YorkshireMASHAMStMaryVirgin(sarahcrosslandSTAFF)1 SarahCrossland

St Mary the Virgin

St Mary’s church was originally founded in the 7th century and was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Masham, Yorkshire

Opening times

Open daily.



The original church stood somewhere near the present Town Hall on what used to be known as Cockpit Hill. In 1988, human skeletal remains were discovered during the building of the new public toilets near this location and excavations yielded 58 burials. The original early Christian burial ground is thought to extend under many of the present surrounding buildings and was in use between 679 and 1011 AD. The skeletons have been given a Christian burial in a marked grave in the present Masham Churchyard.

The present church, while having some Saxon stone work and the stump of an 8th century prayer cross, is mainly Norman with 15th century additions. In the church are striking stained glass windows, paintings and two particularly fine memorials: to Marmaduke Wyvill in the north transept and to Abstropus Danby in the south. In the churchyard are buried the hymn writer William Jackson and the artists Julius Caesar Ibbotson and George Cuit. Many gravestones have poems on them.

Masham was given to the Minster of York in the medieval period but, as the Archbishop did not wish to make the long journey north to oversee the town’s affairs, the parish was designated a Peculier. This meant it had its own ecclesiastical court and governed its own affairs. After the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII granted jurisdiction of this court to the masters and fellows of Trinity College Cambridge. College House, on College Lane was the former Peculier Court of the Prebend of Masham. One of the oldest areas of Masham, College Lane was once partly owned by Trinity College Cambridge. To this day, the vicar cannot be ordered to attend the Archbishop but must be formally invited. The Peculier also lives on in the Four and Twenty and of course, in the famous Theakston Beer.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Social heritage stories

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Wildlife haven

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access throughout

  • On street parking at church

  • Church of England

Contact information

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