Lower Esk

The Benefice churches are:
Aislaby St Margaret.
Sleights St John the Evangelist.
Ugglebarnby All Saints.
Sneaton St Hilda.
The Vicar of the Benefice is:
Revd Veronica Carolan
Click here for details of services, here for the latest benefice bulletin.

Aislaby St Margaret

(N 54.4655, W -0.6792) Postcode: YO21 1SP

The village of Aislaby (pop. 243) lies about 3 miles WSW of Whitby. The stone to build Whitby Abbey and the Whitby piers came from here, and there has been a recorded place of worship in the village for eight or nine centuries. A previous church of 1732 has been converted into the Grade II listed village hall. The present church of St Margaret, also Grade II listed, was designed by E. H. Smales of Whitby and built in 1896–7. The fine stained glass is by Shrigley and Hunt, and by Curtis Ward and Hughes, including their 1905 depiction of the Transfiguration of Christ. The organ is a rare example by Peter Conache of Huddersfield. The churchyard holds the grave of the renowned local photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853–1941)

The Deanery Synod Representative is Mrs Pam Penn.
More information may be found at:

Church of Aislaby St Margaret
Image Copyright © Martin Dawes licensed for reuse under this  Creative Commons Licence

Sleights St John the Evangelist

(N 54.45337, W -0.67521) Postcode: YO22 5EL

The village of Sleights lies about 3 miles SW of Whitby at the foot of Blue Bank — from the top of which two of the other three churches in this Benefice may be seen. The earliest place of worship in the village was probably a hermitage situated on the valley floor about three-quarters of a mile upstream of Sleights bridge. This was converted into a chapel in the twelfth century and named St John's — its ruins can still be seen. It was replaced by a chapel near the present church in 1767, itself replaced by the present Grade II listed church designed by Ewan Christian of London in 1895. Notable features of the church are its hammer-beam roof and complete set of wooden fixtures including oak panelling and a fine carved reredos. The stained glass, mostly by C.E. Kempe, is very good. There is one south window by Fritz Mayer of Munich, and a single lancet in the north aisle was designed by local children in 1995 and made by Alan Davis of Lythe.

The Deanery Synod Representative is John Stafford-Smith.
More information may be found at:

Church of Sleights St John
Image by courtesy of and © Copyright Geoff Thorpe. All Rights Reserved 2014.

Ugglebarnby All Saints

(N 54.48889 W -0.76807) Postcode: YO22 5HX

Ugglebarnby lies 2.7m SSW of Whitby. It is one of the few local places to be mentioned in the Domesday Book (as Hugelbardebi) and linked there with Whitby Abbey. The present Grade II listed church was designed by Charles Armfield, the York Diocesan Surveyor (also see St Bartholemew's, Ruswarp) and built in the 1870s on the site of a Norman chapel — some of the stonework of which can be found incorporated in the walls. The interior was paid for by the family of John Allan of Hempsyke as a memorial. It is a lovely and elaborate example of the Victorian Gothic style: the hammer-beam roof decorated with angels and painted panels; the carved limestone reredos by Matthew Noble (The Last Supper) the font, the pews and the floor are all noteworthy. There is a rare depiction of Judas Iscariot in a nave window.
The Deanery Synod Representative is not appointed.
More information may be found at:

Church of Ugglebarnby All Saints
Image Copyright © Martin Dawes licensed for reuse under this  Creative Commons Licence

Sneaton St Hilda

(N 54.45836, W -0.62258) Postcode: YO22 5HS

The village of Sneaton (pop. 178) lies about 2 miles SSW of Whitby and overlooks Whitby Abbey to which it has always been linked: the Domesday Book refers to 'Witebi and Sneton'. A chapel was recorded in the 12th century and two earlier churches preceded the present Grade II listed building which was rebuilt in 1825 at the expense of the then new Lord of the Manor, Colonel James Wilson. A notable feature is the font which may date back to the original chapel and which is carved possibly to represent the legend of St Hilda and the plague of snakes — which she banished and which became our local fossil ammonites! There is a beautiful stained-glass window by Alan Davis of Lythe, commemorating the millennium, and depicting Caedmon the farm worker of St Hilda's abbey, and 'first English poet'.
The Deanery Synod Representative is Mrs Liz Egerton.
More information may be found at:

Church of Sneaton St Hilda
Image by courtesy of and © Copyright Colin Hinson. All Rights Reserved.

Christmas Services in the Lower Esk Benefice

Sunday December 17th

9.00 am Holy Communion at Ugglebarnby
10.30 am Sung Eucharist at Sleights
3.00 pm Carol Service at Aislaby

Monday December 18th

9.30 am Christingle Service with Sleights School at Sleights St John

Tuesday December 19th

3.00 pm Carol Singing at Esk Hall (Meet just before 3pm, carol sheets provided)

Wednesday December 20th

10.00 am Holy Communion at Sleights
11.15 am Holy Communion at Aislaby
7.00 pm Village Carol Service (Churches Together) at Sleights

Christmas Eve, Sunday 24th December

10.30 am Sung Eucharist at Sleights.
4.00 pm Crib Service at Sleights.
5.30 pm Crib Service at Sneaton.
8.00 pm Holy Communion at Ugglebarnby.
11.15 pm Midnight Mass at Aislaby.

Christmas Day, Monday 25th December

9.00 am Holy Communion at Sneaton.
10.30 am Holy Communion at Sleights.

Sunday 31st December

NB There will be no Wednesday morning communion at St John's on December 27th.

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