Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 12:39 UK

Saxon church is East Yorkshire's 'oldest building'

Saxon window at St Peter and St Paul's Church
Mr Ryder said the small windows were original Saxon features

Experts say they have identified East Yorkshire's oldest standing building.

Part of St Peter and St Paul's Church, near Stamford Bridge, is thought to be 1,100 years old, 300 years older than previously believed.

Archaeologist Peter Ryder recognised it as an early Saxon church when he was invited to inspect the building.

The Rev Fran Wakefield, vicar of St Peter and St Paul's, said: "His jaw literally dropped open when he saw the north wall of the church."

Ancient heritage

The vicar added: "With its large stones, and characteristic tiny windows, it was so different from the 13th Century building he had been led to expect."

The church was thought to be a Victorian rebuild of a medieval building.

It was remodelled and extended in 1853, but Mr Ryder said parts of the building, including two original windows, show "distinctive" Anglo-Saxon features.

After further research, he decided parts of the nave were Anglo-Saxon with stones reused from a Roman building.

The Diocese of York said: "The church now looks forward to further developments as they uncover more about the rich and ancient Christian heritage in this area."

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