St Mary's Church


Extracted and compiled from Refs 2 & 7

“A welcome to all who visit this lovely North Yorkshire village lying in a hollow below the White Horse of the Hambleton Hills. For over eight centuries our forefathers have gathered in its noble little Church, seeking after God and rendering thanks to Him for His goodness and mercy. Faithful and diligent craftsmen, each in his own time and generation, have given of their best to beautify this house of God. As you read the following pages, so ably penned by our former Vicar, Mr. Peltor, you will surely learn something of our ancient story, something that will awaken your interest and call forth your gratitude, Pray that we, in this our own day, may prove ourselves worthy of these old and legendary traditions, that we may hold aloft the burning torch of faith and zeal, ready to deliver it to those who follow after that they in turn may hand it on to generations yet unborn.”

John H.B. Douglas, Vicar (1960 - 1989)

This lovely old stone-built Church is considered a "Norman" building. Whatever building may have existed earlier, the present church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Kilburn appears to have been built 1120-30 and enlarged 1170-80.

To the original Norman structure the Church Tower was added in 1667. There are three bells in the tower (1925), and one of the two original founded by S. Smith at York in 1684 lies silent on the floor of the north aisle. The Church was "restored" in 1818, when the Chancel was shortened, and in 1868 when no doubt some old narrow Norman windows were swept away. The East Window (1880) is in memory of the first Vicar, as are the three Bells in the Tower.

Norman ornamentation is seen in the arch of the South Doorway, and the Chancel Arch, both of which have two rows of chevron and a billet hood. The Lion on the south of the arch may be a reference to the Lion on the arms of de Mowbray ; the angel's head on the north of the arch may be a "restoration."

The Porch has had a Crucifix (now defaced) and a Sundial date 17. ...with the words "Certa ratio" which may be freely translated "The right time".

At the base of the tower there is a fine Iron Chest, made in Kilburn in 1854; it contains the Registers dating from 1575 (the universal keeping of parish registers was ordered in 1538), Church-wardens Accounts (1759-1900), the Inclosure Award (1829), the Tithe Award (1847), and many other interesting parish records.

The North Aisle dates from 1170-80, the line of the earlier North wall being marked by the fine Pillars (6 ft. (1.85m) in circumference). The Chapel of St. Thomas was doubtless in honour of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in his cathedral in 1170, and became a most popular saint. A Brass in the floor commemorates a curate who died 1721/2. Nearby are two fine grave slabs attributed to the late 13th century. The one with a pastoral staff was probably made for an abbot of Byland or a prior of Newburgh; the other, a very rare type, shows the shield with round boss and the long-shafted "Martel" or fighting hammer of a "Champion". An ecclesiastic was not supposed to shed blood, so he employed a Champion to take his place in "trial by combat," a Norman method of settling a case in dispute. It is suggested that our Champion fought for the abbot or prior above mentioned. (The Brass of Bishop Wyvil in Salisbury Cathedral, 1375, shows his Champion, clothed in white leather and holding a similar shield and hammer.)

The Church contains many other items of interest including the following : A mediaeval screen and mediaeval window from St. Thomas' Chapel at the side of the Priest's Door in the south wall of the Chancel. There are also two ancient lancet windows in the wall of St. Thomas' Chapel. This Chapel was probably dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, It was refurnished in 1958 in oak in memory of Robert Thompson, who specialised in ecclesiastical oak woodwork, and signed his work with a church mouse. There is a good deal of Robert Thompson's work in the Church, including a faldstool in the Chancel. The pews in the nave are from his workshop, given in 1970 and 1971 by various local families, and three by public subscription. One of these is inscribed "Visitors to Kilburn"; and visitors to the Church have contributed towards its cost. Another recalls a great christian of this twentieth century, John Leonard Wilson, sometime Bishop of Singapore and tortured by the Japanese in World War Two. He also visited the Church and found peace within its walls.

The pews in the north aisle, with their candle holders, are Elizabethan or 17th century.

