Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1310889

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jun-1988



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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Spennymoor

National Grid Reference: NZ 26228 31464


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


NZ 23 SE, 6/40 (inset)

SPENNYMOOR, FRONT STREET (North side), Kirk Merrington

Church of St John the Evangelist

(formerly listed under Ferryhill 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 three 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 two 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. four 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. Two 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 Aidan.

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 parish.

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 1985, 101.

(Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, Research Report No. 1).

Surtees Society Vol 44, (John of Hexham) p.147.

Listing NGR: NZ2622831464


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 112247

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
John of Hexham147
Fordyce, W, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatinate of Durham, (1857), 579
'Research Report' in No 1, ()
'Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and North' in Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and North, (1985), 101

End of official listing