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Saints and Heroes

Bamburgh St Aidan 12th century build

Notable saints associated with this region include Aidan, Bede, Chad, Cuthbert, Ebba, Gregory, Hilda, Oswald and Wilfrid - try searching for churches by these names.

For an introduction to six of the Northern Saints, here is a short video produced as part of the Spirit in Stone digital resource for schools

To see the full set of 7 short video films, visit our YouTube playlist here: Six Northern Saints

Some other remarkable people commemorated in churches around the region: 

Bernard Gilpin (1517-1583), “Apostle of the North”, is remembered at St Michael and All Angels, Houghton le Spring. And the North East occupies an important place in the story of John Wesley (1703-1791) - notable sites include Brunswick Methodist Church in Newcastle, Westgate Methodist Chapel, and Ireshopeburn High House Chapel and Weardale Museum.

The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas, Newcastle is proud of its links with Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood (1748-1810), second-in-command to Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.   

Grace Darling (1815-1842), the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter who risked her own life to save others, is commemorated at St Aidan’s, Bamburgh. The social reformer Josephine Butler (1828-1906) is remembered at St Gregory’s, Kirknewton, and the grave and monument of ‘Votes for Women’ campaigner Emily Wilding Davison is in St Mary's churchyard, Morpeth.  

In a region famed for inventiveness there are memorials to the inventor of the steam turbine engine, Sir Charles Parsons (1854-1931) in St Bartholomew’s, Kirkwhelpington, whilst at All Saints, Rothbury a lovely chancel screen commemorates industrialist and science hero, William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong (1810-1900).

Newcastle was transformed in the 1830s by property developer Richard Grainger (1797-1861), whose memorial is at St James’ in Benwell Newcastle, whilst the grave of 18th century engraver and artist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) is at St Mary’s, Ovingham.

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    St Mary Magdalene in the snow
    Church
    Whalton

    Largely medieval church displaying the evolution of a well-developed 13thC church from a Norman core. Carvings in stonework and a turret clock dated 1796.

    St Thomas the Apostles Church
    Church
    Stanhope

    Historic St Thomas’ Church and fossil tree is in Stanhope, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    Front of St Mary's at Seaham
    Church
    Seaham

    'One of the finest small churches in the country dating back to the 7th/8th century' according to E. Fernie, 'Anglo Saxon Churches'

    Holy Trinity at Matfen
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Matfen

    A beautiful 19th-century church with a fine spire, a lovely atmosphere and a beautiful churchyard.

    Outside St Aidans in Bamburgh
    Church
    Bamburgh

    A church was founded on this site in 635 by St Aidan; the site of his death is marked by a shrine within the present church which dates from the end of the 12th century. A squint, a fine reredos, and a memorial to the Victorian heroine are amongst some of the many treasures of this delightful parish church.

    Heddon-on-the-Wall
    Church
    Heddon-on-the-Wall
    Archaeologically fascinating medieval church, evidence of Saxon church, early Norman chancel, rib-vaulted east bay.
    Our Lady at Delaval
    Church
    Seaton Delaval

    A small, serene, historic church, which is more than 900 years old and is still in use regularly for Sunday services and weddings etc.

    St Gregorys Church in Kirknewton
    Church
    Kirknewton

    'More to this church than meets the eye' (Pevsner). A site of Christian worship since the 11th century or earlier, the chancel and south transept date from the late 15th century.

    Exterior of Easington Parish Church
    Church
    Easington

    Twelfth Century Grade I listed building with a historic place in the Durham Diocesan history.

    Exterior of St Mary's at Etal
    Church
    Etal

    Set in the grounds of Etal Manor, this church (designed by William Butterfield) was built 1856-58 by Lady Augusta FitzClarence as a burial place for her husband Lord Frederick (one of the illegitimate sons of King William IV ).

    St Paul's Exterior
    Church
    Branxton

    Tranquil ancient sacred space and historically important Flodden Battlefield church.

    St Michael & All Angels Church
    Church
    Houghton-le-Spring

    This stunning ancient parish church is a place of revelation, hope and encounter where you will find 1000 years of Christianity and 4000 years of human history.

    St Andrews Church in Corbridge
    Church
    Corbridge
    Important Saxon Church. Impressive 13thC remains - particularly east end lancet windows. Roman arch to baptistery. 14thC Vicar's Pele, built of Roman stones, in churchyard - needed because of Scots raids from 1296.
    St Mary's at Stamfordham
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Stamfordham

    A stunning Grade 1 listed church with Saxon origins. Lots of fascinating ancient monuments and a beautiful churchyard.

    Church Exterior
    Church
    Byrness

    A Chapel of Ease built in 1786. Has a wonderful window commemorating the work people who died while the Catcleugh dam was built from 1894-1905.

    Exterior of St James & St Basil
    Art and Architecture
    Fenham

    J’s and B’s is a beautiful Arts and Crafts church built in 1931, open daily for prayer and reflection. 

    St Mark's Church exterior
    Church
    Allendale Town

    St. Mark’s Church at Ninebanks offers breathtaking views over the remote West Allen valley and a fascinating local history and is on the Isaac’s Tea Trail North Pennines Heritage Walk

    St Edwin's Church
    Church
    Darlington

    This beautiful 12th century church (with 14th century spire) stands high above the River Tees. Coniscliffe means King’s Cliff; Edwin was first Christian King of Northumbria.

    St Cuthberts Church in Elsdon
    Churchyard/Burial Ground
    Elsdon

    14th Century church, Roman tombstone, medieval grave covers, exquisite windows, historic churchyard, 18th century carved headstones, two medieval stone coffins.

    St Mary Magdalene at Trimdon
    Church
    Durham

    Built in 1155 we have a Norman chancel with an unusual horseshoe arch.

    Exterior of St Mary & St Cuthbert's
    Church
    Chester-le-Street

    A beautiful 13th Century church with a well preserved Anker's House Museum, it houses a copy of the Lindesfarne Gospels.

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