Commemorating the centenary of the death of Sir Tatton Sykes 5th Bt of Sledmere, the great benefactor of the churches on the Yorkshire Wolds



Bust of Sir Tatton at Sherburn4-6 May 2013

During the Bank Holiday weekend all of the celebrated Sykes churches on the Yorkshire Wolds will be open, some with refreshments and special exhibitions, providing a rare opportunity for you to freely experience the splendour of these buildings (see further details below)


Exhibition in Sledmere House 26 April – 27 October 2013

Between 1856 and 1913 Sir Tatton Sykes, 4th baronet (1772-1863) and Sir Tatton Sykes, 5th baronet (1826-1913) of Sledmere built, rebuilt or restored 18 rural churches in East Yorkshire, chiefly on the Wolds. It was the aim of Sir Tatton Sykes II 'perhaps the greatest English church builder of the 19th century', to create centres of 'Christian Art and Worship' and he spent a fortune to produce some of the finest village churches in Britain.


Three of the greatest Gothic revival architects were employed: J.L. Pearson, later architect of Truro Cathedral, G.E. Street, best known for the Royal Courts of Justice, and Temple L. Moore.

The glory of the impressive architecture of the Sykes churches, including some of the area's finest Norman buildings, is equalled by the splendour of their Victorian and Edwardian furnishings by leading craftsmen and artists of the age.

SLEDMERE HOUSE is the ideal base for your tour of the Sykes Churches. Season: Friday 29th March - Sunday 27th October. For the days the house is open see website or ring 01377 236637. Open every day 4-6 May 2013 from 11.30 (Sat), 11.00 (Sun-Mon). Exhibition on the Craftsmen of the Sykes Churches 26 April-27 Oct. Featuring stained glass, wall paintings, mosaics, woodwork, stone carving and ironwork. Lecture on 'Sir Tatton Sykes and his churches' by David Neave on 26 April 7.00 p.m. For further details contact Sledmere House as above.


Sykes Open Churches LeafletLeaflets

Leaflets are available from any of the churches, Tourist Information Centres and to download:

pdfSykes Churches Open Churches Leaflet846.56 KB




1. Sledmere, St Mary: The grandest of the Sykes churches, 1893-8, by Temple Moore. Richly carved red sandstone interior with ornate woodwork and excellent stained glass. Open over weekend 9 am - 6 pm. Usually open rest of year NB Special service commemorating Sir Tatton Sykes II on Sunday 5 May 11 am with address by Bishop David Lunn. Parking at junction with Malton Road. Facilities at Sledmere House and Triton Inn.

2. Bishop Wilton, St Edith: Splendid medieval church with richly carved Norman doorway and chancel arch. Restored 1859. Stained glass and pretty mosaic floor. Open every day. Services 8 am and 4 pm on 5 May. Pub in village. Church usually open rest of year.

3. Butterwick, St Nicholas: No Sykes connection, but a delightful medieval church not to be missed. Open over weekend 10 am- 4 pm. Service 10 am Sunday 5 May. Special exhibition. NB Access via signposted path from main road. Café at farmshop nearby.

4. Cowlam, St Mary: An intriguing small medieval church set in a farmyard. Restored 1852 to designs supplied by Mary Sykes. Richly carved Norman font. Open over weekend 10 am – 5 pm. Service 11 am 5 May. See notice on door re access other times.

5. East Heslerton, St Andrew: 1877 by G.E. Street, one of the most original of the Sykes churches. Now in care of Churches Conservation Trust ( Impressive interior. Open over weekend 10 am – 4 pm. See notice on door re access other times.

6. Fimber, St Mary: 1871 by G.E. Street. Good fittings including stained glass. Open over weekend 9 am - 5 pm Usually open rest of year.

7. Fridaythorpe, St Mary: Medieval, restored 1903. Stained glass by Burlison & Grylls. Ornate Edwardian clock face. Open over weekend 10 am – 4 pm. Special exhibition on history of church. Service Sunday 9.30 am. Pub, petrol station and shop in village. Usually open rest of year.

