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Celebrating North& East Yorkshire’s Best Churchyards

Sadly, we announce that the much-anticipated North and East Yorkshire’s Best Churchyard Competition will not be held in 2024. However, as we bid a temporary farewell to this cherished event, let’s take a moment to reminisce about the beauty and splendour of the churchyards that have graced this competition in the past. 

Looking Back at the Competition


'The Churchyard, God’s acre, is one of the most enduring features of the landscape. Together with the church, it forms a physical as well as the spiritual centre of the community……The churchyard is the centre of the communal worship and celebration, the site of the most important occasions in life, baptism, marriage, and burial…'
John Talbot White

The competition was a celebration of the rich history and unique charm of North and East Yorkshire’s churchyards. Entries poured in from churches of all denominations, showcasing the dedication of volunteers who lovingly tend to these sacred grounds.

Jan Arger, CPRE North Yorkshire Chairman, captured the essence of these churchyards as “beautiful places” and acknowledged the outstanding efforts of volunteers who play a pivotal role in maintaining them.

The Heart of the Landscape

North and East Yorkshire’s historic churches stand as timeless landmarks in our rural communities, preserving the heritage of some parishes since Saxon times. These churchyards, more than mere burial grounds, serve as green havens of sanctuary for both people and wildlife. Some remain unchanged over the centuries, providing ideal habitats for precious wildlife.

In the eyes of the competition judges, the emphasis was not on pristine perfection but on well-managed churchyards that create a peaceful haven for people and wildlife alike. Each entry underwent careful assessment based on a range of criteria.

Winners and Commendations

The competition aimed to recognize and reward churchyards that exemplified excellent management, offering tranquillity for people and a habitat for wildlife.

The 2021 Winners were St. Mary’s Church Kettlewell and Highly Commended were St. John’s Church, Sharow. 

The 2022 Winners were St Catherine’s, Barmby Moor and highly commended were Bridlington Priory, St. Mary’s in Kirkburn, St Peter’s in Upper Helmsley 

The 2023 Winners were St. Oswald’s, Newton under Roseberry. 





A Pause in 2024

Regrettably, we will not be hosting the Best Churchyard Competition in 2024. However, the spirit of celebration, acknowledgment, and preservation will continue to echo through the churchyards of North and East Yorkshire.

While we eagerly await the return of the competition in the future, let us cherish the memories of the remarkable churchyards that have graced this event and appreciate the dedicated individuals who ensure these sacred spaces thrive.

Stay tuned for updates, and until then, let the essence of the churchyards linger in our hearts as we remember the beauty that once adorned this annual celebration.

Kettlewell - Winning Churchyard 2021