Parish Church of St. Martin
(10) Parish Church of St. Martin, Coney Street
(Plates 2, 9, 19; Figs. 22, 23), has walls of magnesian
limestone, ashlar, some rubble, and a little gritstone. The
roof is covered with lead. The church was badly damaged by enemy action in 1942 and was partly reconstructed in 1961–8 to the designs of the late Mr. George
Pace. The ruined building was recorded before the
reconstruction was put in hand and the accompanying
plans show the building before 1942 and as it is now.
The church is first mentioned in a document of
c. 1160–80 (EYC, 191), the Domesday St. Martin being
the church in Micklegate (YAJ, clix (1961), 496–7). A
small aisleless church with no structural chancel was
built probably at the end of the 11th century; the lower
parts of its N. and W. walls remain in the existing N.
and W. walls of the former N. aisle, and the S.W.
corner was identified near the N.W. corner of the later
nave. A break further S. in the masonry in the W. wall
of the nave indicates that a small S. aisle was added to
the original church, perhaps c. 1200.
The sequence of development through the 13th and
14th centuries has been obscured by extensive rebuilding
in the 15th. The original N. wall of the early nave was
extended to the E. in c. 1280 and blocked windows of
this date remain in the N. wall. A general enlargement,
by which the church was brought to its present size, was
carried out before the end of the 14th century: a Nave
was added S. of the original building and a South Aisle
beyond it, with a Tower at its W. end. The 11th-century
nave became a N. aisle.
Chantries were founded in 1334 at an unspecified
altar, at the altar of St. Mary in 1335 and 1375 (CPR,
passim), at the altar of St. Peter before 1349 and in 1417
(Harrison, St. Martin's Church (1926), 15–16), and at the
altar of St. Laurence in 1402 (SS, xcii (1893), 559).
At a visitation in 1411 the tower was said to be unsafe
(SS, xxxv (1858), 290), and in 1427 John Rumby left
£4 to the tower (Wills, II, f. 513). The church was
rebuilt in the first half of the 15th century, in two stages.
The work was due to Robert Semer, vicar 1425–43,
part of it being done in his lifetime. The tower and W.
window of the nave were rebuilt first and, according to
the inscription in the W. window, were finished in
1437. The rebuilding of the rest of the church took place
between 1443 and 1450 after Semer's death. In his will,
proved 7 June 1443, he left the residue of his goods, after
various benefactions, to the fabric on condition the
parishioners built the church and chancel anew within
seven years; later in the same year Thomas Ellerbek,
who had succeeded Semer as vicar, contracted with Sir
John Langton to buy stone from his quarry at Huddleston, and payments to masons continued until 1449
(Raine, 152). This rebuilding involved the construction
of new arcades to the nave, the N. arcade being moved
slightly to the N., leaving the W. window in an eccentric
position, and a new South Aisle with a low-pitched roof
to allow for a clerestorey over the nave. The work is
plausibly ascribed to Robert Couper, mason (d. 1459),
by J. H. Harvey, English Mediaeval Architects (1954), 76.
A bequest of 20 stone of lead for the roof of St. Mary's
chapel by Richard Clark in 1495 can be accepted as being
for repairs, perhaps to the N. aisle; there was formerly a
statue of the Virgin and Child on the outside of the N.
aisle (Knowles MS.). Other altars in the church were
dedicated to St. Nicholas (Knowles MS.), St. Thomas the
Martyr and St. Katherine (Raine, 153). In the 17th
century all the openings in the N. wall were blocked for
alterations to the houses erected in the churchyard in
1335 by Thomas de Ludham, vicar (see Monument
Later additions and improvements included a clock
placed in the E. wall in 1668 (Knowles MS.), a reredos
with Corinthian columns erected in c. 1714, altar rails
and a font-cover given in 1717, and five new bells in
1729. Three more bells were added in 1730. In 1722 the
glass from the E. window, said to illustrate the history
of St. Athanasius, was removed to the Minster (Gent,
173). In 1734 a faculty was granted for the erection of a
Porch; this was designed in a classical style, as shown in a
drawing by Monkhouse and Bedford. In 1778 the clock
in the E. wall was replaced by a new one surmounted by
a figure of a naval officer.
