31 October 2009
St Nicholas Church building is located at the East end of the town, close to the ruins of the 12th Century Augustinian Priory. The Priory itself was founded in 1119 by Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale (the great, great, great, great, great grandfather of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland) but there was already a church in Guisborough before then; it was mentioned in the Domesday Book, the first draft of which was published in 1086. However, there is no structural evidence to suggest that the present church was built on the original site.
A Papal document of 1291 indicates that a parish church adjoined the Priory and the first record of the presence of a salaried curate dates to 1535.
The present chancel, with its small, deep-set windows, and tower were built in the late 15th Century. Since that time, the nave and interior have been greatly altered; the church in its present form is the result of a major re-building (1903-08) when parishioners funded the re-construction to a design by the architect Temple Moore.
Within the church there are a number of interesting and historically significant features, including:
- The richly-carved de Brus Cenotaph; which was removed from the priory after its dissolution
- Stained glass windows from various periods including some delicate 16th Century artistry and remnants of mediaeval glass
- Reconstructed floor tiles of inlaid and plain mosaic which were found in the Priory ground
- A Victorian font
- The names of all past incumbents and the priors who provided chaplains to the Parish Church from 1119 to 1539
- A fine peal of six bells, some of them ancient and re-cast and all used regularly.