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I simply love Yorkshire and its magnificent scenery. Every season Yorkshire has something magical to offer. There's nothing better than getting my hiking boots on and disappearing into Yorkshire's superb countryside! I take my camera everywhere with me to ensure others can appreciate the many beautiful things that I see on my breathtaking walks. My photography has been featured on ITV Calendar, BBC Look North and has been published in The Yorkshire Ridings Magazine, The Yorkshire Dalesman, Country Walking Magazine and Countryfile magazine. Some of my images have been transformed into beautiful paintings by Yorkshire artists. At the end of 2013 I was selected to be the Face of Ordnance Survey. You can see me in the 'Explore More' campaign. Follow me on Twitter: @Yorkshireimages Email enquiries:

Monday, 27 August 2012

Church of St Mary, Lead

Church Of St Mary, Lead

I often visit this pretty little church which stands remote in the middle of a field not far from the site of the battle of Towton  near Tadcaster.  (The battle of Towton took place on Palm Sunday in 1461.  28,000 were killed during the battle and it is said to have been the bloodiest battle ever.  The nearby cock beck is said to have run red from the gruesome death of the Lancastrians). 

Whichever season I visit, there is always a feeling of remoteness and solitude.

The word ‘lead’ comes from an anglo saxon word which means ’wooden shelter’.

It is suggested that the church was possibly a chapel to the nearby manor house which was owned by the Tyas family in the 12th century.  There is a similar chapel which is in the grounds of nearby Lotherton Hall. The church is recorded in the doomsday book and it is thought that perhaps there may have been a church on the site earlier than the 11th century. The church was repaired in the 19th and 20th century.

There is no churchyard at St Mary’s.  The only burials are those of the Tyas family which are within the church walls.   

The ledger stones which are at the foot of the altar have inscriptions from the 13th and 14th century and bear the shield of the Tyas family.  The inscriptions indicate that one of the burials were that of a priest.

The bell cote. The original bell was lost in the 20th century.

Inside the church there are many points of historical interest:

The benches date back to the medieval period but have had alterations since.

The roof timbers were repaired in 1934 from a nearby building in Scarthingwell but the tie beams are said to be 18th century.

The church was restored in 1784 and the door has inscriptions on the reverse to show this.

The eroded font is believed to be Norman.

The decorated gothic windows of the church are typical of the 14th century.

There is a small piece of stained glass in the altar window which was a gift from the Richard 3rd Society in 1982.

The stone altar has a small slab on the front which may have been the coffin lid of a small child.

The pulpit is from the 18th century and was designed for the seating of the parish clerk, the reader and the minister.  (In 1998 the Archbishop of York preached a service here).

On the walls of the church there are some biblical texts.

I hope that my images will encourage you to visit this isolated church to see how quaint it is and to appreciate its historical value.

The church has been owned by The Churches Conservation Trust since 1980.  The trust has saved 340 churches at risk since it began.  If you would like to be a supporter visit:


  1. Awsome always wanted to see inside this chapel, have driven past it hundreds of times.

  2. Excellent blog Nicky.. Mark.

  3. Will be making a bee line for it. Beautiful. Thanks.