North Wheatley
St Peter and St Paul


The church building spans a number of centuries but the current building is mainly 15th century with some 16th century work and with the tower dating from the last quarter of the 15th century; the chancel was rebuilt in 1824. It comprises, a chancel with north vestry, aisleless nave, three storey west tower, single storey south porch, and vestry with entrance porch. The church is built of ashlar stone with ashlar dressings with a slate and lead roof on both the nave and chancel.

The west tower was built in two stages, shows a string course and eaves band with the remains of gargoyles and crenelated parapet; there are two corner buttresses and three setoffs. The 19th century west window is a cusped head lancet with panel tracery and splayed reveal with hood mould. The second stage has four double lancet bell openings with cusped trefoil heads. The tower staircase is constructed of oak timbers, and made up of 28 roughly trimmed and quartered logs, secured with wooden pegs to two stout beams, the date is unclear but without doubt pre-dates the 19th century.

Pillar section

Fixed to the south tower wall is a re-set keeled respond section (a section of a pillar) that appears to be of the 13th century with a stone slab on the top, there is also one on the east vestry wall. It is likely that they originated from the same place. According to J C Cox ‘these are fragments made up from neighbouring abandoned church of West Burton.’

The 15th and 16th century nave which leans outward has a string course at the level of the roof resiting in 1637, a moulded, coped parapet and coped gable with cross. The north side has two buttresses. The nave has four windows, two on the south and two on the north, these are deeply recessed 15th century triple lancets with cusped heads, in cove-moulded reveals with four centred arched heads. On the north is a blocked recessed doorway with hood mould, the upper part of the door was a window to light the western galley, the latter removed in 1873 when heating was installed. Mr Hodgson Fowler (1894) suggested that the door be totally blocked and likewise the small window over the porch also put in to light the western galley. A new nave roof was part of the 1896 refurbishment, it is a queen-post roof with corbels carrying curved brackets to tie beams.

The chancel was rebuilt in 1824. On the south side are two triple lancet windows with cusped trefoil heads; at the east end is a quintuple lancet window with cusped trefoil heads. The roof has four centred arch braces to tie beams, pierced spandrels, responds on octagonal corbels; moulded timbers and foliate bosses. Externally a moulded coped parapet with string course  and coped gable with cross.

The vestry has a west facing four centred arched doorway, and on the north side a central double lancet with cusped trefoil heads, in a four centred arch reveal. At the east end of the vestry there is a cusped ogee head double lancet in square headed chamfered and rebated reveal. As this is the only square headed window in the church its possible history is a mystery, it may have been salvaged from another church, eg West Burton, or could be a copy of earlier design. The roof is described as lean–to with moulded tie beams and struts to principal rafters.

The south porch, rebuilt in 1896, is a single bay on a ashlar plinth, with a pair of half glazed doors with leaded lights, and six leaded lights to each side; the interior has stone benches and a low pitched roof. After an attempt in August 2007 by thieves to remove the lead, the Parochial Church Council applied successfully to the Diocese for a faculty to replace the roof with slate tiles; after prolonged correspondence with English Heritage the slate roof eventually replaced the lead in June 2009. The lead was sold for £500.

During works undertaken in 1928 to underpin the tower, part of a Roman tombstone was discovered. This is now in the church attached to the north nave wall.

Technical Summary

Timbers and roofs

  Nave Chancel Tower
Main Ties beams with queen-posts and curved wind-braces between principal rafters and side purlins. Curved brackets and posts below ties. All 1896. Four-centred arched braces to tie beams, pierced spandrels, posts on octagonal corbels; moulded timbers and foliate bosses. All 1824.  
S.Aisle n/a n/a  
N.Aisle n/a n/a  
Other principal     Tower ground floor ceiling is plain boarded with ties. probably 1896.
Other timbers     Pre-C19th ladder/stair in tower 1st to 2nd floor.


Timber bellframe, Elphick type Z, Pickford 6.A. By Mallaby of Masham and inscribed “T.Mallaby & Son Masham Church Bell Hangers 1896”

Not scheduled for preservation Grade 4.


  Nave Chancel Tower
Plaster covering & date No plaster except east wall. Exposed stonework. Plastered; all 1824 and later. No plaster. Exposed stonework.
Potential for wall paintings None. Texts possible, but no visible evidence. None.

Excavations and potential for survival of below-ground archaeology

No known archaeological excavation has been undertaken at this church.

The fabric is largely of two phases with the nave and tower having core fabric of the 15th century, and the chancel, N.chapel/vestry and south nave porch all being rebuilt in 1824. The church was also heavily restored in 1896 and the tower foundations in 1928.

The churchyard is small and roughly rectangular. There are probably burials on all sides though the east wall of the church is very close to the boundary.

The overall potential for the survival of below-ground archaeology in the churchyard is considered to be MODERATE-HIGH comprising burials, medieval construction evidence, evidence of the restorations of 1824 and 1896 and new building of the chancel and south porch in 1824, and evidence of paths and other landscaping; Roman material may also be present. Below the present interior floors of the nave and tower it is considered to be HIGH comprising medieval-C19th stratigraphy, especially of the 15th century, with possible post-medieval burials, though the tower will be heavily disturbed due to the 1928 underpinning work; below the chancel it is considered to be LOW being principally stratigraphy from the 1824 rebuilding phase, but with the potential for some unstratified medieval material. Roman material, in the form of a partial tombstone, was discovered under the tower in 1928 and this may be indicative of the presence of further Roman stratigraphy or finds. The archaeology of the upstanding fabric in the nave and tower is largely medieval and its archaeological potential is HIGH-VERY HIGH with archaeological features visible in the unplastered walls; the chancel and north vestry represent a single phase of building in 1824.

Exterior:Burial numbers expected to be average, with later burials, now unmarked, to the north. Potential evidence of the 1824 rebuilding of the chancel and south nave porch.

Interior:Stratigraphy under the nave and tower is likely to be medieval, largely C15th, and with later layers, disturbed in the tower area in 1928. The chancel will contain mainly 1824 rebuilding evidence but with the possibility of unstratified medieval material. In the body of the church the stratigraphy may be punctuated by medieval and post-medieval burials.