There has probably been a church on this site since the 7th century, but there is
no documentary evidence of any building before the present one. The first building
is likely to have been of wood and is said to have been founded by St Paulinus (d.
644). It was replaced by a stone building in the 9th century: fragments of this Saxon
church have been unearthed at intervals since and are displayed inside.
ALL SAINTS PARISH CHURCH
The outside of the church presents a fairly uniform 15th century appearance in the
“Perpendicular” style, but inside it is quite a different matter! The Norman origins
are clear from the north aisle arcade (c.1120). The south aisle arcade was constructed
around 70 years later; but already its pillars are taller and more slender and the
arches have pointed tops. The transepts were added in the “Early English” style in
the 13th century and a tower was built between them at the crossing. This collapsed
in 1318, when Northallerton was sacked by the Scots, and was replaced by the present
tower in 1420. Both aisles were also renewed and enlarged in the 15th century, but
fortunately the 12th century arcades were retained. The chancel was completely rebuilt
in 1885 in an imitation of the “Perpendicular” style.
The interior of the church was extensively refurbished in the late 19th century,
when the chancel was rebuilt, and most of the furnishings and stained glass date
from then. One exception is the font, which bears the date 1662 and is topped by
an 18th century wooden canopy. In the 20th century a number of items from the workshop
of Robert Thompson of Kilburn (the “Mouseman”) were introduced. The Victorian pews
have been replaced with a modern, portable, design which allows more flexible use
of the building for worship; and an extension to the north of the church houses a
meeting room, office and toilets. So there is something from almost every century
since the 9th in this church and we hope you will want to come and see it all for
John Fisher, who later became Bishop of Rochester, was executed for his opposition
to Henry VIII and canonised as a saint by the Roman Catholic church in 1935, was
vicar of All Saints for a time at the end of the 15th century.
All Saints is at the northern end of Northallerton High Street (Map). All bus services
to Northallerton stop at the Buck Inn directly outside and the railway station is
approximately ½m. away. The church is normally open to visitors every day from 8.30am
until 3.30pm. At other times it can be seen by appointment. A range of free leaflets
about the building is available and a full history and guidebook is on sale.