Sitting at the end of the main street of the little market town of Bedale, is St. Gregory's Church. Now mostly a 13th & 14th century building, it incorporates tiny remnants of a 9th century Saxon church which survived William the Conqueror's harrying of the North. The early 14th century tower is probably the best example of a fortified church tower in the country. It was built to withstand Scottish raiding parties and you can still see the slot for the portcullis. There is a fireplace and guardrobe (toilet) in the room above.
The church's great patron in the Middle Ages was Brian FitzAlan, the Lord of Bedale and Custodian of Scotland under his friend, King Edward I. His fine effigy, one of the earliest alabaster monuments known, lies next to his wife at the north-western end of the nave. They were originally sited in the Lady Chapel, a chantry founded in remembrance of Brian's dead family. The monks of Jervaulx were endowed to travel here and pray for them and the unique five-light window is said to be of their work, possibly brought from the Abbey itself at the dissolution.
The church is a regular place of worship owned by the Church of England. Free Entry, but donations welcome.
Next Stop: Middleham Collegiate Church