St John the Baptist's Church, Yarkhill

Recent Photograph of St John the Baptist's Church (Yarkhill)

Most of the visible parts of the church are a result of extensive renovations of 1862 - in fact Mike Salter, in his booklet The Old Parish Churches of Herefordshire says it was entirely rebuilt, with the only parts retained from an older church being the south doorway (13th century), and the tower. The guide leaflet tells us however that it is likely a church has stood on this spot for over 800 years; that in 811 the name of its settlement was ‘Geardcylle’ (meaning ‘enclosure with a kiln’), and in 1066 it was held by a Knight of King Harold, called Arkell.

This gives plenty of scope for suggesting the derivation of its present name - either from the name of King Harold's Knight, from ‘Geardcylle’ (the hard ‘g’' sound from Old English becoming ‘Y’, as in ‘Giolgrave’' - Youlgrave in Derbyshire, according to the Domesday Book), or (as also suggested by the church's guide leaflet) from the Saxon word ‘Yarcle’, meaning slope of the hill.

Mind you, to me the latter sounds rather unlikely, since Yarkhill is in the valley of the River Frome, the road through it being bordered by deep drainage ditches.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Image contributed by Rosemary Lockie on 9th October 2008.
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