A church on this site was founded in Saxon times. In 627 AD, following the destruction of a pagan grove at neighbouring goodmanham, King Edwin of Northumbria was converted to Christianity. This then became the official religion throughout Northumbria, and a number of wooden churches were built. Although no evidence of a wooden structure remains, traces of the later 11th centuray Saxon “herring-bone” stonework can be seen inside the church at the base of the
The “tub” font is plain stone and has been in continuous use since about the time of the Norman conquest.
Most of the building was eventually demolished to make make for a Norman structure. The lower part of the tower is evidence of this. By the 13th century, the church was being extended. The tower arch dates from about 1200 and is in the early Gothic style as are the arches on the north side. The chancel was extended in the mid 13th century by which time the church was about the same length as the present time. Narrow aisles were formed outside the nave and the lower part of the nave pillars date from this time.
In the 15th century the chancel was widened to the south. This widening gave the chancel its lopsided look as the chancel arch was not now central. The nave aisles were rebuilt and widened to the present dimensions.
By the end of the 15th century, the inside would have been bare, with no seating apart from a bench against each wall for the infirm. The church would have been used for all kinds of amusements as well as religious worship.
Country dancing, feasts, concerts and games all took place here. During the Civil War, in 1642 Charles l halted at Market Weighton to attend a service at the church on his way from York to Hull.
During the 18th century, the people of Market Weighton began to renovate and improve their church which was by now falling into disrepair. At some stage, a wooden steeple had been added to the Norman tower. This was repaired in 1765 and then removed in 1785, possibly as a result of storm damage. An old musicians’ gallery was removed and a new double gallery added at the west end of the nave. Market Weighton’s celebrated giant, William Bradley is buried in the church. He was the tallest recorded Englishman and is commemorated in a tablet on the north side of the baptistry.
Further improvements continued in the late 19th century. A new table for Holy Communion (a gift from the vicar) was used in 1882, a new organ installed in 1883. the chancel was re-floored in marble to mark Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897. When Rev French died in 1899, aged 49, his sorrowful parishioners and family provided the beautiful east window as a memorial to him.
The south aisle was furnished and decorated to St Luke the physician in 1945 in memory of Edward Stephenson, who was for 57 years Schoolmaster, Organist and Choirmaster. The dedication to St Luke stems from the theme of several windows, all dating from the 15th century and constructed in the perpendicular style.
The choir and clergy stalls are the work of Robert “the Mouseman” Thompson of Kilburn. They were put in as a memorial to Pilot Officer Derrick Atkinson, killed in the Battle of Britain in 1940. He was the stepson of Rev David Evans, vicar here from 1936-1943. The altar rails and sanctuary furnishings were given in the vicar’s memory. Humbly hiding amongst all these furnishings are examples of the trademark carved mouse which gave Robert Thompson his nickname.
The chancel ceiling was painted in its present heavenly form by Mr Oxtoby in 1948. In 1956, the porch was restored and altered with the addition of new doors, which also bear the mouse symbol.
In 1996/7, the latest major phase of improvement took place, with money raised from the sale of the old church hall, together with a very generous bequest. An oak screen, given in memory of William H Ruffold (1914-1978) was moved from the west end to its present position enclosing the vestry entrance. A fine oak and double glazed screen enclosed the Parish Room, providing a base for many of the church activities. A modern kitchen and toilet were constructed in the north-west corner behind a duplicate double glazed oak screen. A further screen was constructed around the vestry on the chancel side. The church roof was repaired and the whole church was redecorated.
Floor repairs in 2007 unearthed some of the original Saxon stones, turning the history full circle.
In 2011, lead was stolen from the church roof and the porch roof. The roof was repaired and the porch roof was repaired with slate tiles as it used to be.
In 2015, the pews were removed from the north side of the church and new carpets were laid throughout the church, thanks to the generosity of the Church Estate Trustees. An additional toilet was also installed. Lighting was put in place along the church path outside.