Monument record MYO4290 - St Stephen Fishergate

Summary

The church was first mentioned in documents in 1093–94 when William II granted it to the Archbishop of York in return for four acres of land in Bootham (Raine 1955, 101) and the graveyard is mentioned in a document of late 13th- or early 14th-century date (VCH 1961, 403). It is assumed that the church was demolished as early as 1331, when it was annexed to St Martin-le-Grand church. The disappearance of St Stephen’s, and the merger of St Mary’s and St Margaret’s in c.1308, may indicate that this was an area of declining population even before the Black Death, or that the density of population from the immediate post-Norman Conquest period onwards was insufficient to support the large numbers of churches in the area.

Location

Grid reference SE 6072 5146 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Map

Type and Period (1)

Full Description

There were a large number of medieval churches in the vicinity (St Denys, St Margaret, St Mary, St Stephen, St George and St Peter-le-Willows); the presence of so many churches may be a result of each major landowner in the area endowing their own individual chapel, which then came to serve as a parish church.

The precise location of the St Stephen church building has not been identified, the site of the churchyard can be linked to this site from the will of Thomas Catour in 1405. This states 'I give to William Catour, my son, my tenement and garden which Walter del Burgh holds for rent in the parish of St Stephen in Fishergate; it lies between the churchyard of St Stephen on the one side and the gutter of our Lord the King to the north on the other side and in length from the lane called Noutgayle to the water of the Foss' (Raine 1955, 102–3). It is unclear if the churchyard was still in use for burials at this stage. Unfortunately relatively little is known about St Stephen’s Church from historical sources. The church was first mentioned in documents in 1093–94 when William II granted it to the Archbishop of York in return for four acres of land in Bootham (Raine 1955, 101) and the graveyard is mentioned in a document of late 13th- or early 14th-century date (VCH 1961, 403). It is assumed that the church was demolished as early as 1331, when it was annexed to St Martin-le-Grand church. The disappearance of St Stephen’s, and the merger of St Mary’s and St Margaret’s in c.1308, may indicate that this was an area of declining population even before the Black Death, or that the density of population from the immediate post-Norman Conquest period onwards was insufficient to support the large numbers of churches in the area. The church was not mentioned in a list of churches in the city complied in 1428 (VCH 1961, 366) and so had clearly gone out of use by this time. The site seems to have been little used from the 14th century onwards. The area is depicted as gardens on F. White’s map of 1785, J. Todd’s map of 1810, Baines’s map of 1822, the Ordnance Survey map of 1852 and Skaife’s map of 1864. The site was developed sometime in the late 19th century, as the 1891 Ordnance Survey 1:500 map depicts the Tadcaster Tower Brewery and associated stores on the site. YAT 2005

No trace of St Stephen’s church was found within the excavated area (2005), nor was it seen in earlier excavations to the south of Dixon (formerly Church) Lane. It seems most likely therefore that the church was located to the immediate north of Dixon Lane, and south of the excavation area. The church would have been sited upon a naturally occurring ridge of higher land, both away from the dangers of flooding and clearly visible from the river. All trace of the church was destroyed by extensive levelling that preceded the construction of a brewery in the late 19th century.


YAT, 2005, ROMAN, ANGLIAN AND ANGLO-SCANDINAVIAN ACTIVITY AND A MEDIEVAL CEMETERY ON LAND AT THE JUNCTION OF DIXON LANE AND GEORGE STREET (Unpublished document). SYO1919.

York Osteoarchaeology Ltd, 2012, Osteological Analysis Dixon Lane and George Street (Report). SYO1922.

2015, The British Historic Towns Atlas Vol V (Monograph). SYO1898.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • --- Monograph: 2015. The British Historic Towns Atlas Vol V.
  • --- Unpublished document: YAT. 2005. ROMAN, ANGLIAN AND ANGLO-SCANDINAVIAN ACTIVITY AND A MEDIEVAL CEMETERY ON LAND AT THE JUNCTION OF DIXON LANE AND GEORGE STREET.
  • --- Report: York Osteoarchaeology Ltd. 2012. Osteological Analysis Dixon Lane and George Street.

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Feb 7 2017 11:30AM

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