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All Saints, Hawnby

The first church building here dates back to the 12th century, when most of Hawnby belonged to the estates of the Malebiche family, of Acaster Malbis and Scawton.

Hawnby All Saints.jpg

In 1190 Richard Malebiche was the aristocratic ringleader of the mob that massacred the Jews of York. His lands here were confiscated from him by way of punishment. But ten years later he was able to buy them back - for the payment of four saddlehorses, two hawks and two greyhounds.
The building was then completely reconstructed in the 14th century. This may well have been due to its being ransacked by the invading Scottish army of Robert the Bruce and left ruined. The present chancel appears to be largely 15th century work. The pews and the ceiling were installed as part of the general restoration work in 1871.

The rather fine stained-glass window in the South wall, showing a view of the church, commemorates the Revd William Hughes, “the fighting parson of Hawnby” at the time of the First World War, and his wife Mary. The window in the North wall commemorates their three sons, all killed in that war. Strongly encouraged by Mr Hughes, in fact, almost all the young men of Hawnby joined up to fight. The war memorial records the large proportion who died.
All Saints is known as the Poetry Church, a place where poetry can be found, read and written. At the back of the church is a collection of poetry books, pens and paper, a folder marked “Fresh poems in here”, for visitors to the church to contribute their own work. It is a poetic spot, with the River Rye always audible in the background, rushing by; and the little church, encircled by trees, as romantic as a Caspar David Friedrich painting.

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