Wooler United Reformed Church


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Wooler United Reformed Church, Cheviot Street


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Statutory Address:
Wooler United Reformed Church, Cheviot Street

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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NT 99221 27819



WOOLER CHEVIOT STREET Wooler United Reformed Church


II Church, Presbyterian now United Reformed, built in 1784, refurbished in later C19 by James Stevenson and altered in 1903-4 by George Reavell.

MATERIALS: local coursed sandstone with ashlar dressings, welsh slate roofs and pitch pine ceiling and fittings.

PLAN: rectangular chapel with pulpit to south and main entrance in north west. Vestry attached to the south and a tower to the north.

EXTERIOR: Main (west) elevation: the main body of the church has four bays, quite plain, with pointed arched windows and rectilinear tracery. Evidence of an earlier blocked door and two blocked window openings are apparent. A parapet rises above, interrupted by a series of four narrow embrasures and at its base a series of five rainwater pipes fall vertically to ground level; these have art nouveau style hoppers and keyed stone head detail. The roof of the church is surmounted by an octagonal cupola incorporating a slatted belfry topped by a short spire. A three stage tower is attached to the north end of the church containing at ground level the main entrance reached by a series of stone steps. The entrance has a pointed arched surround with moulded reveals and a perpendicular drip mould with carved stops surrounding a panel of blind rectilinear tracery. The doorway has double wooden doors with decorative strap hinges. There are paired windows above with a perpendicular drip mould, and the lower part of the third stage has squared piers alternating with recessed blind tracery panels surmounted by a continuous projecting drip mould adorned with stone gargoyles. The piers rise above a crenellated parapet, the embrasures bisected and capped with curvilinear mouldings reflecting the curvilinear cap stones of the piers. A needle spire faced in slate surmounts the tower ending in a decorative finial. Attached to the south end of the chapel there is a slightly lower single bay range with a single window and raised parapet with paired pointed arch doorways to the ground floor and an end chimneystack. Rear (east) elevation: this has four bays with raised parapet, rain water pipes and windows similar to the main elevation; a modern single storey extension at the north end is not of special interest. The third stage of the tower is as the main elevation but the remainder is plain with an attached two storey lean to. A modern lean to attached to the north of the tower is not of special interest.

INTERIOR: access to the body of the church is gained through a simple pointed arched entrance off a large vestibule at the north end. The church walls are plain painted plaster above a boarded dado. A double and single row of benches, divided by a narrow aisle, fill the main body of the church with orthogonal sub-divisions at irregular intervals; they have close-boarded backs, book rests and simple moulded edges, which retain their numbering.

A gallery occupies the north end of the church supported on wooden corbels; it has plain panels and a centrally placed clock in an ogee surround and similar seating. Art nouveau style stained glass occupies most windows in a range of motifs including trees, foliage, fruit and flowers. Wooden boarded communion rails with quatrefoil patterning above enclose a centrally placed dais at the south end. The dais is reached by steps to either side with ornate newel posts and boarded balustrades with quatrefoil patterning above. The pulpit has a rectilinear patterned front and stands in front of a crocketed and pinnacled ogee niche. The organ is situated to the right. The whole is covered by a pitch pine coffered ceiling, lit by a pair of windows, and several roof lights. A wide open string staircase of dog leg form housed in the tower, rises to a small anteroom with low, coffered wooden ceiling giving access to the gallery. A schoolroom and a number of service rooms are attached to the north end; most have boarded dados and pointed arched doors. A small first floor vestry is attached to the south end of the church accessed by a plain flight of stairs; it has a panelled dado, wooden mantelpiece, and fitted cupboards.

Memorials: A Commemoration of Union Board marking the union of the three Presbyterian churches in the town in 1952 and the establishment of the United Reform Church in 1972 occupies the wall beneath the gallery at the north end of the church. Other memorials of note include a brass First World War memorial and a plaque recording the 1903-4 alterations.

HISTORY: This was originally an English Presbyterian Church erected in 1784 apparently near to the ruins of a much earlier foundation. In a booklet describing the church's history, it is said to have been one of the first buildings in Wooler to be roofed with slate, and was known as the Blue Meeting Place. This early building had a gallery, which extended around three sides, and the pulpit was centrally placed against the east wall. In the later C19, the church was refurbished in popular Gothic Revival style by James Stevenson of Berwick. The general external and interior character dates from this time. Alterations dating from this time include the removal of the original gallery and the creation of a new one against the north wall, the addition of a new pitch pine ceiling, the insertion of the present Gothic style windows and probably the addition of the tower and steeple. Stevenson's other major works in Northumberland included the refurbishment of Callally Castle, the design of its new stables and St. Edward's R C church and presbytery, Lowick. The church was remodelled again in 1903-4 by George Reavell of Alnwick. Reavell was a competent provincial architect who remodelled a number of secular and religious buildings in the early C20, in a range of revival styles. Alterations at this time included a new roof, the raising of the tower and all walls by the addition of a parapet, the rain water pipes, a new organ and the fine collection of stained glass in most windows. The Presbyterian and Congregational Churches merged in 1972, to form the United Reformed Church.

SOURCES: Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England. Northumberland 2nd ed (1992), 634; Wooler United Reformed Church 1688-1988: A Short History.


This C18 church, remodelled in later C19 and altered in 1903-4 is designated Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* It is a well-executed example of a Gothic Revival church in an C18 shell * It has art nouveau additions of some character, which add to the overall architectural interest of the exterior * It has a well-designed and intact C19 interior with some quality carpentry * The collection of art nouveau stained glass is of note.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, (1992), 634


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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