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Amazing architecturePre-Domesday siteSpectacular stained glassLink with famous peopleInterpretation of site available

Welcome to the beautiful, historic, church of St Helena, Austerfield! When you take a leaflet and browse the church during your visit you will discover fascinating features - but let us tell you a little bit about it.

St Helena's Church was built in 1080 by John de Builli, using stone from the Roche Abbey quarries. Over the centuries the church has seen new sections built and renovations completed to make it the church you see today.

The Tympanum over the south doorway depicts a serpent-like dragon. An article published in 1954 suggests it is 8th century and relates its symbolic meaning to the calculation of the incidence of Easter Day. In 702AD Austerfield was the location of a Synod, where a dispute between the King of Northumbria and Wilfrid, Bishop of Ripon was resolved. The Synod also discussed and agreed was the way that Easter is calculated.

Austerfield is perhaps best known by its connections with the Pilgrim Fathers. William Bradford was born in Austerfield and was brought to be baptised on 19th March 1589. In front of you when you enter the church is the stone baptismal font where Bradford was baptized and a beautiful stained glass window on the north side of the church commemorates the 400th anniversary of this event. William Bradford went on to become Governor of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts and was the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor.

The church has several windows by one of England's greatest stained glass artists, Charles Earner Kempe. In the nave is a Sheila-na-gig of which there are only 16 recorded in England! This is a quasi-erotic stone carving of a female figure sometimes found in Norman churches. This carving had been blocked into a wall in the 14th century, and was only rediscovered in 1898 during restoration work.

If you know anything more about the heritage of this site and would like us to include it here please contact us.


Open at specified timesTours for groups and schoolsNot accessibile to wheelchair usersParking at Church or nearby

Address: High Street, Austerfield, Doncaster, DN10 6QU

Opening Times: Please contact us to arrange a visit.

Contact: Vicarage: 01302 710298 or

Directions: A1(M) J24. Take A614 Bawtry Road to Bawtry. Slight left onto A638 into Bawtry. Turn right at fork, onto A614 Station Road to Austerfield. Follow into Austerfield, church on right.

Grid Reference: SK 661 946 GB Grid


The text has been written by volunteers from the site, more information can be found when you visit in person.


Pilgrims Scenic Drive Austerfield St Helena


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