A photograph of the Doomsday Book record of Kilburn, together with a translation, is on the west wall. The village has not changed much in size since that time—a mile long and half a mile wide. The Parish, of course, is much larger : it includes Oldstead, the "old stead" of the monks before they built Byland Abbey.

A Breeches Bible of 1601 is in a showcase made in Robert Thompson's workshop.

The Font Cover came from the demolished St. Edmund's Church, Gateshead, where the Rev. John Douglas was Vicar 1955-60. It was made by Martin Dutton, who signed his work with a lizard, and who was formerly apprenticed to Robert Thompson.

The church possesses a silver Chalice Cup made by W. Busfield of York in 1695.

The Church, though ancient, is therefore seen not as a thing of the past, a relic of long-distant ages, but as part of a long tradition of local craftsmanship and piety continuing to the present day, a House in daily use for nine-hundred years.

For more details on clergy and history see sections in Folklore, Facts & Figures.


Please note that from Monday June 15th the church is OPEN for private meditation and prayer.

Please follow the guidelines and use the sanitiser provided to minimise COVID-19 transmission risks.

Please note that the 900 year Anniversary Celebrations planned for May 24th were postponed due to COVID-19 virus concerns.

Here is a message regarding the 900 year Anniversary for Kilburn Parish from Bishop Paul of Whitby

Virtual Holiday Club - Treasure Seekers

Wednesday 29 July to Sunday 2 August 2020

Fore more info please see flyer below:


Live streaming of Morning Service and other online resources

Rev Pauline invites you to join her in Spiritual Communion or Prayer at 10am on Sunday when she will be celebrating the Eucharist at home and will be praying for all those she cannot see face to face.

St Mary’s Thirsk is streaming live worship at every Sunday at 10.15am. This is for all who would like to join in from all around Thirsk and the rural parishes.

Follow this link:

There are also national on-line resources that have been published. Please do have a look at:

This link includes weekly streamed and daily audio services. There is also additional worship provision on the BBC to help us, and more is on its way.

The Royal School of Church Music has a ‘Hymn of the day’ and also ‘Sunday Self Service’ which you can find on the following link:

Christian-Aid Week

May 10th marked the start of Christian Aid Week. As a local church and parish, we have been very faithful over many years at supporting Christian Aid and they need our support all the more this year. In fact, more than ever. Hard as this crisis might seem to us, it will be immeasurably harder on the poorest, the very people that Christian Aid seeks to help.

Please do remember to support their work this week by a donation if you are able and by prayer. You can do this by following this link:

Alpha On-Line!

Got time to spare, and also thinking about the big questions of life? Alpha is an opportunity to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal way.

Thirsk Parishes are running this online for the first time! Each session includes a short talk and discussion, where you can share your thoughts and comments in a safe space. We will be running Alpha online, from Tuesday 14th April.

For more information please see details on our website, or on the Facebook page ( ) or contact Mary at or 01845 400480.

We look forward to exploring with you!

Please email Mary if you would like to book on, or for more details. She will need an email address for anyone wishing to join, so that she can send out the meeting link before Tuesday.

Link to the Diocese of York Fortnightly Newsletter - this includes lots of information on the Church's response to the COVID-19 crisis and inspirational study/prayer materials

Home Worship Resources

During this difficult and challenging period the Church of England is encouraging people who are at home may pray together at 9.30am and 8.00pm. We may be separated physically but we can pray for each other at this time. See suggestions below.

You may also find this link to a specific Coronavirus liturgy and prayer helpful and encouraging:


Reflection, Readings, Prayers & Music - Sunday July 5th

Opening sentences:

Jesus says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’

Let us come to the Lord Jesus.

Let us seek his rest.

Hymn: I heard the voice of Jesus say ‘Come unto me and rest’

Readings for Sunday 5th July

Zechariah 9.9-12

Psalm 145.8-14

Romans 7.15-25a

Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30

Song: There is a higher throne

From Diana Wild


Please Turn Over?