Early in the 19th century, pierced panels in the
parapets were replaced by plain. Restoration was carried
out in 1836, 1844 when windows by Wailes were put
in, and in 1853–4 when a new Porch was built and
pierced panels were replaced in the parapets, together
with new pinnacles and gargoyles, under the supervision of J. B. and W. Atkinson. A new clock was
fitted to the E. wall in 1856.
In the modern reconstruction, the S. aisle has been
enclosed by a new wall N. of the old S. arcade, and the
glass from the W. window of the nave reset in a new
window in a N. projection. The W. end of the nave has
been adapted to contain new Vestries, etc. The remainder
of the church is laid out as a garden.
Architectural Description. The Chancel and Nave were
structurally undivided. At the E. end, the buttresses were
remodelled in 1854; the E. window, of five cinque-foiled lights
with vertical tracery in a two-centred head, has been replaced
by a modern arch. The N. arcade has been destroyed, leaving
only the stumps of the piers. Its alignment is just N. of that of
an earlier arcade, which was itself N. of the S. wall of the
11th-century church. The arches were two-centred, of two
chamfered orders merging into octagonal piers without
capitals. The S. arcade comprises similar two-centred arches of
two chamfered orders dying into the piers without capitals.
Over the arches is a moulded string-course, above which was a
clerestorey with five windows, each of four trefoiled lights
with vertical tracery in a four-centred head; the walling below
the windows was recessed. The W. wall of the nave is of
various builds: at the bottom, to the N., is part of the W. wall
of the original 11th-century church. Further S. is the W. wall
of the 13th-century aisle; elsewhere is fine ashlar, contemporary
with the great W. window, which had five lights with vertical
tracery in a two-centred head. The wall has been largely
rebuilt with two modern windows, but the lower corners of
the jambs and the sill of the former W. window are preserved
in recesses in the wall. The North Aisle had a large E. window
with vertical tracery in a four-centred head; it is now blocked.
Below is a blocked recess; in the blocking is a late 19th-century
doorway, itself blocked. The N. wall of the N. aisle retains the
11th-century masonry of the original nave in its W. part; the
rest of the walling is of c. 1280. Before the adjacent property
was rebuilt, more of the wall was visible. To the E. is a blocked
window of three uncusped lights with simple intersecting
arched tracery. Two other blocked windows were probably
similar. Two blocked doorways with two-centred heads are
probably of the 14th and 13th centuries respectively. At the W.
end of the wall is a small doorway with four-centred head,
probably late 17th-century. The W. wall has the lower part
internally of 11th-century masonry but externally refaced.
The W. window has three cinque-foiled lights and restored
vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a label finishing on
modern head-stops. Below are remains of a small round-headed doorway.
The South Aisle had been drastically restored before the
reconstruction of 1961. The E. wall, much restored, has a
restored window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical
tracery in a four-centred head. The N. wall is modern and
contains in a projecting bay a copy of the W. window of the
nave. The S. wall was rebuilt in 1854 in magnesian limestone
but with some gritstone at the base; the buttresses support
pinnacles connected to the wall by grotesque gargoyles, under
which are small flying buttresses. The windows are of three
lights with vertical tracery in four-centred heads (Plate 25).
The doorway has a two-centred head and continuous moulded
jambs and a label with foliated stops; the rear-arch is two-centred.
The Tower is built in three stages with buttresses surmounted
by pinnacles, as on the S. aisle. The lowest stage opened to the
nave and S. aisle through two-centred arches of two hollow-chamfered orders dying into W. and S. walls and into a pier
with no capitals. On the N.E. pier are two carved heads, one a
lion and the other human (Plate 29). The S. and W. walls have
windows each of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery
in a two-centred head with a label with stops carved with male
and female heads. The second stage, forming the ringing-chamber, has a doorway in the E. wall, leading onto the aisle
roof. Above it is the weathering for an earlier steep-pitched
roof. Another doorway in the N. wall is blocked; it may have
led to a gallery. In the S. and W. walls are windows of three
lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The belfry stage has
a window in each wall, of three cinque-foiled lights with
vertical tracery in a four-centred head. The openwork battlements are original 15th-century work.
Roofs: the roof of the S. aisle is ceiled in timber, with
moulded beams and wall-plates forming fourteen compartments, with bosses at the intersections carved with male and
grotesque heads, flowers, and foliage, all of the 15th century.
Some angel-bosses and corbel-heads, said to have been
removed in 1871, are in the Yorkshire Museum.
Fig. 22. (10) Church of St. Martin, Coney Street, plan before 1942.
Fig. 23. (10) Church of St. Martin, Coney Street, as existing.
Fittings—Items shown in brackets were recorded in 1958,
but are now removed or concealed. (Altar: stone slab marked
with consecration crosses, badly broken.) (Bells: eight, by E.
Seller of York, 1729 and 1730.) Brasses and Indents. Brasses: (on
chancel steps, (1) Capt. Robert Middleton, 1765, plain plate.
In N. aisle, (2) Maryanne Campbell, 1806, plain plate.) On new
N. wall, (3) Thomas Colthurst, 1588, inscribed plate (see
Monument (3)) (Plate 40). In S. aisle, (4) Christopher Harington,
goldsmith, 1614, with half-length figure and shield-of-arms of
the Goldsmiths' Company (Plate 40); (5) Valentine Nalson,
pastor of this church and succentor of York Minster, 1722/3,
with shield-of-arms; ((6) Joshua Walker, 1805; (7) John
Hardman Lister, solicitor of Scarborough, 1810, signed
Barker, York). Indents: in former nave, (1) probably for figure,
decayed; (2) for rectangular plate. In S. aisle, (3) for rectangular
plate. Coffin Lids: in former nave, in S. wall, (1) fragment with
incised cross-shaft; (2) fragment with raised border; (in W.
wall, (3) fragment with part of cross). In former N. aisle, in
blocking of window, (4) part, with foliated cross, 14th-century;
(5) part, with stepped base of cross; (6) fragment as (1);
between doorways, (7) part, with foliated cross; 12th and
13th-century. Communion Table: of oak, heavy turned legs and
moulded rails, 17th-century; top, of pine, later. Consecration
Crosses see Altar. Font: mediaeval octagonal stone bowl tapering to modern octagonal base. Font-cover: of oak, with
scrolled openwork top, gilded, inscribed 'RICHARD
SPEIGHT RICHARD MANCHLIN CHURCH WARDENS
AN° DOM 1717', restored 1968 (Plate 36).
Glass: all of 15th century unless otherwise stated. It was
taken out and restored by J. W. Knowles in 1871–3. The W.
window was removed for protection 1940 and replaced in a
new position 1967. The remaining glass, except that in the S.
aisle, was destroyed in the air-raid of 1942. The S. aisle glass
was rearranged and restored 1965.
Chancel, E. window, I. The mid 15th-century glass was
removed to the Minster in 1722; some panels remain in the S.
transept there, in windows sXXVII and sXXVIII. Fragments
also remain here in the traceries of sIV and sVI.
In new N. wall, nII, formerly in W. window of nave. Glass
painted c. 1442 as the gift of Robert Semer, vicar 1425–43.
