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Archbishop Sentamu Visits Old St Stephen’s

Archbishop's Visit to Old St Stephen’s Church, Fylingdales

Tuesday 9th September 2014

On Sunday 14th September, Archbishop Sentamu will visit a remarkable church with a close connection to the sea. The Archbishop will be preaching at Evensong at Old St Stephen’s Church, Fylingdales at 4pm, and visiting the church’s exhibition of fishermen’s’ jumpers.


The Revd Michael Waters is a retired priest who lives in the parish.  He said, “Old St Stephen’s church has a rich history, and a close connection to the sea.  Built in 1822 on the site of an older church, the church was closed twenty years ago, as the new St Stephen’s church was much closer to the village.  The church is now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, and from 10th to 20th September will be hosting an exhibition of knitted fishermen’s’ jumpers: Propagansey 2014.

“Although Old St Stephen’s is closed, we still hold services here a few times a year.  Churches like St Stephens hold so much history, having been at the heart of their communities for decades. The Gansey exhibition reminds us how crucial the fishing industry has been to our history and heritage, and I think it’s fitting that fishermen should be remembered in this church.”

Deb Gillanders, the organiser of Propagansey 2014, said, “Propagansey is a celebration of ganseys or guernseys; fishermens' traditional patterned jumpers.  They are working gear, crafted with immense skill, generally knitted by the women in fishing communities.   One knitter has lent a collection of ganseys that she has knitted for her family.  They cover fifty years, from the first one she knitted for her husband to more recent ones for her grandsons. There's one knitted by a man for his wife.  This year's display features Ganseys from Holland, Orkney, Scotland, Cornwall & Guernsey as well as Yorkshire.  In most cases the knitter's identity is unknown except for a forensic link in construction techniques between one gansey and another; were they knitted by the same person?   

“Old St Stephen's Church is a wonderful place to hold the exhibition, and I hope the Archbishop enjoys visiting.  The church commands a tremendous view over farmland and coastline.  You can still sit up in the gallery and watch a storm come in as the sermon unfolds.”

Rosi Lister, Director – North of The Churches Conservation Trust said, “St Stephens is a real jewel in The Churches Conservation Trust’s collection of wonderful historic churches which are open to the public. We are thrilled that Archbishop Sentamu will have an opportunity to experience this charming Georgian chapel in its dramatic coastline setting first hand. The Friends of St Stephens do a fabulous job putting a variety of events on at the church and we certainly couldn’t do without their support.”  



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