Church History

History of St Robert’s Church

Thought to have been dedicated at first to St Michael, the original church was built in the thirteenth century, and the first recorded Vicar left to become Archdeacon of Rochester in 1271. In 1318 a Scottish raiding party stayed here while attacking Knaresborough Castle. When they left they destroyed the church, leaving only the tower intact. Shortly afterwards, the church came into the possession of monks of the Trinitarian Order of St Robert of Knaresborough based at Knaresborough Priory and they rebuilt a new stone Chancel. It may have been at that time that the church was rededicated to St Robert.  Since then the floor level of the Chancel has been raised but the fourteenth century piscina and the top of the sedilia are both still visible to the right of the altar.  The church remained in use until its dissolution in 1539. Read more

Here is our Wikipedia entry for more details – BEWARE, it may not be completely up to date!

Life of St Robert of Knaresborough

The church is the only Anglican Church in the country dedicated to this saint who was very popular in the middle ages. Robert was born around 1170, the son of Touk Flower, a leading citizen of York. From childhood he was fascinated with the religious life and, after being ordained a sub-deacon, he went to the Cistercian monastery at Newminster (Northumberland). After only four and a half months he returned home for a few days before traveling to Knaresborough where he took up residence with a “hermit-knight” in the cave he would later make his own. When the knight departed, Robert took the patronage of Juliana, a widow living in Knaresborough, who gave him the chapel of St Hilda at Rudfarlington, two miles south of Knaresborough. There he first developed a reputation as a wise and holy man who cared for the poor. Attacked by thieves he moved to Spofforth (the nearest to Pannal he ever lived) where his reputation grew so great he was overwhelmed by the crowds and retired to a priory at Hedley, near Tadcaster. There he was too good for the other monks! Read more