Garton wall paintings8. Garton-on-the-Wolds, St Michael: Fine Norman church. Restored 1857 by J.L. Pearson. Decoration and fittings of 1870s by G.E. Street including the striking paintings, which cover the walls and ceilings, and the stained glass. Open over weekend 9 am -5pm. Service 9.30 am on 5 May. Usually open rest of year. Pub and shop.

9. Helperthorpe, St Peter: 1873 by G.E. Street. Striking interior with richly painted roofs and stained glass. Open every day. Refreshments each day 11 am-4 pm. Special exhibition with photographs and ceramics by local artist Gillian Scruton with demonstrations on Monday 6th. Parking, vehicle access via private drive of Vicarage.

10. Kirby Grindalythe, St Andrew: Medieval church with Anglo-Saxon origins. Early tower with prominent spire. Nave and chancel rebuilt by G.E. Street, 1872. Glass by Clayton & Bell and a celebrated mosaic on west wall. Open every day with refreshments available. Special exhibition boards. WC in village hall nearby.

11. Kirkburn, St Mary: Important Norman church with spectacular doorway and font. Restored 1857 by J.L. Pearson, chancel furnishings by G.E. Street, 1872. Open over weekend 9 am - 6 pm. Refreshments 10 am – 12 noon. Usually open rest of year. Petrol station and shop.

12. Langtoft, St Peter: Medieval church restored 1903. Wonderful carved Norman font and superb stained glass. Open over weekend 10 am - 5 pm. Service Saturday 4 pm. Special exhibition. Refreshments in church. Car Park. Usually open rest of year. Pub in village.

13. Sherburn, St Hilda: Largely rebuilt 1912. Anglo-Saxon sculpture and exceptional richly carved Edwardian woodwork. NB. This church will only be open on the Sunday 5 May 10 am – 4 pm. See notice board re access at other times. Pub and shops.

14. Thixendale, St Mary: 1870, part of important group with former vicarage and school, all by G.E. Street. Exciting 'Light and Sound' exhibition. Open over weekend 10 am 5 pm. Refreshments and WC in village hall 11 am - 4 pm. Shop and pub. Church usually open rest of year.

15. Wansford, St Mary: 1868 by G.E. Street. Splendid fittings including sumptuous screen, richly-painted roof and stained glass. Open over weekend 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Usually open Thurs., Sat., Sun. Pub.

16. Weaverthorpe, St Andrew: Superb Norman church standing high above the village. Restored by G.E. Street 1872 with lavish furnishings, decorated roofs and glass by Clayton & Bell. Open over weekend 10 am – 4 pm. Service 'Songs of Praise' 3 pm. Sunday. Self-service refreshments Sat/Mon & after service on Sun. Open rest of year. Pub.

17. West Heslerton, All Saints: Medieval church, restored and partly rebuilt 1888. Has strong Sykes connections but not funded by family. Open over weekend 10 am - 5 pm. Refreshments and WC in Village Hall each day. Pub in village for meals. Access available other times, see noticeboard or ring 01944 728288.

18. West Lutton, St Mary: 1873 by G.E. Street. Sumptuously decorated interior with stained glass by Burlison & Grylls. Open every day. Sat. 10 am – 4 pm with refreshments and Family Craft Activities & Photo Quiz. Sun. Communion Service 10.30 am followed by refreshments then church open. Monday open 10 -4 pm. No refreshments. WC in church. Church open rest of year.

Wetwang Glass19. Wetwang, St Nicholas: Fascinating medieval church with work from 11th to 20th century. Restoration work by Temple Moore 1896 and C. Hodgson Fowler 1902 with Burlison & Grylls stained glass. Open every day 10 am – 5 pm. Service Sun 5 May 6.30 pm 'Songs of Praise'. Church usually open rest of year. Two pubs and fish and chip shop.