View of St. Oswald's from the graveyard
St. Oswald's looking East
View of St. Oswald's from the graveyard
Google Maps address for a Sat Nav:-
YO14 9ET - Plus Code 6P77+72 Filey
The building has level access from the car park. There is a ramp down in to the main part of the church building, which includes a level access disabled lavatory. The PA system, which is used in all services, includes a hearing loop. Access to the East end of the church for the choir stalls and altar is via a couple of steps.
All our churches are now open, but with limited services and changing patterns, so please be patient as we try getting back into a regular pattern. See 'Services' for the most up to date information.
1st Sunday: 9.00am Holy Communion
2nd Sunday: 10:30am Holy Communion
3rd Sunday: 10:30am Morning Worship
4th Sunday: 2.00pm Holy Communion & APCM
5th Sunday: 10.30am Morning Worship
Repair & Restoration
The ongoing work of repairs and restoration is never complete with a Grade 1 listed building that is nearly 800 years old. Roof, mortar and stone repairs, windows to restore and the organ to keep in good working condition are just some of the issues we face. There are exciting new projects too with the installation of a new lighting system and re-purposing of the North and South Transepts with a digital visitor area and re-introduction of a side chapel. We are indebted to many contributors and individual donors as well as to some grant making institutions. If you would like to make a donation click on the 'Donate' button or get in touch.
St Oswald's is registered with 'Explore Churches'. We aim to have the church open for visitors between March and November but we are closed due to Covid restrictions at the moment.
A Brief History
St Oswald’s Church is situated on the North side of Filey on top of the cliff overlooking the Bay. Fishermen used to use the church to guide them safely into port as they came home with their catch. The weather vane mounted on the tower is in the shape of a fish which is an ancient Christian symbol, but could also be symbolic of the fishing trade in Filey.
The Parish Church was built during the reigns of King Henry II, Richard I, John and Henry III. It was probably founded by the Augustinian Friars of Bridlington when the land came into the ownership of Walter de Gant of Hunmanby who founded Bridlington Priory between 1114 and 1124. The earliest work dates from 1180 and the church was substantially complete by 1230.
The church is dedicated to St Oswald who was King of Northumbria and one of the great Celtic founders of Christianity in the north. He was killed in battle in AD641.
The tower was originally to have been built at the West end, but the supporting pillar is out of perpendicular and probably the reason why the scheme was aborted. The tower was subsequently built in the middle.
The church has been through several periods of change and restoration including the lowering of the roof. In the 19th Century many of the ancient features were obliterated, possibly including frescos (as seen in Pickering Parish Church), when the walls were white washed. In 1885 the plaster was removed revealing the original stonework for the first time in 700 years.
In the early part of the 20th Century a stone altar was discovered in the stone floor at the centre of the church. Probably pre-reformation and possibly even dating back to the time the church was founded, a small cross can be seen on each of the four corners. These represent the wounds on Christ’s body made by the nails, the spear and the crown of thorns at his crucifixion stressing the identity of the altar as a great and holy sign of Christ. The altar is now situated at the back of the church.
In 1908 a fire at the West end of the church destroyed the organ, this was replaced by the present organ built on the side of the chancel. It is a fine organ recently having been restored.
In the year 2000 a meeting room at the West end of the church was completed, it has a separately controlled heating system and incorporates a kitchen and lavatory.
There are many historical artefacts to be seen, including fine specimens of Sedilia in the south transept and the Reredos. The angels painted on the front panels of the altar were done by Miss Wheelhouse of Scarborough (known to exhibit at the Royal Pulpit), and on the south nave wall is a crudely carved figure possibly of a Boy Bishop. This was saved from destruction when someone offered to buy a workman a pint of ale if he would desist from smashing it up. There are also many beautiful stained glass windows dating from 19th Century and the Fisherman’s Window by Harry Harvey, installed in 1983.
Visiting St Oswald’s
As the church is ‘Grade 1 Listed’ the historical interest attracts many visitors from near and far each year. Volunteers endeavour to open most days between March and November from 10.30a.m. to 12.30p.m. for guided tours or just to come and be still, stop, reflect or pray. School parties are also welcome.
The church is a popular venue for family celebrations such as weddings and baptisms, as well as to commemorate the lives of loved ones at funerals. The church is surrounded by an extensive graveyard with over 1000 graves dating back many centuries.
Generations of Filey people have worshipped at St. Oswald’s on Sunday mornings when the six bells in the bell chamber call people to worship still.
Whether you are a person of faith or not we welcome all to come together every week to hear God's word, to pray and worship together. St Oswald’s continues to be a living, worshipping community in celebration of Jesus Christ.