Elsdon Church of St Cuthbert

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameElsdon Church of St Cuthbert
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishElsdon

Parish church. C12, C14 and C16 or early C17. Restored 1837 and again in 1877 by F.R. Wilson. Random rubble and squared stone with Welsh slate roof.

Nave with bellcote, aisles, transepts with west aisles, chancel and vestry.

Nave: C19 south porch and flanking C19 Decorated windows. Low buttress in south-west corner probably part of cut-back walls of earlier wider aisles. West end has large C19 window in projecting walling which rises to support bellcote. Low flanking buttresses are remnants of former tower (cf interior).

Transepts: the aisles are later additions (see the C14 angle buttress with roll mouldings, now embedded in the north wall). C19 south window with jambs of original window to left.

Chancel: C14 priest's door and three C14 windows, each of different pattern. East end C19.

Gabled roofs with cross finials. Elaborate bellcote of c.1720 with 2 tiers of ball finials and stone spirelet.

Interior: In west wall a high blocked tower arch with hoodmould of heavy square section - probably C12 re-set as pointed arch. 4-bay nave arcades; C12 west responds. Elsewhere C14 arches with octagonal piers and moulded capitals; 2nd south pier has foliage carving in the capital; double-chamfered arches. Transept piers are square with chamfered edges, the stops carved with tracery or figures; double-chamfered arches dying into the imposts - the outer order dying much higher than the inner. Similar chancel arch. Transept arcades similar to nave. Very narrow aisles and transept aisles with quadrant tunnel vaults and very thick outer walls; probably a C16 or C17 rebuilding. Corbels for roof timbers of earlier aisles visible below vaults.

C14 sedilia in chancel. Trefoiled piscina in south transept. Medieval grave covers in chancel south window, 2 in south transept, above south door, south aisle west window, 4 in north transept. Roman tombstone in north aisle. False hammer-beam roofs by F.R. Wilson. Cartouche of 1741 to William Brown

(Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Recorded by Brooke as a fortified church although the reasons for this is unclear.

- 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 ReferenceNY936932
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  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 67
  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 121-4
  • Pevsner, N. et al, 2002, Buildings of England: Northumberland (Penguin) p. 267
  • Taylor, G.N., 1970, The Story of Elsdon (Newcastle: Frank Graham)
  • Hodgson, J.C., 1827, History of Northumberland (Newcastle-upon-Tyne; John Hodgson) Part 2 Vol. 1 p. 88-96 online copy


  • Quiney, A., 1976, 'Elsdon' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p. 175-6


  • The Archaeological Practice Ltd., 2004, 'Elsdon Northumberland an archaeological and historical study of a border township' Northumberland National Park Historic Village Atlas (The Northumberland National Park Authority)
  • RCHME, 1995. Elsdon Tower, Elsdon, Northumberland. Historic building report