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Church of St Helen

A Grade I Listed Building in West Auckland, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.6357 / 54°38'8"N

Longitude: -1.7097 / 1°42'34"W

OS Eastings: 418835

OS Northings: 526773

OS Grid: NZ188267

Mapcode National: GBR JGHV.N0

Mapcode Global: WHC57.QR11

Entry Name: Church of St Helen

Listing Date: 21 April 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1196602

English Heritage Legacy ID: 385687

Location: County Durham, DL14

County: County Durham

Electoral Ward/Division: West Auckland

Built-Up Area: Bishop Auckland

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Auckland St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Durham

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Listing Text


NZ1826 MANOR ROAD, St Helen Auckland
634-1/10/152 (North side)
21/04/52 Church of St Helen


Parish church. Late C12, early C13 and roof rebuilt C15; porch
and schoolroom above C15, rebuilt 1866.
MATERIALS: Rubble with quoins and ashlar dressings. Roof not
PLAN: chancel with north vestry and south organ chamber,
aisled nave with south porch.
EXTERIOR: chancel has pointed east window with bar tracery to
3 lancet lights, and C19 dripmould, plus wide quoins, and
low-pitched roof. Trefoil heads to small 2-light south chancel
window, and 3 two-light chancel south aisle windows, the west
higher, plus an east lancet. Renewed 2-light south nave window
west of porch.
North nave elevation has 2 massive buttresses, a single
lancet, and chamfered pointed door. Clerestory has 2 arched
lights to windows except single light at west, and
battlemented parapets. 2-storey C19 porch has C20 door in
double chamfered round arch with dripmould. Lancet to left of
door, paired trefoil-headed lights above, and battlemented
parapet. West return of porch has single light on first floor
below corbelled parapet.
West elevation has stepped buttresses flanking 3 lancets under
single dripmould, pent aisle roofs, and 2-arched bellcote.
Porch door of wide boards, probably C15, in chamfered pointed
INTERIOR has C15 roof with side and ridge purlins, rafters
renewed. East window has shouldered rear arch. Chancel arcades
of paired pointed arches with recessed chamfers on octagonal
piers, the north with leaves and a fir-cone motif (a primitive
version of the well-carved cone at Finchale Priory, Durham,
also on north chancel capital).
South arcade has similar fleur-de-lys and modified nailhead,
and on the face towards the chancel are 2 spheres, one
cross-hatched, the other with multiple irregular circles,
possibly representing sun and moon, as in medieval crucifixion
scenes. Chancel arch pointed, with 2 orders on restored keeled
Nave arcades 2 east bays C12, north round pier with moulded
base on octagonal plinth broached to square base, and enriched
waterleaf capital. Keeled shafts to responds. 2 orders of
chamfers, the inner with stops, and hood mould. South arcade
has round pier with moulded round base and bell capital,
chamfers not stopped, keeled shafts to responds restored at
east and truncated at west. Arches similar to north arcade but
with nutmeg hoodmould. 3rd bay has chamfered pointed arches on
east piers formed from section of original west wall, with
broach stops to chamfers, and fillets to shafts of responds.
South aisle wall has cantilevered stone slab steps, originally
leading to room over porch. Chancel has damaged piscina with
plain round chamfered arch. Deep circular plain bowl stone
font on wide pedestal beside south door possibly late C12;
marks under bowl show where 4 shafts were set, shown in
Billings' illustration.
FITTINGS include pews of nave C19. Choir pews incorporate some
C17 tracery, balustrades and cresting in backs. organ screen
incorporates C17 carving.
MEMORIALS include Frosterley limestone medieval-style incised
grave cover in north aisle, with cross and sword. c1470 brass
indent in chancel, partly obscured by altar steps, showing
parents and 6 children. Brass on north aisle wall set up or
moved in 1647 to Ralph Dalton, Armiger, who held office under
Bishop Tunstall and d.1558, and his son Robert who was buried
at St Martin, Ludgate, London, February 10th 1560.
STAINED GLASS includes windows at east to Rev Matthew Chester,
d.1871, with medieval style Saints Cuthbert and Helen flanking
the Risen Christ. Grisaille in north chancel chapel, north and
east 1914-1918 War Memorial windows, and very high quality
east window in south aisle to Emma White d.1920, with Saints
Hilda and Aidan. West window to WB Kilburn d.1886, in
Renaissance style with architectural setting.
Wood poor box attached to south arcade C17 or C18 with painted
inscription. Fragments of red paint on north aisle wall,
apparently non-pictorial.
(Billings R: Architectural Antiquities of the County of
Durham: Newcastle: 1974-: PLATE FACING P15; Surtees H C:
History of the Parish and Township of St Helen Auckland:
Mainsforth: 1924-; Blakesley J: St Helen Auckland - some
historical notes for visitors: Bishop Auckland: 1983-).

Listing NGR: NZ1883626775

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 17 August 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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