Our History

The Church of the Holy Redeemer is unique in two ways. It was the first parish church to be built in York after the Second World War, and stones from the ancient church of St. Mary the Elder, Bishophill have been skillfully used in the design of the church by the architect Mr. George Pace.
The foundation stone was laid in November 1962 and the Church consecrated in December 1964 by the Rt. Revd. Lord Coggan, Archbishop of York. The main doorway dates from c.1180 and is from St. Mary’s. It has a rounded Norman arch and has nook shafts in the corners of the jambs. Turning to the right is the arcade (image below).

The first three bays from the door are Norman c.1180. When St. Mary’s was enlarged 100 years later, three bays of octagonal columns and pointed arches were added. On the south wall an aumbry or piscina can be seen c.1350. It is of trefoil design, and was used at St. Mary’s for communion vessels. Built into the south wall of the Church is a small stone crucifix, again from St. Mary’s c. 1350. It is thought to be part of a late mediaeval tombstone, and has a Latin inscription.

The pulpit was built of stone from St. Mary’s and was designed in 1964. The altar is made of oak and was carved by Thompson of Kilburn. It was given in memory of Mildred Crosthwaite obit 1935, a daughter of a former Bishop of Whitby. It was previously used in the Church hall from 1937. The altar covers, designed by Mr. Ronald Sims for the Silver Jubilee of the Church and worked by Mrs. Rosemary Walker of Knutsford, are dedicated to the memory of Reginald and Evelyn Cable.

Above the altar, an empty cross symbolises that suffering, evil and death have been overcome by the Holy Redeemer, after whom the Church is named. The cross is made of iron by W. Dowson in 1964 has in its centre a 9th. or 10th. Century Saxon cross, found at St. Mary’s. The stained glass windows were given in memory of Eileen Darley SRN, a former member of the Sunday School and Girls Fellowship who died when a young nurse in Kenya.

In 1964, the font was made specially for the Church out of hard stone. The lectern was again made in 1964 using stone from St. Mary's. The Vicar's stalls were made by A.E. Houghton from oak and wrought iron and are extremely heavy! The altar rails and the pews were also made by A.E. Houghton. The Lady Chapel is found opposite the main door of the Church. It was named as a tribute to the memory of the Church of St. Mary the Elder, Bishophill.

The bells are originally from Haxby Parish Church. They were both re-cast after being damaged by fire. They are rung by swinging the clappers. One of the most recognizable features of the Church is the clock. This also dates from 1964. The dial was designed by Mr. George Pace and was re-gilded for the Silver Jubilee.

These notes have been extracted from "CAN THESE STONES LIVE?" by the The Revd. R.C.J. Wilkins, MA, Vicar 1939 - 1964.