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   Review of The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825 - 1874)


One of Sir Stephen Glynne’s great interests was to tour the country viewing Anglican churches, a hobby which began before he studied at Oxford and which continued throughout his life (1807-74). He made notes on well over 5,000 such visits. He came to Yorkshire several times, calling at more than 380 of its churches. St Mary’s Church was one of his earlier visits, believed to have taken place between 1827 and 1834. Churches at Loversall, Wadworth, Stainton, Edlington and Braithwell were all seen on 29 January 1869, while churches at Cantley, Rossington and Armthorpe had their turn on 28 January 1873.

Glynne’s notes were a forerunner of the descriptive style used in the Pevsner guides. Brief and to the point when noting architectural features, Glynne did not hesitate to express his opinions. He was clearly impressed by St Mary’s: ‘This spacious and beautiful church….’ but ‘the pewing of the nave is old and shabby’. He was scathing about Wentworth’s Holy Trinity Church seen in 1872: ‘The church….is partially modernised and altogether in a state of mutilation and disorder….Nothing can exceed the wretchedness of the fittings’.

Glynne included a few ruined abbeys in his tours, although not Roche, and he sometimes commented on the scenery. Rotherham was ‘a gloomy and disagreeable town, containing nothing remarkable but its church….’ Sheffield was a ‘large and dirty town everything looks black and dingy’. Of great value are his descriptions of those churches no longer used or in existence, like the old St George’s in Doncaster, probably visited in 1827, which was destroyed overnight by fire in 1853.         

This book, published in 2007 by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society in association with The Boydell Press, is beautifully illustrated with some 250 watercolours and drawings, 32 being in colour. Another plus factor is the skill with which the book has been edited by Lawrence Butler, with a very helpful introduction, footnotes and index. The book is available for reference in Doncaster Local Studies Library.






















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