Fordon, St James' Church
Fordon, St James' Church
There's not much to the hamlet of Fordon, in the northern Yorkshire Wolds, so it is appropriate that the tiny little church here is the smallest active church in Yorkshire and one of the smallest in Britain. Indeed, it hardly seems big enough to be a church at all.

It has had a chequered history, falling out of use and then being reconsecrated at least twice. It was reputedly used as a hideout for smugglers.

The oldest parts of the church are Norman, with a mishmash of later additions. The font is a simple Norman chalice design set upon a later base with carved foliage decoration. The base looks for all the world like an upturned column capital; perhaps it was.

The most interesting interior feature is a lovely rustic organ near the pulpit. This is beautifully carved and appears to be 18th-century work. Unfortunately, there were no information guides in the church when I visited so I can't be sure, but its an intriguing piece of furniture. There are small carved pedestals in the sanctuary of medieval date, now used to hold vases of flowers.

Verdict: a wonderful rustic church, full of charm.