All Saints and Beningbrough Hall

The links between All Saints and the Beningbrough Manor go back almost half a century. Since then the lords and ladies of the manor have played an important role in the development of the church, as well as the community. Today Beningbrough Hall is in the hands of the National Trust and the location of All Saints on the road to the Hall undoubtedly helps boost our visitor numbers.

Dissolution, the Banesters and Bourchiers: 1535-1680

At the start of the 16th Century All Saints Church, Newton on Ouse was in the hands of Holy Trinity Priory in York. But the Priory was surrendered in 1538 when under the ‘Lesser Monasteries Act’ of 1535-6 it became due for suppression. This Act applied to lesser houses whose income from lands, rents, tithes etc. was less than two hundred pounds. This meant that the lands and properties associated with the priory passed to the king, Henry VIII.

As a result the rectory and advowson of Newton church, as well as the manor of Beningbrough and various other parcels of land, were sold to John Banester in 1544 for the sum of One Hundred and Eighty Pounds, Ten Shillings and Eight-pence. Upon his death in 1556 the land passed to his nephew Sir Ralph Bourchier. When Sir Ralph died in 1598 his estate passed to his grandson Robert Bourchier, as his son William had been declared insane.

When Robert died childless at 18 the estate passed to his brother John. Sir John Bourchier is perhaps most famous as one of the signatories on the death warrant of King Charles I. Sir John’s properties had been forfeited at the Restoration due to his being a regicide but were restored, upon his death in 1660, to his son Barrington and then passed to his son, also Barrington in 1680.

John Bourchier & Margaret Earle: 18th Century

The second Barrington Bourchier is thought to have died around 1695 and so his young son, John, inherited the church as part of the Beningbrough estate in 1700 at just sixteen. It was John who planned the design of Beningbrough Hall, inspired by his grand tour of Europe during his twenties.

John died in 1759 and his only child, Mildred died in 1760. On the East wall of the Nave there are funeral brasses for John and Mildred as well as another branch of the family. Funeral brasses provided a long-lasting memorial to the deceased and encouraged prayers to be said for them. The Bourchier brasses are incised with a Gothic script and a repeating ivy pattern.

After Mildred’s death the estate, and therefore the patronage of Newton church, passed to her great-uncle Ralph Bourchier, a physician in London. Upon Ralph’s death in 1768 the estate passed to his daughter Margaret Earle (neé Bourchier), Margaret and her husband, Giles, moved to Beningbrough Hall which she owned for nearly 70 years. A window dedicated to Margaret Earle, and featuring the Bourchier knot, can be found in the Chancel.

Dawnay Patronage: Early 1827-1916

Both of Margaret Earle’s sons died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars and so upon her death in 1827 the estate passed to Reverend William Henry Dawnay, a distant relative but also a close friend of her eldest son. Reverend Dawnay had been the rector at Sessay and Thormanby for almost thirty years; it must have been quite a change for his family to move to Beningbrough Hall. Reverend Dawnay succeeded his brother to become the 6th Viscount Downe in 1832.

Reverend Dawnay was responsible for the 1839 rebuild of the church. Upon his death in 1846 the estate passed to his second son, Payan. Payan was close to his older sister Lydia and they both remained at Beningbrough Hall until their deaths just a few months apart in 1890 and 1891. It was Lydia who financed the 1849 rebuild of the church.

After Payan’s death in 1891 the estate passed to a nephew, Lt Col Lewis Payn Dawnay and then to his son Major General Guy Payan Dawnay in 1910. The estate was then sold in 1916 in order to pay the death duties on his father’s estate.

It was bought by Lord and Lady Chesterfield, the last owners of the estate before it was given to the National Trust in 1958 in lieu of death duties.