YorkshireECCLESFIELDStMaryVirgin(davidpickersgillCC-BY-SA2.0)1 DavidPickersgill

St Mary the Virgin

The earliest reference to a church is from 1141 although it is probable that one existed here well before the Norman Conquest.

Ecclesfield, Yorkshire

Opening times

Open 10am to 12.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays for coffee shop.


Church Street
S35 9XY

Traces of the Norman church still exist in the present building. The present church was started in 1478 and completed around 1500, built in the Perpendicular style. The 1478 church is largely the building seen today although there have been restorations in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are many things to discover and explore in the church. An arch in the porch is thought to date from the 13th century and was relocated here in 1913. The octagonal font dates from 1662 and each side is carved. The church has some beautiful roof bosses, including carved faces and foliage and several Green Men and Janus, the Roman god of entrances and exits with two faces, one looking back and one looking forward.

Most of the woodwork in the chancel dates from 1500. Some of the stalls have faces carved on the arms including that of a king/bishop and Janus. They also have finely carved poppyheads on the ends, including the Virgin Mary and Child and the three Magi bearing gifts. There is some lovely stained glass, including a window which shows Juliana Horatia Ewing, daughter of Revd Alfred Gatty, who wrote several children’s stories including one that inspired the name of the Brownies.

The church houses an original Saxon Cross, originally outside and believed to have been used as a preaching cross by wandering priests. Only the base and cross shaft remain.

There are many interesting things to see in the churchyard including the graves of several well known people. They include the historian Joseph Hunter, Margaret Gatty and the Revd Alexander John Scott. He was chaplain to Lord Nelson, who died in his arms on HMS Victory, at the battle of Trafalgar. The earliest marked grave is of Richard Lorde who died in 1600. He was Vicar of Ecclesfield from 1585 to 1600.

The 13th century Benedictine Priory and the 18th century Old Hall are through the trees to the north of the church.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Famous connections

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access to the main areas

  • On street parking at church

  • Parking within 250m

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Paul

Parsons Cross, Yorkshire

The church was designed by Basil Spence, the architect of Coventry Cathedral, and was consecrated on the Eve of the Conversion of St Paul, January 24 1959.

Holy Trinity

Thorpe Hesley, Yorkshire

This church was built between 1837 and 1839, on land given by Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse.

St Saviour

High Green, Yorkshire

St Saviour’s is the memorial church to Parkin Jeffcock, a mining engineer who was killed during rescue operations after the Oaks Colliery Disaster in 1866.