Lastingham, St Mary's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Superb Norman crypt
Around AD 725 the first stone church was built, and Cedd's remains were reburied beside the altar.
Carter was known to play the violin to entertain visitors to the pub. When questioned by the archdeacon on the propriety of his actions, Carter replied that his parishioners enjoyed three advantages, being instructed in religion, fed and entertained all at once. He argued that this method spending the Sabbath was so agreeable that his charges were 'imperceptibly led along the paths of piety and morality...'
But there is really just one thing that draws visitors from across the UK to Lastingham, and it is the Norman crypt. It is, if not unique, at least very unusual in that it has aisle on either side of a central passage leading to a stone altar table, lit by a single lancet window in the east wall.
The huge, rounded columns supporting the aisle are beautifully carved with ornate decoration, dating to Stephen's work between 1078-88. Stephen and his monks almost certainly reused earlier Saxon stones around the base of the crypt pillars, some dating to the 8th century. The traditional site of Cedd's burial is immediately to the right of the altar table.
I've visited Lastingham twice, and it is amazing how simply descending the steep stairs to the crypt brings with it an air of stillness and calm. This is a place for hushed voices, for sitting quietly and absorbing the silence and the pervading aura of history. It is, as Simon Jenkins says, 'a special place'.
IMAGES OF CEDD'S CRYPT
Address: Lastingham, North York Moors, Yorkshire, England, YO62 6TN
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Lastingham is 3 miles north of Kirkbymoorside. The church is usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
North York Moors National Park - 2.9 miles (Countryside)
Cawthorn Roman Camps - 3.5 miles (Roman Site)
Beck Isle Museum - 5.8 miles (Museum)
Pickering Castle - 5.8 miles (Castle)
North Yorkshire Moors Railway - 5.8 miles (Museum)
Pickering Church - 5.9 miles (Historic Church)
Wheeldale Roman Road - 6.7 miles (Roman Site)
Nunnington Hall - 7.8 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Lastingham: