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Corsenside church of St Cuthbert

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

OS Map Grid Reference: NY89028926
Latitude 55.19754° Longitude -2.17405°

Corsenside church of St Cuthbert has been described as a probable Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Parish church. C12 with bellcote and south door added 1735; nave windows altered mid-C19. C17 priest's door; C19 south porch. Dressed stone with slate roof and asbestos tiles for chancel. Nave, chancel, south porch and lean-to shed on north. 6-bay nave with windows on south side only; these are of domestic C19 character in chamfered reveals. South door has chamfered surround, elliptical head with date on triple keystone. 2-bay chancel has priest's door with Tudor- arched head in chamfered surround (cf. house next door) and one C18 12-pane sash. East window has C19 intersecting tracery. Gabled west bellcote with ball finial.
Interior has unmoulded C12 chancel arch on plain chamfered imposts. C17 chancel roof timbers partly visible. Octagonal C18 font. 4 medieval grave slabs attached to nave wall. C18 altar rail with turned balusters. Attached to outside of nave south wall are 3 C18 monuments to members of Reed family.
Thoroughgoing late C20 restoration of interior. (Listed Building Report)

There is clear evidence on the west and north walls for the nave having been vaulted which, rather surprisingly, does not seem to have been noted in published accounts. This must have been a defensible, or at least a fire-proofing move, related to the troubled later medieval and early post-medieval period.
At Corsenside the double-stepped south-east angle of the nave seems likely to indicate an external thickening of the wall, presumably made to take the weight of an inserted vault. The western bay of the nave (which has a higher ceiling) has a very strange feature in that its internal faces rise about 1.2m above the external; high up on the north side is a blocked opening, which might have come above the vault. This would suggest that the nave was converted into a thick-walled defensible retreat, possibly around about 1600, and probably intended to be used as a communal refuge at a time when raiding and reiving were frequent, with a chamber at least above its west end.
The vault at Corsenside only seems to have existed for a century or so; perhaps its weight caused structural problems. (Ryder 2012)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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