Although this parish church has been here for 130 years, having been formerly part of the Parish of Brayton, we can go back much further.
On 6th January 1292 the Abbot of Selby wrote “considering the towns of Hamelton, Gayteford and Lund, by reason of the distance of the place, could not repair to their Parish Church of Brayton, a chantry chapel should be built, for ever to remain dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” There is no record of the site of this chapel, but it was probably somewhere in the centre of the village.
Back to our present church; the foundation stone was laid on 4th August 1881 by Mrs. Mervyn Jefferson, who was probably the wife of one of the benefactors.
On Saturday 22nd April 1882 at 10.45am the church was consecrated by the then Archbishop of York, William Thomson. His grace was attended by the Ven. Archdeacon Watkins, the Revd. W.S. Cole, M. A., Rector of Ryther and Rural Dean, and H.A Hudson, Esq., the Registrar of the Diocese. There was also present a numerous body of clergy of the neighbourhood. The Consecration Service was that always used in this Diocese.
The exact cost of building the church was £2,012-1s-9d. The equivalent today would be £98,000. The collection in church on the day at the two services amounted to £50-7s-0d, an outstanding amount then. The equivalent in today’s values is in excess of £2,500 if my information is correct.
We remained part of Brayton Parish until 1914 when the Revd. Francis Gumley was appointed as the first incumbent of the parish of Gateforth with Hambleton. He was reputed to have 52 sermons which he recycled every year!
The parish remained as such until 1960 when we became part of the Benefice of Monk Fryston and Hambleton, the Vicar being the late Revd. W.J. Lowry, who retired in 1978. The Revd. Noel Tewkesbury was our vicar until 1984.
In 1984 the new Benefice of Haddlesey, Hambleton and Birkin was formed when the Revd. George Greenhough became our vicar, a position he held for 16 years until his retirement in December 2000.
After a period in interregnum, the Revd. Ruth Brooker became our priest for a short while followed by the Revd. Sue Murray, who left in 2008.
Our present priest, Revd. Anna Burr, was appointed in April 2011.
The Smith family and the Anson family were benefactors closely connected with the church, and most of the stained glass windows are dedicated to members of the two families. We are particularly proud of the window in the South aisle, which was made by the well known stained glass maker Christopher Whall. The organ was presented to the church by the family of the late W.T. Smith J.P. of Hambleton House. It is still going strong and in good order today.
The church building, built to the glory of God and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, continues to serve this parish and contains a lively worshipping Church Family.
We invite you to use your visit as an opportunity to offer your prayers to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Priest-in-Charge: Revd. Anna Burr
Churchwarden: Mr D. Ingall