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Please note This church was associated with the Heraldic Lindley family

A Brief History

 Saxon PRE - 1066

 The parish of Rudby-in-CleveIand lies astride the River Leven at the foot of the Cleveland Hills and today is made up of Hutton and Rudby townships as well as the chapelry of Middleton-on-Leven. Immediately after the Norman invasion of 1066, however, the parish included Hutton, Whorlton, Hilton, Middleton and Rownton, all seventh century Angle settlements, together with Rudby, Seamer, Skutterskeife, Sexhow, Brawoth and Thoraldby, all of ninth century Danish origin, infilling the land between the Angle settlements. At this time, Rudby parish was in the hands of Robert of Mortain, half brother to William the Conqueror.  

The Domesday Book entry of 1086 shows that North Yorkshire suffered badly from William's "Harrying of the North" in 1069/70 - only Middleton and Whorlton remained inhabited - but mention is made of a, presumably pre-conquest, church at Hutton.

The exact site of this first church is not known, but its presence specifically in the Hutton area indicates that it is unlikely to have occupied the site of the present All Saints',. In common with other churches of a pre-conquest date, it would have been a humble timber building, for construction of the first stone church would not occur until the twelfth century.

 Norman twelfth century

 All Saints' church dates from the second half of the twelfth century, typical of a period which saw a nationwide replacement of pre-conquest timber churches with Norman stone buildings.


Built half-way between Hutton and Rudby, its position is something of a mystery. It was not situated near a manor house and is particularly unsuitable as a place of defence or refuge, being air the foot of two hills. One possibility is that it was seen as a site for some sort of monastic institution, since the location itself is reminiscent on a smaller scale of big monastic sites such as Fountains, Rievaulx, Easby and Kirkham. The attractive setting of All Saints' "in the glade by the Leven" must remain something of an enigma, as
docs the date, origin and uses of the moated area (now the graveyard) to the north of the church.

The church itself was built by the Meynel family ;oft Whorlton (the Lords of the Manor at that time) and had a nave of forty feet by twenty-five feet with three late Norman windows in both the south and north walls.

 A south door was placed between the second and third windows for use by the congregation, with a north door placed directly' opposite, known as the 'Devil's door', for it was supposedly left open during the baptismal ceremony to let the Devil escape. It was common practice to block this door in order to keep the Devil outside the church in later times. Internally, the first church has a semi-circular arch leading to the chancel area. This arch would have had 'chevron' or zig-zag' type of decoration, a style typical of the Norman period.

 The chancel itself was small and dark, with only one window allowing in light to illuminate the altar, which would have been of stone with a cross and candles. Throughout the church, the floor would be of pressed clay or cobbles and covered with straw whilst the church roof could have been thatched or more probably covered by stone slabs in these northern climes.

 Decorated fourteenth century

 The church underwent substantial reconstruction during the fourteenth century, although this meant tackling a number of problems. The ground to the east of the chancel sloped sharply away so that any enlargement eastwards was out of the question. The obvious answer, therefore, was to extend the nave, leaving the chancel untouched. The medieval church,  however, favoured chancels of impressive length, since it was behind the chancel screen that the priest normally offered mass, the sacramental focus of worship. An additional factor was the planned addition of a 'chantry chapel'.


Chantries were separate chapels within a church, which were endowed by a wealthy benefactor (usually the Lord of the Manor), in which priests could pray and sing masses for the benefactor's soul and those of his family. Sometimes these chapels would be built at the manor house, but more frequently, they were built as adjuncts to the parish church, as it was intended to do at Rudby.

14Th  Century exterior view

 The solution to the problem was to convert the Norman nave into the  chancel of the new church, build a new nave and demolish the small  Norman chancel and chancel arch. The chancel contained a two or three - light east window with geometrical tracery (intricate ornamentation) whilst the three windows in the north wall were blocked and the three on the south side were replaced by two-light Decorated Gothic windows. Both north and south doors were blocked, the west wall was demolished and a pointed chancel arch was built leading through to the new nave.

