All Saints Church and Churchyard, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

While visiting my brother-in-law in Yorkshire, we made a day trip to the town of Ripley in North Yorkshire. We wandered around the castle for a bit, grabbed a delicious ice cream cone, and afterwards made our way to the All Saints Church and its surrounding graveyard.

All Saints Church, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

The church dates to the 14th century, and features a very old “weeping cross” where pilgrims and penitents kneeled in prayer. The cross has been lost to time, replaced by stones at the base of the cross. There are only two weeping crosses known in Britain, it is believed that this cross was built around the the construction of the church in the 14th century (part of the original church structure is now sinking into the ground and is referred to as the “Sinking Chapel”):

Weeping Cross, All Saints Church

The church itself was rich in history. Along one of its walls, Cromwell’s Parliamentarian soldiers executed Royalist prisoners after the battle of Marston Moor during the First English Civil War (1644).

Church Wall with bullet holes at All Saints Church

Here is a closeup of the bullet holes which remain in the wall:

Closeup of Bullet Holes in a Church Wall Left By Cromwell’s Soldiers, All Saints Church

Inside, the baptismal font has served the parishioners for hundreds of years:

Baptismal font and stained glass window, All Saints Church

Ripley was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (written in the year 1086) and was originally located on the north bank of the River Nidd. However, in the early 14th century the Ingilby family relocated the village to the north. At that point the Ingilby family constructed Ripley Castle, and have resided there for over 700 years, through 28 generations of Ingilby’s.

The tomb of Sir Thomas Ingilby and his family is inside the church:

Tomb of Thomas Ingilby of Ripley and his wife. Ingilby saved King Edward III when he fell from his horse in the forest and was nearly gored by a wild boar. Ingilby swiftly killed the boar, which was eaten at the ensuing banquet, and earned a knighthood and family crest for the Ingilbys of Ripley.

The churchyard itself was overgrown at the back, with grass growing tall amongst the gravestones.

Churchyard, All Saints Church, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England
Churchyard, All Saints Church
Churchyard, All Saints Church

It was in this cemetery that I first noticed an unfortunate trend in numerous gravestones across Yorkshire: the use of a particular type of sandstone that must be incredibly susceptible to erosion. See James Harrison’s gravestone as an example:

Eroded Gravestone of James Harrison (d. 1875) and other Family Members

There were some beautiful monuments, such as Elizabeth Brown (d. 1857):

Elizabeth Brown (d. 1857) Gravestone, Wife of Francis Brown

But many stones were neglected and fallen over, like George Wood Ripley and his family:

Gravestone of George Wood of Ripley, wife Elizabeth and Daughters

Pieces of broken monuments were placed along the churchwalls:

Broken gravestones along All Saints Church wall

And some pieces of gravestones lay scattered in the overgrown gradd:

Broken Gravestone of Ann, the wife of Stephen Broad[elim?]
There were some lovely examples of gravestone art, such as this decorative angel blowing a trumpet on the family gravestone of George Bradfield:

Family Gravestone of George Bradfield (1851)

Or this possible crossing olive branches with a flower bud on the gravestone of Richard Pawson (d. 1857) and wife Jane (d. 1880):

Gravestone of Richard Pawson (1857) and Jane Pawson (1880)

A forlorn-looking man sits on a chair above the gravestone of 25 year old William Holmes (d. 1851)

Gravestone of William Holmes (d. 1851)

The churchyard itself was peaceful and quiet, though very close to the popular tourist attraction of Ripley Castle and its gardens. And although it seemed a big neglected and could do with a cleanup, it at least has avoided the horrible fate of several other churchyards and cemeteries in Yorkshire who have completely removed gravestones from the grounds and either placed the stones flat to create “Stepping stones”, removed to the churchwall to make mowing easier, or allowed the stones to become building blocks for new construction.

4 thoughts on “All Saints Church and Churchyard, Ripley, North Yorkshire, England

  1. This is a beautiful page. Thank you for sharing your photos and observations. We visited here because the Inglebys were my ancestors. I wish we’d spent more time noticing these details. I loved the church!

    1. Yes, I am also related directly to the Ripley Family but my grandpa changed his last name to Stanley which I am going to change my surname back to Ripley. My 1st Grate grandpa is Frederick Ripley I traced my family to ECGBERT of Wessex, 1st King of England who is my 35th great-grandfather.
      I want to meet more of my family from this side of the tree

      Add me on my Facebook I would be grateful to hear from family

      ** **

  2. The old church is shown several times in the 1970 movie Jane Eyre …that’s what piqued my interest in it … what a fascinating place

  3. Does anyone, by chance, have a complete listing of all buried in this cemetery? Considering the current condition, that may be impossible but am hoping it has either been done or there is a parish registry to include these burials. I do have ancesters from the Yorkshire area and some burial locations are difficult to locate.

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