Embleton Church of the Holy Trinity

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameEmbleton Church of the Holy Trinity
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishEmbleton

This parish church has its origins in late C11 or early C12. The lower part of the tower dates to this time with other elements of C13 to C16 date. In 1850, new windows were inserted and the building was extended by John Dobson, with later additions by F.R. Wilson in 1867. (PastScape)

Parish Church. Lower part of tower late C11 or early C12; nave arcades early C13; aisles rebuilt and tower heightened early C14; porch later C15 or early C16; aisles refenestrated and extended to embrace tower 1850 by John Dobson; chancel (replacing a predecessor of c.1800) and vestry 1867 by F.R. Wilson at the expense of Merton College, Oxford. Lower part of tower rubble, other parts squared stone, except for chancel of alternating bands of grey roughly- faced limestone and pink sandstone; ashlar dressings. Graduated Lakeland slate roof to nave; C20 stainless steel roofs to aisles; chancel and vestry roofs banded purple Welsh slate with green fish-scale slates. Plan: West tower, nave with 3-bay aisles later extended west, south porch and transeptal Craster Chapel at east end of north aisle; chancel with north vestry. C14 style, the chancel with Geometrical tracery.

Three-stage tower with chamfered set-backs between stages and below parapet. Restored or C19 stepped buttresses flank C19 2-light west window. South wall of lower stage shows part-blocked trefoil-headed window above aisle roof; second stage has two square-headed windows on west; belfry has transomed openings of two trefoil-headed lights with quatrefoil spandrel; parapet with trefoil-headed open panels and 8 small pinnacles.

South aisle has diagonal south-west buttress. Tall chamfered plinth east of porch. Flat-topped porch with moulded 4-centred arch, carved hoodmould stops and niche on angel corbel above; cornice and parapet. Interior shows old stone benches, C19 roof with carved bosses and C19 doorway with boarded double doors, below weathering of earlier porch roof

Five C12 and C13 cross slabs set in internal walls; (other medieval fragments set into internal walls of vestry). 2-light C19 aisle windows. North aisle has old moulded parapet similar to porch. Projecting gabled Craster Chapel has large stepped buttress on east and renewed 2-light north window. C19 clerestorey with trefoiled ogee-headed lights; coped east gable on moulded kneelers, with ring cross finial.

3-bay chancel. South wall shows chamfered plinth and set-back at sill level, and stepped buttresses between bays; central buttress extended westward into a projection holding a cinquefoil-headed priest's door; 2-light windows varying in detail. 5-light east window flanked by gabled angel buttresses, beneath coped gable with ring cross finial. One 2-light window on north, and pent-roofed vestry.

Interior: Double-chamfered tower arch; chamfered hoodmould. Above arch traces of a blocked door and weathering of low-pitched late medieval roof. Base of tower has pointed vault on three chamfered ribs, pierced by C19 iron spiral stair. Vault ribs cut rear arches of blocked early Norman windows in side walls. Nave arcades of pointed double-chamfered arches on octagonal piers with moulded capitals; eastern responds have foliage carving. Carved broach stops to outer order chamfer; hoodmoulds with large nutmeg ornament, partly re-cut, and carved stops. East wall of south aisle shows three brackets, two with carved heads, and rebated aumbry. East window of north aisle flanked by round- and ogee-arched piscinae with cusped recesses above, possibly re-set. Double-chamfered segmental-pointed arch to Craster Chapel; Chapel has rebated aumbry on east.

C19 double-chamfered chancel arch with dogtooth, on C13 carved corbels, under weathering of steeply-pitched C13 nave roof; large blocked window in gable. Chancel banded pink and yellow stone. Piscina and credence recesses have trefoiled arches; adjacent window sill lowered to hold wooden sedile.

C19 scissor-braced nave roof on stone corbels; plain late medieval roofs to aisles. Elaborate collar-beam chancel roof. Tiled sanctuary with wrought- iron Gothic altar rails; carved stone reredos. Carved 1896 pulpit. Chancel glass 1884 by Kempe; east window with Northumbrian Saints, side windows with Evangelists, Patriarchs, Prophets and Fathers of the Latin Church. Carved C19 font in C13 style. Old Craster hatchments over arch to Craster Chapel and under tower. Monuments: C18 ledger slabs in chancel. At west end of south aisle wall tablets to Mrs Grace Edwards d.1696, Anthony Wilson (Custom Officer at Craster) d.1718 and Joseph Wood (Major of the Northumberland militia) d.1810. At west end of north aisle wall tablets to Viscount Grey of Fallodon d. 1933 and other C19 and early C20 members of the family. (Listed Building Report)

That the tower may have been adapted for defensive use is evident from the ground-floor stone barrel vaulting, set on three north-south ribs and inserted into a pre-existing Norman tower, shown by the blocked C12 windows cut by these ribs. (Brooke 2000)

Gatehouse Comments

Alternatively the barrel vaulting was inserted as a structural strengthening of the tower when it was raised in the C14.

- 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 ReferenceNU230224
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Humphrey Bolton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons license.View 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


  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 82-3
  • Bateson, Edward (ed), 1895, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 2 p. 80-2 online copy