« السابقةمتابعة »
stage is the belfry, and has a large window in each face. These were originally of two lights, subdivided into four in the heads. The tracery is now destroyed as are the mullions, and modern louvres are inserted. The heads of the tracery lights remain however, and show that they were finished with trefoil cuspings. The reveals of these windows are broad and deep casements which are carried round the arches quite plain. The arches are low elliptical ones. Above the belfry windows is a cornice, and then a battlemented parapet with broad merlons and high embrasures. The buttresses have five set-offs, and at the last one at the top they die into the angles of the tower by a long slope under the main cornice. From these slopes, and occupying the angles, are lofty octagonal turrets, which rise high above the battlements. These are finished with moulded cornices, battlements, and stone spirelets surmounted by iron vanes.
It is clear from the construction of this tower that it was intended to be crowned with a lantern on four flying arches like those at St. Nicholas's, Newcastle, St. Giles's, Edinburgh, and King's College chapel, Aberdeen. One of the bells bears the arms of Thornton and Rhodes, from which it has been inferred that this tower is due to a large extent to their munificence, which is by no means unlikely when we consider how closely it resembles in its outlines and details the work at the churches of St. Nicholas and All Saints in Newcastle with which the Rhodes and Thornton families were so intimately connected. The second Roger Thornton died in 1483,18 and it is not unlikely that it was in his time, or soon after, that this tower was erected, though the details show that it is much later than St. Nicholas's, Newcastle, and seem to carry it to the very end of the fifteenth, if not into the sixteenth century.
To the same period as the tower belonged the clerestory of the nave. It is lamentable that one must speak in the past tense of this important feature. It was most foolishly destroyed in 1850, and a poorly constructed high pitched roof put up in place of the ancient
One would have thought that a moment's reflection would have shown the destroyers how utterly absurd and illogical their action was. They thought that by destroying the clerestory, which was a late addition to the church, and putting up their poor modern roof, they were bringing back the church to its condition in the thirteenth
Boyle, Vestiges of Old Newcastle, p. 176.
ANCIENT FURNITURE AND MONUMENTS.
century. The impossibility of doing this never occurred to them, and to make their position a logical one they should have also destroyed the tower and produced an imaginary copy of the thirteenth century west end. The result of the destruction is that the church is now in a worse condition than it ever was before. The nave is so dark that it has a disagreeably depressing effect from the continual gloom that reigns there. The builders of the tower knew that by removing the old west end with its windows they would rob the church of a great deal of necessary light. They therefore provided a clerestory to make up for what they took away. It is humiliating to think that what the wisdom of the fifteenth century provided the folly of the nineteenth century should destroy. The clerestory is shown in Billings's interior view of the church (plate xxxiv). It is there seen to have consisted of a range of three-light windows under obtusely pointed arches. At that time the nave retained its old plaster. This was also removed with the clerestory, leaving the rubble walls naked, as they were never intended to be seen, and robbing the interior of the benefit of the reflected light from their white surfaces. The period of the so-called 'Gothic Revival' was more truly a “dark age' than any which had preceded it. The chancel and transepts still retain their plaster, and it is hoped that the man is not yet born who will venture to remove it and leave them in the condition of the nave.
Of the ancient furniture and fittings of the church there are no remains, but the chancel is stalled and panelled with oak and provided with an elaborate and handsome screen of the period of the “Restoration. This work was done under Dennis Granville, A.M., rector from 1667-1691, and a son-in-law of bishop Cosin, who carried out the furnishing of the choir of the cathedral, and that of Brancepeth church, which is similar, but inferior to the Sedgefield work. Mr. Hodgson thinks, and there seems no reason to doubt it, that all this work was executed by James Clements of Durham, who died in 1690.
There are now no remains of ancient stained glass, but there formerly existed some pieces in the windows of the south transept, on one of these was a portion of an inscription in black letter charactersde henlee Rector eccles. fecit
fenestram. Below this was a fleur-de-lys and other ornaments. In another window of the south transept was 'a head with a coronet. ’19 John de
19 Hutchinson's Durham.
Henlee was rector from 1361 to 1380, and in 1379 founded the chantry of St. Catherine in the north porch (transept). The other chantries mentioned were St. Thomas's in the south transept and St. Mary's.
The font is of the time of the Rev. Theophilus Pickering, S.T.P., who was rector from 1705 to 1711. It is evidently a copy in marble of one of the same period as the tower, for it resembles in form those at St. Nicholas's and St. John's in Newcastle, and other places in the district. The details are of Pickering's day, and his arms occur on one of the eight shields which adorn the bowl along with those of his contemporaries and others of a much earlier date, such as Thornton, Greystock, and Hoton, evidently taken from the older font.20 Doctor Pickering also gave the organ, which was the work of Father Schmidt. He also provided the sixth bell, but as he did not leave money enough to pay for it, it was returned to the founders at York.21
Sedgefield church is not rich in monuments. The earliest, and one of the most interesting, is the matrix of the brass lying in the floor of the chancel, of the first master of Greatham hospital, Andrew de Stanley, who was appointed in 1271, and died before 1300. It is shown on one of the accompanying plates. The two effigies in the south transept have been mentioned already.
There are a number of brasses; two are in their stones still. That of a lady in the south transept was only found in 1876, when that part of the church underwent repair and alteration. The Hoton brass is under the gallery in the north transept. Two shrouded figures of the memento mori kind, and some inscriptions are detached. Two of those have been lost since Surtees wrote, but are said to be in private hands in Sedgefield.22 Some modern brasses and other monuments given in Surtees have also been destroyed at subsequent renovations.
The north transept was filled with a gallery about 1754, when John Burdon, esquire, built Hardwick hall. The gallery has a handsome front adorned with the arms of Burdon. Beneath it is the vestry, which is panelled with old oak wainscot, and contains some ancient furniture.
The plate and bells have already been fully described in the Proceedings.23
20 All the coats are given in Boyle's Guide to Durham, p. 642. 21 Randal.
22 The Sedgefield brasses have been described and illustrated in this series already, vol. xv. p. 87.
23 Vol. iii. p. 424.