Wensley – Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire, England.  This picture was taken late on a Winter’s afternoon, just before the sun set.  

Parts of the church date back to about 1300, with various alterations during the centuries. The tower was rebuilt in 1719.  Also contained within are fragments of medieval wall painting and some carvings dating from 1527 as part of the choir stalls. And a wooden reliquary, reputed to have contained relics of St. Agatha.

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Sundial above South Porch

The South Porch has a sundial with the inscription “1818 – As a shadow such is life”

The church is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. (1)

Church Stonework

Sedilia and window reveal are part of the original chancel wall (south) – whilst the piscina, also in the chancel wall, is thought to be of a late date.  The front of the basin has been broken off in times gone by.


Font, Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, West Yorkshire

The octagonal font dated 1662. The best I can do with the inscription is “TER So Looke to your charges”.

Opera Box Pew

A pair of opera boxes were removed from Drury Lane in 18th Century and installed as pews for the Bolton Family.

Medieval Wall Paintings

An example of Medieval paintings dated a little after the north aisle was completed in around 1300. The text is one of the earliest identified examples of English text in a medieval wall painting. St Eloi is depicted in first painting. Early 1300s – King Edward I was on the throne of England. Pope Clement V disbanded the Knights Templar in 1312.

Carvings to choir pew ends.

The choir stalls are dated as 1527 and are decorated with heraldic ‘monsters’ – King Henry VIII was on the throne of England during this period. The wood is very dark and I’ve photographed them without artificial light, just a little reflected fill on a couple to add edge definition.

Simon of Wensley

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

My research tells me that this is a Flemish brass of Simon of Wensley, who was the rector at Holy Trinity in Wensley between 1361-94. He is shown in his mass vestments with a chalice on his chest. The brass is full length but I’ve chosen not to include all of it here.

Simon was rector when Edward III and Richard II were on the English throne and would have been a survivor from the Black Death

Apparently, the church itself has parts of it’s structure that date back to the 13th Century.


Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Wooden almery/aumbrie/ambry/reliquary with a money box attached to it, supposedly of around 1400 – it is suggested that it contained relics of St. Agatha. (Various sources call this wooden box various things, using various spellings? If you know better then let me know I’d be happy to hear from you!)

Saxon Memorial Stones

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Saxon memorial stones, now built into the north aisle wall, include the names ‘Donfrid’ and ‘Eadberecht’, both may have been priests from the Minster of Durham.

The carving on these stones was almost flat so I used a small flashgun to throw light across the wall to bring out the texture.

Loyal Dales Volunteers

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

This is the standard of the Loyal Dales Volunteers. The regiment was part of a Yorkshire militia created in 1805 for the specific purpose of fighting Napoleon should he invade. They were disbanded in 1815.

Memorial Slab

Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire

Although shown grey here, this is a black marble memorial slab fixed to the North Aisle wall at Wensley, showing Henry and Richard, children of Lord Scrope, who both died in 1525. (Another instance where I’ve used an flashgun to bring out the detail.)


Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, North Yorkshire


I always like to find something that’s a bit more personal than the obvious structure and paraphernalia of the churches – perhaps graffiti tucked away in a corner, something put down and forgotten, etc. I was in one of the ‘opera boxes’ and happened to open one of the prayer books there. Apart from the inscription “Bolton 1902″ on the title page, a dedication had been written on the facing page.

I hope you don’t use this as a snooze-box.

Yours Maria

Stained Glass


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7


8 Responses to “Wensley – Holy Trinity”

  1. Wow. Pretty impressive stuff…

  2. Hello Stephen,
    I am currently making a hand sewn wholecloth quilt featuring Sir Simon de Wensley.
    From my computer in Alberta, Canada I am trying to gain some understanding of Holy Trinity church at the time Sir Simon was Rector of the parish. Your photographs capture some special features … not ‘ what the butler’ saw but what Sir Simon may have seen in the 1300s!
    Thank you!

    • I’m pleased that my photographs giver you a sense of what I was trying to achieve.
      I have found Google Books a useful tool for research, they’ve photocopied a fair number of books into their library, some of which are searchable.

  3. I’ve really enjoyed looking at all your posts on churches. The detail photos are my favourites. In this post I really liked the comment in the prayer book! But the photos of the choir stall carvings are fascinating, as is the lock on the reliquary box. Thanks for all this work!

    • Thank you for your kind words!
      For a photographer, our little parish churches are full of opportunity, with ever changing light/shadow, stained glass, architecture (which can include detail that is 1000 years old) and historical memorials – but what I do like to look for is the ‘people activity’ side of things, the little incidentals and personal contributions to the whole.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful description of the Wensleydale church. We did two rubbings of Simon, one in 1967 and one about a decade later. They are both in Gainesville, FL USA, where we live, and much cherished. The best one, gold heal bowl (?) on black paper is going to a dear friend after we move into a retirement village next autumn.

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