Warkworth Church of St Lawrence

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameWarkworth Church of St Lawrence
Alternative NamesChurch of St Laurence
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishWarkworth

Parish Church. Nave and chancel early C12; west tower c.1200; vestry probably C13; belfry and spire C14 or C15; south aisle and porch late C15; Restored 1860, nave by John Dobson and chancel by Ewan Christian. Squared stone with cut dressings. Graduated Lakeland slate roofs to nave and chancel, leaded roofs to aisle, porch and vestry. Plan: Unusually long nave (27.6 x 7.6 metres) with west tower, 5-bay aisle with 2-storey south porch, 2-bay aisleless chancel and formerly 2-storeyed north vestry.

3-stage tower with south-west stair turret, plinth and chamfered setbacks at lower-stage sills, between stages and midway up belfry. Lower stage has lancets in each side; 2nd-stage lancet on south. Turret, rising to midway up belfry, has 5 stone steps up to inserted boarded studded door on south; small loops. Belfry has paired pointed openings (part-blocked on west) and corbelled-out parapet. 1875 clock face below bell openings on south. Octagonal stone spire with worn crocketed doorway to parapet on south, and gabled lucarnes; moulded finial with weathervane. West wall, to either side of tower, shows angle pilasters and string courses of C12 nave.

South aisle and porch have moulded plinth, slender stepped buttresses between bays and at angles, and strings below moulded parapet. Porch has moulded arch, heavily cemented, under C18 sundial and 2-light window; east wall shows chamfered loop, single-light window above and pent-roofed stair turret with boarded studded door and loop window; west wall chamfered loop. Inside stone benches and groined vault with moulded ribs and central boss with shield; studded double doors in moulded arch. Aisle has 3-light windows (except 5-light east window) with C19 tracery in old 4-centred hollow-chamfered openings with hoodmoulds.

Original C12 north nave wall: plinth, pilasters buttresses, strings at sill and impost levels of round-headed windows; restored eaves cornice on carved corbels

Second bay from west has broad pilaster holding blocked north door, at left; sunk gable-headed panel with round arch of 2 chamfered orders, outer on shafts with worn scalloped capitals. At east end a shallow projection, with inserted double door and small window, holding newel stair to chamber above chancel vault. Immediately west an inserted late medieval square-headed window low in wall. Two large later medieval stepped buttresses near west end.

Chancel south wall shows similar features although west bay with priest's door is largely C19 restoration; old blocked priest's door, very low and narrow, with cambered lintel under plain tympanum, in east bay. East end has 3 C19 stepped windows. North wall shows original window west of vestry. Vestry has two C19 windows, and older lancet at high level on north; east wall chamfered setback broken by inserted square-headed window and blocked door; paired lancets at high level; west wall has window of three tiny round-arched lights cut in a single slab below high-level lancet.

Nave and chancel both have C19 east gables with circular windows in Romanesque style and stepped copings on moulded kneelers; finial crosses.

Interior: West and north walls of nave have sill and impost strings, and moulded rear arches on shafted jambs with scalloped capitals. C12 west end, covered externally by tower, intact except for inserted round arch below central window. At east end of north wall a blocked chamfered round-arched doorway, with plain tympanum, to stair turret. Arcades of quatrefoil piers and similar responds, with moulded capitals and bases, carrying deeply-moulded arches; shield hoodmould stops on both sides in 2 western bays. Aisle has damaged ogee-arched piscina and round-arched recess further west.

Nave has C19 scissor-braced roof on moulded stone corbels. Aisle, parvise chamber over porch and vestry all have late medieval low-pitched roofs with cambered tie-beams; longitudinal timbers moulded in aisle.

C12 chancel arch has moulded inner orders and outer order with fan-like ornament; beaded hood. Jambs with 3 half-shafts and scalloped capitals; chamfered impost band to nave. Chancel has sill string and rear arches as in nave, and rib-vault on wall shafts (paired between bays) rising from string. Diagonal vault ribs with zig-zag ornament. One original window now opens into vestry. Square-headed chamfered aumbries on north and south of sanctuary.

Carved C19 reredos in Romanesque style; Minton tiles. Early C18 wrought iron altar rails with crest and monogram of Matthew White of Blagdon. Plain octagonal font, probably C15. Remains of medieval glass in head tracery of aisle east window. Saxon headstone and 2 early medieval headstone crosses in chancel. Fine early C14 knight's effigy in aisle, on C17 table tomb with doubtful inscription ascribing it to 'Sir Hugh of Morwicke who gave the Common to this Towne of Warkworth'. Armorial tablet on north of chancel to Ann Hunter, d.1720. Various C18 and early C19 wall tablets in nave and chancel, many signed by Davies of Newcastle. Royal arms of James II, dated 1685, in aisle. Fixed in recess of blocked priest's door is medieval face jug from 1977 excavation of Magdalen Chapel site. Belfry shows old pegged bell frames, and mechanism of clock given in 1700 by George Lawson of Gloster Hill. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Chamber above stone vaulted chancel and other feature lead Brooke to suggest the church was defensive. Unsuccessfully used as a refuge in 1173 when the Scots killed 300 people some or all of whom where in the church.

- 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 ReferenceNU246061
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Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Photo by Matthew Emmott All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Brooke, C.J., 2000, Safe Sanctuaries (Edinburgh; John Donald) p
  • Pevsner, N., 1992 (revised by Grundy, John et al), Buildings of England: Northumberland (London, Penguin) p. 612
  • Hodgson, J.C. 1899, A History of Northumberland Vol. 5 (Newcastle) p. 170-2, 180


  • Quiney, A., 1977, 'Warkworth Church' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 133 p. 161
  • Simpson, W.D., 1938, 'Warkworth: a castle of livery and maintenance' Archaeologia Aeliana (ser4) Vol. 15 p. 120
  • Wilson, F.R., 1862-8, Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Northumberland and Durham Vol. 1 p. 82-7