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Saint Mary, Scawton

This church was built in 1146 by the Cistercian monks who later built Byland Abbey and is structurally unchanged. It lies in the attractive hamlet of Scawton in idyllic Upper Ryedale. St Mary's is a Grade 1 listed and has many historical features.

St Marys Scawton.jpg

St Mary's church sits in the centre of Scawton (meaning "farm in the hollow"), east of Sutton Bank, in a scenic rural setting. It was built for Hugh de Malebisse, steward for the famous De Mowbray family of Thirsk and his retainers. Its font came from Old Byland in 1146 and has been used for baptisms by 31 generations of villagers. Behind the 16th altar is the stone original - a great rarity, since these were banned in the Reformation. The piscina is of early 13th century workmanship. Below the 12th century north pair of windows is a curious recess within which is a long stone basin/sink with an outlet at the back - a lavatorium! - brought from Byland or Rievaulx. St Aelred of Rievaulx became Abbot at Rievaulx the year after the church was built, and a plaque in the church proclaims, "God is Friendship", which first appears in the treatise "Spiritual Friendship" by the great St Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, friend of Roger, the abbot of the Byland community when they were building the Church of St Mary.

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