St. Hilda’s Church
The Church of England parish church is dedicated to St. Hilda, the abbess who founded Whitby Abbey (b AD 614). St. Hilda’s church has Saxon origins. The base of a cross, thought to be Saxon, can be found in the churchyard, the cross itself being wooden. The church was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The tower was added in the 16th century. It was extended and enlarged by the addition of two aisles in 1868, with more restoration work done in 1887.
The old Norman doorway on the south side, which forms the entrance to the church, originally stood on the north side of the church, and has been rebuilt in its present position; and another old doorway, of the same style, with dog tooth ornamentation, has been inserted on the north side and bricked up.
The font was made in the 1200’s and has been used for baptisms ever since. Much of the stained glass is also thought to date back to the 1200’s, but not in its original position.
Built into the wall are the effigies of a mail-clad knight and his lady, the latter peering over his shoulder. The inscription which would have revealed the knight’s name is gone, except for faint traces of WILELMVS DE. The monument is supposed to be that of a knight slain at the battle of Byland which was fought above Oldstead, when Robert the Bruce’s Scottish army comprehensively defeated the English army in 1322.
The church clock is a war memorial to those who died in the First World War.
The church contains a mine of historical information about Ampleforth, and posesses a chalice, with hallmarks for the years 1567 and 1568 made by Robert Beckwith of York. The parish registers go back to 1690.