Please Turn Off?

or Permission To Officiate?

Clergy and Readers over 70 have to apply, every three years, for PTO. This year when the time came I decided not to re-apply, partly because of age but also because of our moving on from here. So after around 26 years of being a Reader I’ve retired! This was supposed to work seamlessly with our move to Scarborough, but as we are still waiting for a green light, it hasn’t quite dovetailed.

It’s been a real privilege to have enjoyed my Reader ministry in Sowerby and the villages, much encouraged by Nicky and Chris as well as others. I loved working with All-Age-Worship for several years and am thankful to those with whom I shared services, for Bible Study groups, for Choir, for being able to welcome people on their way in on Sunday mornings and for many other joys of being part of the St Oswald’s family. May it continue to have that family sense of loving one another in the love of Jesus, making sure all are welcomed and included and, hopefully, avoiding criticism of one another – worshipping together in peace and trust.

Thank you all.

Grace, peace, joy and love,


From Kilburn PCC: I am sure you will all agree with us in saying how much we have valued Diana’s ministry. We will miss her enthusiasm, commitment, prayerfulness and dedication to reaching out with the gospel.

Dear Lord, bless and guide Roger and Diana in their future lives. Guard them and keep them in your love. Keep filling them with your Holy Spirit and continue to make them always a blessing to others. Amen

Prayers (taken from Roots on the Web)

Dear Lord, it doesn’t always sink in

just who I am talking to when I come before you.

I don’t fully get it,

that I’m in the presence of such a mighty God.

Please, Lord, forgive me for the times

when my picture and understanding of you are far too small;

when I try to fit you into that tiny box that I think I can cope with;

when I’m frightened to let your power loose in my life.

Forgive me, Lord, and make me whole.


Lord, you know how weary

and bowed down I feel sometimes.

I claim your rest for my soul.

I come to you in my emptiness

and cry to you for your fullness.

Rescue me and fill me, Lord, Amen.

Lord of life,

thank you for all that you teach us:

in the ways of your Son;

in the words of your Scriptures;

through your Holy Spirit within us.

Lord of love,

when we encounter you on life’s journey,

let our eyes and ears be open to your teaching.

Help us to see beyond what we think we know;

break into our shuttered lives in new ways.

Lord of light,

shine your understanding upon our way;

lift our eyes from the mud to the stars.

May we not be earth-bound in our thinking,

but ever looking heavenward in hope.


A prayer for others:

We pray for all in authority, that they will be respectfully conscious

of the weight on their shoulders, and that they will act responsibly

for the people they serve. We pray for them in their personal

lives, with the worries and cares that only they see.

We pray for our friends, family, colleagues. We pray that as we walk alongside

them, you will use us to bring them close to you, and they will

learn of your love, O Lord.

We pray that we might be sensitive to the needs of those around

us – the people we see every day, perhaps as fleetingly as at the

shops, or in the bus queue. We have no idea what burdens they are

carrying, or if they need a kind word from you that only we can

give. We pray that we will see the positive in people, even when it’s

hard, and reach out to encourage them.


Song: What a friend we have in Jesus


O God, the protector of all who trust in you,

without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:

increase and multiply upon us your mercy;

that with you as our ruler and guide

we may so pass through things temporal

that we lose not our hold on things eternal;

grant this, heavenly Father,

for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

A closing prayer:

Go and tell:

God is gracious and merciful,

and full of love.

Go and live:

God’s compassion embraces us all.

Go and give thanks:

God is faithful and blesses us.


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Saints Alive Online (5-Parish Magazine)

July Edition

6. Saints Alive - July 2020.pdf

All On-line Editions


Church Wardens: Patrick Gibson, or Ali Miles Tel: 01347868393

Treasurer: Keith Lewis Tel: 07852 127274

St Mary's Church, Kilburn - Norman Arch

St Mary's Church, Kilburn