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St Mary's, Whitkirk

Regular services

  • Sundays
    Choral Evensong
    (1st week of each month)
  • 18:00
    Choral Evensong
    (1st week of each month)

Other services

Members of St Mary’s Church Choir also sing as part of the Whitkirk Deanery Choir which comprises choristers from a number of churches in the local deanery.  The Whitkirk Deanery Choir was formed in 2009 and once every year, since its formation, the choir has sung Evensong at Ripon Cathedral as a visiting choir.  The Whitkirk Deanery Choir has also led the singing at two other special services at Ripon Cathedral, a ‘Celebration Eucharist’ in November 2015 to mark the 130th anniversary of the Mothers’ Union in the former Ripon Diocese and a special service entitled ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in May 2017.

Another choral highlight of the year at St Mary's Whitkirk is the Festival of Lessons and Carols which will take place on Sunday 16th December 2018 at 6.00pm. 


About this church

St Mary's Church, Whitkirk is in the Church of England Diocese of Leeds.  Vicars of Whitkirk can be traced back to 1185 AD although there was probably a church on this site before that date.  It is possible that there was a Saxon church of blackened timber which was then replaced by a stone church giving rise to the name 'Whitechurche' (Whitkirk).  The font and the piscina date from the 12th century although the present Grade 1 listed building is predominantly from the 14th and 15th centuries, with later additions and alterations.  The font is a single piece of magnesium limestone identified as being from the quarry which provided stone for the construction of York Minster. 

At St Mary's Church there is an inscribed tablet in the Holy Trinity Chapel (also known as the Ingram Chapel or the Irwin Chapel) which commemorates Sir Arthur Ingram (1565-1642) who, in 1622, acquired a manor house (a former residence of the Lennox family and originally built in 1522) at Temple Newsam situated three quarters of a mile from the church. Sir Arthur Ingram and later generations of the Ingram family rebuilt and extended Temple Newsam House into a large stately home.

John Smeaton FRS (1724-1792) was born in Austhorpe in the parish of Whitkirk.  He designed and constructed a stone lighthouse to stand on the dangerous Eddystone rocks in the English Channel approximately 13 miles south west of Plymouth.  This was the third lighthouse to have stood on the Eddystone and was completed in 1759 and was operational for 118 years.  When it was eventually replaced in 1882 by a new lighthouse, 'Smeaton's Tower' was dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe as a memorial.  John Smeaton is buried in the chancel of St Mary's Whitkirk behind the altar.  A memorial tablet on the wall of the chancel is surmounted by a representation of the third Eddystone lighthouse.

About the choir

St Mary’s Church Choir comprises soprano, alto, tenor and bass choristers and is open to boys, girls, men and women. The choir sing at the Sung Eucharist (10.00am) every Sunday morning, at Choral Evensong (6.00pm) on the first Sunday of the month and at Compline by Candlelight (8.30pm) on the first Tuesday of the month. The choir also sing each year at two special events at Temple Newsam House – a Civic Service in September attended by The Lord Mayor of Leeds and a Carol Service in December for ‘The Friends of Temple Newsam Park’. St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk, is an affiliated member of the Royal School of Church Music.

At Choral Evensong at St Mary's Whitkirk the choir sing the preces and responses, a psalm, an anthem and a choral setting of the evening canticles - the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis.  There are three congregational hymns, an Old Testament and a New Testament bible reading, a sermon and prayers.

At each service of Choral Evensong the choir sing one of the following settings of the evening canticles:- Brewer in E flat, Dyson in F, Harwood in A flat, Ilorio fauxbourdons, Moeran in D, Morley fauxbourdons, Noble in B minor, Stanford in B flat, Stanford in C, Willan in E flat.




Contact details

Address: LS15 0AA
E-mail: choir@whitkirkchurch.org.uk

Service calendar

**NB: Be sure to check the music list link (left column of this page) before travelling to the church, as there can often be discrepancies between that and the times on the calendar below.**


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