Set in the tranquil valley of the river Derwent between York and Malton, the former Augustinian priory of Kirkham is one of the jewels of monastic heritage in Yorkshire.
The Priory, which was dedicated to The Holy Trinity, was a house of Augustinian canons founded around 1122.
Since the 16th Century, many of the structures and buildings have been lost, but the magnificent presbytery and monastic gatehouse have survived to hint at its former glory – and it’s well worth a visit to Kirkham to see these buildings alone.
The gatehouse, built in the later part of the 13th century, has a magnificently decorated front elevation, and religious imagery aplenty including sculptures of Jesus sitting on his heavenly throne, George and the Dragon, and David and Goliath.
Visitors can also look out for the beautiful architectural details, including the wave-like gabled crocketed label, and even walk in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill, who secretly visited when military tanks were practicing their manoeuvres from river to land during World War II.
This picturesque site has swathes of grass overlooking the River Derwent and plenty of wild life, making Kirkham a fantastic place to visit on a family day out, for a picnic, or as a leisurely rest stop during a walk or bike ride.
Steam train enthusiasts can listen to the York-Scarborough trains go they go by on the far side of the river during the summer, and there is plenty of space for children to run around and explore with games of hide and seek or frisbee.