The church of St Michael's, Coxwold, sits at the western end of the village. The current church was built in 1420-30 and is an unusually elegant church for the area, with a most impressive octagonal tower.
The first documented reference to a church at Coxwold came in 757, when Pope Paul I ordered King Eadbert of Northumbria to repair it. This early Saxon church was replaced by a 11th century Norman church, which was in turn replaced by the current elegant building, built in the perpendicular style in 1420-30 and left largely untouched since.
The church has some very old stained glass, with the tracery windows being particularly old - some may predate the current building and possibly taken from the Norman church.
The chancel has seen the most change, and was rebuilt in 1774. The tongue-shaped alter rail was probably added at this time, and increased the amount of space available for Communion services in a chancel that is otherwise dominated by four monuments to the Belasyse family, the earls Fauconberg, the owners of nearby Newburgh Priory until the death of the last earl Fauconberg in 1802.
The church sits side-on to the main street, on a slight rise, making it visually rather imposing. The long grave yard stretches out behind the church, now running back beyond the village gardens.
The church's most famous vicar was Laurence Sterne, the author of Tristram Shandy. He published the first two volumes of this nine volume book in 1759 and was appointed as curate of Coxwold in 1760 as a reward for his work. He wrote the remaining seven volumes of the book while he lived at Coxwold (although a curate will have performed his religious duties, Sterne having decided to give up day-to-day church work to concentrate on writing).
Grid Reference: SE 533 772
The church is at the western end of the main street.