St Nicholas’ Church

St.Nicholas’ Parish Church, built in the 12th Century, is one of seven churches forming the Byland Group of churches.

Services are held at least twice a month on Sundays and on certain feast days. Information about these is available in the Village Link  – our Benefice magazine – in the Village Newsletter, on the notice-board by the Church gate and on our webpage at A Church Near You.  For services elsewhere in the Benefice please see the Village Link (published 10 times per year (July/August and December/January are double issues).

The Church is open every day for visitors and private worship from approximately 9a.m. to 5p.m. (or dusk if earlier). A leaflet giving an outline history of St Nicholas’ Church and of Husthwaite village is also available by the main door.

St. Nicholas welcomes newcomers and coffee and biscuits are served after services so that people can meet and chat together.

Every Thursday, at 9a.m. there is a half-hour prayer meeting, enabling people to pray together informally.  Usually held in the home of church member.

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Our Parish Team

We are delighted to welcome Rev. Katie Franks as our new parish priest (Rector) working together with our Associate Priest.  Trained lay worship leaders continue to lead services other than Holy Communion.  Details of the Husthwaite team are given in the box below.

Rector: Rev. Katie Franks
 Tel: 01347 821599
Helen Champion
Village Link Editor:
Juliet Calvert
Jacqui Ramsden Tel: 01347 868554
Licensed Lay Minister:
Liz Crawshaw
 Tel: 01347 868587
PCC Secretary: John Ovenston   Tel: 01347 868347












We are fortunate in the parish in having a very active and willing band of volunteers who support and assist the church in many different ways, whether as sidespersons, in taking part in our services, in providing refreshments, in decorating, opening and cleaning the church, in serving on the PCC, in running and delivering the magazine, in overseeing the church finances, in liaising with other organisations in the village or in climbing the church tower to fly a flag on important occasions.

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Our Safegurding Officer is Lesley Seaman who may be contacted by email at  In this role Lesley covers all 7 churches of the Byland Group.  See also the York Diocesan safeguarding page here.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) [updated 23rd August 2023]

Our churches are now open normally (every day from about 9am until about 6pm or dusk if earlier).  Services are held in the church as normal.  For those with continuing concerns, please do come up to the Communion Rail for a blessing only.  Wearing of masks is not obligatory, but those feeling more comfortable in them are welcome to do so.

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Our Services

Each month we have a mixed diet of services including Holy Communion and a Worship for All Service as well as special format services for special occasions. On at least two Sundays each month there is a service, and sometimes on three. Everyone is welcome at all the services, even if not a regular churchgoer or member of the Church of England. We pride ourselves on the welcome we give to visitors. Details of each month’s services, along with those in other churches in the Benefices are given in the the Village Link, the monthly magazine and by following this link. Each Sunday there are at least one service of Holy Communion in the Benefice and usually more.  Additionally, members of each parish are actively encouraged by Katie to attend services in another church when there is no service in the home one.

Services also take place during the week on particular church festivals, notably Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension Day and All Souls’ Day. When there is a fifth Sunday in the month we hold a joint Benefices Service at one of the seven churches and during the year there are a number of united (C of E and Methodist) services, for example at Harvest, on Remembrance Sunday and for the village Christmas Carol Service.

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Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

If you are interested in being married or baptised in one of our churches, we would be delighted to meet you and talk through the possibilities. Please contact Katie (details above) or one of the churchwardens. For arrangements for a funeral, contact should be made with the Churchwarden.

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Food Bank

The porch remains open at all times for the deposit of items for the Easingwold Food Bank.  Please do participate in this important service to the community – there is a list in the porch showing what items are particularly needed.

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The Village Link

The Village Link is the monthly newsletter for the eight villages of Brandsby, Coxwold, Carlton Husthwaite, Crayke, Husthwaite, Oulston, Wass and Yearsley. It is edited Juliet Calvert and items for insertion in the Village Link should be sent to the Editor at The editorial deadline for each month is usually around the 15th day of the previous month. You can usually find some spare copies of the Village Link in the church porch or you can take out an annual subscription, currently for £5, and the magazine will be delivered to your home if you live in the village.
Details of services conducted at every Church in the Byland group of Churches are given in the Village Link for the month ahead. Our sister churches are All Saints’ – Brandsby,  St Michael’s – Coxwold, St Cuthbert’s – Crayke, St Thomas’ – Wass and Holy Trinity – Yearsley whilst St Mary’s – Carlton Husthwaite is daughter church to St Nicholas’.  Information is also given for the Methodist Community activities in Husthwaite.
As well as the above, the Village Link is also used to advertise local events of a more general nature.  It also welcomes local advertising – to do so email

