St. Andrews Church
Kirkby Malzeard
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Please click here to see some fascinating photos of the Church taken in 1876, as well as some details of the restoration in 1878 - 80

The Church was built about 1150 on what is believed to be the site of a 10th century Church. Originally there was probably just a nave and chancel to which the north aisle was added in the 13th century. This aisle was later extended eastward. The south porch was built in the 15th century and the western tower added between 1500 and 1530. In the same period the chancel was extended, and a vestry with a priest's chamber above added.

In the 18th century galleries were erected at the west end and in the aisle which were removed at the restoration in 1878 -80.

The Church was destroyed by fire in 1908, the above photograph shows the extent of the destruction. The roofs, interior woodwork and floors were destroyed along with the bells which were smashed but later recast with the original inscriptions dated 1609 to 1866. The walls remained secure although the tracery of the windows were badly damaged, along with the main columns. The tower was badly cracked and bowed outwards but was solidly built so that it only needed ties to secure it. Restoration took about two years and the £5,500 required was raised by insurance, public subscription and other generous gifts.

Courts were held regularly in the Church to discuss village as well as Church matters, and the Moot Cross in the Churchyard was the meeting place for Church wardens and overseers of the township. Records from the 17th century Church courts show that judgement could be severe on any person merely on suspicion of a variety of crimes, including sheltering unmarried mothers and Catholics, adultery and fornication!

The Bells.

There are six bells in our tower, ranging in weight from the Treble at a mere 5 cwt and 12 lbs, (a quarter of a ton or 260Kg), to the Tenor weighing in at 16cwt 3qr (over ¾ of a ton or 851Kg). The two lightest bells were added in 1866, and bear the inscription “Kirkby Malzeard by voluntary subscription 1866”. The other four bells are of more ancient origin. There were twelve bells in the tower of the Trinitarian Priory of Knaresborough, which was founded in 1257 by Richard Plantagenet, brother of Henry III. The priory was destroyed in 1539, in the reign of Henry VIII, and its bells were dispersed, four each to Knaresborough, Spofforth and Kirkby Malzeard.

These bells are also inscribed; No.3 and No.4 with “Jesus be our speed 1622”, No.5 “ God save our church 1609” and the tenor with “G.Thirkill Church Warden AD 1768."

"All men that hear my doleful sound
Repent before death doth you confound.”

All six were broken in the fire of 1908: they were weighed at Ripon Station on 28thOctober before being recast in 1909 at a cost of £270. The dates 1609,1622 and 1768 must refer to previous recastings: there was certainly a recasting in 1591;in the Wardens’ Accounts for that year there is a record of “2 Shillings to replace the tiles at the base of the tower “. This was after a recasting in a pit dug in the base of the tower.

If you are interested in joining the bellringers click here.

If you have any information or photos we can add to these pages please contact We plan to add anecdotal history given by local residents, so if you have any interesting or amusing memories of life in this area please let us know!