My Favourite History Place - All Saint's Church, Harewood

Historian feature

By Ian Dawson, published 10th January 2013

Harewood House, a few miles north of Leeds, attracts many historically-minded visitors to enjoy the work of Adam, Chippendale and Capability Brown but to my mind the real treasures of Harewood lie elsewhere. After negotiating the payment booths take the path immediately on your right, leading to the redundant church of All Saints. Surrounding clusters of trees often steal the light and warmth from the church but your reward is to explore six wonderful pairs of late medieval alabaster effigies, and one effigy in particular has a very intriguing story attached.

The effigies are the product of the alabaster quarries of the north Midlands and the nearby workshops. Three pairs belong to the Gascoignes of Gawthorpe Hall, long vanished beneath Capability Brown's lake. The most distinctive is the effigy of Lord Chief Justice Gascoigne (died 1419), shown left. The other Gascoigne tombs are of Sir William and Margaret Gascoigne (from the early 1460s) and their grandson, also Sir William and his wife, Margaret (c.1487).

The other three pairs belong to the Redmayn and Ryther families of Harewood Castle which is still just visible amidst the woodlands. Two date from the 1420s but it's the third pair, Edward Redmayn and his wife Elizabeth Huddleston, that keeps drawing me...

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