St Thomas the Apostle Church
Religious Place Stanhope County Durham

St Thomas the Apostle Church

Religious Place In Stanhope, County Durham

A Grade II* listed Church, dedicated to St Thomas the Apostle, in Stanhope.

St Thomas the Apostle Church is a Grade II* listed parish church in the town of Stanhope, County Durham. It is dedicated to Saint Thomas the Apostle and is thought to have been built on Saxon foundations in the 12th century by the Normans, although the earliest surviving parts of the building date from the 13th century.

The north aisle was added in the 13th century, and the west tower was built in the 14th century. The church was extensively renovated in the 14th and 15th centuries, and again in the 19th century, when the east window was rebuilt and the interior was redecorated.

The church is built in the usual cruciform plan, with a nave, chancel, transepts and a tower. The nave is the oldest part of the church, and is supported by a series of pointed arches. The chancel is decorated with stained glass windows, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The tower is the most distinctive feature of the church. It is square in plan, topped by a crenellated parapet and houses the church bells which were cast in 1763. The Victorian west window includes 14th to 16th century glass of national importance from the original west window.

The transepts contain a number of tombs, including that of John Sharpe, who was Bishop of Durham from 1400 to 1402, while the churchyard contains a number of notable graves, including that of John Marley, who was a local landowner and benefactor. Marley was responsible for the construction of the church hall, which is located next to the church.

In addition to its architectural and historical significance, St Thomas Church Stanhope is also home to a number of important artefacts, including a Roman altar, a Saxon font, and a Frosterley marble font. The Roman altar is inscribed with the words "Deo Soli Invicto", which means "To the one, unconquered God".

The Saxon font is made of limestone, and is decorated with a series of stylized animals. The Frosterley marble font is made of a rare type of limestone (despite the use of marble in its name) that is found only in the North Pennines.

In the churchyard you can keep an eye out for the fossilised tree in the south west corner and also the 17th market cross shaft which is just to the right of the footpath by the main entrance to the churchyard. This market cross was replaced by the one you see in the market place today and is a scheduled monument. It was originally erected to celebrate the re-founding of Stanhope Market in 1699 by Bishop John Cosin.

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54.747938, -2.006329

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54.748316, 54.748316

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Free parking is available nearby at the Durham Dales Centre.

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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Andrew Gardner

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