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St Cuthbert, Bedlington, Northumberland

(55°7′47″N, 1°35′37″W)
NZ 260 818
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Northumberland
now Northumberland
medieval Durham
now Newcastle
  • Delia Gaze
  • Jane Cunningham
  • Delia Gaze
  • Jane Cunningham
June 2015

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Feature Sets

Situated 2 miles from the port at Blyth, Bedlington became an industrial town from the 1730s onwards. The ironworks closed in 1867 but the coal mines continued in use until the 1970s.

Before this Bedlington was the capital of Bedlingtonshire, a small estate some ten miles north of Newcastle; it was part of the patrimony of St Cuthbert, the Liberty of the bishopric of Durham, over which the bishop ruled as secular lord, and had passed to the see between 900 and 915. It was a resting-place of the body of St Cuthbert on 1069, when the community of St Cuthbert was fleeing from William I's harrying of the North.

The church stands towards the E of the town centre, on the road to Blyth. It consists of a nave with a N aisle and a S chapel, a W tower, and a chancel. The medieval church was rebuilt in 1743 and again in the mid-19thc, and the W tower dates from 1868. The N aisle was added in 1912 when vestries were added and the nave windows replaced. The late-12thc chancel arch has survived all of this, and is described below.


The vill of Bedlington was purchased by Cutheard, last Bishop of Lindisfarne and first of Chester-le-Street (900-915), and has been closely tied to Durham ever since. Before 1080 the church at Bedlington was held by one of the secular canons of Reginald of Durham's prebend. In 1120 it was given to the monks of Durham, and from this time until 1247 it was a rectory in the presentation of of the convent. In 1247 Bishop Farnham appropriated the church and its revenues to the office of the sacrist in the convent of Durham.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Pevsner suggests a late-Norman date for the chancel arch. The List Description only notes that it was rebuilt, perhaps in the 15thc. Bedlington's long association with Durham Cathedrsl my be connected to the similarity of the foliate and interlace patterns to work in the chapter house of the cathedral.


Historic England Listed Building. English Heritage Legacy ID: 235924

J. Hodgson, A History of Northumberland in three parts, volume II, part ii. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1832, 352.

Northumberland Historic Environment Record N11764. Church of St Cuthbert (accessed via Heritage Gateway)

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northumberland. Harmondsworth 1957 (repr. 1970), 83.

J. Raine,The History and Antiquities of North Durham, London 1852, 362.

P. F. Ryder, St Cuthbert’s Church Bedlington: An Archaeological Assessment, Riding Mill 2015.