NZ 23 SW SPENNYMOOR CHURCH STREET
Church of St Peter
Parish church. 1844-1845 by G Y Wall, land agent, Durham (not Mr. Watts as
stated in C19 histories). Paid for by the Bishop of Durham, with a grant from
the Incorporated Society for Building and Repairing Churches. Coursed squared
sandstone with ashlar dressings and plinth; Welsh slate roof with stone gable
copings and stone ridge. Nave with west porch; chancel with north vestry.
Gabled porch contains double boarded doors with elaborate hinges in 2-centred-
arched surround with pyramid-stopped chamfer; blind trefoil in gable peak;
fleur-de-lys finial. Beak head-stopped dripmoulds over flanking lancet
windows; quatrefoil light in central projection which rises from porch and
supports gabled bellcote with chamfered round arch under fleur-de-lys finial.
Lancets paired in 3-bay nave, and paired in west bay of 2-bay chancel; 3
stepped east lancets; sill string; dripmoulds; high, coped buttresses,
clasping at corners. Gable copings rest on double-roll-moulded kneelers;
stone cross finials.
INTERIOR: Painted plaster above boarded dado, with ashlar dressings; queen-
post roof and scissor-trussed chancel roof on chamfered stone corbels.
Widely-chamfered chancel arch. One step to chancel, one to sacristy and one to
altar. Chancel floor tiled in medieval style. Gothic-style organ, the gift
of James Watson Hick, rector 1845-1875. Gothic-lettered 'Our Father' frieze,
and motto over chancel arch. Gothic arcaded communion rail. C20 panelled
reredos partly obscures windows. Original pews, with fleur-de-lys finials at
both ends of rails; 4 front pews panelled with moulding. East window memorial,
probably late C19/early C20, with groups of saints in flowing composition;
flanking lancets, in north and south walls, are Byzantine-style figures of
Saints Peter and Andrew, probably by J. W. Hick, resited from original position
in east; paired south chancel lights contain Renaissance-style figures, one
Christ or God, with 3-rayed nimbus, the other with small scrolled label 'St.
John' in shield; both set in geometric glass and in strong colours. Nave
windows of varied style, several with medallion patterns, some with figures,
most mid-C19; one to John Robson of Durham, died 1857; another to his son
William Henry, (by Lawson of Newcastle), who died in an explosion in 1852,
aged 18, while investigating a problem in the colliery, where he was resident
manager. A remarkable set of mid C19 glass. Panelled wood pulpit has names
of rectors inscribed. Wood eagle lectern on Gothic pedestal, with brass
plaque saying it was carved by J.W. Hick; as were the poppyheads in the choir
in the style of Bishop Cosin. Square pedestal font, with waterleaf decoration,
transferred from Kirk Merrington Church of St. John the Evangelist (q.v.).
Monuments include classical-style black and white pedimented panel behind
pulpit, commemorating Rev. R. E. Hoopel, 1833-1895, Rector 1875-1895, whose
recognition of the importance of the Saxon church at Escomb brought it to the
attention of scholars for the first time.
Sources: W. Fordyce, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatinate of
Durham, Vol. I p.590.
H.C. Surtees, The History of the Parishes of Byers Green, (Mainsforth) 1922.
Durham County Record Office EP/BG,26 (plan and elevations).
Geo. Walker, Durham Directory and Almanack for 1846.
Listing NGR: NZ2257433724