 The nave was built onto the west of the new chancel and had a plain north wall, pierced by a north door and one small window. The chantry chapel was attached to the south side, joined to the nave by an arcade comprised of three arches of two chamfered (bevelled or cut-away) orders on 'cloverleaf columns. The aisle extended only to include the three arches, with the remainder of the south nave wall continuing as an external wall until it met with the west end of the church.

The entrance to the church was in the south wall of the aisle, opposite to the most westerly of the three arches. The chapel was enclosed by screens which filled the lower parts of the surrounding arches and would have contained a separate altar at the east end. A bracket would have sup- ported an effigy of the person to whom the chantry was dedicated - this was frequently the Blessed Virgin Mary, but the chantry dedication at
Hutton Rudby is unknown. It was known as the Leighton chapel for many years, named after an important 16th century family from Sexhow, but it is not unknown for chantry chapels to change their names over the centuries, so the identity of the original benefactor is unclear.

14th Century interior view of the east end


Elsewhere in the church, the roof would by this time be covered in lead, replacing the thatch or stone slabs of earlier years. The weight of this lead, in some cases it was over an inch thick, often caused the collapse of medieval buildings in later years because of the severe pressure being placed on the walls and roof beams.

 15th Century

 By the fifteenth century, medieval church buildings were reaching the peak of both internal and external decoration. Windows became bigger and more open allowing in more light and rendering the use of a church as a place of defence or refuge no longer viable. Similarly, church towers were built for decoration rather than as look-out points, a pattern which was followed at Hutton Rudby with the building of a tower over the south porch of All Saints'. This square construction was battlemented and entrance to the church was through the base of the tower itself. Internally, the tower was ascended by a spiral staircase from the nave. 

Within the main body of the church building, the aisle was now extended to the full length of the nave, with a new arch of two chamfered orders and of slightly greyer stone being cut through from the nave. At the same time, the fourteenth century chancel arch was replaced by a chamfered arch of two orders springing from corbels (stone blocks supporting an arch).

Into the new chancel arch was introduced the focal point of a medieval church, the chancel screen with a ‘rood’ beam pr loft above The rood was an image of Christ Crucified, flanked by the Virgin Mary & St John  

Reformation sixteenth century

 Following Henry VIII's split with Rome in 1533/4, England went through a process of loosening its Catholic roots and then embracing elements of the new Protestant religion. With the break, came massive religious upheaval and confusion, which was felt throughout all areas of English life for next 130 years until after the Restoration and the effects of which are still with us today.

The profound changes occurring within English religion spread to include the church buildings themselves, especially after an edict of 1550 issued by Edward VI, champion of severe Protestantism. Out went rood lofts, religious stained glass, wall paintings, religious effigies and other decorative features, indicative of a deliberate move to place more emphasis on verbal worship and theology rather than on the message of beautiful churches themselves. As a result, sixteenth century churches offered a stark contrast to their medieval predecessors, with the bare whitewashed walls offering the ideal surface on which to place panels containing religious texts. Between 1553-58,

Catholicism made a brief reappearance under Mary, but the reaction against it was swift. The return to pre-Reformation faith ended in 1558, with the accession of Elizabeth to the throne. Elizabeth attempted to stear a middle course and was successful in promoting a church which owed no allegiance to Rome while, at the same time, rejecting any formal allegiance to the Protestantism of Geneva. The Church in England tended towards Protestant sympathies in the period following the Reformation but kept some traditional values and dealt almost as severely with protestant non conformists (dissenters) as with Papist non-conformists (recusants ).Edicts of 1559/1562 called for the total removal of all "papist trappings", the fitting of fixed seating for the congregation and the installation of a pulpit and reading desk for the priest, thus reinforcing the earlier edicts of Edward VI, although the chancel screen could be retained to separate the chancel from the nave. The pulpit, fitted into the nave, was the centre piece of the Post-Reformation church.


