Facilities and features


Toilet at rear of church. It is very small and not practical for the majority of wheelchairs- this is due to the nature of the building.

On- street parking on both sides of church. Easiest is the 'top road'- the old Durham Road. Park along the road and walk through the churchyard to our main door. This is also easiest for wheelchairs due to a section of loose chippings on the other side of church. Please DO NOT park between the stone columns. This is an entry for emergency vehicles- please keep it clear.

You can also park on North Street/ South Street on the main village side of church. park half on the pavement to allow plenty of room for buses. This is nearer to church but there is a rough stone chipping patch before the churchyard.

If you need to drive to the church door with heavy items you can only do so by appointment.

Our main door can open wide enough for wheelchairs both manual and electric.

We have a 'T' setting hearing loop and our celebrants wear personal microphones.

Key services available in large print

We are quite happy for you to accompany your assistance dog.

We are a dementia friendly church and are full members of our dementia friendly village initiative.

Our Building

We have many beautiful stained glass windows most of which were erected by the Boyd family who were great benefactors of the church. A large window commemorates the first Curate, Joseph Tiffen, who then became Rector until 1858 after33 years at St Mary's. It lights up beautifully in afternoon sunshine!

Both St Mary's and the War Memorial are listed by Historic England. The church and the two arches are grade 2* (1120737, first listed 1967) and the war memorial grade 2 (1430947, first listed 2015.)
St. Mary's listing reads:

WEST RAINTON SOUTH STREET NZ 34 NW (South side) 3/45 Church of St. Mary 10/5/67 and 2 arches attached to north GV II*

Parish church and 2 arches attached. 1864 by E.R. Robson; tower added 1877 as gift of Sir George Elliot (tablet inside). Arches C17. Coursed squared sandstone with ashlar dressings; Lakeland slate roof; stone spire. 4-bay aisled nave with north-west tower and south porch; 2-bay chancel with north vestry and south aisle. Double cast-iron gates in 2-centred-arched surround in porch with saddle-back roof. Paired ogee-headed lights in aisles, and paired tall trefoil-headed clerestory lights under dripstring; single quatrefoil in chancel south aisle. Set-back chancel has corbel table over large 2- centred-arched south window with Decorated tracery, and larger east window in similar style; plate tracery in 2-light east window of south aisle. Similar tracery in large west window under head-stopped dripmould. Buttresses, those on south-west of clerestory and at corresponding point on south aisle with cusped gablets; bands of arcaded moulding on tall pinnacle on aisle buttress. Steeply-pitched roof, with stone cross finials, one damaged. Tower of 3 high stages has north door in surround of 3 orders, with shafts supporting zig-zag 2-centred-arches under high gabled panel; paired slender lancets with dripmoulds in second stage; paired recessed louvred belfry openings, with shafts and dripmoulds, under Lombardic frieze. Continuous bands round angle buttresses at each stage; broach spire with 4 large lucarnes.

Interior: painted plaster with ashlar dressings; arch-braced king-post nave roof with scissor-braced common rafters. Panelled chancel roof. Arcades have 2-centred arches with shallow chevron moulding, on round piers with water- leaf capitals; east responds paired shafts; narrower arch at north-west, with full-height shafts to tower; corbelled shafts define other bays of clerestory and support roof trusses. High chancel arch in similar style to arcades, with shallow trefoil decoration and inner roll-moulded arch on Frosterley 'marble' shafts. Roll-moulded clerestory sill string continues as ring round shafts. Chancel has plain arches to north chapel, vestry and south organ; north piscina. Tudor flower decoration to chancel panelling; 1905 mosaic reredos; high-quality flat-topped wood communion rail. Medieval-style tiles on chancel floor. C19 glass in chancel. South aisle windows of high quality commemorate members of Boyd family killed in First World War; C19 west windows to Rev. Joseph Tiffin died 1858. Dark red granite panel in tower commemorates gift of Sir. G. Elliot. Bart., M.P., to mark baptism of his 6 children in the church; describes tablet as part of Pyramid of Ghizeh, obtained 1876 by permission of Ismail Pasha, and erected 1891.

Arches attached: said to have come from Blackfriars, Newcastle, but of wrong period. Resited from grounds of demolished Rainton Hall (C17 home of Sir John Duck). Paired round-headed arches of C17 character have eroded stop chamfers and capitals.

Music and Worship

We hold 2 or 3 musical concerts or events each year which are normally very well attended. There range from small orchestras and chamber groups to large choirs and art exhibitions.


Groups, Courses and Activities

Dates advertised on Facebook and the Village News

Pins and Needles takes place every Wednesday at 9.45 in the Meeting Room.

Help for Visitors

Other Features