United Benefice of Thornhill & Whitley Lower

Serving our local communities

Church listing

Set out below is a copy of the text of the list description of this
Grade I listed building (Church of St Michael & All Angels, Church Lane,Thornhill, listed 30/6/49). 

Church. Perpendicular west tower, probably C15, though the base may be earlier. North chapel (Savile chapel) 1447 extended by one bay1493. Chancel and South chapel 1490. Nave vestry and some restoration work 1877 by G. E. Street in Decorated style. Ashlar Stone slate roofs with roll-top copings to parapets. 4-bay nave with clerestorey, north and south aisles, south porch, west tower. 3-bay chancel with clerestorey and north and south chapels, vestry added to east end of south chapel.    Aisles are buttressed and have tall 2 and 3-light traceried windows.    Gabled south porch has elaborate frieze to parapet carved with 8 angels and Christ in the apex. Moulded doorway with 3 engraved colonnettes with foliage capitals. Ribbed and vaulted internally. The square tower is in two tall stages with reducing diagonal buttresses. West door with moulded surround, west window probably C19. 8-light mullioned and transomed bell-chamber openings with 5-foiled lights and traceried heads crenellated parapet on corbel-brackets and 8 crocketted pinnacles. The north chapel east window is of 5 lights with cambered head. The tall chancel east window is much restored and of 6 lights Both have Perpendicular tracery. 

Interior: Important collection of monuments to the Savile family in the Savile chapel: long effigy of a cross-legged knight in chain-mail with shield and sword, has head under a canopy, the face restored, thought to be of Sir John de Thornhill (c. 1260-1322); a tomb chest with alabaster effigy to Sir Thomas Savile (d. 1449) and his wife, the chest is divided into 18 ogee-headed panels with weepers; an oak tomb chest, 1529, formerly under a four-poster canopy, with effigies to Sir John Savile (d.1503) and his two wives, Alice Vernon and Elizabeth Paston. The chest is panelled with elaborate quatrefoils; a large monument, between this chapel and the chancel, to Sir George Savile (d.1614) and his wife Anne, sister of Sir Thomas Wentworth. Paired columns to each side support a segmental arch with large achievement and figure to each
side and to top. At the foot of this on the north side is the
kneeling figure of their 2nd son, and on the chancel side a reclining
figure of their 1st son, holding a book and a skull, who died whilst
studying at Oxford; on the north side a dresser tomb to Sir George
Savile (d.1622) attributed to Maximilian Colt, an alabaster effigy in
armour with columns to left and right supporting an entablature with 2 cartouches, shield and crest, good detailing; in the north-east corner, a black marble sarcophagus on large square base, to Sir George Savile of Rufford (d.1743), signed by William Barlow. The back supports a pediment and has scrolled support; a small alabaster baby lying on its back and holding a basin for a font, to the 2nd Lord Savile (d.1931) by Amy Lewis.   This was brought from Rufford Abbey in 1948. In the south chapel are C18 wall memorials to the Elmsall family and,an empty tomb recess in the south wall.  At the base of the tower is a good mid C18 wall memorial, consisting of a cartouche with supporting cherubs, and a skull and wings at the base.Much original glass survives. In the Savile chapel a window on the north side has the name Thome Savill and the date 1447 (restored 1972). 

The east window of the chapel, a 'doom window' and very faded, has the name Wiliam Sayvile and the date 1493 (restored 1953). The chancel east window bears the tree of Jesse, and was donated by Robert Frost, parson, and is dated 1499. Considerably restored in the C19.  Other windows have fragments of early glass. Set in the screen between the chancel and south chapel is a stained glass escutcheon of Phillip Waterhouse (d.1614) bearing the motto BEE FAST. 

The chancel is arcaded on octagonal piers, with C19 oak screens. The nave is arcaded on clustered piers. North chapel roof is panelled and original.   Excellent chancel roof of C.1877 with traceried panelling and cusped and traceried bracings to the 6 irregularly placed tie-beams each of which ends in a well carved angel. Nave roof is arched braced. Octagonal panelled stone font with oak ribbed and crocketted cover c.1866. Elaborate stone pulpit. Organ placed in north aisle c.1981. 

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, 1967. 
B. Nuttall, A History of Thornhill (inc. The Church of St. Michael &
All Angels), 1970.

also ( added 17th October 2018)


The Lychgate and front wall are Listed separately as Grade 2. Click link above


see also link to Savile papers in the National Archives:


Quinquennial Report 2016