Tracery contains in the smaller openings motifs of vinewreaths, grapes and Tudor roses, all by Knowles. In the larger
openings are the Nine Orders of Angels with an additional
angel to fill tenth opening. Some identifications survive—
(B3) '[Sera]phyn', (B4) 'Cherubyn' (Plate 54), (B6) 'Dominaciones' (Plate 54), (A7) '[An]gelus' and (A11) 'Potestates'; only
the last-named definitely in its correct relative position, being
inscribed on the hem of the angel's surcoat. Main lights contain
a large figure of St. Martin of Tours surrounded by thirteen
scenes from his life. Top row of scenes is set under tall canopies
(Plate 56) and each of the lower scenes has its own canopy, of
four different designs in all. Below these scenes an inscription
runs across the window and under this, set between two rows
of quarry-panels, is the figure of the donor, Robert Semer.
Each quarry has the monogram 'R S', and in the centre of each
quarry-panel is a roundel encircled by a vine-wreath and
containing an eagle holding a scroll. All quarries and several
centre-pieces by Knowles. Each scene from the saint's life
originally had a descriptive metrical text, but four are lost. The
scenes are in no particular order; (5a) St. Martin driving out
devil; (5b) St. Martin kneeling at altar with cleric and lay-folk,
with Holy Spirit as dove descending in rays of glory, inscription 'O meritis digni[s] [? sanctum] p(ro)bat hu(n)c globus
[? ignis]'; (5c and 4c) large figure of St. Martin as an archbishop
in mass vestments; (5d) Birth of St. Martin, inscription 'Ortus
sabarie martinus prodit ad esse R S'; (5e) St. Martin's vision of
Christ after clothing the beggar (Plate 61), the saint in bed,
dressed as a nobleman, inscription 'Est xpc testis que texit eum
sua vestis R S'; (4a) St. Martin at mass, his wrists being clothed
by an angel, jumbled inscription; (4b) St. Martin as a boy being
brought to a schoolteacher by his parents, schoolteacher now
with inserted mitre; (4d) St. Martin on horseback, dressed as
noble warrior, dividing his cloak for beggar, inscription 'hic
etenim grate nudu(m) texit pietate R S'; (4e) Death of St.
Martin in the presence of his disciples and the devil; above, his
soul being carried to heaven by two angels; in front of bed
kneeling figure with scroll inscribed 'Quid hic stans cruenta
[? bes]tea nil'; main inscription 'Qui xpi castra b(e)n(e) rexit
ia(m) tenet astra'; (3a) St. Martin restoring to life a catechumen,
inscription 'Vite sublatus cathecumen[? e] est revocatus'; (3b)
St. Martin as soldier stands unarmed in battle; (3c) St. Martin
consecrated archbishop by two bishops, inscription 'hic
sublimat(ur) martinus dum [c]athed(ra)t(ur) R S'; (3d) St.
Martin compels the devil to carry his missal (Plate 61); around
the devil a scroll inscribed 'Semp[er] ego vere tibi nitar ubique
nocere R S'; main inscription jumbled and not all belonging
to this scene; (3e) St. Martin rescues hare from four hounds.