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The Church in the Village

We see ourselves at the heart of the community, not only geographically by also in our welcome to  local residents and visitors to the church at all times. We work closely with Husthwaite Church of England Primary School, welcoming the children for special services but also participating in their education. Along with the then Methodist Chapel, we have participated in a programme of four events based on the stories and symbols of Easter, Christmas, Harvest and Pentecost, each of which saw the entire school visit the church and the then chapel in a series of groups during a morning in term-time so that volunteers could explain the meaning of each of these four festivals to them. The church also raises funds for farming charities at the Harvest Festival Service, for military charities at our Remembrance Day Service and just before Christmas, in harmony with the Methodists, hosts a Village Carol Service, the collection normally going to the Children’s Society.  Our Patronal Festival (of St Nicholas 6th December) is celebrated through the giving of gifts of toys subsequently distributed by the Salvation Army to children who might otherwise receive nothing.

Charitable giving is an important part of our Christian faith and the church acts as a collection point for the Food Share Scheme based at Easingwold which is a food bank supporting families throughout the region. A list of suitable items to donate can be found in the church porch and food can be left there from where it is transported to the Easingwold collection point.

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Church Development

A constant theme of PCC discussions is development of the church. We are keen not only to look at ways in which we can better serve the local community but also the development of the church building.

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Supporting the Church

The Church is the most historic building in Husthwaite and is situated at the heart of the village, facing the village green. Parts of the Church building date back to the 12th Century and the Churchyard contains gravestones spanning four centuries. The main path is lined by a cottage style garden. Overlooking the Green is the village war memorial which names the villagers who fought and died in the Great War (1914-1919). Thankfully all those who fought in the Second War returned home safely.

The building, garden and memorial all belong to the village and people of Husthwaite and the Church Council is responsible for the care and maintenance of the property. If you would like to play a part in this task, why not consider becoming a member of our PCC ( Parochial Church Council) and/or helping with financial support from time to time. In either case please contact John Ovenston, Church Secretary 01347 868347 (if no reply, just leave a name and telephone number for him to call you back) Donations (one-off or regular) may be Gift Aided  to the Church, which is an accepted charity, would enable 25p in every £ to be reclaimed from the Inland Revenue.

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Church Records for Family History Research

For family history researchers tracing their Husthwaite ancestors certain records are available on the Husthwaite History website, namely the Monumental Inscriptions, Burial Records and Location, Cemetery Map, Church Map and Baptism Records. Further records are available on the FindMyPast website, for which there is a subscription fee.

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History of the Parish Church

The simply constructed parish church of Saint Nicholas stands at the centre of the lovely ‘orchard village’ of Husthwaite.

As in most areas of substantial 9th and 10th century Scandinavian occupation, the first farmer-settlers coined a place name descriptive of their new settlement.  Expressing themselves in their vernacular Old Norse language they called it Hús thweyt – named for their homes in a clearing carved from the surrounding woodland.

A charter of the period 1169-93 speaks of the old road to ‘Baxebi and Husthweyt’, evidence of the by then two hundred years old vill of Husthwaite.  The origins of the parish church of St Nicholas however remain unclear.

The Rydale area of North Yorkshire is rich in its early Christian remains.  In a remarkable document preserved in the Papal Archives for 757AD we can read a letter from Pope Paul I to Eadbert King of Northumbria urging him to restore the monasteries of Stonegrave and Coxwold.  We know that the church at Husthwaite was, in origin, a chapel of Coxwold and that therefore the history of the two churches must be closely interlinked.  At the Norman Conquest Husthwaite passed into the ownership of the Archbishop of York, the Patrimony of St Peter and became a Prebend of the cathedral.   The seal of the prebendary of Husthwaite can be seen in the Chapter House in York Minster.

The Prebend system was temporarily abolished on the death of King Charles I in 1649, but was restored in 1660 until its abolition by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1853.  The estate was sold first to Mr J Dixon, then later to Mr William Harrison and subsequently to Mr Edward Harrison (died 1911) who became the Lord of the Manor.

We have tantalising glimpses of the priests serving the village community in the early medieval period. In 1177 we hear of one Thomas Sottewame placed in the chapel of Husthwaite. A few years later there is mention of one Brian, the resident priest in this chapel.

Robert Midgeley, perpetual curate at Coxwold, began to officiate at Husthwaite in June 1707. He was master of Coxwold free School for fifty three years and author of ‘Compendious Schoolmaster’.  From Robert’s death in 1761, we have an unbroken line of Priests in Charge to minister to the needs of Husthwaite ministers_since_1687.

Throughout its life, our church has seen many changes and has been the subject of significant change.  Those concerning the fabric of this historic 2* listed building may be viewed here

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Useful Links

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