NZ 33 SW BISHOP MIDDLEHAM CHURCHSTREET
7/5 (inset) Church of St.
Michael and All
9.1.68 Angels (formerly
listed as Church
GV of St Michael)
Parish church. C12. C13 aisles, north porch and extension of chancel. 1802
rebuilding of north aisle. 1842-6 restoration in memory of Robert Surtees of
Mainsforth, historian of Co. Durham, by his widow. Varied materials include
thinly-rendered coursed squared sandstone and limestone; mixed stone rubble;
brick patching at chancel eaves; ashlar plinth and dressings. Roof graduated
Lakeland slate with stone gable copings.
Aisled nave with north parch; chancel with north vestry. Gabled porch has
shafted 2-centred open arch under head-stopped dripmould; surrounds of side
windows of similar shape have continuous roll moulding. Fragments of medieval
incised grave-covers in front gable and on stone corbels inside porch, some
badly eroded. Stone sidebenches; chamfered surround to 2-centred-arched
inner door with 6 fielded panels and strap hinges, and wood-cased lock.
Restored south door of similar shape has nailhead decoration to capitals of
shafts supporting roll-moulded arch under head-stopped dripmould. Eroded
sundial above, dated 1741 and inscribed 'Memento mori', set at c.20° to wall.
Paired lancets in aisles (the south buttressed) under corbel tables. 2-light
clerestory windows, on south only, have chamfered surrounds. Clasping nave
buttresses predate aisles. Short central west buttress below narrow blocked
openings and central lancet; roundel with cross moline of Bishop Bek (1284-
1310) below 2-arched gabled bellcote.
Set-back chancel has 4 south windows, the westernmost round-headed and others
lancets; the next lower. North elevation has vestry inserted between 2
lancets; low, wide blocked squint at west end. 3 stepped east lancets.
Clasping and south central buttresses. Roof has overlapping stone gable
copings, and stone cross finials.
Interior: painted plaster with ashlar dressings and panelled dado; stone-
corbelled roof, the nave with queen posts and braced central strut to collar,
the chancel with braced collar and short king post. 4-bay arcades have
irregular pointed arches, double-chamfered, on round piers; keeled responds
(at west on high section of-earlier wall), those on north, like central north
pier, with nailhead decoration on capitals; all capitals moulded. High
double-chamfered 2-centred chancel arch has broach and head stops, the inner
arch on corbels. Beast and head stops to nave arcade dripmoulds. Early C20
pews with panelled backs and roll-moulded square ends; dado of re-used box-
pew panels. Medieval Frosterley marble pedestal font with round bowl; similar
bowl, with iron band and damaged rim, on floor at north-east nave. C19
poppy-heads. Medieval stone altar slab with 4 incised crosses.
Monuments include 3 on north wall of chancel to members of Surtees family: at
west alabaster panel in Gothic style to Brigadier General Sir H.C. Surtees,
1858-1933, (with arms, crest and motif), who continued the historical
researches of Robert Surtees of Mainsforth, 1779-1834, whose sandstone
memorial by John Bloxham is in the centre, in Perpendicular style, with coat
of arms; below, a memorial brass to his wife Anne, died 1846, and commemorating
her restoration of the church in 1843-6. Hatchment over north door to Thomas
Bedford, vicar, died 1683, and his wife Alice, died 1680, 'mother, grandmother
and great grandmother to 74 children beside numerous embrios'. Over the south
door C17 hatchment to Ralph Hutton of Mainsforth, giving details of his
Small stone sheaf of corn over vestry door probably part of memorial now
rendered over; may refer to the Cumyn family, whose arms included a sheaf of
Glass includes east medallion lancets; St. Michael and arms of Bishop Bek,
1956 by L.C. Evetts in west lancet.
Sources: Mackenzie and Ross, View of the County Palatinate of Durham,
Newcastle, 1834, II p.317.
R. Surtees, The History of Antiquities of the County Palatinate of Durham,
1816-1840, III p.5.
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 3 Vol. III, p.221
(notes by Sir Stephen Glynne on churches in Co. Durham).
Listing NGR: NZ3279931258