Church of England Diocese of Durham St. John in Weardale

St John the Baptist, St. Johns Chapel

The present church was built in 1752-4 on the site of a mediaeval Chantry Chapel which gave its name to the village. This had been established about 1465 by Robert Rhodes of Newcastle, together with £5 annually from his manor of Wheatley Hill to support a priest. It had become “decayed and ruinous” and was too small for the congregation, so was demolished.</span>

The Georgian church building was largely financed by Sir Walter Calverley Blackett of Newcastle, who held the lease of the lead mining rights in Weardale and Allendale. The tower appears to have been largely rebuilt in the 1770s. The building originally had a gallery round three sides of the nave, the chancel was short, and the pulpit and desks were placed centrally just in front of the chancel arch.

In 1883 there were extensive alterations. The architect was Ewan Christian of London. The gallery was removed, the pulpit moved to its present position, and the pews replaced. The chancel was extended.

In 2011-13 the roof was reslated and other repairs carried out with the help of a grant from English Heritage.

The stained glass is Victorian, mainly by Newcastle firms, but the window in the north wall of the nave is by Ballantine of Edinburgh, and was recently repaired and restored with the help of a grant from the Glaziers Company. The blank panel originally contained an inappropriate Coat of Arms.

The organ was originally installed in the west gallery about 1860, but expert opinion is that it was constructed about 1820, probably by Nicholsons of Newcastle.

Photographic reproductions of the Registers from 1788 are available.

Get in touch

Rural Dean Vince Fenton

01388 760939