Carlton near Helmsley St Aidan

Carlton, Helmsley - St Aidan's

With this, his first solo commission, Temple Moore set out his stall. Its Early English detailing looks back to the 13th century, but St Aidan's also exhibits some surprisingly modern features.

Although it is a modest building, the level of thought and care evident in its design and construction demonstrates the young architect's enthusiasm for his work. A very simple nave and chancel as one are accompanied by an unbuttressed west tower with a pyramid roof. The three lancet windows in the east wall are early examples of the divided east windows that were to be a feature of Moore's later work.

St Aidan's is well suited to its remote, windswept location. The walls are hugely thick and the windows small. As Pevsner remarked, “Up here, on the way to the moor, it affords a sense of physical and spiritual shelter.” But Moore also had more pragmatic ends in mind. The massive walls incorporate a ventilation system and a ceramic damp-proof course. The tiles on the roof were factory-made to help keep the cost of the building down. The bill came to £530, including furnishings. For all his gothicism, Moore was a modern architect who paid close attention to the cost and performance of his buildings.

He was also concerned with the comfort of their users. St Aidan's has a chimney on the north side and a hearth for a stove inside so that the congregation could keep warm — a very practical innovation in a village where to this day the saying goes, “Wear another coat in Carlton”!

St Aidan's features one of Moore's rare painted ceilings. He'd recently completed the church of St Mary Magdalene a couple of miles away at East Moors for his teacher and mentor George Gilbert Scott. It too has a painted ceiling, and it is not hard to imagine that Moore was influenced by his master's work.

In 2012 the dark zinc-clad extension adjoining the church was added to allow the building to be rescued and run as a holiday let. 

In the 18th and early 19th century, this area was the scene of an amazing feat of engineering by Joseph Foord (1714–1788), a farmer, surveyor and self-taught water engineer. Foord was born in Fadmoor, one of a number of dry villages in the limestone Tabular Hills in the south of the North York Moors. Water had to be carried up steep slopes from a distance away. Working for Lord Feversham, Foord built a system of water-races that brought water down to Fadmoor from the high moors. He went on to build some 70 miles of water-races that were in use for the better part of a century. Carlton's water-race was the longest surviving of all and was still running as late as 1960. “Water from the Moors” by Isabel Anne McLean tells this story. It is published by the North York Moors National Park Authority.