St Augustines Kirkby in Cleveland


A Brief History


Kirkby-in-Cleveland is an ancient settlement and it was already in existence at the time of the Viking invasions in AD 793. The name of the village – Kirkby – means “the place where the church is” and it is clear from a number of sources that the first church was of Saxon origin.  The foundations were recently re-discovered in the churchyard, just to the north of the present building.    Following the invasion in 1066, the church was demolished and replaced by a Norman building on the same foundations. 


In due course the Norman church was demolished and a replacement built at the very highest point in the churchyard, about 70 feet to the south, in the early part of the 14th century.  It was cruciform in shape, with a central tower, unusually substantial for a parish church in a small village, and this may possibly have reflected the relative importance of the landowners.   In about AD 1458, a sum of money was bequeathed for a vestry to be built on the south side of the chancel.  The vestry remains largely unaltered today.


During the 18th century there is evidence that the building was in poor condition and the decision was taken in 1813 to demolish it and to erect, in it’s place, a more modern structure.  The only available plans were for the re-construction of the Nave and this was completed in 1815.  It is assumed that the mediaeval Chancel continued to be used for worship during the re-building; we believe that the Chancel was then rebuilt and furnished by the rector at that time at his personal cost.   The bells from the mediaeval church were re-hung in the tower at the west end.


At the beginning of the 20th century the condition of the Chancel was reviewed and found to be too small and of poor design.  A new Chancel, to the design of Temple Moore, was erected and the ceiling in the Nave removed, thus opening up the whole building.   In 1947 the north transept was furnished and dedicated as a War Memorial Chapel.

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