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Bellingham Church of St Cuthbert

In the civil parish of Bellingham.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY83768325
Latitude 55.14339° Longitude -2.25625°

Bellingham Church of St Cuthbert has been described as a Fortified Ecclesiastical site although is doubtful that it was such.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Parish church. C13, extensively remodelled 1609. Restored and west bellcote added 1865. Random rubble. Stone slab roofs to nave and south chapel, Lakeland slate on chancel. Nave, chancel and south chapel. West end has C19 gabled bellcote and 2 massive C19 offset buttresses with C19 lancet between. 2 further C17 offset buttresses flank the west end. 6-bay nave with possibly C17 lancets between C17 buttresses. C17 north door with shallow pointed arch in 3rd bay. Similar blocked south door, also in 3rd bay, has square recess with projecting moulded frame above. Large south chapel has off-centre, 3-light C13 window with intersecting tracery, a single lancet on right return and a C17 square- headed window on left return. C13 chancel has one original one-light south window and east end with 3 lancets with monolithic heads. Remarkable roof has alternating strips of single and double thickness of stone slabs.
Interior has east and west responds of former C13 arcade in corners of nave and C13 double-chamfered chancel arch. C17 chamfered round rere-arches to nave lancets. Nave roof has stone barrel vault with 15 transverse broach-stopped chamfered ribs. Similar roof to south chapel which also has triple-shafted corbel respond of a C13 west arcade. Arch into chapel from nave is round, double- chamfered with broach stops of 1609. East lancets, have shouldered rere-arches. Monuments to Archibald Reed 1729 and Theresa and Harriet Charlton 1829 on chancel north wall inside. Attached to chancel south wall outside, monument to Charlton of Redesmouth, 1628, with large irregular lettering carved in relief. Late C19 Gothic copper lamp over north door. (Listed Building Report)

Now a parish church, until 1814 it was merely a chapel of ease in the huge Simonburn parish. When consecrated it was the only stone building in the neighbourhood, and it remained the strongest until after the Union of the Crowns, so it was natural for the Bellingham people to flock to it not only to pray but also to seek shelter from enemies. As a consequence it was a viable target and was damaged on at least two occasions, the last being in 1597 when the Duke of Buccleugh fired cannon at it. The walls were breached, the wood and thatch roof was burnt and many people were killed. (Dodds 1999)

Suggested by Brooke as a fortified church but the fact this chapel of ease was used as a refuge and was attacked does not mean it was fortified. The stone vault dates from the C17 and the medieval church roof is reported as being of thatch.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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