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Description: Church of St.john the Evangelist
Date Listed: 30 January 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 112247
OS Grid Reference: NZ2622831464
OS Grid Coordinates: 426228, 531464
Latitude/Longitude: 54.6776, -1.5948
NZ 23 SE SPENNYMOOR FRONT STREET
6/40 (inset) Church of St. John
30/1/51 the Evangelist (formerly
listed under Ferryhill
GV II* Road)
Parish church; 1850-1851 rebuilding by George Pickering of Norman church,
incorporating part of original north wall. Sandstone rubble, most roughly
coursed and squared, with ashlar plinth (except for chancel) and quoins and
dressings. Roof graduated Lakeland slates with stone gable copings. Nave
with central tower and north transept; 3-bay chancel. Norman style. Boarded
door with bifurcated hinges in arch of 3 orders, with chevron mouldings under
dogtooth dripmould, and impost string supporting steeply-pitched gabled
projection, in first bay. Tower in third bay has roll-moulded surround to
high window. Upper stages of tower have single small window, and paired
lights with central shaft in round-headed belfry arches below corbel table
and parapet. Slightly lower windows in flanking bays have nook-shafts and
moulded heads; head-corbels at eaves except in tower. Chancel has more
regular masonry, with priest's door at left under billet-moulded round arch;
similar moulding over 2 south windows. Triple arcaded east window with nook-
shafts and dripmould; single west window with roll-moulded head on nook-shafts.
Clasping buttresses with offsets to chancel.
Steeply-pitched L-plan roof on nave and transept interrupted by tower; low-
pitched chancel roof. Stone cross finial.
Interior: painted plaster with ashlar dressings above boarded dado. Roof of
3 types: arch-braced on stone corbels, in nave and transept, except for flat
beamed ceiling to tower; stop-chamfered beams on wall-plate in chancel
supporting rafters on cambered tops. 4 wide, chevron-and roll-moulded stone
arches on shafts and pilasters support tower, and lead to north transept and
chancel; other mouldings are billet, ball and nailhead;scalloped capitals and
corbels, most with paterae. Deeply-splayed windows with stepped sills;
chancel windows have chevron-moulded surrounds on south,and alternate-block
jambs; east window has chevron-moulded sill projection. Stone-flagged floor.
High quality boarded west screen and door below gallery; vestry in west bay
opposite entrance. Important chancel screen in style associated with Bishop
Cosin (1660-1670): panelled dado; skittle balusters above support paired
arches with cusped tracery; rinceau frieze below dentilled cornice with
classical moulding; richly-carved fruit and flowers on principal vertical
members; top swell cartouche flanked by scrolls and swags. Skittle balusters
support flat-topped communion rail. 2 box pews with poppyheads in chancel,
and some detached pew-ends (2 flanking communion rail) also in Cosin's style.
Many original iron hinges and latches on this C17 woodwork. Other furnishings:
Eden family box pew, C19, in transept. C19 softwood pews with fleur-de-lys-
shaped ends, some with faint remains of painted numbers; square pulpit of
similar date in panelled wood, now in transept. Octagonal boarded pulpit,
with Gothic blind tracery. Glass mostly clear; C19 medallion pattern in north
nave; 1906 opposite in similar style; east window scenes from the life of St.
Pedestal and bowl font, possibly C17, restored from vicarage garden, has
scrolled cover. (Pickering's font now in Church of St. Peter, Byers Green,
Spennymoor). Wood altar table probably C17 with some restoration. Harrison
and Harrison organ. Monuments include reused crocketed C14 stone frame on
north chancel wall with brass with stencilled decoration to Sir Robert Johnson
Eden, d.1844. Large Frosterley marble slab in chancel floor, partly obscured
by box pew, suggesting that this was part of the original chancel. Resited
carved stones in Eden pew include cross slab, probably C13, with spade and
sword, tegulated coped slab and stone fragment with inscription 'his blood
by God be shed'. Classical wall monument in white on black, by G. Green,
Newcastle, to John Smith Esq., died 1832, who left ?200 for 10 widows of the
Historical note: remarkable for having withstood siege, in 1143-6, when the
intruding bishop William Cumyn is said to have dug a ditch around the church.
Sources: W. Fordyce, History and Antiquities of the County Palatinate of
Durham, 1857, Vol. I p.579.
P.E. Ryder, The Medieval Cross Slab Grave Cover in County Durham, Durham
(Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland,
Research Report No. 1).
Surtees Society Vol 44, (John of Hexham) p.147.
Listing NGR: NZ2622831464
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.