Diocese of York

St. Helen's Legless Knight

St Helen’s Parish Church, Escrick has received “Permission to Start” from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Development phase for the “Walking Through the Centuries with a Legless Knight” project. The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, and create a heritage hub bringing to life the 800 year story of estate, church and community.

“Permission to Start” and first payment from a first round Development Grant of £55,400 was conditional on submission of necessary partner funding guarantees, confirmation of project management structures and associated documentation. This condition has now been fulfilled and first payment is imminent.

As the project team awaited “Permission to Start”, they were delighted to welcome to St Helen’s, Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty and Fiona Spears, Head of HLF, Yorkshire and Humber, to see for themselves the central and symbolic role St Helen’s plays in the heritage of the community, and to be shown some of the features and memorials by distinguished British and wider European artists. Some of these pre-date the present building, back to the remarkable c. 1300 legless effigy of a medieval knight which is thought to be a tribute to Roger de Lascelles, the landowner of the Escrick Estate when England was ruled from York by Edward I.

The visitors’ guided tour was conducted by the project ‘Champion’, Charlie Forbes Adam, head of Escrick Park Estate and former High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, and project team member Chris Mason. The present St Helen’s and many of the finest memorials were commissioned by Charlie Forbes Adam’s forbears, emphasising the strong linked heritage of the church, the village and the Escrick Park Estate.

Commenting on his visit and the project “Walking through the Centuries with a Legless Knight”, Nigel Adams said:

“Although I have been to St Helen’s several times, it was quite a revelation to learn how the building and its contents can be made to tell the story of the interwoven heritage of church, village and estate over 800 years. I’m delighted to see that such an enthusiastic and sustainable project in the Selby district has succeeded in gaining Heritage Lottery Fund support . When completed the project should encourage a wider appreciation and use of a historic and welcoming church building.”