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The Church of St Michael the Archangel, Well


OS grid reference:-


The church of St Michael the Archangel in the North Yorkshire village of Well occupies the site of an earlier Norman building (circa 1190). of which an arched doorway survives. This building replaced a pre conquest church which was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086- ‘Welle – there is a church there and a priest’. .

St Michael the Archangel, WellSt Michael the Archangel, Well

St Michael the Archangel has been patronised by the influential families of Neville, Latimer and Cecil. Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland buillt of the present church in around 1330. He married Joan Beaufort, as his second wife, who was the daughter of John of Gaunt, their daughter Cicely Neville became the mother of kings Edward IV and Richard III.

St Michael the Archangel, WellSt Michael the Archangel, Well

The church possesses some beautiful stained glass windows. The impressive tomb of John Neville, Lord Latimer (died 1577) is engraved with sixteenth century graffiti. Above the tomb are fifteenth Century stained glass windows which represent the three leaders of the English forces that defeated the Scots at the battle of Neville's Cross in 1346.

St Michael the Archangel, WellSt Michael the Archangel, Well

John Neville was the step son of Queen Catherine Parr. He left four daughters, Katherine, Dorothy, Lucy and Elizabeth. Dorothy, married Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter and by her the Well and Snape property came into the control of the Cecil family. Both John and William Cecil resided at nearby Snape Castle. Their tombs are situated in the Nevillesí Chapel in the church.

St Michael the Archangel, WellSt Michael the Archangel, Well

Also of interest is the fourteenth century font with decorative panels which was restored in the nineteenth century. The font cover dates to 1352 and is the second oldest in England.


Images courtesy of Paul Johnson

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