List Entry Number: 490860
Date Listed: 11.05.04
Address: Church Street, South Hylton
Building Type: Church
Building Name: St Mary’s Church
Conservation Area: No
Occupied: Yes 3
Ownership: Religious 2
Description: Parish church. 1880 by C. Hodgson Fowler of Durham to replace a previous “house church” on the same site. Additions in 1930 and 1970, but the surrounding wall predates the church. The church is designed in the Gothic Revival style and built in stone, irregularly coursed, with a blue slate roof. The plan is simple, with a nave, a chancel almost as wide as the nave, a north transept and a tower at the south-west corner incorporating the entrance porch. West elevation contains a triple lancet window divided by stone jambs, with hood-moulding over the arches. The centre window is larger and divided centrally with a small quatrefoil at the top. The windows contain four panels of high quality stained glass by Eadie Reid in the Arts and Crafts style, restored and re-installed in 2000. There is a plinth at the base, raised band below the windows stepped down to either side, and small buttresses at each corner. South elevation has entrance porch at west end with pointed arched doorway with C20th aluminium door. Three lancet windows, each of two lights with a small quatrefoil, of which two have modern stained glass. Plinth an three buttresses, the east most marking the end of the nave, and a raised band below the windows. Chancel has two windows of similar style. East elevation has three grouped lancet windows similar to the west window, again with stained glass, and a stepped raised band below with a plinth and buttresses on each corner. North Elevation: small pointed arch door to chancel, no windows. Small arched doorway on the north side of the transept and three-light lancet windows on the east and west sides. The windows on the north elevation of the nave are similar to those on the south, but offset. Two have stained glass. The tower is square with a hipped pyramidal roof and contains the entrance porch. It has narrow lancet windows to east and west sides and above the door, and a row of three on each side between the roof and an off-set running round the tower near the top.
Interior: Entrance at back of nave, first few rows of wooden pews have been removed and the rest repositioned to provide wider spacing. Matching wood panelling to the sides and west end. Roof has exposed alternating single-framed and crown-post trusses, with the rafters shaped to look like the blades of a cruck construction. There is no chancel screen. There is an exposed stone arch between nave and chancel. The chancel has had its choir stalls removed but the wood panelling remains. The alter has finely carved alter piece behind in matching wood, and the alter rail also matches the panelling, pews and alter. The sanctuary floor is of Frosterley marble. The organ, installed in 1884, sits rather awkwardly on the north side of the chancel partly covering an arch which may have been intended as a window. The roof is barrel vaulted, again with the beams shaped to resemble crucks. The “house church” previously used for worship was a Lodge of the Woodhouse estate donated for the purpose by the owner, Captain Maling. This was destroyed by fire in 1878. Its foundations are purportedly visible beneath the current church. The stained glass is variously by Veronica Whall, James Eadie Reid (both in Arts and Crafts tradition) and Leonard Evetts. Much of it is recently restored after the area was hit by bombs in 1941. The tower was added in 1930 to a design by G E Charlewood and the cast aluminium porch door was designed in 1970 by Ronald Sims. There is some evidence of subsidence visible within the church, consisting of deformation of the westernmost north side window of the nave, cracking of the plaster and a gap in the stonework between the nave and chancel on the north side. This is caused by the slope of the ground down to the north. Nevertheless this is a well preserved early example of the architect’s work, with some particularly fine Arts and Crafts style stained glass and very few alterations. It is a well preserved and good example of the Victorian Gothic Revival style.