Bywell Church of St Peter

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameBywell Church of St Peter
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishBywell

St Peter's Church is one of two churches in Bywell, both with Anglo-Saxon origins. It originally belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Durham and was the location of Bishop Egbert's consecration as 12th Bishop of Lindisfarne in AD803. The oldest parts of the church are the north wall of the nave and the western parts of the chancel walls. The present chancel was built at the beginning of C13, but the church is reported to have been burnt down in 1285. It was rebuilt in C14 and C15 and restored in C19. The Anglo-Saxon church is thought to have been a major building with a nave over 19m long. C13 tower is built on and partly within the original nave and overlies some Anglo-Saxon foundations. Built into the walls of the church are many Roman stones which has in part lead to the suggestion that the church may stand on a Roman site. Excavations in 1995 discovered the massive foundations of the Saxon chancel. (Keys to the Past)

The tower, built partially upon the site of the western part of the original nave, but not its equal in width, is a short, massive and plain, constructed probably, among other purposes, for that of defence. It is of a date somewhere about 1310, and has a western doorway, the inner arch of which is higher than the doorway, a double lancet window, divided by a square mullion, in the second stage, on the north, west, and south sides, a single chamfered set-off and a battlemented parapet, all contemporary with the tower itself. (Hodgson 1902)

Gatehouse Comments

Tower is said to be defensible although church towers, containing vibrating heavy bells, need to be heavily built.

- 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 ReferenceNZ049614
Latitude54.9474716186523
Longitude-1.92481005191803
Eastings404920
Northings561420
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p. 187-9
  • Hodgson, John Crawford (ed), 1902, Northumberland County History (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) Vol. 6 p. 102-18 online copy

Journals

  • Ryder, P.F., 1995, Archaeology in Northumberland Vol. 5 p. 27
  • Gilbert, E.C., 1946, 'New views on Warden, Bywell, and Heddon-on-the-Wall churches' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 24 p. 167-74

Guide Books

  • Holmes, R.E., 1938, Bywell and its Twin Churches (Hexham) p. 11-17