Across the top of row 2 is a black-letter inscription, much
damaged, the missing parts mostly supplied from Henry
Johnston's reading in 1669 (f. 178): '[Orate pro] a(n)i(m)a
d(omi)ni Roberti [Sem]er quon[dam] mini[st]ri istius eccl(es)ie
et ca[mer]arii cap(itu)li Ebo(r)u(m) qui vide(n)s sibi fine(m)
vite sue cu(m) [si]t senex naturalit[er] appropinq[ua]re p(re)ordi[navit et aedificav(?)]it hoc opus vij die me(n)sis octobr(i)s
anno d(omi)ni mill(esi)mo cccc xxxvij [cuius] a(n)i(m)e
p(ro)pic(i)et(ur) deus'; (2a) quarry-panel, scroll inscribed
'T[im]or d(omi)ni ap[ponet dies]; Et anni impioru(m)
bre[v]iab[un]t(ur)' (Proverbs ch. x, 27), eagle and scroll
original; (2b) quarry-panel, scroll inscribed 'fortitudo simplicis
via d(omi)ni; [et pavor h]is qui op[er]a[n]t(ur) malu(m)'
(Proverbs ch. x, 29), eagle, scroll and vine-wreath original;
(2c) donor dressed in clerical robes kneels before a prie-dieu
(Plate 54); on it a book open at the text 'Miserere mei deus
s(e)c(un)d(u)m magnam mi(sericordi)am tua[m] et
s(e)c(un)d(u)m multitudine(m) miserac(i)onu(m) tuarum'
(Psalm li, i); above his head scroll with inscription 'Sancte
martine repelle a me. ....'; (2d) quarry-panel, scroll inscribed
'Expectatio [justorum laetitia]; Spes [a]ute(m) impioru(m)
peribi[t]' (Proverbs ch. x, 28), eagle, scroll and one vine-leaf
original; (2e) quarry-panel, scroll inscribed 'b(e)n(e)dic(ti)o
d(omi)ni sup[er] caput i[usti]; Os auten imp[?iorum
habita]bu(n)t sup[er] t(err)am' (sic) (Proverbs ch. x, 6 and 30
mixed), eagle, scroll and vine-wreath original; (1a–1e) quarrypanels, scrolls with simulated inscriptions, all by Knowles.
Borders to rows 1 and 2 of crowned letters R and S, by
In S. aisle, S. wall, 1st window, sIII, contains panel with
early 14th-century fragments, including a canopy with fleur-de-lys crockets, grisaille with naturalistic foliage and birdborders.
S. wall, 2nd window, sIV. Tracery: (B1) The Trinity, God
the Father, with inserted head, enthroned; in front, the Son on
the Cross, attended by the Holy Spirit as dove; on each side,
censing angel; (A1) St. Mark holding pen and accompanied by
winged lion; (A2 and A5) Coronation of the Virgin; (A3) St.
Luke sharpening quill pen, by his side a winged ox holding
inkwell and sand-pouch; (A4) St. Matthew with open book;
(A6) St. John with eagle, his dexter hand and the eagle original,
remainder by Knowles. Main lights: (2a) elaborate architectural
canopy containing God enthroned, attended on each side by
two angels; (1a) the Holy Family (Plate 51): SS. Joachim and
Anne with Virgin Mary and infant Jesus; (1b and 2b) under
an elaborate canopy, of different design from that in (2a), with
a late 14th-century angel inserted centrally, a square-quarry
panel, each quarry containing letter 'B'; in it female figure
kneeling before an open book and with scroll having faded
inscription '... myghty god...'; above, roundel with
mythical beast and, below, fragments of black-letter inscriptions; (1c and 2c) under canopy (Plate 56) as in (2a), but with
only one angel each side, the Corpus Christi scene depicting
God the Father, with recently-inserted Victorian head, holding
the body of the Son with crown of thorns and Dove, the five
wounds prominently marked (Plate 46).
S. wall, 3rd window, sV. Tracery: (B1) centrally, roundel
with eagle and scroll, remainder modern; (A1 and A2) saints,
by Knowles; (A3) copy, by Knowles, of (A4); (A4) fragment
with crouching pine-marten holding end of scroll inscribed
'mart'; remainder modern; (A5 and A6) saints, by Knowles.
Main lights: (1a) modern except damaged shield-of-arms with
field azure impaling gules a chevron argent between three (?)buckles
or, above it, a 14th-century foliate roundel; (2a) modern
except shield-of-arms of St. Peter; (1b and 2b) under a composite architectural canopy, St. George in early 15th-century
armour killing the dragon; below, modern cross of St.
George; (1c) modern except for shield-of-arms, azure with an
inescutcheon quarterly (1) azure fretty argent, (2 & 3) argent on a
fesse gules three (?)cushions (or lozenges) argent in chief a fleur-de-lys
gules, (4) argent a bend chequy or and gules; (2c) modern except
for shield-of-arms of England (pre-1340), possibly early 14th-century.
