“A large and rewarding church built of Magnesiun limestone, set in a spacious tree-lined churchyard.” (Pevsner)
There are plenty of signs of the Norman origins of the church, which was re-consecrated in 1343, the town having been burnt by the Scots in 1318. Its dedication was to St Mary, until being changed in the Reformation period. The largely perpendicular building was extensively restored in the 1880s.
Of particular note are:
The font cover (c1700)
Stained glass by Morris & Co (1870s/80s)
Nave altar rails (C17th)
Slingsby Chapel and Memorials (1600 onwards)
Paintings of Moses and Aaron (C18th)
The church is open every day during daylight hours.
Read the information on the listed building here and its many interesting features here.
"The Queen's Church - The Story of Knaresborough Parish Church" by Arnold Kellett, first published in 1978 by the Friends of Knaresborough Parish Church.
It is believed that a place of worship has existed on the site currently occupied by St.John's Church, for over a thousand years but the first mention of Knaresborough Parish Church appears in the records of Nostell Priory near Wakefield. This states that in the year 1114 King Henry I granted the "Church at Cnaresburgh" to the canons at Nostell. The church was originally dedicated to St.Mary and held that name until the Protestant reforms of the 16th century when it became the Church of St John the Baptist.
Following the Scottish raid in 1318, the church fell into a dilapidated state and in 1328 the then king, Edward III honey-mooning with his young bride Philippa in Knaresborough, promised her that he would arrange the reconstruction of the church. Queen Philippa took a considerable interest in the restoration work and in particular, in the re-designing of the St.Edmund's Chapel, then St.Edmund's Chantry. It is not known exactly when the restoration work began and ended but throughout this period and during the Black Death in 1349, the townsfolk had the support of Queen Philippa who was often in residence in the castle. Philippa died in 1369 and her devotion to the town of Knaresborough and the church, was long remembered by the people and the church became known as the Queen's Church.
The bells were first hung in 1774 and the present clock was installed in 1884. The face carries St.Paul's phrase, "redeeming the time" and the exterior view from the north side shows the gargoyles and turret stair-way up the tower which is mainly late 12th century. The churchyard was landscaped in 1973 and many of the gravestones can be seen around the immediate area of St.John's.