The requirement for fixed pews, facing the pulpit, was particularly significant in, not only reflecting the greater involvement of the congregation within the religious framework, but also precluding the use of the church building for all but religious purposes, a break from the medieval use of the buildings as the community centre. The  chance laws, more-or less, redundant and used solely for the storage of the communion table, which was carried though to the nave for the celebration of communion. In the latter part of the 17th century, one out-come of the Beauty of Holiness, movement ,which disliked the drabness of post-reformation churches, was the return of the communion table to the East end of the chancel to the position previously occupied by the medieval altar. The chancel was still only used for the celebration of communion, which, at this time, averaged only 4 times a year.  All these changes would have had an effect on All Saints' church indeed, evidence of this can still be found today in the impressive pulpit, a wooden, square, four legged, oak construction, which dates from before the death of Thomas Milner, the donor, in 1594. The 1559 edict was promptly obeyed, therefore, and it is reasonable to assume, that the other instructions given during the volatile sixteenth century were similarly followed. 

18th Century

 All Saints had considerable trouble with its roof in the 18th century. Early in the century, a flat lead roof was fitted across the nave and aisle. Such a roof would have cut across the top of the chancel arch, which would then have been external to the building, and presumably bricked up. The alternative of chamfering the roof up to the top of the arch seems to have been too difficult a structural operation to have been adopted, particularly when the chancel was so little used.

  Churchwarden’s accounts of the period mention repairs to a clock. A steeply pitched roof was fitted in the mid 18th century and was itself replaced by a Westmorland slate roof in 1785. This roof, which was to last until 1923, was centered over the combined width of nave and aisle rather than over the west window, resulting in a rather lopsided effect. At the same time, inside the church, a flat plastered ceiling was fitted which cut across both the top of the chancel arch and the west window - another alteration which owed rather more to comfort and necessity than to aesthetic considerations. Other changes included the installation of a gallery over the west end of the nave. Accessible by a flight of ten steps, it was used to house an orchestra which, according to repairs listed in the churchwarden's ac-counts included a bassoon, oboe and 'stringed instrument'.

The congregation would turn from facing the pulpit to "face the music" for the singing of hymns.

In 1772, the windows were replaced by "unsightly" sash windows. With respect to these, Samuel Hebron submitted a bill for twelve new window frames at 5s-6d each, whilst £3-6s-0d was charged for workmanship, and for painting the new window as well as four old ones. In 1794, the pillars and gallery were painted at a cost of £17-4s-0d, a new church door was fitted and two floors were laid, presumably with flagstones. Finally, 1798
saw the removal of all the lead guttering. 

19th Century

 The sash windows installed during the previous century proved to be unsatisfactory additions to All Saints' church, for the early ninetieth century saw a proliferation of bills for repairs and re-glazing. In 1838, a design was submitted by John Kay for new model windows. Whether this design was followed up is uncertain, but, during the middle of the
century, the sash windows were removed and replaced.


The churchwarden's accounts offer further clues to nineteenth century construction. Around 1800, for example, bills for bricks, stone and slates appear in the accounts, materials which would probably have been used in constructing the vestry. In 1860, the flat plaster ceiling was removed, whilst fragments of wall paintings were uncovered when the coats of lime wash were scraped off the walls. The Elizabethan pulpit was also stripped
of paint at this time, revealing the beautiful intricate inlaid marquetry panelling seen today.

 The restoration work carried out in the first half of the century obviously has the desired effect, as Reverend Robert Barlow's Visitation Return for1865 indicates (albeit somewhat immodestly) when he describes Al Saints' as "very like a cow house when I came here, but now it is the first in the district owing to my intense exertions".

By 1868, the vestry had been rebuilt and the north side of the chancel restored. Further internal and external renovation work had been carried out by 1875, including enlargement of the churchyard. Between 1889 and Easter 1890 repairs were made to the bell frames and the floors of the tower.

Modern day Hutton Rudby


The Oxford Movement, in the early 19th century, began the restoration of the chancel to its former status and the altar to being the focal point of worship. Churches were opened up with box pews being removed to permit an unobstructed view of the altar. At All Saints', new oak panelling was installed at the east and west ends of the chancel and the oak box pews were removed shortly before 1892. The nave seating was partly renewed by open pews and a fine lectern in the form of a carved eagle was installed.


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