S. wall, 4th window, sVI. Tracery: (B1) God the Father
flanked by two angels in clouds, one with scroll 'Nobis rex celi
patrem', the other with upper half original, remainder by
Knowles; (A1) angel with faded inscription; (A2) feathered
and belted angel standing in niche; (A3) made-up panel with
female head, bird-quarry and fragments of inscriptions including 'Venerandu(m)' from window I; (A4) made-up panel with
tonsured head and fragments of inscriptions; (A5) reversed
cartoon of (A2); (A6) censing angel. Main lights: (1a and 2a)
kneeling king holding covered cup and scroll lettered 'magnifi[camus] te'; shields-of-arms, at top, damaged, argent a chevron
between three keys sable, possibly for Osbaldwyke, at bottom,
England (pre-1340), 19th-century; (1b and 2b) St. Barbara,
holding palm and tower, at her feet fragmentary inscription
'[Bar]bara'; above, roundel with scroll inscribed 'virginum',
below, shield-of-arms, argent a saltire gules, modern; (1c and
2c) kneeling king holding covered cup and scroll inscribed
'Magnificamus te'; at top, defaced shield-of-arms under canopy
fragment, below, shield-of-arms of England (pre-1340), 19th-century.
S. wall, 5th window, sVII, newly-glazed with made-up
panels of fragments attached internally, (a) and (c) from St.
Crux church, (b) from Wakefield Cathedral: (a) panel, seated
figure with canopy fragments; (b) two panels, figure and
canopy fragments; (c) panel, figure seated in chair before open
book, below, inscription 'Sce Ambros' doc...', above, canopy
S. wall, 6th window, sVIII, newly-glazed with made-up
panels of fragments from Wakefield Cathedral attached to
inside: (a) composite figure of female saint with short sword;
above, canopy fragments; (b) two panels with figure and
canopy fragments; (c) composite figure of female saint kneeling
before a desk with open book; above, canopy fragments.
Images: in S. aisle, Virgin and Child crowned, of carved
wood, foreign, 16th-century. Inscriptions and Scratchings: on S.
arcade and tower, numerous masons' marks, 15th-century.
Monuments: (in chancel, (1) Charles P..se, 1708, broken;) reset
on new N. wall, (2) Robert Horsfield, 1711, Elizabeth, 1666,
Mary, 1668, Elizabeth, 1673, Hannah, 1719, wives, and seven
children, black tablet between fluted composite pilasters
supporting segmental pediment, and winged skull below
gadrooned base; (3) Thomas Colthurst, 1588, with inscribed
brass plate (see Brass (3)), between four shields-of-arms of
Colthurst, incised presumably for enamel, and with studs to
simulate brass; (4) Lady Elizabeth Sheffield, 1633, erected by
her husband, Sir William; in a recess framed by pilasters and
pediment, busts of Lady Elizabeth and Sir William (Plate 41);
flanking figures of Charity and Mercy; shields-of-arms of
Sheffield, Darnley and Sheffield impaling Darnley. In S. aisle,
on S. wall, (5) John Kendall, 1823, Honor his wife, 1833, niche
with Gothic canopy. Plate: includes two cups and two patens
by Ayme Vedeau, London 1757/8; stand-paten by William
Busfield of York, 1684/5; flagon by Vedeau, 1757/8; flagon by
FG, 1764/5; alms-dish by RI, 1757/8; spoon by WI, London
1725/6; pewter alms-dish given in 1675. Miscellanea: stones, in
old N. wall, (1) moulding, 13th-century; (2) moulded voussoir,
12th-century. In S. aisle, (3) two enriched moulded voussoirs
(Plate 28), 12th-century. On E. wall, on clock of 1856, (4)
carved and painted figure of naval officer, 1778.