Edlingham Church of St John the Bapist

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameEdlingham Church of St John the Bapist
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishEdlingham

The church at Edlingham has a strong tower which was used for refuge in times of strife. (Long 1967)

Parish Church. Nave probably mid-C11, partly rebuilt early C12; chancel later C12; north arcade c.1190; tower c.1300; C14 south window and tomb recess in nave; north aisle rebuilt C15; south porch probably C17; various C18 sash windows, with wood tracery inserted at 1902 restoration; C19 vestry and 1864 east window.

Nave large roughly-squared stone with south-west quoins (perhaps re-used grave stones) up to 2 metres long; other parts squared stone; cut dressings. Low- pitched felted roofs to nave and chancel; other roofs Welsh slate. West tower; nave with north aisle and vestry, south porch; chancel.

3-stage west tower has stepped chamfered plinth, band above plinth, and chamfered set-back below squat belfry. Lower stage has small rebated lancet on south only, the upper stages slatted chamfered loops except on east, which shows weathering of old high-pitched roof. Low pyramidal roof. Gabled south porch with chamfered plinth; round arch with keystone and chamfered imposts, below small square window flanked by re-set head corbels. Stone benches and barrel vault springing from chamfered band. C12 doorway has round arch with bold roll moulding and billet hood, on jamb shafts with block capitals and moulded bases; within arch is C17 doorway with flat-pointed head and sunk spandrels, and vertical-panelled door. Above porch a chamfered loop; to either side square-headed C18 windows and further east a pointed double- chamfered C14 window arch, all with later wood tracery. North aisle has blocked north door with chamfered pointed arch; and square-headed east window.

Chancel has C18 south window with pointed arch and raised stone surround; and large Romanesque-style east window with round arch, zigzag, and jamb shafts.

Interior: Plastered. 4-bay north arcade of round arches with chamfered inner and square outer orders

Round piers and semicircular responds have moulded capitals with vertical lines of nail-head to imitate scallops, and moulded bases with nail-head. Round C12 chancel arch, stepped towards nave, on chamfered imposts carried back along east wall of nave; low stone screen has central opening with chamfered and rebated jambs. South wall of nave shows segmental-arched tomb recess,holding pre-Conquest cross fragment with vinescroll and C14 cross slab, and remains of several blocked windows. Cll west front, now within tower, shows centre door with slightly-recessed semicircular tympanum, mutilated round-headed window above and circular opening in apex of former gable. In north aisle a chamfered band below east window; and rear arch of C12 west window above vestry door. Chancel has small piscina with pointed moulded arch, and pointed recess further west.

Chancel roof has later boarding on grid of stop-chamfered tie-beams and longitudinal members, probably C17. Early C20 tie-beam roof to nave. Fittings mostly of similar date, except for balustraded communion rails of 1726. Octagonal medieval font (inscribed '1701') on circular stepped base. Cll/C12 cross slab in aisle and C14 slab as threshold to south door. C18 wall monuments and hatchments at west end of nave and east end of chancel; 1723 ledger stone just inside south door. East window glass, 'The Sea Gave up the Dead which were in it' to Lewis de Crespigny Buckle, who perished on the S.S. Nemesis. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The church tower is notably for a lack of windows, with only narrow lights at all levels, and the upper chambers of this tower certainly could have been used as a refuge for a limited number of people for a short period, although the nearby presence of Edlingham Castle should be noted.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNU114091
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 55° 22' 33.49" Longitude -1° 49' 15.38"

View full Sized Image
Copyright Kim Rowley All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Durham, Keith, 2008, Strongholds of the Border Reivers (Oxford: Osprey Fortress series 70) p. 36, 37
  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67, 68 n1
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 106-9
  • Rowland, T.H., 1987 (reprint1994), Medieval Castles, Towers, Peles and Bastles of Northumberland (Sandhill Press) p. 58
  • Graham, Frank, 1976, The Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Frank Graham) p. 145
  • Long, B., 1967, Castles of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) p. 96
  • Pevsner, N, et al, 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London) p. 143


  • Knowles, W.H., 1896, 'Church of St John the Bapist, Edlingham, Northumberland' Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Vol. 5 p. 37-48