3 (ibid., p. 194).
chaplains at St. Anne's altar on the previous terms, the chaplains being allowed to appropriate the churches, the advowsons of which they might acquire. This second licence took effect; and it is probable that the foundation of the chantry of St. Anne, which was served by a custos or warden and a secundarius or secondary priest, was the immediate cause of the rebuilding of the aisles. Thomas Raynton, chaplain of the parish church of Thirsk, made some bequests in April, 1436, which show that the chantry chapel of St. Anne was nearing completion, and needed little but its roof and necessary furniture. The glass in the east window of the chapel, which remains in great part, can be proved by its heraldry to have been put in about 1460 ; but it may fairly be assumed that the fabric of the south aisle was completed before 1440. The brass of Robert Thresk, which is in the floor in front of the screen of the chapel, was probably placed there by Nicholas Dixon or his executors, when the foundation of the chantry had become an accomplished fact.4
There is no definite evidence for the building of the north aisle, but the character of the work is uniform with that of the south aisle. The windows of both are of three lights with equilateral pointed arches; the tracery, of good early fifteenthcentury character, has been much restored. The stone-work is somewhat rough, considering the spaciousness and beauty of the general design; but it is probable that old masonry was employed to some extent in the rebuilding.
The new arcades, of six bays, corresponding to the plan of the aisles, were next taken in hand. Each pier is composed of four shafts, about three-quarters of a circle in section, attached to a slender central block, with a hollow chamfer at the angle between each shaft. The capitals and bases of the shafts are octagonal in section, with mouldings characteristic of the middle of the fifteenth century. The arches, of equilateral pointed shape, have two orders, each with an ogee moulding, divided by a casement, and have prominent hood-mouldings. The arcades, together with the tower-arch, are an unusually fine example of the work of a period of which the North Riding possesses very few elaborate specimens.
1 Cal. of Patent Rolls, 1429-36, p. 212.
2 See will of Thomas Smelt, capellanus secundarius of the chantry, 1482. (Reg. Test. Ebor., v, fo. 37.)
3 Ibid., iii, fo. 452d.
* The inscription is given in Dodsworth's Church Notes (ed. Clay), 1904. (Yorks. Record Soc., vol. xxxiv, p. 216 ; see also Yorks. Arch. Journal, xvii, 321.)
Some time seems to have elapsed before the clerestory of the nave was built. In each bay there is a large three-light window, with a segmental-headed arch drawn from three centres. The character of this work indicates the later part of the fifteenth century, and is in keeping with the architectural detail of the chancel.
The chancel is two bays in length. The chancel - arch is four-centred, of two orders, with a hood-mould. The side windows are of three lights, and are similar in form to those in the clerestory. The east window is of five lights, and has a four-centred arch. Owing to the rapid fall of the ground at this end of the church, the eastern bay of the chancel, as at Bedale, is constructed above a spacious basement-chamber or crypt, which was probably intended to serve its present purpose as a vestry. A doorway on the north side of the chancel gives access to a straight stair, formed by thickening the lower part of the north wall, and lighted by small loop-holes. Another doorway at right-angles to the foot of the stair leads into the eastern part of the crypt, which has a flat segmental barrelvault, and is lighted by a window of three lights in the east wall. There is no apparent trace of earlier work in the masonry of the chancel, which seems to be all of one date. This indicates that the rebuilding in the fifteenth century included the lengthening of the church; and the unusual length of six bays in the nave suggests that the new nave occupied the site, not only of the nave, but also of the chancel, or, at any rate, of the western part of the chancel, of the earlier church.
The chancel was, doubtless, rebuilt at the expense of the Prior and Convent of Newburgh, who appear to have been impropriators of the rectory from the twelfth century. No ordination of a vicarage exists, and it is therefore impossible to say with what share of the expense the vicar was charged ; but his ordinary proportion in such cases was a third or a quarter of the whole. The expenses of the rebuilding of the
. nave were met, as usual, by the parishioners. In the fourteenth century a dispute arose between Sir John Lascelles and the inhabitants of Sowerby, and the inhabitants of Thirsk and the hamlets of Carlton Miniott and Sand Hutton, with regard to the proportion of repairs to the mother church chargeable upon the people of Sowerby, who had their own parochial chapel. An ordinance of Archbishop Melton, bearing date 27 June, 1326, decreed that repairs should be assessed, when necessary, by
mutual view of both parties, and that Sowerby should contribute a penny for every twopence contributed by Thirsk, Carlton, and Sand Hutton. It may be assumed that this ordinance formed the basis of the rebuilding of the nave and tower; but the work was also helped by individual bequests. Thus Robert Thresk's feoffees no doubt paid for the erection and furnishing of the chapel in the south aisle ; and the repeated legacies to the “church works ” in wills indicate that here, as in many other cases, a permanent fabric fund was established.2
A series of bequests between 1520 and 1545 refer to the steeple building,” under various terms. Whether anything was actually done to the tower at this time is not clear; and there is, on the face of it, no noticeable difference in style which would point to a long interval of time between the upper portion and the rest of the tower. In 1527 there is a bequest of half a mark to the building of the steeple, 'when it shal go forward.'4 From this it may be inferred that a special fund was set aside for the completion of the tower, the great buttresses of which suggest that a somewhat loftier tower was originally planned, but that little or nothing was actually done. The handsome pierced parapet of the tower and the whole church was probably the latest mediæval addition to the building.
The church contains much excellent woodwork, and the beautiful roofs of the nave and aisles, although much restored, are substantially the roofs of the fifteenth century rebuilding. The rood-screen has disappeared, but the screens or entercloses' of the chapels at the ends of the aisles remain, and there is some old woodwork reused in the modern font-cover. The east window of the south aisle, as already noted, contains a large amount of fifteenth-century glass. On the wall between the clerestory windows are remains of life-size paintings of the twelve apostles, with their names painted in Roman letters in oblong panels below; these appear to have been executed in the seventeenth century.
There were several altars and images in the church.5 Near the high altar was the statue of our Lady in the quire.” Bequests allude to the lights before the Rood and St. John, and
Reg. Mellon, fo. 297 (245).
edificacion of the parishe churche of
3 See wills, pp. 217 et seq.