The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Lesbury Church of St Mary

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NU23671170
Latitude 55.39866° Longitude -1.62792°

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

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Parish Church. Core probably C12; north aisle and chapel added and chancel remodelled in C13; east window mid-C14; late or post-medieval part rebuilding of tower; vestry probably C17; 1849 restoration including refacing and part rebuilding of south wall, addition of south porch, new parapet and roof to tower and re-cutting of much internal detail; chancel arcade altered 1853. Squared stone; large squared masonry of C12 type in tower, roughly-squared stone in vestry, C19 parts tooled stone; cut dressings, tooled-and-margined in C19 parts. Graduated Lakeland slate roofs except for Welsh slates on chancel. Plan: Nave with west tower, south porch and 2-bay north aisle; chancel with 2-bay north aisle and north-east vestry.
Tower shows complex evidence of rebuilding and repair; plinth, stepped and chamfered set-backs at mid-height and irregular stepped clasping buttress at south-west corner. West window is C19 lancet; slatted belfry openings with plain pointed heads, set north of centre in east and west walls; no openings on north. C19 parapet on block corbels; pyramidal roof with weathercock.
South side of nave all of 1849; large stepped buttress at west end; gabled porch,with C20 glazed doors in double-chamfered arch under worn sundial, enclosing studded double doors under moulded round arch on shafted jambs, possibly copy of C12 original; one lancet to west of porch and three to east. North aisle shows medieval masonry heightened in C19; old stepped buttresses, blocked north door and blocked small square-headed windows; C19 lancets.
South side of chancel is 1849 refacing with C13 features reproduced; three bays with chamfered plinth, shallow buttresses, lancets and priest's door. C14 3-light east window cutting C13 chamfered string course; clasping buttresses and C19 trefoil opening in rebuilt gable. North chapel shows restored C14- style 3-light window. Vestry shows old studded door on east in chamfered stone surround, with blocked window over; C19 two-light window and older blocked loop on north. Coped gables on moulded kneelers, with finial crosses.
Interior plastered except for north aisle. Tall double-chamfered tower arch on half-round responds. Arcade of broad double-chamfered arches with circular pier and responds with heavy chamfered impost band carried back on both wall faces. Similar but taller chancel arch; chancel arcade again similar but without the impost band. All detail heavily re-cut. Chancel has retooled trefoiled piscina on south and restored rebated square aumbry on north. Nave has C19 roof of collar-beam trusses with upper king posts, with braces rising from re-cut stone corbels. 5-bay chancel roof has heavy cambered ties resting on re-cut or renewed corbels and carrying purlins, ridge and separate straining- pieces linking the tie faces below the ridge; ties; purlins and straining pieces have relief-carved flower and leaf bosses, grotesque animals and Percy emblems. Old studded door from chapel to vestry.
C15 octagonal font carved with Percy crescents and fetterlocks. Old creed and pater boards flanking chancel arch; commandments board and George III royal arms under tower. Mid-C18 mural tablet in chancel to Garret family of Wooden; some C19 ledger stones. (Listed Building Report)

The Church of St Mary was built in C12, but altered in later centuries. Prior to major C19 restoration was similar to Longhoughton Church. Suggested by Brooke as built with the intent of being used as a refuge. Any parish church is certainly likely to have been used as a refuge by villagers but this is far from a church built specifically with such an intent in mind. In original form this would have been a fairly typical small Norman church like many across the county. Gatehouse can not see any feature which might suggest it was especially defensible.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
    County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact