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East Moors, St. Mary Magdalene

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East Moors, St. Mary Magdalene

Somewhat isolated and hidden in a churchyard of rhododendrons, (a red telephone box in the bracken marks the way in), this charming little church delighted and inspired both Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and Sir John Betjeman:

... a stane kirk wi' a wee spire
And a verra wee south aisle.
The rhododendrons bloom wi'oot ...

For there's something in the painted roof
And the mouldings round the door,
The braw bench and the plain font
That tells o' Temple Moore."

(from Perp. Revival i' the North from John Betjeman's Collected Poems, London 1976)

Built in 1882, when 200 people lived on the moor, it was designed by Temple Moore, his first church, with a characteristic painted wagon roof and stepped bell tower. To quote Pevsner, "the young architect obviously enjoyed this job thoroughly, and his pleasure is still infectious."

Four and a half miles out of Helmsley, before the motor car, clergy would ride there on Saturday evening and sleep in a hammock in the south aisle to be on time for the Sunday service! The aisle then would accommodate the Sunday school, for whom a 'squint' enabled them to see what was happening at the altar.