Kirkwhelpington Church of St Bartholomew

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKirkwhelpington Church of St Bartholomew
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishKirkwhelpington

Parish church. C12 fragments. Chancel and nave largely C13 with C15 alterations. Restored 1897. Dressed stone and Lakeland slate roof. West tower, nave, chancel and south porch.

West tower of several builds. Lower masonry C12 or C13. Low, late Perpendicular west door with Tudor lintel. Buttresses of various dates C13-C16. Battlements and crocketed pinnacles Perpendicular features. Victorian 3-light bell openings with Perpendicular tracery.

Similar windows in 3-bay C13 nave. South porch, possibly C16, has plain chamfered round arch and sundial above dated 1764. South door is C13 and has 2 orders of columns, with nailhead in the capitals, and multi-moulded arch. Nave north wall has one original and one Victorian lancet.

Chancel has blocked priest's door and one lancet on south side; also large C18 12-pane sash window. East end lengthened 1897 and given 3 stepped lancets.

Gabled roof with kneelers and flat coping.

Interior has blocked tower arch with 1 order of columns, scalloped capitals and pronounced chevron mouldings in the pointed arch. This may have been chancel arch of earlier church and has C12 and C13 fragments built into wall which blocks it. C13 chancel arch with octagonal responds. Trefoiled sedilia with slender C13 shafts. C17 octagonal font using upturned C14 capital as base. Mahogany pulpit with tester, 1797. Tablet of 1743 with aedicule and coat of arms to Gawen and Mary Aynsley on chancel north wall. Several good tablets set in chancel floor. Medieval grave cover with foliated cross used as lintel of north lancet. (Listed Building Report)

The filling in of the fine pointed tower arch with its zigzag mouldings, the apex of which is still visible, and the huge character of the tower buttressing, all go to show the tower was in a dangerous, if not ruinous, condition. (Hicks 1894)

Gatehouse Comments

Brooke suggested that the chancel arch of the west tower has been infilled with a narrow doorway making the church defensible. Hodgson, who was vicar here, wrote the tower was of 'freestone, but of very indifferent masonry'. The tower is low, squat and heavily buttressed externally. The church certainly claimed to have suffered greatly from Scottish raids and is smaller than it used to be, having lost transepts after a major fire. However the infilling of the arch seems to have been a structural necessity, associated with building repair phase, rather than an attempt to make a defensible building (The tower was requiring further extensive repairs as recently as 2003).

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* 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 ReferenceNY996844
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  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 135-7
  • Salter, Mike, 1997, The Old Parish Churches of Northumberland (Malvern: Folly Publications)
  • Pevsner, N., 1957, Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 201
  • Hodgson, J.C., 1827, History of Northumberland Part 2 Vol. 1 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne; John Hodgson) p. 203 online copy


  • Hicks, W.S., 1894, 'Notes on the recent discoveries at Kirkwhelpington parish church' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser2) Vol. 16 p. 47-51 online copy