Religious Place In Consett, County Durham
An atmospheric Anglican church and mausoleum abandoned in the 1970s.
The cruciform church was built in 1769 to replace an earlier church on the site, but was superceded by St John's Church at Shotley Bridge in 1837.
It stands upon Greymare Hill, 293 metres above sea level, and on a sunny day has stunning views in every direction. When we visited, it was a damp, grey day though, which added to the spooky atmosphere surrounding it. It is very isolated on top of the hill and there was no one else around (except the murder of crows sitting on top of the church).
The church graveyard is described as a 'natural environment' by The Churches Conservation Trust who manage the site, so it looks a little unkempt, which also adds to the charm of the abandoned site. It is worth keeping in mind though, as the ground is quite uneven.
There are 49 headstones in the graveyard, dating back as far as 1699, with most being from the 1700s. There are 3 headstones there which were the work of local sculptor John Graham Lough, who also sculpted the statue of Lord Collingwood on the Collingwood monument in Tynemouth. You may also have seen his bronze George Stephenson memorial opposite the Mining Institute in Newcastle, usually adorned with a traffic cone on a Friday night.
In the graveyard also stands the Hopper Mausoleum which is a grand and elaborate structure, overshadowing the church itself. It was erected in 1752 by Humphrey Hopper, for his wife Jane. It is closed off now unfortunately, as it has been vandalised a number of times.
The church was closed when we visited on a Saturday afternoon, but it does open to the public. The Churches Conservation Trust rely on volunteers to open the church and told me that opening times may vary, so it's worth sending them an email first to check times, if you want a peek inside: [email protected]
Once again our Fabulous North friend Ashley Lightfoot has swooped in with some amazing pictures from the inside of the church.
And here is a different perspective kindly provided by Paul Mc Dermott.
And check out these absolute belta shots from Tim Watkinson, beautifully capturing the eeriness of the mausoleum under the stars!
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The church is a 10 minute walk from the lay-by. If you walk towards the church which will be visible at the top of a hill, there is a finger post along the road, directing you towards the church through a field.
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We parked in a layby on the unnamed road just off the A68.
Contributed by Sandra Clemens
I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.
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