Celebrating new life -
For over 1,000 years people have come this site overlooking the now famous Aysgarth Falls to worship Jesus Christ and give thanks for the new life he gives to all those who believe in him.
From them the church has inherited a special heritage which can be felt when quietly meditating and also seen in some of the beautiful wood carvings, stone sculptures and stained glass windows.
Medieval treasures -
Sadly a Saxon Cross was stolen from the church in 1966 and very little remains of the medieval church. But St Andrew’s did provide a safe haven during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century for some exquisite examples of medieval wood carving such as the Jervaulx Screen.
The walls of the church were in such bad condition in 1866 that St Andrew’s was almost entirely rebuilt. After that it was endowed with some splendid examples of Victorian craftsmanship like the magnificent East Window and the stone carved reredos depicting Leonardo de Vinci’s Last Supper.
The 19th century saw more gifts to the church including a large mural, an impressive font, the carved pulpit and the East Window in the Lady Chapel.
The church is open from 9am to 6pm in summer (or until dusk in winter).
The churchyard and family history -
As St Andrew’s has a large parish covering the villages of Aysgarth, Carperby, Thoralby, Thornton Rust, Newbiggin in Bishopdale and West Burton as well as the outlying farms in Bishopdale and Walden it is not surprising that there are over 1,000 gravestones in its churchyard - reputedly one of the largest in the country. There is a list and plan of the churchyard by the plain glass window at the west end of the North aisle. (In July 2010 a workparty raised several of the toppled gravestones.)
Concert venue -
A large nave altar space was created in 2007 and with its good acoustics the church has proved to be an excellent venue for a variety of concerts throughout the year from those by local brass bands and choral groups to renowed instrumentalists.
A warm welcome -
Today there is a warm and welcoming worshipping community at the church with members drawn from throughout the parish. All are welcome at the services and at other times for quiet reflection or to leave messages on the prayer tree.
There is a strong tradition of lay involvement in the life of the church and links with the villages especially through regular drop-in-for-coffee mornings and events such as carol services at Christmas and the Walk of Witness at Easter. There are also monthly drop-in coffee mornings. For more about Aysgarth church see posts on Pip's Patch
Fun time -
Easter Sunday is a fun time for children (and adults!) at St Andrew's as they gather to decorate eggs and biscuits during the service and then enjoy egg-rolling afterwards.
The congregation on September 27, 2015, thoroughly appreciated the displays created for the harvest festival.
Neil Piper - 01969 663747