Seeking the Romanesque ii – Kirkburn

Just a few miles away from the lovely church of Cowlem is Kirkburn. Both churches were restored by Sir Tatton Sykes in the nineteenth century and a part of a group of churches in North and East Yorkshire known as The Sykes Churches.

This church also has a connection with our area, in 1119 Robert de Brus founded Guisborough Priory and gave Kirkburn to his new foundation, the original church was probably built within the next twenty years.

Rita Wood describes the restoration as ‘not overdone’.

The corbels and capitals on the exterior north wall are all original, the corbels on the south wall of the are mostly original, they are all rather wonderful.

The church has a very beautiful Romanesque font which Pevenser describes as ‘A jumble of delightful rustic carvings’. I tried the door, sadly it was locked, I wasn’t complaining though, I had this stunningly beautiful arch to marvel at.

Pevsner tells us that ‘The Norman s doorway is spectacular if course, with three orders of big columns, volute and spiral capitals, beakhead and zigzag in the arch.’ I was overwhelmed by it.


The Buildings of England Yorkshire: York and the East Riding – Nikolaus Pevsner and David Neave. 1997

Romanesque Yorkshire. Yorkshire Archaeological Society. Occasional Paper No. 9 – Rita Wood. 2012

Thanks to Pat O’Halloran for keeping me right

7 thoughts on “Seeking the Romanesque ii – Kirkburn

  1. Impressive – especially the covered doorway.
    I would love to know what the beak heads symbolised?
    – and the guy with the skateboard 🙂

  2. Another awesomely carved church!! Your photos are excellent and really show the detail – but it still goes on the ‘must visit’ list…!

  3. Sorry to bang on about this but having looked at your post again the tower shot is 100% Garton-on-the-Wolds, the corbel table is Kirkburn

    1. You know what, you’re right Pat.
      Oddly, I’d forgotten I’d been to Garton, the church was locked so I didn’t stay long. Thanks for keeping me right mate

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